Contributors > Chef, Food Writer

Olia Hercules

Olia was named the Observer Rising Star of 2015 and has just finished her second cookbook, called Kaukasis: a culinary journey through Georgia, Azerbaijan and beyond, which is out on August 10th.. She lives in London with her son Sasha, writing, cooking and feeding her unceasing curiosity by researching food culture and culinary traditions of countries less explored.

Olia Hercules was born in the south of Ukraine in 1984. She left at the age of twelve, when she moved to Cyprus. After finishing school, she moved to the UK where she studied Italian and Politics. After spending a year in Italy, Olia settled in London, pursuing a journalistic career after completing her Master's degree.

Following the financial crisis of 2008, Olia decided to quit her job as a film business reporter to pursue her dream to cook for a living. She trained at the renowned Leiths School of Food and Wine. She worked as a chef in restaurants, including Ottolenghi, and as a recipe developer before landing a book deal for Mamushka, a cookbook that celebrates her family recipes, from Ukraine and Moldova to Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. Mamushka has won the prestigious Fortnum and Mason Award for best debut cookbook 2016.  

Photograph by Elena Heatherwick