Indeed! I know a lot of you will know who he is and what he has done, this blog is for those of you yet to discover his fabulous food.
Think Za’atar, tahini, labne, sumac, preserved lemon, dates, almonds, pistachios, pickled mango, pomegranate syrup, lamb, cardamom, copious herbs, olive oil, of course ………. Yotam and his business partner Sami Tamimi met while working at the Knightsbridge patisserie Baker and Spice. Both had grown up in a divided Jerusalem – Yotam in the Jewish west; Sammi, who is Palestinian, in the east.
They now own four restaurants in London. Anon and I had one of the best meals of our recent trip in his restaurant “Nopi” in London. – soon to be a blog. In 2012 they wrote Jerusalem, based on the tastes of the city, in which both were raised – Jerusalem has, in many ways transcended genre and intent – no book in recent memory has inspired so many dinner parties (I first heard of it at Dinner given by Alison Chamerlain, she cooked the entire dinner from Jerusalem) or given birth to what is by all accounts an international culinary trend.
Yotam has not restricted his influences to his homeland of Israel however, he has travelled the coast and islands of the Mediterranean and gathering ideas from the sun soaked island of Corsica – a place firmly on my travel wish list, and has inspired me to turn my community garden plot into my own private Maquis (this is scrubland bursting with fragrant wild herbs found in Corsica’s inland) the spice markets in Morocco and exotic eateries of Istanbul in a couple of inspiring food DVD’s ( recently aired on SBS)
In 2006 Yotam was approached by the Guardian newspaper to write a vegetarian column in their Weekend magazine, not a vegetarian, he was slightly hesitant. However “Ottolenghi” (the restaurant and deli in Islington, London) had become famous for what it did with vegetables and grains, for the freshness and originality of their salads – ahead of the wave again – with the vegetable now front and centre in the world of cooking, his books Plenty and Plenty More are all about vegetables, grains and nuts. This is not your Jamie meal in 15 minutes. But the act of cooking this food will transport you to the Souk’s and Markets of the Mediterranean.
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