Nowadays, the only chefs people truly talk about either come from the Food Network or a cooking competition show. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good episode of the Barefoot Contessa (thanks Netflix!) or Top Chef, but not all of our cookbooks are written by chefs from TV. Nope, not even close.
Enter Yotam Ottolenghi. This Israeli born chef and cookbook author is a winner of the prestigious James Beard Award. His revolutionary flavor profiles have changed not only the way people eat, but how we cook. Familiarize yourself with sumac, saffron and za’atar because these (amazing) spices are pioneering the cooking of the next generation.
If you happen to be studying abroad in London or simply decide to jump on a plane after reading this, Ottolenghi has multiple restaurants or “delis.” His “delis” are not filled with your typical Jewish style pastrami sandwiches with a pickle on the side, but rather his trademark large salad platters and exquisite desserts.
Trust me, his desserts taste as good as they look. Some of his other creations include pistachio and almond tea cakes, meringues, and chocolate and peanut butter s’mores. If you’re like us, you couldn’t try just one.
If you can’t make it to London, there is no need to worry since you can make all of his delicious platters at home. His five cookbooks are filled with stunning photographs and easy to follow recipes. If you are in the mood for Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, definitely check out Jerusalem (our absolute favorite).
For all you vegetarians out there, Yotam has got you. His cookbooks Plenty and Plenty More have plenty (get it) of killer vegetables, grains and legumes. His newest cookbook, Nopi, gives you traditional Ottolenghi with an Asian twist. You can’t go wrong with any of them. We decided to try out some of his recipes. See how they turned out below:
Roasted eggplant with saffron yogurt, pomegranates and basil. Nope, basil is not just for Italian food. This dish will certainly trick your friends into thinking you’re a professional food stylist.
These soba noodles with mango and eggplant are restaurant quality, yet super easy to make in your own kitchen. Look at that egg! Plus, super healthy. Can you say “Mediterranean Diet”?
One word: Shakshuka. And as an Israeli, Ottolenghi has got this down. Praise.
Roasted butternut squash with chile yogurt and cilantro sauce. That’s good stuff, and so clean and healthy.
Now how would you like to cook these yourself? Grab one of his cookbooks and you’re already halfway there.
Once you become an Yotam Ottolenghi groupie, you are part of a club. It is a club of well-versed, cultured foodies of all ages, who you otherwise would have nothing in common with. Your mutual love and interest is something to bond over with friends, family and strangers. The other day my parents called me and asked what I miss most about the food from home. The answer was simple: Yotam Ottolenghi.
And if you want to add to your food feed, give Ottolenghi a follow on Instagram.