About Olia

Olia HerculesI am a Leith’s-trained chef, recipe writer and food stylist. I honed my cooking skills in the fiery kitchens of Ottolenghi after which I 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.

I have been picked as Observer Rising Star of 2015 in food category.

My recipes are regularly featured in 10 Best column of The Guardian’s Cook supplement.

And here is my video for The Guardian Cook, cooking Ukrainian dishes.

I am represented by Ariella Feiner at United Agents and my first cookery book with Octopus Publishing Group will be published in June 2015.

I live in London with my son Sasha and I food style and write recipes for a living.

For all styling work please contact my food styling agent Rosana McPhee rosana@styledepartment.co.uk


31 Comments on “About Olia

  1. Oh, what a delight! So happy I found you Olia. Passing you around all my Ukrainian American friends! I miss my mama’s borscht! Will try to make my own pot. Wish me luck…

    • Maryna, thank you so much! Really pleased it’s evoking memories for people all over the world. Please let me know how it goes – what worked and what hasn’t. I am hoping to do more videos, there will definitely be more recipes on my website.

      Oh, you made me so happy this morning! :))))

  2. Doroha Olia,
    I watched your demonstration on how to make the Ukrainian “zeleny borscht” with great interest. You are great. I like the way you feel so confident of yourself (after your experience, I believe you are) in what you are doing. I see you as a cossack cooking in the wild and wide steppes with only the blue sky as company. I left Ukraine in 1943 when I was 1 year old. Lived in German Labor Camps till 1950, and in France. Since 1956 in the USA, but I am always making red borscht and “zeleny borscht” all my adult life, and so are my three daughters. How wise our ancestors were to come up with such healthy and delicious dish. I have an original twist on both of them, and would like to share with you these secrets. If you are interested send me a note.
    with love,
    Halyna Boyko-Hrushetska

    • Halyna thank you so much for your beautiful message. It is incredible to hear all these stories and of course I would absolutely love to hear how you make borsht and other dishes that you managed to take with you. What an incredible story – you left when you were one?

      I miss the steppes and the vast blue sky. Every time I go back home (that’s after London’s oppressive low moody skyline) I marvel at how ‘high’ and enormous sky in Ukraine feels. Flat steppes and cloudless weather – make for an endless sky don’t they?

      Here is my email olia.hercules@gmail.com Would love to hear more from you!

      Yours, Olia

  3. HI Olia! I just started my own blog, where I want to introduce some Ukrainian recipes as well. Im from Kiev and live & work in London now. Its such a great to see how our Ukrainian traditions survive and shine in these hard times. Congratulations to you fantastic success and Good luck for future! Visit my blog and let me know what do you think, when you have a minute – http://www.biloshytska.com. BTW “We can do Do it!” is on my To Do list for one of my projects, so have to say – You bit me to it! Great profile picture! 🙂

  4. It was brilliant meeting you so unexpectedly in the Borders today, especially since I had just bought your book last week. Your food is lovely and I hope your career does really well. I look forward to planning what I want to cook. I love solyanka. We have a couple of Polish shops in Berwick, so maybe I can find the fermented gherkins there. I have only visited the Ukraine once, and that was the Crimean, where I liked the Tartar and Azeri food. I like this Azeri food site: http://www.azcookbook.com/ Ferida taught me about oreshki amd I have bought a special machine to make them. Thank you so very much for introducing us to the character and diversity of Ukrainian food.

  5. Hi Olia,
    I listened to your interview for Monocle,and you made me so emotional about the way you talked about Ukraine and it’s cusine.i also grew up in formerly communist country,and didn’t forget long queues and there was nothing available in shops.However I will never forget home made soups (barszcz,sauerkraut),dumplings with mushroom etc….I am so glad you wrote the book,and introduced such a beautiful country such as Ukraine and delicious food to the Western world.I am going to buy your cookbook and just want to tell you have a big fan now.
    I wish you all the best!!
    -from a Pole living in the UK.

    • Agata, thank you so much. I really really hope that it opens the way for other Eastern European writers. I would love to own an amazing Polish cookbook. I love Polish cuisine.
      My warmest wishes and thank you again, Olia

  6. Finally somebody introduces our great Ukrainian cuisine in the UK, it so deserves to be popular. I hope you will open the first Ukrainian restaurant where we can take our friends to let them enjoy the food.
    Mamushka could be a unusual Xmas gift for family and friends. Just ordered my copy from Amazon, looking forward to get it.
    All the best to you, Olia!!

    • Maryna thank you so much and sorry for replying so late. I really hope to open something very soon. It’s great to see there is demand for it. My warmest hugs, Olia

  7. Olia, thank you so much for the wonderful book, Mamushka! I think it had just been released in the US recently. I was born and grew up in Moscow, and emigrated to the US 15 years ago. The recipes in your book are so authentic! And the decorations are so lovely. I was pleasantly surprised to find many Caucus dishes in the book. My husband is Armenian from Baku and we both enjoy the recipes. Thank you!!!

    • Olga hello! One of my aunts is Armenian from Baku. I would be really interested to hear more about your husband and his family. How can I reach you? Email? Warmest wishes,

  8. Olia, I’ve just learned about your Mamushka cook book, congratulations! I loved the zeleny borscht video, and was surprised to see how familiar your face looked – you could be family. My parents left western Ukraine during the 1940’s and settled in Canada where I grew up, first child of immigrant parents. Our small Ukrainian community in PEI is already making plans for Sviat Vecher in January, to be held at my country home. Again, congratulations on your book and all your accomplishments!

  9. Hi! Was born in Chernivtsi,have been back a few times and there are some brilliant places to eat these days,,,,esp. Restaurant Knaus. Cannot find anywhere in London for this kind of food!! Solyanka., Banush., Kvas!! Any suggestions welcome!! PS where in Ukraine do you originate??

    • Hello!Sorry for the late reply. I am from the Kherson region, Kahovka 🙂 My father goes to Chernivtsi quite a lot. In terms of restaurants – watch this space. I am hoping in a year’s time – will open a relaxed place where you can taste all those things and more!

      • As long as you send us details when you open your own place!!! Best regards, Cornel Fleming,

  10. Hi, Olia! I am originally from Ukraine and live in London too – so happy to see you cooking the food that reminds me of my childhood. I got your book a while ago and love it so much! Thank you for your amazing work! Всього найкращого! Наталя.

    Natalya ❤ tatikprice.wordpress.com ❤

      • Olia, you are most welcome! I really admire your work and am a huge fan 🙂 And please do not apologise, you are a busy lady, thank you for taking the time to respond to everyone’s comments here! xxx

  11. Hi Olia, I just got your book as a Birthday present. I come from Ukraine (Zaporizhia) so my patner’s mum got it for me. I now live in London as well and recently became interested in cooking food I can remember from my childhood. Last couple of days I’ve been reading your book occasionally jumping on the spot saying “I am going to make this one and that one and that one as well!” Unfortunately I only cook veggie dishes, but I still eat meat and fish if someone else cooks them, so please do let us know when your restaurant is open as my guess is I will not be able to make a veggie salo 🙂 . Well done for the great book and good luck with all your future projects!

  12. Pingback: Cooking from Cookbooks: Moldovan Lazy Flatbreads

  13. Pingback: Summer food photography course with Roger Stowell and Olia Hercules… | Food, Photography & France

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s