René Redzepi has stepped away from his restaurant Noma in Copenhagen on a three-month sabbatical.
In a surprising end of year post on his Instagram, Redzepi announced that he would be stepping away from the helm of the most famous restaurant in the world in order to spend some time with his family.
Running any kind of restaurant is an all-consuming task that can cause sleepless nights and endless worry, but just imagine what it must be like doing it at the pinnacle of world. Chef burn-out is all too real, throughout the industry and at all levels, so last year, Redzepi spoke with General Manager of Noma, Annika de Las Heras, about how they could reward and incentivise Noma’s loyal staff.
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So about one year ago, me and the general manager of noma @annikadlh were drinking coffee, discussing how to be better for our team. We were throwing ideas around, and one really resonated with us. The idea was, simply to give staff members a three month paid leave, after they’ve spent a certain amount of years with us. We work hard, we want to be among the best, and getting to that mountain top is so much easier (and more fun) if we’re also among the best at taking care of ourselves. We thought it was the best idea in the world, And so simple, take an extended period off, to do nothing, and get paid for it. Anyway, as we are figuring out how to implement it into our organization, I thought to myself damn, I’ve been working almost 18 years on this project. Maybe I should be the first one to test out this new approach, just to see if it actually works (ha ha). So I guess I’m writing this to let our future guests know that for the next three months, I won’t be at noma, or In Denmark. I’ll be with Nadine and our three children somewhere in the world, not working. But don’t worry, I can assure you that you are in the best hands. Just before I left we finished a new seafood menu that I personally think is the best one yet. Merry Christmas everyone and happy new year
A post shared by Rene Redzepi (@reneredzepinoma) on
They hit upon the idea of simply offering staff a three-month paid sabbatical, once they had spent a certain amount of years with the company, to spend in any way they choose. Chef Redzepi has decided to be the first to take this opportunity up and he will now spend three months travelling with his wife Nadine and three children. He leaves Noma in the very capable hands of Head Chef Benjamin Ing.
While chefs the world over were toiling through the holiday period and New Year’s, Redzepi was posting a different kind of lifestyle that will be his new normality for the next three months.
The Redzepi family are currently on holiday in Japan and it looks like they’re having a whale of a time with René, goofing around with kids’ toys and his daughter making curry wurst sushi.
However, Redzepi is a born chef and innovator and it’s difficult to see him leaving the kitchen completely. He is sure to use the opportunity to learn about obscure techniques and rare ingredients. The chef posted a reflective message on New Year’s Eve, about all that he has experienced in the last decade. While there certainly is a lot for the over-achieving chef to proud of in the last ten years, he picks out his pop-up in Mexico as the achievement that stands out for him and shared a series of images from the restaurant.
“And if I had to choose (apart from my children) one event that brings everything together as the major moment in the past 10 years. It has to be our pop up in Mexico: a time full of joy and adventure, a time full of creativity and human connections,” he writes. “It was the people that made the positive difference when looking back. It turns out that life altering magic can happen if you dare to surrender yourself into the trust of good people.” - René Redzepi
There are rumours afoot that a new Noma pop up is in the works and anyone who has been following the chef’s travels on Instagram can hazard a guess at the influences and location of it.
In any case, we’re sure Redzepi is going to return re-energised, full of ideas and raring to go. In the meantime, it looks like he’s putting his free time to very good use indeed.