Top Aussie Chefs Experienced The Good Oil of South Australia

Monday’s never tasted so good until last Monday, June 20 rolled around. Heavy weights of Australia’s culinary world flocked to a little known area of South Australia - Mypolonga in the heart of the Murraylands, to taste all things local and re-connect post Covid.

Joining the local culinary royalty such Cheong Liew, AOM (Adelaide’s own culinary icon), Kane Pollard (ex Sol and Topiary fame) and Tony Carroll (ex Jolly’s Boathouse royalty and current Fishbank), were joined by some of Australia’s hottest chefs including Mark Best (a regular star on the World’s Top 50 Restaurant list), Adam D’Sylva (Tonka, Coda, Lollo and Bocca Gelato), Joel Bickford (ex- Aria head Chef and current Shell House Culinary Director, 2 hat), Paul Farag (Executive Chef for the Esca group including Nour, Aalia) along with many more.

These chefs experienced ‘soil to oil’ and ‘paddock to plate’ at the family-owned, mulit-award winning olive grove, Rio Vista Olives. During the event, many of these chefs described having barely left their kitchens, let along their home States for the past two years, so the opportunity to enjoy in a paddock-to-plate experience along the magnificent Murray River food bowl was as Sydney chef Paul Farag described, much like a “lunar eclipse”.

Internationally-renowned chef, author and television personality Jason Roberts spent two days preparing the food over fire at the Rio Vista Olives farm, using everything from traditional clay-pot cooking and fire-roasting, to baking and smoking to bring the feast together.

The event was the brain-child of the award-winning team from Rio Vista Olives, as brother and sister duo Jared Bettio (Master Miller) and Sarah Asciutto (Olive Oil Sommelier) dreamed of bringing the chefs to their farm for an immersive ‘soil to oil’ experience where they could see the harvest and extraction of the oil.

However, the event soon became even bigger than the oil, and incorporated some of the other emerging produce coming out of the region, including buffalo meat and cheese, locally-caught carp, Coorong mullet and other exceptional South Australian produce.

The expansion of the event was thanks to support from the Agri Food Tourism Development (AFTD) Program, funded by the Australian Government under the Murray–Darling Basin Economic Development Program and delivered by Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland (RDAMR).

Internationally-renowned chef, author and television personality Jason Roberts spent two days preparing the food over fire at the Rio Vista Olives farm, using everything from traditional clay-pot cooking, fire-roasting, baking and smoking to bring the feast together.

 “Sometimes we get so caught up in things that we forget about the pure joy of great food and bringing people together, and that is what this day was all about,” Jason says.

“As chefs, we love to get out and meet the farmers and producers, we love to spend time with each other connecting on our passions – and we haven’t been able to do that for a long time. This Rio Vista event has allowed us to do both, and I think we all needed it.”

Chef’s experienced:

  • an immersive experience of seeing how Extra Virgin Olive Oil is cold-pressed
  • tasted new season oils.
  • An education on the beauty of a soil to oil approach, which includes spray free practices and circular farming are vital to the future of food.

Award winning chef Mark Best returned to Rio Vista for the day and said he was pleased to see so many chefs engaging with the incredible produce of the Murraylands region.

“I’ve tasted olive oil all over the world and I can hands down say that Rio Vista has the best I’ve ever tasted. They’re using the best of the new and old-world technology, and the amount of travelling and learning they’re doing to keep improving it, is simply exceptional,” Mark said. “This will be my oil of choice from now on.”

 


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