- Yotam Ottolenghi
Noam BarOttolenghi’s strategic thinker, Noam has his ear tuned to the gentle humming of the company. Dividing his time between business strategy and practising as a homeopath, Noam also keeps a check on our longer-term plans, as the Ottolenghi family grows in size and age. Whether practising homeopathy or making a strategic decision for the company, Noam listens, notes an imbalance and then intervenes, where necessary, to steer things around and keep the ship sailing on the right track.
Sami TamimiWith a cooking style that is as inimitable as it has always been – vibrant and bold yet simple and honest – Sami holds the helm in the heat of the Ottolenghi kitchens since the first day we opened. Head chef, mentor to many, visionary behind so many of the longstanding and latest dishes, Sami’s precision, palate and panache is the heart and soul of the food we are renowned for. He and Yotam have co-authored the Ottolenghi Cookbook, published in 2008, and Jerusalem, published in 2012.
Cornelia StaeubliCornelia came to Ottolenghi from Switzerland via an Australian bus station and a sign in our Notting Hill shop. She grew up in the Swiss mountains, but it was while travelling in Asia and Australia that she met her future English husband when they got off the same bus in Queensland.She fell in love with London and was first introduced to Yotam because her mother in law spotted a notice in the window advertising for staff. Now she is a partner and the company’s general manager. She is the practical one - the one who organizes everyone else and makes things work. She is the dynamic force which keeps the company running and her passion is the people as well as the food.
Ramael ScullyRaised between Australia and Malaysia, Scully has been in Britain since 2004. With a cooking style influenced by Asia, the Middle East and Europe, Scully’s open and experimental style of cooking is touched with a little bit of genius and lies behind so many of the Ottolenghi and NOPI dishes. As well as being the restaurant’s head chef, Scully is also working on a NOPI cookbook with Yotam.
While much has changed since we opened shop in 2002 – the Ottolenghi team has expanded, new sites have appeared along with a thriving restaurant and on-line store, exciting new ingredients fill our cupboards, even bigger platters hold even taller displays of food – so much, crucially, has remained the same. Staff members who’ve been together for years, recipes, dishes and ingredients that are old and trusted favourites and a philosophy at the heart of all we do that is as true today as it ever was.
Simply put, we are very serious about making people happy through our food. To look at, to taste, to eat in-store or to take-away home, to order products on-line or when dining in our restaurants, the food that we create is often described as ‘sunny’. It’s full of harmonious contradictions: it’s vibrant and bold yet familiar and comforting; it’s beautiful to look at yet close to its original form; it’s full of surprising drama yet always comes together as one; it’s noisy yet peaceful, lip-smacking yet warm, simple yet daring. We are still cooking the food that we and our customers delight in and it’s still making us proud, happy and full of beans.
As ever, our food is freshly-made and free from preservatives and colouring. Wherever possible, we source our goods locally within Britain and Europe. We are particularly proud to be working with so many small, local, artisan food producers who are behind much of what we sell through our on-line store. From North London bee keepers and meat curers to cheese makers and seaweed harvesters in the West coast of Ireland, there is just so much energy and passion going into the making of some first-class ingredients.
The Mediterranean influence is still strong in our cooking but we are as likely, these days, to be reaching for the mirin and miso as we are towards the pomegranate molasses, olive oil and date syrup. The cupboard is wide, the menu ever-changing and the experiments ever-underway. We continue on with both a boundless enthusiasm and an unswerving dedication to detail. The result is some very merry-making food.