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‘It’s almost three years since I had a proper vacation’

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COPENHAGEN, DENMARK—“We have to step outside to get a little bit of peace,” said René Redzepi, the chef and co-owner of Noma in Copenhagen, one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world. Dinner service was hours away, but the sprawling kitchen was already abuzz with activity and classic rock, so we stepped outside to chat. Sipping green tea, Redzepi, 40, asked me how my family — including my 6-year-old daughter — was faring on our first trip to Copenhagen. Like other Europeans, he was a little shocked to hear that we were only in town for a week.

“For kids, a week is nothing,” he said. There are people, he had heard, “who sit in the airport and wait for their souls to arrive. I like the thought of that. Travelling is so fast and so easy. A part of you needs to catch up.”

Chef René Redzepi at his pop-up restaurant in Tulum, Mexico.
Chef René Redzepi at his pop-up restaurant in Tulum, Mexico.  (ADRIANA ZEHBRAUSKAS / The New York Times)

Redzepi has had to do a lot of catching up. After Noma won the No. 1 spot on San Pellegrino’s Best Restaurants in the World list four times in five years, he closed it, reopening it in February in a new location. In the interim, he had managed pop-ups in Tokyo, Sydney, and Tulum, Mexico, each of which had given him and his extensive team inspiration for the 20-or-so course tasting menu — the theme of which changes with the season (we sampled the summer version, which was almost entirely created from vegetables; fall has seen a switch to game) at what followers are calling Noma 2.0.

One of the features of the new space is a dedicated fermentation lab, which itself has spawned a new book, “The Noma Guide to Fermentation,” written by Redzepi and David Zilber, the chef who runs the lab (or “bunker,” as Redzepi calls it).

Here are excerpts from a conversation with Redzepi, edited for length and clarity.

Q: You’ve done so much travelling for work. Do you get a chance to travel for fun with your family, including your three children?

A: You know what, I made a big mistake. It’s almost three years since I had a proper vacation. That’s a mistake. My kids have travelled with their mother. And we’ve done pop-ups — but actual vacation? It’s not the same thing.

Is that because—

This (he gestures to the kitchen). The whole thing.

Talk me through closing the old Noma space and opening the new one.

It’s only two kilometres away, yet it’s a world of difference. You’ve spent 15 years in one place and you’re actually happy and it’s working. But for some reason, you need to move. At the height of your game, you need to move to a place where you have to figure out, how is this all going to work? It’s a creative feeling that there was no more in that old space. And going to a different place changes things.

Tell me about the pop-ups.

There were a few reasons they happened, but one of the main reasons was because I was very worried that we would move to a different location and then just adapt to all the old ways creatively. We need to travel. We need to go somewhere completely different.

How do you feel like those trips infused the new Copenhagen spot?

Hugely. In Japan, the study of umami was mega for us. Australia was the first time we had a seafood menu, where we tried to focus on a singular topic. And then Mexico, it’s more about a spirit, a way of eating, a conviviality, sharing using your hands. And then of course learning how to work with spice. It’s about activating the taste buds. And we’re not done with travelling, of course. I can’t say it, because I’m afraid I’ll jinx it. But it becomes addictive.

What drew you to Tulum? It seems like you fell in love with it.

My favourite place in the world is the Yucatán. I’m not talking about Quintana Roo, where Tulum is, but the state of Yucatán, in the centre of the peninsula. That’s where I’ve spent most of my time. You are away from everything. The first time I ever went there was 12 years ago, to a tiny village where the Mayan ladies were making tortillas for us. And I had the traditional cochinita (pibil, a traditional slow-roasted pork dish), cooked in the ground. It was one of the best bites I’ve never had. There’s so much craft, so much incredible uniqueness, once you travel around Mexico.

Are there any travel habits you’ve adopted over the years?

Working out. It sounds a little banal, but getting into a routine where you get settled in, and then wake up in the morning and immediately start a workout routine. That, to me, is how you zoom in quickly.

Are there things you do to expose your three children to new cultures?

A: Food. Don’t even start with “here’s a bowl of macaroni.” My kids are as happy to get a slice of sourdough as they are getting a tortilla.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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