"Downtime": Cooking at home with Noma's René and Nadine Redzepi

René Redzepi may be an internationally-acclaimed chef and owner of what was at one time the world's best restaurant, but CBS News' Mo Rocca didn't go to Denmark for him, but rather to speak with his wife. Now, she's the one being heralded for her skills in the kitchen.

René put Nordic food on the map a few years after opening the Copenhagen restaurant Noma in 2003. The menu made headlines in the food world with ingredients like live ants – locally sourced, of course – and Noma topped the list of the world's best restaurants four times.

But at the home he shares with his wife Nadine and their three daughters, the chef is rarely in the kitchen.

"She thinks I'm messy," René said.

The couple met at Noma before René or his restaurant became famous.

"We actually met in the elevator going up to the changing room and there was an awkward silence. And then Nadine, she said 'so, how long have you worked here?' And I thought that was perfect," René recalled.


Nadine and René Redzepi

CBS News

Nadine's first role at the restaurant was waiting tables.

"I liked being there so much. So for some reason, I took lots and lots of shifts," Nadine joked.

On their first date Nadine offered to cook. 

"By some cosmic force, Nadine had cooked the very thing I enjoyed more than anything when I was growing up, which was chicken livers. And it was our first date, you know?" René said. "That's the moment when, that was it."

She's run the kitchen in their home ever since. During Rocca's visit, she showed him how to make wild mushroom porridge with eggs, one of the recipes from her first cookbook "Downtime: Deliciousness at Home." 

The porridge cooks up quickly for breakfast. The cookbook also includes her husband's family dinner favorite: roast chicken.

"It's so tender. But I think, you know, Nadine, she stuffs it because if it's not stuffed usually, all the heat goes in and it cooks the breast also from within," René said. "And that's when you get dry chicken."

Many of Nadine's dishes are inspired the family's travels -- her mother's chicken with Indian bread and Middle Eastern beef with lentils and Japanese gyoza.


One of the dishes from Nadine Redzepi's new cookbook "Downtime: Deliciousness at Home"

"Downtime: Deliciousness at Home"

"I think you're just kind of acting as a sponge every time you eat something, every time you go somewhere," Nadine said.
Variety is also essential with three smaller and demanding mouths to feed.

"You want to make them happy, but you also want them to not reject it. Which is the big, big, big one every night at the dinner table," René said. "Well, you know, kids are amazing, but they're also – can we say 'pain in the ass?'" 

With Noma set to re-open soon in a new location, the restaurant's test kitchen moved into a building in the family's backyard. It's a proximity that's proven beneficial for both René and Nadine.

"What would your cooking be like, if you'd never met Nadine?" Rocca asked.

"If I wouldn't have met Nadine, I don't think it would have at all been what it is," he said.