‘Everything tastes better with cumin!’ – take a step inside The Palomar kitchen

***Rachel Khoo would like to thank all the inspiring people who helped make the Khoollect studio a hive of creativity. Although the Khoollect studio’s doors have now closed, you can keep up with Rachel’s newest adventures on RachelKhoo.com and on Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook pages – and, continue to enjoy the Khoollect website’s stories and recipes, which will remain available.***

Whether you’re following the scent of spices to London’s The Palomar Restaurant or flicking through the pages of its newly released The Palomar Cookbook, your foodie senses are bound to tingle at the vivid flavours served up by The Palomar. With the success of the restaurant, and now its cookbook, we wanted to know more about what inspires the dishes that come out of the kitchen. Here’s what the team told us:

How would you describe the food and flavours of modern Jerusalem, which feature heavily in your book?

Jerusalem is a real melting pot. The food is influenced by many different cultures so you really get a wide variety of influences. The cuisine really lends itself to punchy flavours and vibrant colours. What we love most about Jerusalem is the availability of spices. You can find every spice under the sun in the markets!

Your restaurant has been hugely successful; when did you decide to put together a cookbook?

We were approached by many publishers, which took us (pleasantly) by surprise at the time, however no false modesty, it didn’t take us too long to get into the idea of creating a cookbook! We are all avid fans of so many from around the world, from both restaurants and celebrity chefs, it was thrilling to be given the opportunity.

Did you enjoy the process of putting together your book?

Yes, it was a brilliant journey but a steep learning curve. The editing part is hard and needs a lot of patience as you go through many versions till you get to the final cut. We loved dealing with all the different creative aspects, particularly the styling and shooting of the book, and writing the stories behind the recipes. It was a joy to work and collaborate with so many talented people.

What can we expect to find in The Palomar Cookbook?

You can expect to find a gateway into the cuisine of modern Jerusalem, some family stories, a bit of history, personal and beyond and of course lots of staple recipes that are going to enrich your kitchen and the way you cook on a daily basis.

Do many dishes from your restaurant appear in the book?

Almost every dish since we opened is featured up until we handed over the finished book. The book features signature dishes, heritage dishes and other key recipes.

What do you love most about the food of Jerusalem?

The fact that it has no boundaries. It combines so many cultures yet remains very loyal to local and seasonal ingredients. It is the meeting point of three of the world’s great religions and all the different people’s and their culinary journeys.

What’s your top piece of cooking advice for novice cooks?

Taste, taste, taste… this is the most important aspect. You must always taste what you are cooking throughout the process.

What are your go-to ingredients in the kitchen?

Quite a few….tomatoes, salt, cumin, onions, yoghurt, tahini and olive oil, but if we had to choose one it would be cumin. Everything tastes better with cumin!

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Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

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