Last night our team of Blake and James were honoured to be at our home-from-home, JW3, to photograph a very special evening as Yotam Ottolenghi was in conversation with documentary-maker and author Tim Samuels as part of the Sunday Night Live series. Queues formed outside the doors as Ottolenghi fans clamoured to get a front-row seat to this sold-out event. It was lovely to see so many of our friends in the room, and out of all the events we’ve photographed at JW3 (and we are there a lot) this one seemed to have such a wide range of age-groups represented in the room, perhaps a measure of Ottolenghi’s universal appeal.
For those unfamiliar with Ottolenghi, he’s a true giant of modern cooking, having opened five amazing restaurants across London, brought Jerusalem’s diverse and fragrant cuisine into British kitchens, and sold over two million books worldwide. Chefs who’ve worked under him have also gone onto open their own wonderful establishments too – the ultimate compliment and a measure of his influence. For such a transformative character, for such a successful individual, we’re glad to say that he is even more charming than he comes across on TV. The man is a true mensch who had time for everyone, who answered every question (from where he goes out for dinner to how he’d solve the Israeli Palestinian conflict, from surrogacy and being a gay parent to Jewish customers and Kosher food) honestly and openly, who signed books for anybody who asked… including Blake. (Thank you Yotam!) Well done to the team from beautiful independent bookstore West End Lane Books for being on hand with enough copies of ‘Nopi’ to satisfy an audience of super-fans!
Thanks to the beauty of his recipes combined with his affable persona, everyone inside the packed Howard Hall at JW3 would have claimed to be his biggest fan. The conversation was shaped expertly and often hysterically by Tim Samuels, whose line of questioning was as diverse as it was insightful, and whose new book ‘Who Stole My Spear’, looks like it takes a similar form to this event – fascinating and funny all at once.
This was a wonderful evening, enjoyed by all. We’re off to buy some pomegranate molasses, here are a few of our favourite shots…