about leila lucy
My earliest food memories are of the continual abundance of food, of the many shared colourful dishes and of a sense of occasion and celebration. I remember my maternal grandmother, Nouritsa Keshishian, with her apron covered in flour, wooden rolling pin in hand rolling out layers of pastry. Sitting at the kitchen table in the hub of activity, learning how to roll the edges of pastry so they formed a beautiful even pattern.
I also have fond memories of my paternal grandmother Arshalous Tashdjian, walking stick in hand bowed legged, walking out into the garden to pick the most fragrant red roses, picking the petals and transforming them into delicious rose petal jam.
The person who has inspired me to cook the most however has been my mum, Hasmig (Jasmine) Tachedjian. I spent many hours in the kitchen helping prepare the daily meals and when my parents entertained helping to create what seemed to be an endless array of dishes that created a colourful feast. My mum cooks from the heart, cooks by feel, never with a recipe, always by taste and with a whole lot of love. Dad, Berge Tachedjian, never too far away to make sure everything was to taste.
When I finished my final year of school I found myself at a cross road. Should I follow my passion with food and become a chef? Or should I follow my academic strengths and become an accountant? I chose the latter but in 2009 I had the opportunity to live my foodie dream and with my husband, Brendan Smith, we purchased a food business in a small country town called Warburton, 70km east of Melbourne.
As I made my journey from corporate world to business owner I was introduced to ‘Ottolenghi the cookbook’ and I instantly fell in love. I have dragged my darling husband half way around the world to London to simply be able to get to the amazing Ottolenghi deli’s and Nopi restaurant, never to be disappointed from our experience. Each trip filled with the anticipation of perhaps meeting the man himself. On our first visit he happened to be in Australia, on our second visit on a family holiday.
Well the time has finally arrived for our paths to cross, third time lucky and this time he has come to me. Tomorrow, Friday 31st October at 9pm I am going to finally meet the man behind the brand ‘Ottolenghi’. Well meeting him might be stretching the truth but in a Theatre with hundreds of other adoring fans at least.
As a tribute to this momentous occasion I have been inspired to start writing a blog about my foodie adventures and what a better time to launch than on the eve of meeting the man that has managed to turn me into a crazy, obsessed Ottolenghi fan!
Leila Lucy Tachedjian-Smith