To be honest, I hadn’t heard of Yotam Ottolenghi before seeing his course on MasterClass. But the moment I saw the class trailer, I was hooked. I, too, have a long-term love affair with lemons… Not to mention my adoration of hummus, tahini, and cumin seeds.
I wouldn’t describe myself as an advanced cook, but I do enjoy trying new recipes, combining flavors, and finding new ways to use familiar ingredients. Plus, I am a big fan of veggie spreads and flavorful yet simple meals. That said, taking Yotam’s class really seemed like a great idea.
But did the course meet my expectations, and does Yotam Ottolenghi deliver on his promises?
Before answering these burning questions, let’s first see what this MasterClass is all about.
Table of Contents
What is the Yotam Ottolenghi MasterClass?
This is how Yotam Ottolenghi begins his MasterClass – with an imaginative introduction that hypes you up before the course even starts. Yotam’s passion and expertise are visible right away – you know that you’re about to learn something useful.
“Yotam Ottolenghi teaches Modern Middle Eastern Cooking” on MasterClass includes plenty of cooking tips and recipes focused on modern Middle Eastern cooking. There are lessons about preparing delicious mezze spreads, brunch spreads, more complex main courses, and more. It’s a well-rounded course that can make you feel curious and inspired – and probably hungry.
That’s the thing I find most confusing about cooking MasterClasses – I don’t know if I should prepare food while taking the course or simply enjoy the videos and take notes. I ended up doing the latter, hence my previous comment about getting hungry.
Either way, Yotam’s MasterClass has a lot to offer. It features 26 lessons with a duration of 5 hours and 41 minutes in total. However, the last 10 lessons are quick-reference clips about making homemade condiments, so there are actually 15 lessons with original recipes.
Who is Yotam Ottolenghi?
Yotam Ottolenghi is an Israeli-born British chef, restaurateur, and food writer.
As the co-owner of seven delis and restaurants in London, he has experience in the restaurant business. Nevertheless, his MasterClass is focused exclusively on food. Ottolenghi was born in Israel, but he spent many childhood summers in Italy, and he is now living in Britain. Therefore, he has many culinary influences, but his food is mainly based on Middle Eastern cuisine with a modern twist.
Ottolenghi is the author of several bestselling cookery books, including Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, Plenty, Jerusalem, and Simple. In 2006, he began writing a weekly column for The Guardian titled “The New Vegetarian.”
He is also a recipient of many awards, including the James Beard Award and the National Book Award.
What is the target audience for Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass?
In short, if your tastebuds love potent herbs and spices, you would probably enjoy Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking course.
Yotam doesn’t talk about general cooking methods and traditional Western ingredients and spices. His recipes are based on Middle Eastern cuisine: colorful mezze platters, flavorful veggie spreads, and spices like cumin and coriander seeds. If you enjoy this type of cuisine, you’re already a great candidate for this course.
But Yotam’s class is also great for more traditional cooks who want to try something new or add more variety to their meals.
Also, the course is suitable for all levels of experience. There are many beginner-friendly recipes and basic cooking tips, but he also shows how to make more demanding courses.
So, here are some of the people who might benefit from this course:
- Aspiring chefs
- Lovers of Middle Eastern cuisine
- Whoever wants to add more flavor to their meals
Regarding the type of food he prepares, the course is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. He does use meat in some of the dishes, though, but most of the dishes and condiments he prepares in the course are plant-based.
What does Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass cover?
Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass is comprehensive and versatile. As he puts it, he wanted to create a multilayered experience.
In the course, Yotam teaches how to prepare various spreads as well as more challenging main courses with a focus on savory dishes. His lessons are detailed, dynamic, and packed with useful tips, so even if you already know how to make hummus, there’s something new to learn and discover.
Yotam is a very knowledgeable and experienced (or should I say ‘seasoned’) chef, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed or discouraged at any point. He talks in a very down-to-earth, understandable way. Also, the course is very straightforward and has a clear goal: to teach you how to prepare simple, popular Middle Eastern dishes. So, Yotam doesn’t talk about his experiences as a chef, nor does he meander with personal stories to get to the point.
However, in one of the lessons, he shares his thoughts on hosting and gives useful tips on how to ease the pressure. But I found this lesson very refreshing and interesting.
Here is a brief overview of what to expect from Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass:
- Lesson 1 introduces you to your instructor and to the course in a very motivating way.
- Lessons 2-4 are based on making mezze spreads, including muhammara, hummus, and pea spread.
- Lessons 5-7 are focused on brunch spreads such as labneh with berries and green herb shakshuka.
- Lessons 8-10 contain recipes for various veggie spreads.
- Lessons 11-14 introduce main courses: mafalda pasta, roasted cauliflower, salmon and prawns, and rice with saffron.
- Lesson 15 contains practical tips on how to become a more skillful and relaxed host.
- Lessons 16-26 teach how to make homemade condiments (such as tahini, dukkah, rose harissa, and quick lemon paste) you’ve encountered in the course. These are actually quick-reference clips, so there are no new recipes.
My favorite lessons from Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass
Honestly, taking this class was such a relaxing, enjoyable experience.
Yotam talks in a passionate yet calm and soothing way. Plus, he makes beautiful dishes, so you just get the urge to jump through the screen and taste it. Moreover, everything is filmed with top quality, so you can really see and experience what’s going on in his kitchen.
More importantly, the course provided me with many useful tips and recipe ideas that I’ll try to make as soon as possible.
Here are some of the lessons I enjoyed the most:
Mezze Spread: Muhammara
Muhammara is a popular Middle Eastern walnut and roasted pepper dip suitable for all sorts of occasions. It was great to see how a pro chef like Yotam Ottolenghi makes it, and I will surely use his advice the next time I make this mouthwatering dish. For instance, I’ll remember his advice to scrape the bottom of the pan to get more flavor.
Mezze Spread: Hummus With Confit Garlic and Tahini
It’s not very surprising that this is one of my favorite lessons – I am a huge fan of both tahini sauce and hummus, and this lesson contains the preparation of both.
I prepare tahini sauce and the magical chickpea spread called hummus almost on a daily basis so this lesson wasn’t groundbreaking for me, but it allowed me to see how a seasoned pro like Yotem prepares them.
Thoughts on Hosting
This lesson differs from the rest of the course because it doesn’t involve any recipes. Instead, Yotam talks about hosting and ways you can ease the pressure and enjoy the whole process.
Apart from sharing his personal thoughts on hosting, he talks about the significance of repeating meals, choosing dishes with different levels of complexity, and trying to enjoy yourself during events and dinner parties.
How much does Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass cost?
Since MasterClass is a subscription-based learning platform, you can’t purchase courses individually. Therefore, if you want to take Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking class, you have to become a subscriber.
The annual subscription to Masterclass costs $120 per year, or $10 per month. The MasterClass subscription gives you unlimited access to a catalog of 180+ classes. That said, if you want to take multiple classes, a MasterClass subscription is definitely worth it.
The platform also offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your learning experience, you can request a full refund.
What I liked about Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass
All things considered, I found this MasterClass very insightful, inspiring, and relaxing. Yotam is a fantastic chef and instructor, and the happiness he feels when cooking is infectious.
The course provided me with some great ideas and recipes I will add to my culinary repertoire. I also learned something new about certain dishes and condiments that I usually prepare.
So, I evidently enjoyed the course, and here are the main reasons why I would recommend it to anyone interested in exploring Middle Eastern cuisine.
Yotam Ottolenghi is an incredible chef, but he also turned out to be a great teacher. Although he obviously has plenty to say, he focuses only on what’s important for his learners at the moment: the ingredients, spices, and ways you should approach a certain dish. He also talks about smells and textures, so you can really immerse yourself in the lesson even though you’re not actually there with him.
Also, Yotam takes his time to explain things, and he is not afraid to make a mistake or not play by the rules. He is not a purist, as he says in one of the lessons. And this is one of the reasons why I found this course so relaxing.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass is packed with amazing recipes – from delicious veggie spreads to colorful mezze platters packed full of flavor. In the course, Yotam covers the basics (like hummus, muhammara, and tahini sauce), but he also presents some more challenging, innovative dishes.
Apart from spreads, mezze platters, and main courses, the course also includes shorter clips about making homemade condiments.
Although these lessons come after the conclusion, and they’re sort of quick-reference videos with stuff you’re already familiar with, they summarize some useful tips from the course. I can understand if some learners find this confusing or unnecessary, but I think that having all the condiments in the same place makes it easier to find them later on.
Every time you start a new lesson, you’ll spot a small pop-up window with a recipe on the side. If you watch in full screen, you can click on the ‘View Recipes’ button and get to the recipe instead. Since the accompanying guidebook doesn’t strictly follow the lessons, this is a great way to see the recipe written down.
This is also very convenient since you don’t have to pause the video to write down the ingredients and method. And even if you want to do it (like I did), it’s easier to copy it this way.
Drawbacks of Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass
There are not many things I didn’t like about this course. I think it’s well-rounded, relaxing, and inspiring. A great way to learn new tricks, improve your go-to spreads and condiments, and engage in stress-free cooking.
However, there is one thing I believe could be improved…
The course description could be clearer
When I started the course, I thought I was about to take 26 lessons. So, I expected a long, detailed MasterClass (whether you find this an advantage or not depends on your needs.) Either way, spoiler alert: the course is not that long at all.
The thing is, the last 10 lessons are actually short clips from the course. And even though I think this is a great idea, I still believe this should be explained in the course’s description to avoid confusion and false expectations. Learners should know in advance that there are actually 15 lessons, which makes the course significantly shorter than what’s promised in the description.
Review conclusion: Is Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass worth it?
At the end of the day, is Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass worth taking?
Well, it’s a big yes from me.
I didn’t take this course because I was a fan of Yotam Ottolenghi (although now I am), nor am I an aspiring chef. I’m a simple foodie with intermediate cooking skills and a passion for hummus and Middle Eastern spices. That said, I think this course is suitable for a wide range of learners – experienced chefs and beginners alike.
I really enjoyed all the lessons, although I didn’t expect the course to end so soon; the last 10 lessons were just quick-reference videos. A very useful thing, by the way, but also a bit misleading. Nevertheless, the course is well-rounded and visually attractive, lessons are easy to follow, and Yotam is a skilled, inspiring, and likable instructor.
More importantly, I’m done with this review now, so I can go and make some mezze spreads.