'Top Chefs' Turn to Olive Oil in New Ways

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

Dec. 21, 2016
By Courtney Slusser

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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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