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Do you know Yotam Ottolenghi?


Do you know Yotam Ottolenghi?
Do you know Yotam Ottolenghi? Maybe not, in which case let me tell you a little about him.
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Last modified on: December 19th 2020

Keywords for this post:ChefLondonGreat BritainIsraeliVegetablesRecipes
Do you know Yotam Ottolenghi?
He's an Israeli chef, but based in Great Britain and trained at the Cordon Bleu in London, in the French style, and late in life, his first profession being literature.

You may never have heard of him, but he's a star in England, comparable no doubt to Cyril Lignac back home. Perhaps someone who knows the UK well could comment on this comparison?

So famous, in fact, that his London restaurant is mentioned in the dialogues of the film "Bridget Jones's Diary", where Colin Firth talks about inviting Bridget to eat there.

bridget jones



The funny thing is that the dish he mentions in the film didn't actually exist on the menu, but the chef cleverly added it in a personal version, and it's now something his customers often ask for.

Why am I telling you about him? Because his cuisine, his recipes and his books are astonishing in their simplicity, and especially in their frequent use of vegetables, which are revisited in a beautiful way.

ottolenghi- livre simple



I first heard about him on the excellent France-Inter program "On va déguster", where he was praised by female listeners, and I later stumbled across his book "Simple" last Christmas (back in the days when we could all gather at our grandparents' house without any danger to them), which was under the tree for my sister - yes, I'm telling you about my fascinating life :-)

So this book, I freely admit, blew me away. As a fan of vegetables, no pun intended, there were lots of very, very appetizing recipes.

I started, as I think we all do, to take photos of a few of the recipes I liked, and then after 15 or so I thought it would be better to go and buy it in a bookshop...

carottes façon ottolenghi



In fact, it doesn't revolutionize anything, but it does have a knack for using all kinds of vegetables (but not only) in surprising combinations of spices and cooking techniques, which I think are often very successful.

The influence of his Mediterranean, even Middle Eastern, culture is evident in his recipes, with spices - sometimes little-known (to me, at least) - such as zaatar, olive oil, lemon, herbs and others, often used to great effect.

His sauces are also rather atypical, often raw, no cream, but unusual combinations like tuna, parsley (whole) and capers, to accompany baked potatoes for example.

If I had to make one small criticism, it's his desserts, at least in the "Simple" book (I don't know about the others), which aren't exactly transcendent, but after all noboby's perfect.

I suggest you go and browse through her books at your favorite bookshop, now we can, to get an idea, maybe you'll be won over too?

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