A Chef & A Nutritionist Talk Up Mediterranean Diet, Olive Oil

A chef and a nutritionist teamed to talk up the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, grains and seafood. The food, they noted, tastes good and is good for your health. Olive oil was a key topic in their presentation — and a key ingredient in their cooking demonstrations. Some excerpts from their talk at a recent health and culinary and health conference we attended.

On the role of olive oil in Mediterranean cuisine

“It really anchors the Mediterranean diet.” Olive oil is “the primary cooking fat.” Bill Briwa, senior chef-instructor at the Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone campus in California’s Napa Valley, where the conference took place.

On extra virgin olive oil as a “whole food”

“Recognize extra virgin olive oil as an unprocessed product. It’s fruit from a tree that’s crushed and separated.” Bill Briwa

On olive oil in a healthy diet

“Healthy, delicious olive oil helps food taste great.” That kind of good taste is more likely to inspire people to stick with a healthy diet like the Mediterranean diet. “Nobody is going to eat any diet that doesn’t taste good.” The food needs to be “delicious” and prepared in a “simple” way. Kathy McManus, director of the department of nutrition at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital

On cooking with olive oil

“There’s this mistaken belief that olive oil has a very low smoke point. That’s not true.” Olive oil can withstand temperatures of 375 degrees to 380 degrees Fahrenheit. Bill Briwa

On what to do if olive oil begins to smoke while you’re cooking

“Take the pan off the heat. Or put some food into the pan (to absorb the heat).” Bill Briwa

On what that smoke means

“As soon as it smokes, that’s an indication that olive oil is as hot as it can be. As a chef, smoke is my friend.” Bill Briwa

On how much olive oil to use over the course of time in cooking

“If you can’t use up a (500ml) bottle in six weeks, you’re not using enough olive oil.” Bill Briwa

Bon appétit,

Your friends at California Olive Ranch

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One Response to A Chef & A Nutritionist Talk Up Mediterranean Diet, Olive Oil

  1. In my quest to be healthy I persued a nutritionest to help me learn more about my diet. I actually didn’t eat badly just wasn’t absorbing the nutrients that I did eat. In our working together she told me to ingest more olive oil daily. 2 Tablespoons daile and gave me a formula I wantd to pass on. Use 2 Tablespoons in a glass of grapefruit 2-3 times a week. This would help my kidneys and liver. Shortly after she advised this, I found you! I am in love with the olive oil you create. it is a lively taste which makes me love to use it more and more. Dipping bread with some herbs cures my appitite for lots of breat because the oils is so satisfying! Keep up the good work…………Thanks for California Olive Oil!!

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