Saturday, December 4, 2010

Yotam Ottolenghi, What Are You Reading?

In 1998, Yotam left his career in academia and journalism in Israel to study at the Cordon Bleu in London. He has worked as a pastry chef at London restaurants including Baker and Spice before opening the extremely popular Ottolenghi with Noam Bar and Sami Tamimi. There are now four locations of the restaurant in London and at each, the focus is on uncomplicated, seasonal food with bold flavors. Yotam also writes a weekly column called The New Vegetarian for the Guardian Saturday magazine. He and Sami Tamimi wrote the Ottolenghi Cookbook which was released in 2008. His new book Plenty, which I'm much enjoying, is a collection of his vegetarian dishes from the Guardian column, and it was released earlier this year. The American version of Plenty will be available in February. I knew I'd hear of some interesting titles when I asked Yotam what are you reading?

Two books that I love:

The first is The Perfect Egg which is a collection of short stories and anecdotal food memories and recipes, all told beautifully and animatedly by the Italian architect and essayist, Aldo Buzzi. The book is illustrated by the brilliant Saul Steinberg.

The second is Saraban, a recently published book about Persian food and the society that created it and lives it. It is a travel piece and a recipe book with the most astonishing photography from modern day Iran.

Thank you for participating, Yotam. Check back to see who answers the question next time and what other books are recommended.

Previous WAYR posts:
Jaden Hair
Michael Ruhlman
Monica Bhide
Michael Natkin
Sara Roahen
Andrea Nguyen
David Lebovitz
Rick Bayless
Tara Austen Weaver
Mollie Katzen
Deborah Madison
Soup Peddler
Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan
Robb Walsh
Kim Severson
David Leite
Dan Lepard
Carolyn Jung
Joan Nathan
Melissa Clark
Dianne Jacob
Zoƫ Francois


  1. We happened across an Ottolenghi shop on our last day in London last January. Everything looked amazing. We bought some lemon polenta pistachio cake to eat on the plane. Best in-flight snack ever.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I love Greg malouf's cookbooks and The Perfect Egg sounds great.



  3. I am sooooooooo thrilled with this post. Ottolenghi is one of my favourite places to eat, and the Ottolenghi cook book is my favorite cook book of all time. I am pretty familiar with a couple of Malouf's books. If Yotam Ottlenghi likes it, I want to read it too.
    *kisses* HH

  4. I have Ottolenghi's book on my wish list at, hoping to give it to myself as a Christmas gift...

    The book about Persian food had me dreaming, will take a look at it, definitely

  5. I that I adore Ottolenghi, the Cookbook, I'll be on the alert for the next one.

    Really am anxious to read one of Malouf's books....

  6. I've recently become obsessed with Yotam after seeing so many of his brilliant recipes floating all over the much so that I ordered his cookbook! So great to hear what he's reading.

  7. Thanks for alerting me to these books, which are all new to me. I'm definitely going to have to seek them out after his glowing recommendations.

  8. I love the idea of the Persian book he's done, hopefully this book will come across my pathway soon too.

  9. I did not know Malouf wrote a book on Persian food! A must have, for sure, Persian food is one of my top three favorites; I also love Ottolenghi and Tamimi 's book and dig what they are after! Tried their rice salad recipe and it was delish.

  10. I have his Ottolenghi cookbook! I heard a lot of good reviews about his new book and can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

  11. I love Ottolenghi and his first cookbook and I most definitely want his second. Great series as always, Lisa!

  12. Great new reading recommendations for me. Thanks so much for sharing. I love this series you developed.

  13. I have one of Greg malouf's book, a great book !

  14. Now we're talking. Squash as a pudding with cheese. Yum!!!!!! I'm gonna try it for my husband and daughter. Thanks for introducing me to Ottolenghi, I must check him out.

  15. Wow what a coup getting him! :D Well done Lisa!

  16. I just received The Cookbook in the mail yesterday. I stayed up too late last night to finish going through it. I'm totally entranced and can't wait to start baking from the book. Reading about the restaurant, it reminds me so much of my beloved Rose Bakery. Wish I could teleport to London for a visit.


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