Sibling creatives Sophie and Frederik Bille Brahe—she a jewelry designer and he a chef—grew up in a 1920s-era country house on the outskirts of Copenhagen. Their father was a surgeon and a descendant of nobility, and their mother was a nurse. The family traveled often and spent time living in Saudia Arabia because of their father’s work. The Bille Brahe siblings often refer to their upbringing as “bohemian” and cite their youth as one of the main sources for their individuality and creative passion. Though they are in two very different lines of work, Sophie and Frederik collaborate often, namely through events and dinners that Frederik cooks to celebrate Sophie’s latest collections, often thrown at one of his restaurants like Apollo Bar or Atelier September in Copenhagen. But today, they’re releasing a new and very different project together that showcases their family dynamic and gives intimate insight into their childhood adventures. Titled “Weekend,” Sophie and Frederik’s new zine, available on Sophie’s site, features photos from old family albums, flower arrangements inspired by their father’s garden, as well as some of Frederik’s favorite recipes.
“Weekend” was designed and created in partnership with local Danish creatives like the founder of Moon creative agency Frederik Bjerregaard, florist Nikolaj Moller, and photographers Elizabeth Heltoft, Klaus Langelund, and Ilaria Orsini. Sophie’s son Johan is featured, as is her daughter Beate and Frederik’s daughter Sonya, along with his wife, model Caroline Bille Brahe. Sophie and Frederik’s beloved dogs Skat and Snoopy also make appearances. Within the pages of “Weekend,” readers will find images of Sophie’s jewelry and recipes for Frederik’s linguine vongole and white beans with bottarga, among other delicious dishes. There are snapshots from the family’s time living in Saudi Arabia, as well as photographs of dinner parties with friends at the Bill Brahe house in Hellerup.
“Weekend” is a dreamy celebration of family and a beautiful reminder of the importance of community and creativity during a time when the global pandemic has forced so many of us to be apart from our friends and loved ones. Below, the Bille Brahe siblings explain why their first zine is so important to them as a family and why they hope it will inspire others to reconnect through shared memories, food, flowers, and inspiring conversation.
How did the concept for the zine come about and how would you describe the text and imagery we’ll see inside?
Sophie Bille Brahe: At a time where you cannot meet family and friends and go for dinners as you might normally, I wanted to find another way to open up my family home. I started thinking about new ways of how we could share dinners and ‘eat together’ without being physically together and in that connection, I started talking to my brother about making recipes for such a day.
I thought about how I wanted to create a personal dinner in my childhood home and include all the different elements connected to how I grew up. The idea evolved and I decided I wanted to create a zine based on how we like to spend a weekend incorporating all the elements that make a weekend special to me.
The pictures in the magazine are a mix of old family photos and new photographs taken by my friends who are photographers. The text is written by my dear friend Frederik Bjerregaard. Everything within the zine is very personal to me as I really want the zine to truly reflect my childhood home and everything that goes with.
Frederik Bille Brahe: It’s funny, I didn’t think a lot about it because it’s very natural for Sophie and I to play around with ideas and our creativity. So, since we were left in a changed world after and during Coronavirus we both had to think in new paths.
Frederik, what sort of recipes are you sharing in this zine and why?
FBB: So there are a few recipes that mean a lot to me. I believe that cooking and memory are deeply related because we remember through taste and smell. My earliest memories of smell and taste comes from our parent’s home. For example, I remember the first time I ate gazpacho with a large silver spoon, which was fairly thin in its making, and I remember the texture of the grainy tomato soup, the aromatic kick from the basil and the crumbled egg that would leave a metallic after flavor from the reaction that it creates when the egg touches the silver spoon. When I was eating this a question popped into my head: ‘why do kids have to eat with such big spoons when they are that small?’
There was also my father’s tomato sauce with sage and tomatoes that would simmer in the big black pot on the stove all day. I remember his smile and his eyes gently squeezing together and his red cheeks full of life. The zine features probably some of my most important memories I have involving food. But it’s also just food that reflects joy and the essence of this moment. I believe that 90% of cooking should be about what’s in season right now. The recipes reflect mid-summer, like langoustines just pulled out of the water or mature, fury yellow peaches which are bursting with complex flavors, like sweet, acidic, bitter.
Sophie, what is your favorite dish that Frederik makes and why?
SBB: I love all the food Frederik makes, but especially his salads that always have a little twist that makes them special. And then his spaghetti vongole! In the zine, we have also taken some of the Italian classics that have been a part of our childhood and recipes that have followed us all our lives. All of the recipes in the zine are his dishes that I love the most.
Why do you believe that family gatherings and specifically, family meals together, are so important right now?
FBB: A family that eats together stays together. I also believe that having a great family dialogue is important. Everyone should have a place and feel that they add value to the family, that they are a part of it. Hosting a meal and cooking is a great way to exercise this. In our family, growing up, we would often start discussing the meal of the day in the morning or the day in advance. We were always dreaming about food and longing for food.
SBB: I think we’re both grateful to have grown up in a home like this, with great food, history, beautiful objects and space to be the people we wanted to be. From a very young age, we were both taught to dare and trust our ideas, which is important for everyone now and always.