Yotam Ottolenghi is the most renowned chef in Middle Eastern cuisine. And his seal of approval from chefs, critics and customers alike is legendary.
As soon as I saw the Yotam Ottolenghi MasterClass trailer, I was counting down the days until I could take it.
But exactly how good is Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass and is it worth the money?
These are some of the questions I’ll be addressing in this Yotam Ottolenghi MasterClass review.
Let’s dive in!
If you haven’t got much time, here’s the short of it:
You will learn:
- 13 incredible Middle Eastern recipes that are packed full of flavor
- How to make and use Ottolenghi’s ‘flavor bombs’ that add a punch to any dish
- Practical tips for hosting lots of guests and staying relaxed and calm in the kitchen
- The non-negotiable steps that take your cooking from good to great
- How to make food a dramatic visual experience
- Ancient Middle Eastern cooking techniques that have been enjoyed for millenia
- How to prepare a Mezze Spread, Brunch Spread, Veggie Spread as well as 4 show-stopping main courses
- Yotam Ottolenghi’s core philosophy on food
- Amazing recipes including some signature dishes from his deli, Ottolenghi, in London
- Incredibly clear and reassuring teacher (I challenge anyone not to feel comfortable trying new recipes with Yotam Ottolenghi’s guiding hand!)
- Really versatile recipes that give you so much scope far beyond the end of the MasterClass
- The course is shorter than it looks (see below for more info)
- Not for everyone (very bold flavors and veg-forward recipes)
Length of course: technically, this course is 26 videos totalling 5 hours and 40 minutes of watch time.
However, I would say that the course is actually 15 videos totalling 4 hours and 40 minutes of watch time. The last 11 videos make up a quick reference guide and these total an hour.
Best for: anyone wanting to experiment with rich and vibrant Middle Eastern cuisine that is packed full of flavor. And of course… Yotam Ottolenghi fans!
Overall: this is one of the best online courses I’ve taken. I’ll admit it’s not for everyone so it’s important that you know what to expect. For me, I found that it was easy to follow and fun, with seriously impressive results. As an advanced home cook, I didn’t have much experience in Middle Eastern cuisine but I was quickly making labneh, muhammara and shatta with confidence and ease (view more details).
In this Yotam Ottolenghi MasterClass review, I will cover:
- About Yotam Ottolenghi
- About MasterClass
- A sneak peek inside Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass
- What I liked about Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass
- Where I thought the MasterClass missed the mark
- Who this course is for
- How much the MasterClass costs
- Alternatives to Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass
- What others have said about Ottolenghi’s MasterClass
- How long the course took to complete
- Whether the content is really unique
- What you will need
- Yotam Ottolenghi MasterClass: is it really worth it?
So let’s get started!
About Yotam Ottolenghi
Hear Middle Eastern cuisine. Think Yotam Ottolenghi.
About 10 seconds into this MasterClass, you’ll realise that Yotam Ottolenghi is really an amazing chef and an incredible, fascinating person.
He’s won multiple James Beard Awards (think the Grammys for chefs) and has 7 Ottolenghi restaurants in London.
He’s of Israeli descent and founded his deli Ottolenghi alongside a Palestinian chef. And he comes from German-Jewish descent.
When he says he knows a thing or two about how food can bring people together, I believe him.
Here’s what others say about him:
“How Yotam Ottolenghi rescued the modern dinner party” ~ Evening Standard
“Yotam Ottolenghi Made Us Eat Our Vegetables and We Liked It!” ~ Bon Appétit
“How the Ottolenghi Effect swept the world” ~ BBC GoodFood
MasterClass is rapidly becoming one of the most popular online learning platforms out there.
Its philosophy is simple:
Enable the likes of you and me to learn from the world’s best.
An inside look into Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass
Yotam Ottolenghi Teaches Modern Middle Eastern Cooking consists of:
- 5 hours and 40 minutes of video content across 26 videos, averaging around 13 minutes per video
- Alongside the videos, you will also get a 56 page PDF recipe book that includes all of the written recipes you’ll need, plus some extra reading and suggestions
The video content is broken down into 5 key sections:
- Mezze Spread
- Brunch Spread
- Veggie Spread
- Main Courses
- Thoughts on Hosting
To give you a better idea of whether this course is for you I’ll cover the highlights of each lesson, starting first with:
“I am inviting you into the world of Ottolenghi. This is a world of big explosive colors. Of massive platters laden with flavors and aromas. Delightful for the eye and delightful for the mouth. A real joy. And once you’ve known them, you’ll never look back.”
The course starts with an introduction by Yotam Ottolenghi. Typically MasterClass introductions are fun but not so noteworthy.
Not the case here.
By a few minutes in, I knew that this was going to be the best MasterClasses I have taken.
In this introduction, you will:
- Get to hear (and see with flashback photos!) where Yotam Ottolenghi started his culinary journey
- Understand how growing up in a part of the world full of conflict made food even more important to him than just nourishment
- Learn a little about Ottolenghi’s “flavor bombs” that you’ll learn to make later in the course
- Fall in love with Yotam’s easy-going, stress-free, caring approach to food and life
“So here’s what I want you to get out of this class:
I want you to have the confidence to create an incredible Middle Eastern array of dishes.
To be able to go into the kitchen as much as possible without the stress.
I want you to be able to sit around a table, share a meal with your friends, and be really proud of what you’ve created.”
And with that, let’s get into the lessons.
Section 1: Mezze Spread — Lessons 2-4
Lesson 2: Muhammara
The first section focuses on making a mezze spread. Ottolenghi starts off the feast with muhammara, a pepper- and tomato-based dipping salad. It’s vibrant and bold, and looks delicious.
In this class, you will:
- Learn what muhammara is: its core ingredients, how it can be varied, where in the world it is eaten
- Get practical tips for relaxing in the kitchen and creating a stress-free mezze spread at home
- Become familiar with core Middle Eastern ingredients such as cumin, coriander, garlic, peppers and pomegranate molasses
- Find out how to extract maximum flavor from each ingredient by toasting, roasting and caramelizing
- Discover great places to use muhammara outside of the mezze spread
- Learn how to personalise your muhammara to your tastes
I loved Yotam’s easy-going style in the introduction but had wondered how it might translate into his teaching style.
There was no need for concern.
“It’s all about a very relaxed, very mediterranean attitude to eating and life in general.”
Yes, the instruction is very relaxed, but Yotam Ottolenghi really knows his stuff.
Where things matter, he’s strict (you must toast your spices).
But where things don’t matter, he’s happy to let things go so that is cooking as stress-free as possible (a rogue pepper seed making it into your muhammara is absolutely fine).
Lesson 3: Pea Spread with Smoky Marinated Feta
“I always think of food as something that starts really from a visual impression. I know food smells and food tastes, but for me really, the first interaction is through the eyes.”
In this lesson, Yotam Ottolenghi focuses on how food is a visual experience.
He demonstrates this with his Pea Spread and Smoky Marinated Feta — a vibrant green dish that brings a pop of freshness to any mezze table.
In this lesson, you will learn:
- Ottolenghi’s favorite ingredient to make everything better
- How to make an infusion oil that packs a punch
- The secret to making Yotam’s “feta on steroids”
- Practical tips to elevate your cooking: which bits of the lemon to avoid, optimum oil temperature to stop your feta from breaking down, and more
- How to keep your dips from being flat and one dimensional
- Plating tips to make the food shout “EAT ME!”
There are a wealth of tips packed into this lesson that will help you to get more flavor from your cooking.
I also particularly loved the really practical notes. For example, just before toasting chilli flakes, Yotam reveals that it’s not uncommon for it to make you cough:
“You start coughing which… can actually be quite stressful if you don’t know it’s happening, so prepare yourself!! And make sure you open your windows, you ventilate your kitchen, you do everything you need to do, but there’s really nothing wrong with a little bit of coughing.”
Moments like this show that Ottolenghi really understands what can be stressful in the kitchen and how to make his students instantly feel more comfortable.
Lesson 4: Hummus with Confit Garlic and Tahini
“This process that I’m doing now, adding lemon, adding garlic, adding tahini, I just feel it’s such an ancient process. I think this has been going on throughout the Middle East for millenia and we’re recreating it here with modern technology and I just find that really really wonderful.”
Ottolenghi rounds off the Mezze Spread section with the Middle Eastern classic: hummus.
The central theme of this class is taste and here you’ll learn how to make a deliciously smooth hummus that packs a punch.
“It’s wonderfully rich, it’s delicious, it has your two condiments — confit garlic and tahini sauce — and it’s really just everything you want on a plate.”
There are 3 core elements of the hummus dish: tahini sauce, confit garlic and the hummus itself.
Here, Yotam teaches:
- Everything you need to know about tahini: what it’s like, where it originates from, how to use it, where to source it from
- Confit garlic: what it’s great for and its various uses
- How hummus is celebrated in Jerusalem
- The essential steps to get a silk smooth hummus
- Why it’s important to trust your taste buds over a recipe
- How to enjoy your mezze platter the Middle Eastern way
Again, I loved the real life pointers. For newbie tahini users, Ottolenghi shares a really weird thing about tahini:
“There is just a point in which it all looks wrong like this and it won’t turn into a nice runny sauce, but then you add your water slowly and it will come together — you’ll see!”
Like with toasting chillies in the previous lesson, it really takes the stress out of trying something new and makes you think “OK! I can do this!”.
Section 2: Brunch Spread — Lessons 5-7
Lesson 5: Middle Eastern Bread Shape
“You’ve got a bread spread that you could put in the centre of the table and people would go “wow, that’s amazing!”
The second section of the courses focuses on the Brunch Spread — a series of really simple dishes that can be quickly thrown together for a morning feast.
First up: assembling a swoon-worthy bread board.
As the Brunch Spread is designed to be simple, there was nothing particularly revolutionary in this class.
However I did learn some really cool things like:
- How grating tomatoes is an amazing way to prepare them
- The simple tomato, garlic, olive oil dip that captures the taste of the Mediterranean
- What za’atar is and how to turn it into an dipping sauce
- That it’s ok to just buy your bread — you don’t have to make it!
Lesson 6: Labneh with Berries
The next part of the Brunch Spread is traditional Labneh with Berries.
There are 3 parts to this lesson: making the labneh, making an orange infused oil and then making a mixed berry topping.
I loved the marriage of traditional and modern here. Ottolenghi reveals that berries weren’t something he ever had growing up. It was only after he moved to Britain and encountered an abundance of them that he started using them.
To pair the berries with his childhood memories of labneh feels really special.
In this lesson you will learn:
- The millenia-old technique of making labneh
- How to make an orange infused olive oil, and its many uses!
- An innovative way to make a berry topping that includes the traditional Middle Eastern spice, sumac
Again, this course is very relaxed. Ottolenghi says:
“Nothing is obligatory — you can use whatever you like!”
He reveals that you can use any berries you want, that frozen berries work just fine, and also gives tips in case you don’t have the time to make your own labneh from scratch.
This course is so refreshingly down to earth and stress free — it’s amazing!
Lesson 7: Green Herb Shakshuka
Ottolenghi rounds of the Brunch Spread with a classic breakfast centrepiece: shakshuka.
His version is a twist on the much-loved tomato dish, drawing inspiration from Persian cuisine to create a Green Herb Shakshuka.
Of all the Brunch Spread recipes, this is the most complex and I found this class to be packed full of new things:
- Learn how herbs are often used in Persian cooking (it’s likely very different to how you’ve used them before!)
- How to make an incredible shakshuka base that can also be used for soups
- Alternative flavors and ingredients that you can use to make your shakshuka pop
- Time-saving tips for a stress-free brunch experience
The sight of the whole Brunch Spread together — the bread board, labneh and berries, and shakshuka — is absolutely stunning. After watching, I couldn’t wait to run to the shops and make my own Middle Eastern brunch!
Above all, he ends this section on Brunch with this insight:
“It’s really important for me not to stress and I think it should be important for everyone to not stress. As much as you can do to get ahead with — that would be really preferable.”
So far, he’s doing a great job!
Section 3: Veggie Spread — Lessons 8-10
Lesson 8: Roasted Eggplant Salad with Quick Lemon Paste and Quick-Pickled Chilies
“I’m going to create three vegetable dishes that look great, say “eat me!” and just celebrate vegetables as they should.”
The next section of the course focuses on Yotam Ottolenghi’s signature style: the iconic Vegetable Spread.
This first lesson teaches you how to create a mouth-watering salad using eggplant which is the “star of the Middle Eastern mezze.”
Ottolenghi acknowledges that people often shy away from eggplant because they don’t know how to cook it. Don’t worry — he’ll take you through the process, step-by-step, and the end result is incredible.
There are three components of this dish:
- Quick Preserved Lemon Paste which he refers to as “the essence of lemon”
- Quick-Pickled Chilies — “the promise of something nice and intense!”
- Roasted Eggplant — “the star of the Middle Eastern mezze
As with many Ottolenghi recipes, he explains that each component can be applied in a range of different ways. The lemon paste is also great for cakes and a citrus yogurt sauce. His favorite alternative use for the pickled chillies is to scatter them over roast chicken.
It’s really great to be learning recipes that are so versatile!
In this lesson, you’ll learn:
- How to make a signature Ottolenghi eggplant dish
- A cheat’s version of preserved lemon that reduces required time from 3 weeks to a matter of minutes
- Practical cooking tips: understand flavor profiles, what to look for when cooking, and how to complement ingredients
- A simple quick-pickle chili recipe that adds tonnes of flavor to any dish
- How they plate eggplant at Ottolenghi in London
(One point to note is that because he’s England-based, Ottolenghi tends to refer to eggplant as aubergine. That said, he notes this at the start of the lesson and it’s still really easy to follow.)
Lesson 9: Grilled Carrots with Labneh and Dukkah
“It’s a striking dish that really showcases the carrots in all their beauty.”
Next up is Grilled Carrots with Labneh and Dukkah.
Ottolenghi reveals that carrots hold a special place in his heart as they remind him of his childhood at the Jerusalem markets.
Now, he loves to cook with them because they’re humble, affordable, but pack so much color and flavor.
In this lesson, you will learn:
- How to elevate carrots from boring to delicious and instagrammable!
- Techniques to ensure your veg retains as much flavor as possible
- What Dukkah is, why Yotam regards it as a magical must have ingredient
It’s really nice to see these recipes progress: you’ll use the labneh from lesson 6 to create this seriously stunning dish!
Lesson 10: Smacked Cucumber Salad with Sumac-Pickled Onions
“Don’t be too particular about it. This is the look of the salad: very informal, very easy.”
Yotam Ottolenghi rounds off the Veggie Spread recipes with a cucumber salad. It’s therapeutic to make and refreshing to eat.
There are two components here: Sumac Pickled Onions and Smashed Cucumber Salad.
In this class, you will learn:
- A technique for preparing cucumbers that maximizes flavor… And is great for stress relief!
- Why Persian and Lebanese cucumbers are a great choice for a cucumber salad
- How to prepare the iconic bright red pickled onions that you see at kebab shops
- Balancing tips to make sure one flavor doesn’t overpower another
- The overall flavor profiles of the Veggie Spread recipes and why they complement each other
Section 4: Show-Stopping Middle Eastern Mains — Lessons 11-14
Lesson 11: Mafalda Pasta with Quick Shatta
“You’re going to really surprise all your pasta-loving friends by giving them pasta with yogurt!”
After the Veggie Spread, Ottolenghi introduces some iconic Middle Eastern Mains.
First up: Mafalda Pasta in a Yogurt Sauce.
This is probably one of the most complex recipes yet, with 5 different components that need to come together at the same time. But don’t worry!
As ever, Yotam is relaxed and keeps this class super stress-free!
In this class, you will learn:
- A classic Middle Eastern yogurt sauce that has loads of applications outside of pasta
- Why Yotam prefers yogurt when making a creamy sauce
- How to approach making hot yogurt dishes
- Really practical tips to master this dish (I found his visual cues so helpful)
- A cheat’s version of shatta chili sauce that takes 5 mins vs. 3 days when made traditionally
Lesson 12: Roasted Cauliflower with Harissa Chili Oil
“This is one intense cauliflower dish. The cauliflower is doused with harissa, with chilies, with onion. It’s certainly not shy on flavors.”
Next up on the list of mains is Roasted Cauliflower with Harissa Chili Oil.
It’s a marriage of memories from his German grandmother’s cauliflower, along with the traditions of handmade harissa made from sun-baked chilies.
The result? A “picture of beauty”.
In this lesson you will learn:
- How to make a cauliflower centrepiece which will be the envy of any dinner table
- How harissa is traditionally made, and how you can best emulate it at home
- Practical tips on working with chilies
As ever, Yotam gives a whole range of ways to customize the dish. This recipe originates from Ottolenghi’s book, Flavour, but he makes some tweaks so that it is vegan.
You can also pair the roasted cauliflower with your tahini sauce from Lesson 4; a really nice way to tie your learnings together.
Lesson 13: Salmon and Prawns in Spicy Tomato Sauce
The penultimate recipe is the first non-vegetarian recipe of the course.
It’s a show stopping celebration of salmon.
Inspired by North African cuisine, it packs the flavors of fresh tomatoes, garlic and caraway into an impressive, but stress-free dish.
In this lesson you will learn:
- Stress-free way of cooking salmon for a big gathering
- An amazing recipe alongside tips on how it can be customized to your personal taste
- How to make a versatile tomato sauce that’s packed full of flavor
- Tips to stay calm in the kitchen
As with many of Ottolenghi’s classes, the lesson wasn’t just limited to the salmon recipe. I came away from the class feeling confident to create variations of it using different herbs, different spices, different chilies, different fish.
Ottolenghi had also given me ideas for a tonne of different ways I could use the sauce from pasta to serving over rice.
A highlight was that he also spoke about responsibly and sustainably sourcing your fish. It’s obviously something that is very important to him and he communicated it in a really relaxed and non-judgemental way.
Lesson 14: Celebration Rice with Saffron and Sweet Spiced Lamb
“This is really a majestic dish in the Ottolenghi style of getting together and sharing experiences and bold flavors.”
The last of the Ottolenghi main dishes features rice as the “Emperor of the feast”. Accompanied by a slow-braised neck of lamb, it echoes flavors of Perisan cuisine.
In this lesson, you’ll learn:
- The secrets to make show-stopping rice that’s fluffy and two contrasting colors at once
- The importance of mise en place when cooking complex dishes
- Which other rice dishes Ottolenghi loves: maqluba, nasi lemak, and a more simple braised meat and rice combination
- How to bring balance to counteract the fattiness of lamb using a special Middle Eastern gravy and dried fruits
- Helpful practical tips backed up by anecdotes (“This devastation happens to chefs every day!”)
This is definitely the most complex recipe of the course, and I felt that it came at a really good place. Much earlier, and it could feel a bit overwhelming.
Yotam also suggests pairing this main with the Smacked Cucumber Salad from Lesson 10. I love that he refers back to previous lesson components and knowing that you can use the recipes in different ways gives so much more confidence than just learning a recipe as a set thing.
Section 5: Thoughts on Hosting
“I think many cooks feel a sense of anxiety in the kitchen. You get into the kitchen and you think ‘oh, this is a challenge. I need to impress!’ And what I’m just trying to do with all my recipes is actually show that there’s no need for anxiety.”
As I watched this class, it really felt like the last lesson of the course which confused me because there were still 11 lessons to go.
A word of warning: this is the last class. The remaining 11 lessons focus on Ottolenghi’s flavor bombs but each video is just an excerpt of a previous lesson. Think of it like a quick-reference library of the condiments.
I’ve taken a lot of MasterClasses and typically I enjoy the anecdotal talking lessons less than the hands on learning ones.
That said, although Thoughts on Hosting is purely Yotam Ottolenghi talking, I loved it. It was packed full of really practical words of advice and actionable tips.
In this class, Ottolenghi encourages you to:
- Pin down what type of cook you are: what you enjoy and dislike about the cooking process and to find solutions to make your experience more enjoyable
- Think about making a meal balanced, not only in terms of flavor but also effort
- Implement his 2 top practical tips to ease pressure when hosting
- Enjoy the meal and let it take time
- Consider when it’s better to get experimental and when it’s better to play it safe
Ultimately, this class was the perfect antidote to stress. Having actionable tips really makes you feel in control and like you know what you’re doing!
“I’d love you (the person who watches my class) to leave the class with a spring in their step and a sense of confidence.
I would love you to feel that you can go into the kitchen and conquer it with a bunch of new dishes but without the anxiety. I’d love you to think that you could create an event for your friends or for your intimate family that would make you proud.
That you’ve cooked with new ingredients that you may have not cooked with before that you’ve managed to make vegetables taste and look really sexy. I’d like you to feel proud.”
The final 10 videos are excerpts of previous videos so that you can easily come back to Ottolenghi’s “flavor bombs” without having to fast forward through other parts of the videos.
The condiments which have their own additional videos are:
- Smoky Marinated Feta
- Confit Garlic Oil
- Quick Lemon Paste
- Quick-Pickled CHilies
- Sumac-Pickled Onions
- Quick Shatta: Palestinian Chili Paste
- Rose Harissa
- Tahini Sauce
What I liked about Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass
Incredibly relaxed and stress-free
At the start and at the end of the course, Yotam Ottolenghi says that one of the biggest reasons for making the MasterClass is to help people become more comfortable and calm in the kitchen.
Throughout the course, he’s nothing but relaxed and you can’t help but reflect this in your own cooking.
More than any chef on MasterClass, I feel that Ottolenghi is really in touch with what can make cooking stressful: from chilies making you cough through to tahini looking a bit weird sometimes.
I also loved that he’s happy to use a garlic crusher or accidentally miss a few pepper seeds or a bit of skin.
These little insights stop you from panicking that something has gone wrong and they are so helpful for the underconfident chef.
Versatile recipes that can be used in lots of different ways
I particularly liked that nearly every recipe can be used in a different way to how it is presented in the class.
For example, when making your tahini sauce, Yotam Ottolenghi lists a variety of different places you could use it.
He also talks you through how you can use the shakshuka base from Lesson 7 as a base for a white bean stew — something I never would have thought of!
The versatility of the recipes made me feel like I was really getting my money’s worth. I wasn’t just learning 13 set recipes. I was learning countless components that could be a part of so many different meals.
Learning in a really structured way
The course was perfectly structured and really clear. It progresses from simple through to much more complex mains in a way that builds up skills gradually.
In later recipes, you’ll sometimes need components from earlier lessons which allows you to practise and refine that skill.
For example, you learn to make labneh in Lesson 6 and then use it again in Lesson 9.
It was inevitable that there would be ingredients that most American home cooks aren’t familiar with. Things like labneh, shatta and muhammara are probably not in your usual repertoire.
Yotam Ottolenghi always explains unfamiliar words but there is also a handy on-screen glossary that pops up with a short definition.
It makes it really easy to follow the class and helps to build that extra level of confidence.
Incredible video quality
All MasterClass video courses are amazing quality but I particularly loved this one.
Ottolenghi’s food style is dramatic and colorful and, combined with the camerawork, it made me so excited to get into the kitchen.
There are also beautiful graphics for every class and I really loved seeing snapshots that helped to progress the narrative. From photos from Ottolenghi’s past to pictures of his favorite Jerusalem market, they really helped capture the essence of the Middle East.
Handy reference videos at the end
I’ve previously mentioned that the last 10 videos are quick-reference video guides rather than part of the course. And I do actually really like it!
For Ottolenghi’s course, it completely makes sense. He’s always emphasising how helpful it is to make components ahead of time and the last 10 videos allow you to do that with ease.
For example, I made the Veggie Spread on a Friday night but made the labneh in advance on Thursday. Because MasterClass had already separated the labneh out into its own video, it was super easy to find instead of having to re-watch the whole Labneh with Berries class.
What I think could be improved
Should be clear that the course is really only 15 videos long
There should be a disclaimer that says the course only has 15 unique lessons and that the final videos are short clips from lessons 1-15 that can be quickly referred to.
While I love the idea of the quick-reference videos at the end, they did make it seem like the course was much longer and I was initially disappointed.
The course is already 4 hours and 40 minutes up to Lesson 15, so it wasn’t that I didn’t feel like I had enough content.
It was rather that I sat down with a cup of coffee ready for my next lesson only to find that there wasn’t one!
If MasterClass had been upfront and managed expectations on the class length, I would have completely avoided any disappointment.
More assignments and further reading
Most MasterClasses have a PDF workbook but really the one for this course is a recipe book.
It includes some background info on Yotam Ottolenghi and additional ingredient information but not to the extent of Gordon Ramsay’s workbook which has whole pages dedicated to further reading.
Not for everyone
This MasterClass won’t be for everyone. It’s not for you if you:
- Want to learn classical cooking techniques like knife skills and how to make pasta and soufflée (try Gordon Ramsay and Thomas Keller for that)
- Want to learn some set formal dining recipes
- Can’t face cooking without meat (if that’s you, check out Aaron Franklin!)
Who is this course for?
This course is definitely one of the best MasterClasses that I’ve taken. Yotam Ottolenghi is an incredible teacher and because of that, I think this course is suitable for a wide range of people:
- A beginner in the kitchen: the course is well structured from simple to complex so makes the perfect starting point for beginners. Even the most complex dish is relatively straightforward and stress-free!
- A confident cook looking to widen their repertoire: the recipes in this course go far beyond your classic hummus. I would class myself as an advanced home cook but had never made anything from this course apart from hummus!
- Someone looking to do some stress-free hosting: Ottolenghi has great practical tips for staying calm in the kitchen and for hosting lots of people. I came away from the course eager to host a big dinner party (and enjoy the process!)
- Vegetarians and vegans: Ottolenghi is renowned for his plant-forward cooking. This course does contain one fish and one meat dish but otherwise is completely vegetarian. Most recipes could be easily tweaked to be vegan (I made labneh using soy yogurt and it worked perfectly.)
- Yotam Ottolenghi fans: if you think you love Yotam Ottolenghi, just wait until you take his MasterClass. I completed every class feeling like I’d spent an hour with a good friend.
How much does the course cost?
The best way to experience MasterClass is through an All-Access Pass subscription. At the time of writing, that costs $180 per year (~ $15 per month or $0.49 per day if you want to get really granular!)
With an All-Access Pass, you can watch unlimited content for a whole year. So you could watch MasterClass from Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller and Wolfgang Puck alongside your Yotam Ottolenghi MasterClass, all for one flat price.
You get to revisit the videos as much as you like within the year your subscription is active and you can keep the PDF workbook with written recipes forever.
You can also gift the Yotam Ottolenghi MasterClass as a stand alone class. This option costs $90 for a single class and you will have access to the videos and workbook forever.
Gifting is currently the only way to buy single MasterClasses so if the course is intended for you, you’ll have to give it to yourself. It’s a little bit “hacky” so follow our MasterClass gift guide here.
Alternatives to Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass
There aren’t any MasterClasses that are quite like Yotam Ottolenghi’s. At the moment, his course is the only MasterClass that focuses on Middle Eastern cuisine.
That said, if you’re interested in cooking in general, there are loads of amazing chefs on the platform:
- Gordon Ramsay
- Thomas Keller
- Niki Nakayama
- Wolfgang Puck
- Aaron Franklin
- Apollonia Poilâne
- Massimo Bottura
- …the list goes on!
Of course, if video learning isn’t for you, you could also buy Ottolenghi’s cookbooks to work through in your own time.
- Plenty More
- Ottolenghi: The Cookbook
There’s very little Ottolenghi YouTube content out there so you’d be hard pressed to curate your own Ottolenghi course from existing content.
Aside from that, Ottolenghi and MasterClass there aren’t many alternatives for Middle Eastern Cooking. Probably the closest is YesChef, which is similar in price and quality to MasterClass but focuses exclusively on cooking.
If you’re interested in baking you might want to check out our article on the best baking classes.
Yotam Ottolenghi MasterClass: what others have said
Now, my article wouldn’t be complete without letting you know what others have said. I scoured the depths of the internet to find the good, the bad and the ugly, but really, I only found the good!
The feedback on this MasterClass was the best I had ever seen. The only negative comments that I saw were political so I didn’t think they were fair to share.
By the time I had completed and reviewed the course, it had been out for a couple of weeks but already had rave reviews. There were also plenty of people who were ridiculously excited to take it!
“I’m up to lesson 5 … already know it’s going to be excellent. I assumed the recipes would be delicious, but didn’t expect him to be so charming. Great class!” ~ comment from YouTube
“CAN”T WAIT. I’ve been trying to find videos of him for years!!” ~ comment from YouTube
“I started last night and can’t wait to watch more! I’m completely inspired and have already created a huge shopping list. Thank you for including this Masterclass!!!” ~ comment from Facebook
“Haven’t tried a recipe of his yet that I didn’t love. His originality and fail proof combination of ingredients and MEASUREMENTS!!!!! Makes for stress free cooking.” ~ comment from Facebook
“Watching this now and it’s fabulous. He’s a great teacher and I love his energy and enthusiasm.” ~ comment from Facebook
And if you think I maybe just picked out the best ones, here’s a screenshot of a whole page of Facebook comments. All overwhelmingly positive!
How long it took to complete the course
I completed the course in a couple of weeks, going through one section at a time and cooking components as I went.
You could watch the entire course in around 5 hours or you could take it even slower and refine and practise each recipe before moving on.
Ultimately, it’s up to you how long you take! (Although I have a sneaking suspicion you might want to watch them all back to back!)
Is the course content unique?
I absolutely loved this course but the content itself isn’t so unique. In fact, it can’t really be: Ottolenghi teaches you how to make millenia-old recipes. By definition, that’s not unique.
Also, many of the recipes in the MasterClass are fundamental to Ottolenghi’s cooking so if you’ve read and cooked from all his cookbooks, you’ll be familiar with most of them.
While the content isn’t wholly unique, the class as a whole is.
Not everyone wants to learn from a cookbook and in the class, you’ll get extra tips that give you that extra level of confidence.
You’ll be able to see the tahini sauce go past that weird gross stage Ottolenghi talks about without panicking and you get to watch and learn every step firsthand from Yotam.
You get to hear the “why” behind the things he does: why does this dish pair with that? Why should you get started on your cucumber salad before your roasted eggplant?
Ultimately, you could learn to make labneh from any online recipe but the magic of this MasterClass sits with Ottolenghi.
It’s incredibly rare to be able to have such access into the world of such a culinary genius and that’s what makes this MasterClass unique.
What you will need
Yotam Ottolenghi likes to keep things simple so you’ll likely be able to complete this MasterClass without getting any extra equipment.
The must haves:
- Food processor
- Pestle and mortar
- Range of pots, pans and trays
- Chopping board and knife
- Veg peeler
To complete all of the recipes, you’d also need:
- A colander
- Steaming basket
But these are only needed for the odd recipe so you could definitely manage without.
As you’ll be making your Middle Eastern condiments from scratch, thankfully most ingredients are readily available at the supermarket. If not, Ottolenghi often gives great substitutes so you’ll feel comfortable enough to adapt to what you have access to.
Is it worth it?
It’s a resounding “yes” from me.
I appreciate that it might not be suitable for everyone — it won’t hit the spot for those who prefer meat-led recipes or someone looking for a course based on more technical components.
However, if you are looking to mix things up in the kitchen and wow your friends, it’s an amazing course.
I learned so much in this MasterClass and know that I will be incorporating so much of what I’ve learned into my cooking.
My life will probably be split between pre-labneh and post-labneh — it was that good!
I made a couple of the spreads for family and we automatically fell into easy conversation that lasted for hours.
Preparing the spreads also felt remarkably not stressful, even with so many components!
And ultimately, the times we had around the table with Ottolenghi’s recipes felt really special.
Doing Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass felt like an investment not only for myself, but for my friends and family who I could gift with these special moments.
For that, I’d happily pay twice as much!
(But don’t tell MasterClass! 😉 )
Frequently asked questions
A MasterClass all-access-pass costs $180 a year ($15 a month). This gives you access to Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass, alongside 90+ other courses.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s MasterClass is 5 hours and 40 minutes long and consists of 26 videos divided into 5 key sections.
Unfortunately you cannot get the Yotam Ottolenghi MasterClass for free. But MasterClass has a range of purchasing options and offers refunds if you’re not happy.
Yes, MasterClass operates a 30 day refund policy if you purchase directly through them. If you purchase through other providers, their returns policy may apply.