Born in Jerusalem in 1968, chef, author and presenter Yotam Ottolenghi had an unlikely entry into becoming a culinary entrepreneur.

Educated at Tel Aviv University, he completed a masters degree in comparative literature before coming to the UK to compete a PhD. It was there he first enrolled on a course at the Le Cordon Bleu cookery school for six months and the rest is history.

Following a stint as a pastry chef, he set up his first deli in Notting Hill in 2002 with two partners, followed by three others and a restaurant, NOPI. His food combines the food of his native Israel with bold flavours of the wider Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia.

As well as a weekly food column in the Guardian, Ottolenghi has written four best-selling cookery books and been the subject of one BBC4 documentary and two More 4 series.

Key achievements

  • Bringing new flavours and tastes to the UK that focused on vegetables as well as meat. His ‘new vegetarianism’ has been widely embraced.
  • His cookery books have sold more than two million copies worldwide and his weekly Guardian column has been read by millions.
  • His successful chain of four delis and one restaurant cater for all tastes. His delis primarily focus on a varied food-to-go range.

Lessons for your store  

  • Be creative – Ottolenghi went from studying literature to becoming a renowned chef. His philosophy is not to be confined by ideology.
  • Cater for adventurous tastes – food-to-go is on the rise and offering bold and unusual tastes to your customers may prove popular.
  • Set standards – ‘New Vegetarianism’ was unheard of before Ottolenghi. Now it’s a household concept.