Yotam Ottolenghi got his masters in philosophy at the University of Tel Aviv and became a journalist on a daily newspaper.
He threw it all in, presumably after philosophising about it, and came to London and trained as a pastry chef in some of London’s top restaurants, including Rowly Leighs’ Kensington Place.
He then opened a series of posh cafes, starting in 2002, serving vegetarian and Mediterranean inspired food, to well heeled Londoners in the monied areas of Belgravia, Kensington, Islington and Notting Hill.
These became a huge success, as his philosophy on food was to base everything around the “noisy” ingredients of lemon, pomegranate, garlic and chilli.
His first cookbook, called Ottolenghi Cookbook, was a huge success and sold well over 100,000 copies.
He has just published his second, and much anticipated book, Plenty.
Nigella Lawson, the sultry queen of the kitchen, describes the book “….vivid flavours, bright colours, and smart simple ideas for food that mixes middle eastern and Italianate tastes”.
The photography is stunning, it gives the book an incredible appetite appeal. Yotams’ recipes and ingredients are characterised by
his use of everyday, easy to source, ingredients.
His caramelised garlic tart has been described as “the most delicious recipe in the world”.
The book seems to be a continuation or evolution of his cookbook, which took the market by storm and allowed people to cook seemingly exotic dishes that were actually quite simple to prepare.
Roasted parsnips, carrots and root vegetable salad sounds great, as does figs in pecorino and honey, chargrilled broccoli with chilli and honey. Not forgetting those with a sweet tooth there are wonderful dessert recipes. Rasberry and peach tea cakes caught my attention.
But, you know what? Sababa in Seapoint seem to be doing this kind of food.It the same kind of middle eastern meets Mediterranean. And Tal, the owner, is from that neck of the woods as well.
Plenty, By Yotam Ottolenghi. Published by Random House. Price about R320