Recently, we were fortunate enough to be joined, for a two day harvest celebration, by some of the best chefs from New York and San Francisco. Included in the group were: Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern; John Adler, Franny’s; Karen Shu, ABC Kitchen, Dan Kluger, formerly of ABC Kitchen; Matt Armendariz, Parke Ulrich, Waterbar; Jonathan Sutton and Tony Ferrari, Hillside Supper Club; Laurence Jossel, Nopa, and Shannon Waters, Flour and Water and soon to be Aatxe.Thursday evening, Chefs Ryan Pollnow and Thomas McNaughton hosted the group for an olive oil-centric meal at Central Kitchen, where they used specialized California Olive Ranch oils for each course. They served everything from olive oil poached quail to hibiscus leaf ice cream with Arbequina olive oil jam. Over dinner, the chefs shared ideas on the diverse ways to use olive oil in dish, either as a subtle component or as a primary component.The next morning, the chefs all piled into a 15 passenger van to begin the journey north to our mill, to watch olives turn into the olive oil they know and trust. The chefs had the opportunity to ask questions about the olive varietals as they curiously plucked the olives off of the tree and watched as the olives were harvested. Chef Michael Anthony loved visiting the source of the olive oil he uses in his restaurant, and felt that “California Olive Ranch is clearly forward thinking and it’s great to see a producer work so hard to make such a good product.”
After touring the rest of our facility, Chef John Adler was impressed by all of the systems we have in place to track every bottle, “The traceability is the most impressive part. How you can trace a bottle back to the grower and go back and see how you can make it better. If we could apply that to our cooking we would be in a great place!”As the tour came to a close, the group completed their visit with a tasting with Master Miller, Bob Singletary. Bob demonstrated the traditional method for tasting olive oil and had the chefs follow suit, to really pick up on the different flavor characteristics of each oil. Wowed, Matt Armendariz said, “I never knew olive oil could taste like that.” The group tossed ideas back and forth on how they would pair the different oils in their restaurants.After a fun filled two days, the chefs returned to their kitchens, hopefully a bit more inspired by the oil they use every day. It was an honor for us to welcome such talents, and always a great reminder for us here at California Olive Ranch that our extra virgin olive oils are so well loved all around the country.