Chef Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes incorporate ingredients from all over the world, and his best-selling cookbooks have won James Beard Awards and helped popularize Middle Eastern cuisine.
A Brief Introduction to Yotam Ottolenghi
James Beard Award recipient Yotam Ottolenghi is a bestselling food writer, international chef, and culinary television personality. Yotam was born in Jerusalem and is of Italian and German Jewish descent. He graduated from Tel Aviv University and then moved to London to study French pastry cooking at Le Cordon Bleu. Yotam later worked in a number of London restaurants.
Yotam and Sami Tamimi, along with cofounder Noam Bar, opened the Ottolenghi deli in Notting Hill in 2002. The deli's unique spice combinations and Middle Eastern influence earned it a cult following, and it spawned more eateries across London.
5 Quick Facts About Yotam Ottolenghi
Yotam's cosmopolitan lifestyle allows him to create one-of-a-kind recipes. Continue reading for five quick facts about the celebrated chef:
1. He refers to his food as "sunny food." Yotam, who cooks with a lot of vegetables, associates his cooking with brightness. "My food is bright food." "I find my food wherever the sun shines," he explains. "It's food with bold flavors, vibrant colors, and generous gestures."
2. He was a writer before becoming a cookbook author. Ottolenghi studied Comparative Literature in college and worked as a night copy editor for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Yotam began writing a weekly column for The Guardian called "The New Vegetarian" in 2006. Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, Plenty, Jerusalem, Plenty More, NOPI, Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi, Ottolenghi Simple, Ottolenghi Flavour, and Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love are among his nine cookbooks. On his books, he worked with Sami Tamimi, Ramael Scully, Helen Goh, Ixta Belfrage, and Noor Murad.
3. He considers himself a proud gay father. Ottolenghi wrote an essay for The Guardian in 2013 about his experience conceiving his son Max through gestational surrogacy.
4. He recognizes that cooking can be a mysterious form of magic. Yotam's cooking is a flavor fusion. "There's some alchemy going on." It must contain some spice. "It has to have spices and herbs and interesting things going on while you eat it," Yotam says. "I guess the Ottolenghi phenomenon has something to do with the extension of color, flavor, and beauty all coming together in one plate or one meal."
5. He desires drama in his cooking and eating. Food should be vibrant, sensory, and dynamic. "You need a little drama in your mouth," he says. "I want something within a meal, even if it's the most comforting thing in the world, porridge." So even if I sprayed some dried fruit on it, I don't want it in every bite. I'd like to have a piece of fruit every now and then to remind me that, hold on, there's something in my porridge. It's fantastic. So those are the kinds of experiences I'm looking for. Even in a comforting moment, there's a little drama in the mouth."