As part of a national campaign to promote olive oil from Spain, Australian Masterchef contestant Justine Schofield took to the stove to cook up a Spanish style feast for the people of Sydney recently.
The pop-up style restaurant affair, set up in the center of the Sydney CBD, was designed in the style of a Spanish olive grove, complete with wooden benches, a stone farmhouse, flamenco dancers and a large silhouette of the typical Spanish bull. Diners were able to sample a wide variety of Schofields’ complimentary dishes, served in the traditional Spanish tapas format of bite size morsels, whilst listening to live music.
Dishes were prepared in live cooking demonstrations by Schofield and then served to the walk-in guests for breakfast, lunch and dinner, highlighting the fact that olive oil can be used to enhance any meal of the day. Aside from their numerous culinary uses, Schofield also offered her own tip as to the usefulness of olive oil as a natural make up remover.
All dishes were carefully designed to highlight Spanish olive oil as the key ingredient, with a focus on how the product can enhance the taste of a dish. The tapas style dishes were served alongside crusty bread and additional extra virgin olive oil for dipping. The specifically designed dishes included olive oil rice pudding with peaches and almonds for breakfast, charred vegetable salad with prawns for lunch and confit of salmon with chorizo crumbs for dinner.
Schofield, who is an ambassador for the Olive Oil from Spain program, appeared in the first season of Australia’s Masterchef series. She now hosts her own cooking show, Everyday Gourmet , appears in cooking demos and operates a catering company.
The event was an initiative of the Embassy of Madrid in Australia, as part of a national campaign to promote Spanish olive oil around the country. Australia is an important market for Spanish olive oil export, as one of the main non-EU importers. Spanish olive oil export to Australia has risen over the last year, and it is hoped that continuing promotion of the product will maintain this strong market. Australia is a country with a large number of Italian and Greek immigrants, who tend to choose olive oil from their own country, which in addition to the fact that Australia also produces its own oil, means ongoing marketing and initiatives to raise awareness are necessary for Spanish oil to maintain its place in the market.