A conversation with Noam Bar, co-founder of Ottolenghi, one of the UK’s most well-known food brands. A brand inspired and influenced by the shared Israeli and Palestinian roots of its co-founders, Noam Bar, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. We talk through Noam’s 20 year journey with Ottolenghi, from its origins as a cosy neighbourhood deli in Notting Hill and its evolution into a global lifestyle brand and pioneer of plant based cooking.
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In this fifth episode of Challenger Chats our host Adam Spencer is joined by Noam Bar, co-founder of Ottolenghi. Noam, along with co-founders Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (later joined by Cornelia Staeubli), launched their first site in Notting Hill back in 2002. They now have a collection of critically acclaimed Ottolenghi delis and two iconic restaurants in London; NOPI in the West End and ROVI in Fitzrovia. The brand is best known internationally for its collection of hugely popular cookbooks, selling millions of copies worldwide by bringing plant based food under the spotlight and transforming the way people think about vegetarian cuisine. With multiple strings to its bow including a retail range and tableware collection, Ottolenghi has evolved into a global lifestyle brand with its own unique, aspirational aesthetic.
Noam has been an integral part of the Ottolenghi story since its inception, and leads the group’s strategic development. In this chat we discuss Noam’s background including his early entrepreneurial foray into the telecoms sector, his subsequent pivot into food, the risks and opportunities of brand extension, how Noam and the team have tackled the challenges triggered by the Covid crisis and what’s coming next for this iconic Challenger brand.