The problem with being at the very pinnacle of your profession is that you are there to be shot at, constantly under the microscope, with plenty of people secretly hoping you’ll fall flat on your face. Well there’s that problem and about a hundred more when you are top dog at NOMA, as René Redzepi reveals in his searingly honest journal, one part of A Work in Progress: Journal, Recipes and Snapshots, a three-book set from the pioneering chef, out now from Phaidon.
It never rains, but it pours for René; his writings document the myriad obstacles, frustrations and distractions that life threw in his path over a 12-month period at the helm of the fêted Copenhagen restaurant. Keeping a grip on the pinnacle of intertional gastronomy is no mean feat when all around seems to be conspiring against you, and when the ceaseless winter isn’t destroying your plants and your wife hasn’t got pneumonia, along comes the (admittedly joyous) event to end them all, a new baby. A Work in Progress is a box-set containing René’s Journal, the pull-no-punches account of a year of creative and personal upheaval, as well as a book of 100 NOMA Recipes (if you think you’re hard enough) and Snapshots, a collection of 200 candid behind-the-scenes photographs giving a fascinating insight into the restaurant life. A foodie essential.