Olive Oil Uncovered

By: Dana Rozansky

There are very few staples in my kitchen, given that I admittedly don’t cook often. With so many amazing restaurants to explore in this city, the thought of slaving in the kitchen just usually doesn’t sound so appealing. But there is one item that you can always find in my cabinet, for those moments where I am inspired to whip up a quick dinner: olive oil. Whether we think about it or not, we’re likely consuming olive oil on a daily basis, whether at home or while dining out. So I decided to dig a little deeper to learn more about this product I’d been mindlessly consuming for years.

Last month, I sat down with Chef Seamus Mullen to learn more about his role as ambassador for Olive Oils from Spain, hoping he would help shed some light on this product.

So without further ado: Olive Oil Uncovered:

Miami Food Porn: Tell us about your role as ambassador for Olive Oils from Spain and the Olive Oil World Tour campaign.

Chef Mullen: My main role is to help educate about Olive Oils from Spain and to encourage more people to integrate them into their daily cooking.

Miami Food Porn: When did you become passionate about olive oil? 

Chef Mullen: I first went to Spain when I was 16 years old. I had cooked as a kid growing up on a farm in Vermont, but I didn’t really know about olive oil. Cooking with my host mother in Burgos, Spain I realized just how amazing olive oil is.

Miami Food Porn: Over the past couple of years, you’ve become an emblem of a Chef who maintains a healthy lifestyle, but that wasn’t always the case. Tell us how your new approach to food changed your life.  

Chef Mullen: I was sick for many years and making a significant change in my lifestyle and my approach to diet was a key factor in getting healthy. Olive oil was one of the key ingredients- a healthy fat that’s a natural antioxidant- that helps me on my journey.

Miami Food Porn: There are so many different olive oils out there. What makes Olive Oils from Spain so unique? What makes a great olive oil?

Chef Mullen: Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world with over 200 varietals of olives, the diversity of flavor profiles is astounding. Because it is such an important product to the Spanish economy, production is highly regulated and controlled, ensuring the best quality possible.

Miami Food Porn: What are some of the health benefits of olive oil?

Chef Mullen: In addition to being a natural antioxidant, olive oil is a healthy fat, essential for so many of the body’s functions and can help to control cholesterol levels.

Miami Food Porn: What are some of your favorite, unique dishes that you make with olive oil?

Chef Mullen: I love using olive oil as a finishing touch to a dish, simply drizzling a little on top of some grilled fish or grilled vegetables. I also use it as a primary ingredient in chilled soups, emulsifying oil in at the very last minute to create a creamy and delicious texture.

Miami Food Porn: What is a misconception or a surprising fact about olive oil that you'd like to share?

Chef Mullen: Many people think that you can’t cook or bake with olive oil, that it’s only good for vinaigrettes, but it is a very versatile oil that is great for cooking, baking, marinating and finishing dishes.

Miami Food Porn: Favorite foods to drizzle olive oil on? What makes for a good pairing?

Chef Mullen: I love using olive oil in an unexpected way, like drizzled over some figs for a sweet and savory finish or whipped into some yogurt for a creamy sauce for grilled lamb.