I arrived in London in 1997 to do a cookery course at Le Cordon Bleu, the French cookery school. It’s moved now, but at the time it was on Marylebone Lane. It was a formative period for me. I hadn’t done any professional cooking and this was the moment I embarked on this career and decided to get my training at Le Cordon Bleu.
They were long days and we used to go to a pub across the street afterwards. We’d sit outside the pub, have beers and smoke a lot.
It always felt very special to be around that street. I spent my first four or five months in London in that area. Marylebone Lane is lovely – there are nice cafés, restaurants and shops.
Over the years we talked about opening a branch of Ottolenghi in Marylebone, but we never found the right location. Now, we’ve found a place on Marylebone Lane that is perfect. There’s something positive about opening our deli in this period after lockdown. It feels special to be going back to central London, which has been so abandoned, and making our mark. It makes me quite emotional. It’s been such a hellish year – it’s nice to be doing something positive and new.
Ottolenghi Marylebone Lane opens in late June.
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