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 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
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.