Yotam Ottolenghi serves up Plenty More at Off the Shelf Festival of Words


Off the Shelf Festival of Words 2014 – 11 October –1 November

Sheffield gave innovative and influential Chef Yotam Ottolenghi a Yorkshire welcome when they filled the University of Sheffield Octagon theatre and he in turn put on a great show in conversation with BBC Radio Sheffield’s Paulette Edwards, providing food for thought.

The Guardian columnist delivered an inspirational talk on his philosophy of food – discussing kashk and dakos, and more to the point, his love of vegetables. Last night, while discussing his latest cook book Plenty More, he revealed to the audience his latest mission:

“I have an obsession with winter vegetables. Turnips, Brussels, Swede – I love them. And there is something about vegetables – they don’t get the same respect as meat. People will send meat back when it is served as well-done, when request as rare. I’m trying to get the same respect for vegetables – when was the last time you heard of someone send cauliflower back?”

Yotam, often referred to as ‘Otto’, who was visiting Sheffield for the first time, discussed his inspirations, who he admires and secrets to his success. He said:

“Every morning, I wake up so happy because the British public have been so wonderful to me. When you ask where my inspiration comes from and why my dishes are successful, it is because I spend time with the Grandmothers of the world – I visit them in every city I go as they are the ones with the secret family recipes – and you know what? It pays off!”

Yotam Ottolenghi started as an assistant pastry chef in the Capital and then worked at Kensington Place before owning an eponymous group of restaurants and food shops around in the area. Alongside his love for writing, Yotam has also presented two series of Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast on More 4 and Channel 4.


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