Inside Ottolenghi’s test kitchen


Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks are among the most popular books in the EYB Library. The recipes are vibrant, fresh, and visually stunning. If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to come up with these wonderful recipes, you can now satiate your curiosity, as NPR’s The Salt gives you a backstage pass into the Ottolenghi test kitchen.

You might think the kitchen would be a large, gleaming space stuffed to the rafters with the newest equipment, but the truth is that the kitchen is quite humble. “This is completely a replication of a home kitchen,” recipe developer Esme Robinson tells NPR. It even has an average electric range, much to the staff’s chagrin. 

The produce used to create those stunning photographs that adorn the cookbooks is likewise ordinary. The staff purchases ingredients at supermarkets on their way to work. Ottolenghi explains: “We really try to emulate what people would do at home,” he says. “We could use restaurant suppliers easily, but the whole idea is not to.” Instead, he says, he wants to “try to get it tasting and looking like it would if people are using normal ingredients. Because I know 80 percent of people would not go to specialty shops. They’ll shop in their local supermarket.”

There are many more interesting tidbits to learn about the Ottolenghi test kitchen in the article, including an explanation of why some recipes are very exacting about equipment features like pan size.

Photo of Kisir from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

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One Comment

  • spoulos  on  June 10, 2015

    Thanks for the insight into Yotams test kitchen. I agree that it is best to develop around ingredients and especially the size of packages that are available in supermarkets.

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