Main content

Yotam Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi, chef, restaurateur and food writer, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the cookery writer and restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi. His food mixes the flavours of the Middle East and the Mediterranean and has been credited with changing the way many eat and cook, fuelling the surge in popularity of cooking ingredients including wakame seaweed, orange blossom, pomegranate seeds and za'atar.

Born to a German mother and an Italian father in Jerusalem, he grew up enjoying a wide range of culinary influences and he loved food from an early age. After completing a master's degree at Tel Aviv University, he enrolled in a six-month cookery course at Le Cordon Bleu school in London. While working as a pastry chef he met his future business partner, Sami Tamimi, a Palestinian also from Jerusalem, and they opened their first deli in London's Notting Hill in 2002. He has written a weekly food column for The Guardian since 2006 and has published five cookery books, as well as opening four more delis and a restaurant.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

35 minutes

Last on

Fri 18 Nov 2016 09:00

Music Played

  • Joan Baez

    It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

    • Baez Sings Dylan.
    • Vanguard.
  • Yehonatan Gefen, Yoni Rechter, Gidi Gov, Yehudit Ravitz, David Broza

    Ani Ohev

    • Hakeves Hashisha Asar.
    • NMC Music.
  • The Revolution

    Paisley Park

    • Around the World in a Day.
    • Warner Bros.
  • The Waterboys

    This is the Sea

    • This is the Sea.
    • EMI.
  • Arkadi Duchin

    Merov Ahavati

    • Arkadi Duchin.
    • The Eighth Note.

    • Nina Simone

      Here Comes the Sun

      • The Very Best of Nina Simone.
      • Sony BMG.
  • The Smiths

    What Difference Does it Make?

    • Hatful of Hollow.
    • Warner Music.
  • The National

    Fake Empire

    • Boxer.
    • Beggars Banquet Records.

    A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth


    A lemon tree


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Yotam Ottolenghi
Producer Cathy Drysdale


The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes



Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?