Why did Mary Berry “really upset” Yotam Ottolenghi?

The Great British Bake Off judge did the unkthinkable. She put olive oil in her houmous...


Those of you familiar with Yotam Ottolenghi will be well acquainted with his laid back prose and chilled out demeanour. Not much riles the chef and cookery writer. 


But speaking today at a Radio Times event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the Israeli presenter revealed a pet peeve that really gets his goat. Badly made houmous – or, to be more specific, houmous created using olive oil. 

In fact, an entire segment of the evening’s conversation with historian Simon Schama was devoted to the ingredients that should – and should not – go into houmous. 

“Houmous can not have anything but chick peas, lemon juice, tahini and water,” announced the restaurant owner. “You can put garlic in but that’s about it.

“Some people put olive oil in which is a big no-no.” Food lovers, take note. And another person who might want to pay heed to Ottolenghi’s advice is Mary Berry. Apparently, The Great British Bake Off judge has been caught in the act. 

“She did houmous on TV in one of her shows the other day,” said Ottolenghi. “She’s fantastic but she made this houmous which had chick peas crushed with olive oil. That’s one of the things that really upsets me, if I can get upset.” 


Look out, Mary. Yotam’s watching you…