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Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage’s ‘Flavour’ Is ‘Tenet,’ But for Cookbooks

Naturally, there was a whole lottolenghi on Instagram this week

A platter of baked, slightly charred onions in a deep brown miso bitter sauce, served on a large white platter; it’s a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi, in Flavour
Miso butter onions from Flavour, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage
Jonathan Lovekin

Welcome back to Insta Stories, a column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week’s filter is jaw-dropping.

News of the week

It’s one of many weird ironies of the year AD 2020 that a lockdown in which the whole country was forced to try its hand at home cooking was without a consensus-pick cookbook to inspire and nourish its readers. Think of how Tiger King unified appalled-fascinated viewers everywhere, or how How I’m Feeling Now provided the definitive quarantine soundtrack (sorry, Taylor). Now think about the equivalent for cookbooks: nada, just various extremely online recipes for banana bread and sourdough. But all that is about to change, as FLAVOUR — the latest from Yotam Ottolenghi and co-author Ixta Belfrage — arrives with all the pomp, circumstance, and 747-through-an-airport-terminal spectacle of the average Christopher Nolan movie. This week sees the start of what is sure to be a months-long period of social media domination, with the writers themselves, PRs, and other influential supporters just the first step on the path towards global domination for a dizzyingly global selection of recipes. That cover? Get used to it.

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Surreal is an understatement, but I’m extremely proud to say that our book Ottolenghi Flavour is OUT NOW (and here’s the random band photo you never knew you needed to prove it).** FLAVOUR was shot by Jonathan Lovekin and designed by @heredesign - that iconic onion and the beautiful photography MAKE the book- so THANK YOU. We are indebted to @tara.wigley who lent us her voice for the chapter openers- beautifully written, accessible deep dives into how flavour works. Thank you to @noorishbynoor, for being a shining light, and for contributing some stunning recipes to the book. Thank you to @gitaif, without whom the wheels at Ottolenghi simply wouldn’t turn. Thank you to our publishers, on this side of the pond @eburybooks - @celialomazzo @lizzycgray @stepheniejayne @sarahbenniepr and team and on the other side of the pond @tenspeedpress - @emmalucooks @windyd @lorenajones and team. We are so incredibly grateful for all your hard work. The biggest thanks to Yotam, for taking me along for this crazy ride and for being the best teacher and the kindest boss. 100+ vegetable forward, flavour packed recipes are NOW YOURS to recreate and reimagine. Tag us and #ottolenghiflavour in all your creations! We can’t wait to see what you come up with. Please support your local bookshop if you can, or hit the link in my bio to order online and join the party. Welcome to FLAVOUR TOWN **(Oh and thanks to @jenmhampson for taking these shots. We had no idea the poster would be cut in half or that it would be surrounded by all that questionable graffiti but we rolled with it and we kinda love it... )

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Seasonal glut of the week

The title of Colin Nissan’s 2009 McSweeney’s essay ‘It’s decorative gourd season, motherfuckers’ has become such a shorthand for general autumn vibes that three years ago The Atlantic went back to the source and performed a deep dive on the piece’s cultural impact. But — lost in the majesty of that headline — it would be easy to disregard the body of Nissan’s work, which contains any number of one-liners to rival the phrase that ended up plastered across thousands of commemorative mugs. “Guess what season it is — fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash,” perhaps, or: “It’s fall, fuckfaces. You’re either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you’re not.” Both of which, in fact, would be excellent summaries of 93 percent of Instagram content over the last seven days, as a gauntlet of misshapen, zucchini-descendant bastards (to borrow Nissan’s phrasing) swept through the grid. Is it a little alarming to realise that it’s already the year’s endgame? Maybe. Does it feel like spring and summer have been swallowed up by coronavirus-adjacent anxiety, and the nation has basically fast-forwarded from February to September? Absolutely. As Colin Nissan knew all too well: it’s not summer, it’s not winter, and it’s not spring. Grab a calendar and pull your fucking heads out of your asses; it’s fall, fuckers.

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First allotment pumpkin

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News of the week meets seasonal glut of the week of the week

*Makes TENET hand gesture*

Vindication of the week

Poor a bit of anchovy-infused oil out for Tincan, that much-maligned 2014 Soho pop-up that was met with something approaching incredulity when it announced it would serve only tinned seafood. Turns out it was just six years ahead of its time.

Much-awaited return of the week

A ray of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day. Now just pray that it extends its usual summer season into autumn and maybe even beyond.

Future icon of the week

London’s countless fancy sandwich mavens, take note.

Future… Something of the week

*Makes Leo Inception face*

Returning presentational trend of the week

Welcome back, rockpool, London’s missed you.

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Black figs, tonka bean mousse & fig leaf ice cream

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New presentation trend of the week

Introducing the… Quarry?

Dish of the week

Finally, something that doesn’t have gourds in it.

Shot of the week



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