A crucial element of the "Ottolenghi Effect" is the look of the food. Every ingredient is there for a reason, to add colour, contrast, texture, acidity, sweetness, richness or punch. The end result always looks damn good, simple, generous and doable. That's because it is.
"I don't use a stylist at all for the photography, because I have a very clear idea of how I like my food to look," says Ottolenghi, who works closely with photographer Jonathan Lovekin. He says anyone can "Ottolenghify" their food. Here's how:
The food fall
"Take your roasting tray of food and literally lift it and let the food fall onto your serving platter. It falls off in the most beautiful, natural way. Once you start garnishing and finishing it, it never looks as good."
Buy bigger platters
"Big-sized platters are super effective. When I entertain on the weekends, I put huge platters of food on the table, for that sense of abundance and generosity. When people come in and see them, they know that someone has been working to feed them, and it makes them feel good."
Eat the kids' food
"Everyone loves the simple food that children love. Deep down inside, we all want to eat their pasta, and sausages. My husband Karl cooks most of the food for the kids, and I always say "but Karl, you never cook such nice food for me!"
Cook in one pan
"One thing I love to make is big baked-rice dishes, in one pan. Because it's flat and there is so much surface, there is much more steaming and interaction between ingredients, you can build in so many flavours, for so little work."
Cut your vegetables the way they want to be cut
"Why would you turn a potato into an oval, or a beetroot into a baton when we can do beautiful round shapes like a beetroot should be? Why make all vegetables the same, when they are all so different in nature? If I cut a carrot, I will always cut it lengthwise, because carrots are long."
Use lemons. Like, really use lemons.
It's his number one desert island ingredient. "What I love about lemons is that you keep on discovering things you can do with something you know so well. You use the juice, you grate, you zest, you preserve, you roast, you submerge the slices in a stew." He even uses lemon emojis on Instagram.