It’s hard to believe the reality cooking competition show “Top Chef” just premiered its 14th season on Bravo. Or is it?

The creators behind this inventive culinary saga continue to surprise contestants by challenging them with an assortment of unexpected ingredients, prompting them to produce gastronomical wonders from a variety of flavors.

Talented chefs from across the country have concocted exotic creations such as olive oil poached shrimp, salted olive oil powder and a crowd favorite, olive oil ice cream. To the judges’ delight, “cheftestants” continue to deliver original (and at times) unusual bites, often including the Mediterranean staple.

Mushroom Crispy Garlic Vinaigrette might not be the first place you’d expect to find olive oil. However, last season, Top Chef: California competition winner Jeremy Ford wowed the judges with his impressive Quickfire Challenge dish: Shaved Beef with Mushroom Crispy Garlic Vinaigrette, featuring olive oil as a main ingredient in the prize-winning sauce. Sponsored by Bertolli’s Olive Oil, the episode showcased another prominent olive oil during the course of the statewide expedition.

As his second course, competition winner Ford notably included a local EVOO as an ingredient in the dish Artichoke Risotto with Crispy Shallot and Marin County Olive Oil. Olives specific to the region create a rich, dusky base with peppery tones that accentuate the warmth of crispy shallots. Popular Northern California food blog Bite Club Eats explained that Marin county is experiencing “an artisan olive oil renaissance” along with neighboring counties Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa.

In Bravo’s latest installment of the hit show, competing chefs were asked to list the top five ingredients they couldn’t live without. Five of the nine contestants named olive oil as one of their must-haves in the kitchen.


Current contestant and partner/boss of the venerated restaurant Knife at The Highland Dallas, John Tesar, cited olive oil as one ingredient that can “make a good burger great.” (Knife is known for having one of the best burgers in the country.)

Whether it’s making an excellent burger or combining olive oil with fish sauce to create the perfect French/Southern blend as contestant Annie Pettry noted in her culinary repertoire, these new chefs have chosen to include olive oil in almost everything, including MexiKosher tacos by mastermind chef Katsuji Tanabe, who has his groundbreaking restaurants in New York and Los Angeles.

Olive oil powder, olive oil ice cream and olive oil-based vinaigrette, are just some of the ways innovative chefs feature olive oil as an outstanding ingredient in the culinary creations.

The startling surprises brought to you by chefs from across the country on “Top Chef” continue to inspire fresh takes on old favorites, while generating new recipes using olive oil for years to come.

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