Photograph: Kris Kirkham
Olia Hercules was born in Ukraine and lived in Cyprus before moving to the UK to study a BA in Italian, followed by an MA in Russian and English. She worked as a reporter for Screen International before her interest in food as an amateur reached its apogee and she decided to retrain to be a chef at Leith's School of Food and Wine. She kicked off her culinary career working at Fulham's Union Market with Aaron Craze before landing her dream job as chef-de-partie at Ottolenghi's. After having her son, and filming for The Food Network, Olia began writing for Sainsbury's, The Recipe Kit, and The Guardian.
From the winner of the Observer's Rising Star Award and Fortnum & Mason Debut Food Book Award 2016 comes a celebration of the food and flavours of the Caucasus - bridging Europe and Asia and incorporating Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Russia and Turkey. Olia Hercules introduces us to more than 100 recipes for vibrant, earthy, unexpected dishes from across the region such as Plum fruit leather, Chestnut plov with pumpkin crust, Quince stuffed with lamb & carmalised shallots, Vine leaf dolma, Village breakfast, Khachapouri, Armenian "cognac" profiteroles and Red basil sherbet.
“Finally. Been waiting for this book all year. mamushka by @oliahercules will be *the* book of 2015. Stunning” – Dan Doherty
“Gorgeous #Mamushka by @OliasGastronomy SO interesting! Ukrainian, Moldovian, Georgian recipes & more!” – Sabrina Ghayour
"Going to make lots of these dishes” – Henry Dimbleby
“So beautiful” – Dan Lepard
“So many glorious recipes. This year’s Honey & Co., mark my words” – Fiona Beckett
“Wow!” – Thane Prince
"A sensitive, personal journey expressed through the beauty of food - just wonderful" - Jamie Oliver
"Olia Hercules is a storyteller-foodwriter, and a wholly original voice in the kitchen - there's not a recipe of hers I don't want to cook immediately" - Nigella Lawson
"This is an incredible book - as I began to leaf through I started to smile, and I didn't stop" - Diana Henry
"Each recipe has a story, making this a fascinating read as well as a stunning cookbook" - BBC Good Food
"If the cooking of the Caucasian region isn't yet on your radar, it soon will be. (...) These gorgeous, flavour-packed recipes will give you a taste of what you've been missing" - delicious. magazine
"Hercules transforms the “unknown” into an accessible, beautiful and in many instances a mouthwatering cuisine" - The Independent
MAMUSHKA is a celebration of the food and flavours of the "Wild East" - from the Black Sea to Baku and Armenia to Azerbaijan, with over 100 recipes for fresh, flavourful and unexpected dishes from across the region. From the Moldovan giant cheese twist and Ukrainian buns with potatoes & shallots to Garlicky Georgian poussins with spicy plum chutney and Armenian pickled wet garlic; to Napoleon cake, Wasp nest buns and Apricot & sour cherry pie. To top it off, why not enjoy a digestif of Winter punch or Blackcurrant vodka? Olia Hercules will entice you with evocative new flavours and ingredient combinations that will leave you asking yourself why you haven't been eating Ukrainian food all your life!
Olia is a Leith’s-trained chef, recipe writer and food stylist. She honed her cooking skills in the fiery kitchens of Ottolenghi after which she worked as a freelance recipe tester and developer for a variety of food magazines, including Sainsbury’s and Jamie’s, and appeared in a Food Network cookery show Red, Hot and Yummy.
In her most recent role, she helped launch online start up The Recipe Kit, writing, testing and editing over 400 recipes in seven months, and styling more than 130 dishes.
Her recipes are regularly featured in the 10 Best column of The Guardian’s Cook supplement and The Observer named her their Rising Star of 2015 in the Food category and she is the author of the bestselling cookbook MAMUSHKA.