Yotam Ottolenghi on food and politics

Yotam Ottolenghi discusses growing up in Jerusalem and explains the initiatives that he was involved in, which aimed to discourage prejudice between Jewish and Arab children. Ottolenghi, explains the micro levels of macro projects - how, for example, a national project for reconciliation can be played out during meal times at family tables. This is an example of how politics and food are inextricably linked. Moving to London in 1997 to begin his culinary career, Ottolenghi saw how the relationship between food and politics was universal. From French chauvinism at London's Cordon Bleu to battles over organic, food everywhere has a political persona. Ottolenghi ends with an anecdote of how he discovered that even the location of an Ottolenghi branch in Notting Hill, according to some, is political. Despite the recognition that the Ottolenghi chain is the result of an (admirable) Israeli-Palestinian partnership, some have suggested that Ottolenghi should be ashamed of his assumed Conservative affiliations on account of branch locations. Ottolenghi feels that the politics of food in London is a long way from the politics of food in Jerusalem.

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