If there was ever any doubt (and truly, I’m not sure there really was) this week I’ve had to admit the ugly truth; I’m horribly middle class. And what event has confirmed me as a lifetime member of the middle classes once and for all? The realisation that I have a big fat juicy crush on Yotam Ottolenghi of course!
Until this week I’d never had much of a taste for Ottolenghi - the yummy mummy’s chef du jour. Not only do I find the prices in his restaurants stomach-flippingly high (£11 for a selection of three salads - oy vey!), but his recipes in The Guardian always gave me the impression that I’d be left feeling hungry. In short, I always felt like I was too poor and too greedy to be an Ottolenghi girl (although maybe in the depths of the night, alone with my thoughts and dreams, I secretly aspired to being one).
So if it wasn’t a sudden lack of greed or lottery win, what finally convinced me to join the hordes of manicured lunching ladies in Ottolenghi adoration? I saw him on’telly of course (the primary source of most of my unrequited crushes it seems). I love nothing more than a cookery show, me, and as his new show, Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast started on Monday I thought I’d give it a whirl.
He was in Morocco, getting down with the locals and eating food I wish I’d have known existed when I was there last year disappointedly dining on insipid luke-warm tourist tagine. Yes, the food looked tasty, but nowhere near as tasty as Ottolenghi himself.
Ottolenghi personifies the ideals of tall, dark and handsome. He’s swarthy without being smarmy, and that Israeli lilt in his voice offers an exhilarating touch of the exotic. Then there’s the fact he’s a chef; a man who can cook. We all know that’s hot. And what’s more, he cooks the kind of food women like to eat. Tick and tick.
And forget the stereotype of chefs as shouty, sweary and arrogant; Ottolenghi comes across as kind and intelligent – the double whammy qualities of husband material.
Then, just to finish off the package there’s his splash of childlike innocence (it was my mum who noticed it first – doesn’t he remind you of Sacha Baron Cohen? Yes! More specifically he has a hapless hint of the Borat about him, it’s surprisingly charming. All at once I was smitten.
So, what about you? Are you an Ottolenghi fan? Have you actually tried any of his food? Is his hotness anything to do with the fact that Jews are having a ‘moment’ right now? And finally, after years of denying my predetermined genetic disposition, should I admit defeat and join JDate to find myself a middle class Jewish husband (oh my parents would be pleased!)?