Chefs and their oils with Derek Nicholson at Nicholson and Saville Food Wholesalers - Contact 0412 960 795.
Simon Johnson retail in Sydney, Carluccio’s restaurant sales and retail in London, White Horse London Cooking, then started Nicholson & Saville Food Wholesalers in 2003.
Different oils make different chefs happy?
Chefs will pick oil to best compliment their food, like wine with a cuisine. Different types of EVOO can highlight a chef’s style.
What are chefs looking for with their olive oils ��" ingredient/ stand alone product/ median/ finishing dressing?
Depends on the customer, Italian and Spanish restaurants usually like a more robust oils where as French style restaurants prefer a more mild and fruity oil. Often they will have one oil for general kitchen use and then a more interesting oil for finishing or dipping bread.
With your style of business is there room for differing styles of olive oil? (There are 3 distinct styles).
No wine consumer drinks the same wine with every type of food. The same can apply to olive oil. Wine and oil share similarities in growing regions, packaging and marketing, but they are consumed in very different ways. We do not sit down and drink a bottle of oil with our meal. I stock around 10 regional Australian oils at any one time, and they will change through the year depending on availability and quality. Saying there is 3 styles is a very simplistic view.
Is freshness important to the chefs?
Freshness of the oil is very important, but it may not be determined by the oils age. Older robust well kept oil can taste fresher than weak oil that has not been looked after but harvested more recently.
Do you perceive Italian or Greek olive oil to be the best?
The best at what? Local and fresh is better when looking at the oils and maintaining their nuances'. Local oil does not sit in packaging for an extend period of time, and so does not loose its subtlety.
How much are olive oils influenced by price?
It is the defining factor for an oils use with in most kitchens.
Do you buy your olive oil from farmers just because he/she has one in their portfolio; because you have researched the product and know it to be good; know the producer or have a cultural bent?
We work with established growers who have proved their ability to produce and source the highest quality oils year after year. They need to be reasonably priced and understand the supply chain and the demands of Sydney's most discerning chefs. These growers will send me a range of different oils, and I will taste them all to produce the N+S range. I only blend now if there is a specific customer who requires a unique product, otherwise the growers I use blend their own oils to best represent their fruit, region and style. It’s much like a wine maker.
Are you selling Australian olive oil that is freshly processed?
All our oil was pressed from the last season. NSW falls first then Victoria then SA, none of are oils are more than 4 months old.
Are chefs influenced by cultural background ��" using Greek olive oil because he/she is from that country?
Yes, they use what they know, and are often very one eyed. Unfortunately for second or third generation immigrates they may have grown up using one of the big imported brands who's oils are far from fresh. This leaves them looking for flavours in oils that I would not find desirable. Other chef's whose parents have an appreciation for fresh oil often have been buying oil from Aussie growers long before their oils reached the main stream. They would and continue to buy from the farm gate in 20ltr drums, in quantities that most Anglo's would not believe. These chef's tend to have an amazingly clear understand of olive oils.
Do you think chefs are interested visiting a grove at harvesting and processing time? If so would they be interested in becoming part of their team?
I am sure they would love to see a grove in full harvest
Do the reported health benefits of olive oil influence chefs or is it the taste in the cooking?
Just taste, most people do not eat out to get healthy.
For chefs ��" do they buy on price, look of the packaging - label and bottle shape, information on the back label, having a dinner party and need evoo to finish a particular dish, read about it in a magazine?
Depends on the chef and how much they are charging for their food. Chef's that charge more for food have greater flexibility in sourcing produce. I hope no chef makes a decision to purchase oil because of its label or fancy packaging. It all needs to be on taste.
Do you use different styles at home and what are they?
I have loads of oil at home; I receive samples from many growers. I recommend you to stock mild oil for cooking, emulsions and some dressings. As well as a peppery oil for finishing fish, steak, Buffalo Mozzarella and green salads and vegetables such as fennel, broad beans, edamame, witlof, and the like.
Products available at Nicholson & Saville (please indicate which one you represent)
- Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil ��" Boutique Commercial Class - yes
- Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil ��" Small Commercial Class - we source small lots through larger processors, I probably will not use the growers name though
- Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil ��" Commercial Class - yes
- Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil ��" Italian Varietal - yes
- Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil ��" Spanish Varietal - yes
- Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil ��" other varietal - yes
Olives or Olive Product?
We have an extensive range of pickled olives.
Infused Olive oils?
Yes I can get most of what you seen on the shelves.
Do you stock organic olive oil?
I have access to organic oils but I am not stocking them in the warehouse.
Quality then Choice then Value and then Proven Reliability.