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A love letter to Palestine, with Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley

Thursday, April 23 2020, 6.45pm - 8.30pm, at Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP


Photo ©Jenny Zarins

Donald Sloan in conversation with Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, authors of FALASTIN

The event includes a drinks and canapes reception.  Tickets cost £10 per guest. To book, follow this link.


In partnership with Asia House Arts and the Barakat Trust, with the support of the Altajir Trust.


This event forms part of Migrations: All Our Voices, a series of events that celebrate the positive contributions of generations of migrants who have shaped the UK’s rich and diverse culture. Crucially, at a time of growing uncertainty for many in minority groups resulting from political and constitutional upheaval, this hard-hitting series stimulates meaningful reflection on the place of migrants in British society.



A ground-breaking and modern Middle Eastern cookbook, FALASTIN is a love letter to a place and its people. From Ottolenghi co-founder Sami Tamimi and co-collaborator Tara Wigley, this is a collection of over 110 recipes written for the busy home cook, with evocative stories informed by travels to Bethlehem, East Jerusalem, Nablus, Haifa, Akka, Nazareth, Galilee and the West Bank.

Inspired by the distinct culinary cultures of different regions, Falastin presents a perfect mix of the traditional and contemporary, with recipes that have been handed down through the generations and reworked in the Ottolenghi test kitchen. Other dishes are inspired by Sami and Tara’s collaborations with producers and farmers throughout Palestine. These are recipes which showcase – and sometimes shine a new light on – the Palestinian pantry: the olive oil and za’atar, pulses and flatbreads, tahini, yoghurt, feta, date syrup, allspice, sumac, ground cumin, green chillies, dill, garlic, fresh coriander and lemon.

In conversation with Donald Sloan, Sami and Tara will reflect on their time spent researching and writing Falastin, the culinary heritage of Palestine and how cooking and sharing food helps us appreciate unfamiliar cultures.


SAMI TAMIMI was born and raised in Jerusalem and was immersed in food from childhood. He started his career as commis-chef in a Jerusalem hotel and worked his way up, through many restaurants and types of cooking, to become head chef at Lilith, one of the top restaurants in Tel Aviv in the 1990’s. Sami moved to London in 1997 and worked at Baker and Spice as head chef, where he set up a traiteur section with a rich Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean spread. In 2002 he partnered with Noam Bar and Yotam Ottolenghi to set up Ottolenghi in Notting Hill. The company now has two delis and four restaurants, including NOPI and ROVI, all in central London. In his position as the executive head chef, Sami is involved in developing and nurturing young kitchen talents and creating new dishes and innovative menus. Alongside Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi is co-author of two bestselling cookbooks; Ottolenghi: The Cookbook And Jerusalem: A Cookbook.

TARA WIGLEY worked in publishing for the best part of a decade before switching to food and writing in 2010. She trained at the Ballymaloe cookery school in Ireland (taking young twins and a big Bosnian dog with her) before starting to work with Yotam in 2011. For the first year she tested recipes with Yotam in his West London flat before taking on the role of writing collaborator. Tara was very involved with the creation of Plenty More and is credited on the title page with the writing of Nopi: The Cookbook, Sweet, the re-launched edition of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Simple. Tara first visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem 20 years ago. During the course of researching and writing FALASTIN, she has returned to the area many times both with and without Sami. Tara has done a culinary tour around Palestine and, separately, ran the Bethlehem marathon in 2018. She lives in South London with her husband Chris and their three children.


This event forms part of the series Migrations: All Our Voices from the The Oxford Cultural Collective.  It is also part of Converging Paths 2020, organised by Asia House and The Barakat Trust, with the support of The Altajir Trust.  We also thank the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for their support.

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