Danny Bloom
I seek the truth wherever it lies.

Popular ‘Jerusalem’ cookbook finds readers in Chinese-language edition in Taiwan

Yotam Ottolenghi, the pioneering Israeli-born chef whose 2011 cookbook “Jerusalem: A Cookbook” helped boost the global excitement over modern Israeli cuisine, does not need an introduction here. Thanks to the London-based Ottolenghi’s distinctive way with the multiethnic flavors of Jerusalem, his cookbook has travelled far, with rave reviews in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Now from Taiwan in 2017 comes a Chinese-language translation of the cookbook in a handsome edition published by Emily Chuang in Taipei. When  “Jerusalem” was recently launched at press conference in Taipei, Israel’s trade representative to Taiwan Asher Yarden and his wife Tamar helped with the PR by playing cook for a day to promote the book and their country to the Taiwanese media.The book, written by Yotam Ottolenghi and his business partner Sami Tamimi, includes a collection of 120 recipes that explore the rich flavors of Jerusalem, and the dishes reflect the celebrity chefs’ unique cross-cultural perspective.

Both men were born in Jerusalem, with Tamimi on the Arab east side and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west side.

Chuang, who is veteran Taipei publisher and public relations maven (she helped launch J.K. Rowling’s ”Harry Potter” series in Taiwan’s Chinese-language editions), visited the Jerusalem Book Fair in 2013 and came away with a love for the local food and a dream to find a translator for the colorful cookbook she discovered there.

“Israel has delicious food, such as hummus and pita bread,” she told a reporter for the Taipei Times newspaper last month during the press conference. “But these are not well known to many Taiwanese foodies.”

What did Ambassador Yarden and his wife cook for the press conference? Two common Israeli dishes, naturally, ”shakshuka” and ”tabbouleh.”

Now comes word from Edouard Cointreau, the French director of Gourmand Magazine and the annual Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for international cookbooks, that the Taipei edition has been nominated for a possible “best cookbook translation” gong at next year’s awards ceremony. Chuang received word of the nomination by email when she was visiting Jerusalem again last month, and told this reporter she was delighted to hear the news.

Next year in Jerusalem!
About the Author
Danny Bloom is editor of The Cli-Fi Report at www.cli-fi.net. Danny graduated from Tufts University in Boston in 1971 with a major in Yiddish Literature. A newspaper editor and reporter since his days in Alaska, Japan and Taiwan, he has lived and worked in 14 countries and speaks French, Japanese and Chinese. He hopes to live until 2032, when his tombstone will read "I came, I saw, I ate cho-dofu."
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