The Fresser

Will Ottolenghi’s home cook range spice up your life?

A new range of Middle Eastern-influenced pastes launches in Waitrose next week


For years, if you wanted to recreate Ottolenghi’s punchy, Middle Eastern-influenced flavours at home you’d have had to sign up to several hours in the kitchen. And that was after you’d spent half a day stocking up on a list of ingredients longer than a wait for a table at one of his restaurants.

All that might be about to change. From next Monday, you could be serving up the Israeli chef’s creations in as little time it takes to make a return trip to your nearest Waitrose. With less washing up.

The middle-class’s favourite supermarket, which cut ties with previous high profile chef partner, Heston Blumenthal last year, has announced the launch of a range of Ottolenghi branded pastes and relishes. Making Yotam Ottolenghi the latest high profile chef to sign up to a supermarket partnership — perhaps a rite of passage on the culinary career ladder when you reach a high enough critical mass.

In his 2022 cookbook Extra Good Things, Yotam and co-writer Noor Murad shared recipes for creating your own jars but if the supermarket range lives up to expectation, there will be no need even to do that.

On the product list (which will also be available directly from the Ottolenghi website) are no less than three types of harissa — obviously one with pomegranate, here paired with rose and preserved lemon; a shawarma marinade and red chilli sauce. There are also several other pastes, with various flavour profiles (citrus and spice/Aleppo ‘and other chillies’/citrus and spice) each intended to ‘Ottolenghify’ your home cooking. They’ll be priced between £3.95 and £5.00.

Yotam Ottolenghi said he had ‘always been super eager to get our flavours onto people's dinner plates nationwide, not just in London, without having to cook it from scratch every single time’ and shared that he already uses the range himself: “…the pasta sauce already features heavily in my home kitchen, when no one is looking.”

Whether the other jars will prove to be a shortcut to those famed flavours is yet to be seen (and tasted) but I’m sure post-Pesach, a trail of Northwest London home cooks will be beating a trail to their nearest branch to get their hands on a jar or two — myself included. 

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