Yotam Ottolenghi

Israeli born chef Yotam Ottolenghi is one of the most famous faces in British cooking, famed for his expert use of vegetables and for helping to popularise Middle Eastern cooking in the UK


Birthday: 14 December 1968

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Yotam Ottolenghi is an Israeli born British chef, restaurateur and food writer who is renowned for his intelligent, yet ultimately simple, use of flavours which has led him to be regarded as one of the best chefs in the world. Born in Israel to a chemistry teacher and high school principal, Ottolenghi shares both Italian Jewish and German Jewish descent. Growing up in Israel and spending summers in Italy, Ottolenghi was exposed to a wealth of cuisine. In his early twenties, Ottolenghi was conscripted to serve in the Israeli defence forces and served three years in the intelligence headquarters. He then went on to study a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in comparative literature at Tel Aviv university, at the same time working as a night copy editor for Haaretz. In 1997, Ottolenghi moved to Amsterdam and worked as an editor for the Hebrew section of the Dutch-Jewish weekly NIW, shortly after he moved to London to study pastry at Le Cordon Bleu.

Ottolenghi went on to serve as a pastry chef at three different restaurants including the Michelin-starred Capital Restaurant before becoming head pastry chef at Baker and Spice, an artisanal pastry shop, meeting Sami Tamimi in the process, who would go on to become a business partner. In 2002 the pair opened Ottolenghi, the famous delicatessen in Notting Hill, which became an instant hit for its use of unique flavour combinations and fantastic produce paired with Middle Eastern opulence. Since then they have opened a range of restaurants, including more locations akin to the original Ottolenghi delicatessen under the same name as well as a brasserie (Nopi) and a vegetable-focused restaurant (Rovi).

In 2006 Ottolenghi started writing for The Guardian focusing on vegetarian recipes. This, paired with his vegetable focus in his restaurants has led many to believe he is a vegetarian, despite him not actually being so - he often suggests meat pairings to go with his dishes. His down-to-Earth writing style looks to champion vegetables and pulses without making them taste like meat or play second fiddle to it. In 2008 he published his debut cookbook Ottolenghi which was hugely popular and widely regarded and he has since gone on to write lots more, all of which continue his focus on ingredients and intelligent flavour combinations. His name has become synonymous with delicious food and quality and his books continue to be highly respected within the culinary community.

Yotam Ottolenghi's Books

Since Ottolenghi’s rise to popularity he has written 10 books that are highly regarded amongst the general public and chefs alike. Each book encompasses his ethos of championing flavour combinations and are known for their striking covers.

Falastin
Falastin
Published 2020
Flavour
Flavour
Published 2020
Simple
Simple
Published 2018
Sweet
Sweet
Published 2017
Nopi: The Cookbook
Nopi: The Cookbook
Published 2015
Plenty More
Plenty More
Published 2014
Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Published 2012
Plenty
Plenty
Published 2010
Ottolenghi: The Cookbook
Ottolenghi: The Cookbook
Published 2008

FAQs

Who is Yotam Ottolenghi
Yotam Ottolenghi is a famous Israeli born British chef who is well known for his group of delis, as well as cookbooks and TV appearances.

Is Yotam Ottolenghi vegetarian?
Although Ottolenghi is famous for his championing of vegetables in his recipes, he is not actually a vegetarian.

Who is Yotam Ottolenghi's husband?
Ottolenghi is married to Karl Allen. The pair met in 2000 and wed in 2012.

Does Yotam Ottolenghi have kids?
Yes, he has two sons with his husband Karl, Max (born 2013) and Flynn (born 2015).

Yotam Ottolenghi's TV Shows

Yotam Ottolenghi has appeared in a few TV programmes, mostly as a special guest but he’s also shared his knowledge and passion through a few of his own series. Here is a list of everything he’s appeared in.

MasterChef Australia
2021 -

MasterChef Australia

Ottolenghi appeared as a special guest on the popular iteration of MasterChef, appearing as both mentor and critic.

Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versaille
2020 -

Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versaille

A documentary style programme that explores the tastes of the French monarchy through history while Yotam heads up a team of pastry chefs for the opening gala at the Met Museum of Art.

The Taste
2013 -

The Taste

Ottolenghi appeared as a guest on the American TV show that sees celebrity chefs mentor groups of cooks followed by a blind taste test.

Ottolenghi's Mediterranean Island Feasts
2012 -

Ottolenghi's Mediterranean Island Feasts

Ottolenghi explores beautiful locations across the Mediterranean - followed by the islands in the sequel show - visiting restaurants and chefs and sharing his culinary journey with us.

Jerusalem on a Plate
2012 -

Jerusalem on a Plate

Ottolenghi takes us with him as he returns to his home town of Jerusalem and explores the rich and vibrant culture and cuisine.