Woolworths TASTE

THE OTTOLENGHI EFFECT

BY CELEBRITY chef standards, Ottolenghi’s repertoire is modest: he’s been cooking for 15 years and “only” has four delis, two restaurants and seven books to his name. But, thanks, in part, to his column in The Guardian “The New Vegetarian”, which began in 2006, his influence far exceeds the sum of these parts.

Known among the food literati as “the chef who made veggies cool”, Ottolenghi‘s name is often accompanied by an eye-roll and a reference to obscure ingredients (harissa, tahini, sumac), but it has also become a happy household adjective for heavily spiced, veg-focused dishes that are designed to be shared.

Born in Jerusalem, Yotam is of Italian-German Jewish descent, which explains the myriad cultural traditions that infuse his recipes. His latest book, Simple, is no exception, featuring dishes that promise the same “drama in the mouth” typical of all his food, just with fewer ingredients.

He was famously accepted into the “genius” academic programme at Tel Aviv University, from which he graduated with a Masters degree before swapping cooking for academia. His books have now sold over a million copies collectively, and without ever having set out to do it, he has joined the ranks of the pioneering chefs who have changed the way we eat.

“When people say Ottolenghi I think they mean vegetable-heavy cusine, which is bold in flavour – with a lot of herbs and spices. They mean something that doesn’t necessarily belong to one food tradition but takes inspiration from different parts of the world, while still focused on the food of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. I also think they mean food that is not fussy, but also thoughtful – there’s a lot of thought that goes into a dish; it’s very vibrant in terms of colours and textures and contrasts.

So for me it’s a very natural way to eat. I didn’t set out to make it [my sole purpose]. It’s also because I am aware that

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Woolworths TASTE

Woolworths TASTE2 min readFood & Wine
Tips And Techniques For The Master Cook
Adding flavour to meat can be done in two ways: dry seasonings or rubs or liquid marinades. Rubs can be added before or after cooking: rub them into the meat before cooking or sprinkle on afterwards. Marinades need a little longer, but not as long as
Woolworths TASTE2 min read
The Taste case
The Grier family of Villiera in Stellenbosch has been making MCC sparkling wines for 35 years and has supplied Woolworths since the retailer’s wine department opened in 1987. For the Brut Natural, no residual sugar is added at bottling and no sulphur
Woolworths TASTE2 min read
TV Couch SHOWS potatoes
Watch if: you loved the film Chef The premise: After collaborating on the fabulous film Chef, actor Jon Favreau and food truck star Roy Choi team up again for this Netflix original. The concept is not particularly clear – Roy and Jon cook together,