Olia Hercules


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Photograph: Kris Kirkham


Agent: Ariella Feiner
Assistant: Molly Jamieson



"My favourite sort of cookbook. . . this is a rich gift of a book for which this mamushka is very grateful!" - Nigella Lawson
“The hottest new voice in food” – delicious. magazine

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. 

Olia was awarded the Observer's Rising Star in Food Award 2015. Her debut book Mamushka was a bestseller and won the Best Debut Food Book award at the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards, and was shortlisted for an André Simon Award and a Guild of Food Writers Award. Her third book, Summer Kitchens, was bought by Bloomsbury in a heated auction and will be published in 2020.

Olia Hercules owes some of her earliest and fondest memories to the 'summer kitchens' of her parents, grandparents, neighbours and friends in Ukraine. These small buildings are separate from the main house, and always positioned near a fruit plot or veg patch so families can enjoy the home-grown produce as it ripens, and preserve the surplus in preparation for winter.

The number of summer kitchens is dwindling these days, but there is still so much we can learn about making the most of the vibrant summer produce throughout the rest of the year. Summer Kitchens contains recipes such as Borsch with duck and smoked pears, Burnt aubergine butter and tomato toast, Pot roast chicken with herb crème fraîche, Nettle, sorrel and wild garlic soup and Poppyseed babka.

With beautiful photography and writing on the people and lush landscapes of Ukraine, this book will transport you to idyllic summer kitchens past and present.

Praise for Summer Kitchens

‘Summer Kitchens is a complete revelation. This wonderful book is such a stunningly beautiful evocation of spirit of place and sensibility, and I long to cook my way through it’ Nigella Lawson

‘This is an important book. As a record of a way of life that wastes nothing and respects people, land and season, delight in the old ways runs through it like a silver thread. Wonderful stuff, and timely’ Elisabeth Luard

‘What a wonderful world Olia and this book transport us to. Pure magic in its recipes and its storytelling’ Anna Jones

'I'm so glad she's sharing these culinary secrets.' Melissa Hemsley

‘Summer Kitchens….really feels like [Olia Hercules’s] apex. Bursting with vibrant recipes, stories and memories, right from the off it’s everything I want in a specialist cookbook… A triumph.’ – Daily Telegraph

‘Beautiful’ – Sainsbury’s magazine: The Scoop

‘Evocative’ – Sunday Telegraph, Travel

‘A welcome and well-timed cookbook’ – The Caterer

Praise for Olia Hercules:

"Olia Hercules, a born storyteller, has travelled through Georgia, Azerbaijan and beyond, and has brought back dazzling recipes... The writing is moving, and Elena Heatherwick's photography wonderfully evocative and intelligent" - The Telegraph

"Exotic, earthy dishes, vibrant colours, big flavours. This is real cooking, written about with so much love." - Diana Henry
"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
“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
“Wow!” – Thane Prince
"Olia Hercules's Kaukasis... is a wonderful mix of regional history, family stories and astonishingly colourful recipes from Georgia, Azerbaikan and Armenia. Recipes include...a dumpling broth not so quick to make, but soulfully good." - Rose PrinceThe Spectator.
"While capturing the differences between the cooking of the various countries of the Caucasus, Hercules argues that the culture of the region is intertwined and that this is seen in food. Her flavours are both exciting and soothing." - Bee Wilson, for The Guardian's Best Books on Food of 2017
"A beautiful, often lyrical journey around the Caucasus, Georgia, Azerbajian and beyond, Hercules takes the reader to lands way beyond the usual culinary beat. The pictures are sumptuous, the stories fascinating, and the recipes exotic and homely." - Tom Parker Bowles, for Mail On Sunday's picks for The Year's Best Reads (2017)
"Olia Hercules has single-handedly brought the cooking of the Caucasus to the radar: Ka​ukasis, her latest, has dishes from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan which are a revelation in flavours." - Melanie McDonagh for Evening Standard's Best Cookbooks of 2017
"I confess I think i have a slight crush on Olia Hercules, well at least on her cooking. Her Mamushka cookbook. . . is a handsomely produced work of well-crafted recipes (who knew beetroot broth could look so beautiful?) Highly recommended." - Observer Food Monthly
"Packed full of vibrant Ukranian recipes, Olia Hercules. . .  will enchant your kitchen this summer." - Grazia 
"Each recipe has a story, making this a fascinating read as well as a stunning cookbook." - BBC Good Food
"Ukrainian born chef Olia Hercules has been hailed as the new Ottolenghi." - Town & Country magazine
"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 


Publication DetailsNotes



Mitchell Beazley


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.

You can find out more about Olia at her website http://oliahercules.com/, her Twitter page at  https://twitter.com/OliasGastronomy or her Instagram page at http://instagram.com/oliahercules.