The ever-growing empire of MasterChef Australia judge Yotam Ottolenghi | Stuff.co.nz

 

When I told my flatmate I’d interviewed Yotam Ottolenghi, he was proper impressed.Five years ago, the flatmate was living in London doing stand-up comedy at “small pubs in small towns, where people hadn’t necessarily paid to see you perform”, renting a house 10 minutes’ walk from one of the famed eateries which bears the Ottolenghi name.

It was a grim existence for a Kiwi in baggy trousers who’d moved to the UK to make a name for himself on the comedy circuit. The flatmate recalls spending most of his time travelling four hours out of town to perform a 30-minute set, “for very little money and very little crowds”.

The bright spot, though, was the restaurant down the road. Its windows were stacked with meringues the size of human heads, drizzled Jackson Pollock-style, with berry coulis. Enormous bowls of salads featuring foreign-sounding ingredients festooned the bright white counters beyond.

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