Hosted by The Restaurant Pendolino Executive Chef and Olive Oil expert Nino Zoccali, this olive oil masterclass will profile some of the best Australian grown Italian olive varietals in NSW. Joining Nino on the panel are Margi Kirkby of Gwydir Grove, an Award Winning Producer and National Judge who has also been inducted into the Food Hall of Fame and Robert Armstrong of Alto Olives, an International Award Winning Olive Oil Producer and National Judge. Everything from the different varietal flavour attributes to the extraordinary health benefits afforded by premium extra virgin olive oil will be discussed by some of Australia’s leading olive oil experts.
From opening his first Restaurant Caffe Contadino in Margaret River at the age of 25, to establishing such landmark restaurants as Otto Ristorante Italiano at Sydney’s Woolloomooloo Wharf and The Restaurant Pendolino and La Rosa in Sydney’s historic Strand Arcade, chef, cook book author and olive oil expert, Nino Zoccali has a career that spans many acclaimed culinary achievements. Nino has been an integral part of an exciting generation of Italian cooking in Australia that has brought a new level of sophistication to Italian dining in this country.
Nino’s passion for the great cornerstone of Italian cooking – olive oil – comes through in The Restaurant Pendolino’s dedicated Olioteca (olive oil store) which showcases a range of world class Australian premium extra virgin olive oils and which also forms the Restaurant’s private dining room. Nino has been judging Olive Oil in Australia at the state and national Olive Oil level for well over a decade and sits on the Australian Olive Oil Association’s national tasting panel. He is regarded as one of Australia’s foremost experts on Olive Oil.
Westerly spent her formative years in Singapore, the food capital of South East Asia, where she was exposed to a melting pot of culinary cultures and traditions. Upon returning to Australia, Westerly pursued her love of food by completing the ‘Le Cordon Bleu Diplome de Cuisine’ and spent time as an apprentice at the highly regarded Bilsons restaurant in Sydney. She also worked for a boutique fine food distributor, Nicholas Foods, whose customers included many of the eminent restaurants in Sydney, and where she was surrounded by Australia’s best regional, seasonal produce. Westerly decided to specialize in Extra Virgin Olive Oils at this time, and underwent training with the Australian Olive Association and Dr. Richard Gawel to complete her course in Olive Oil Assessment. She has been judging oils in the major shows around the country since 2007, and continues to work in the family business, the multi award winning ALTO Olives, to this day.
Margi’s passion and career in olive oil spans over 20 years. In 1996 she established Gwydir Grove with Jenni Birch in Moree in the North West NSW buying a new olive press from Italy and harvesting all the local olive trees they could find while they waited for their own newly planted trees to grow. They began selling the oil in local shops and today Gywdir Grove exists as one of Australia’s leading premium olive oils. Margi has travelled extensively to Italy and Spain, and has been involved with the Australian Olive Oil Association, sitting on the board from 1995 to 1999 and as secretary for three years. In 2003 Margi was inducted as 1 of 3 people in Australia to Savante ; the professional internationally renowned olive oil tasting program. In 2008, she was inducted into the Food Hall of Fame, the first olive oil producer to be included. Margi is a judge at the Regional and National Olive Oil shows in Australia and is one of Australia’s foremost experts on Olive Oil.
Joan’s involvement with olive oil began in 2001 with the purchase of a 54 hectare property west of Geelong. She and husband Peter established the Camilo grove and they began a steep learning curve about all things olive. Camilo has about 3500 trees and two Olio Mio processing machines that have created some of Australia’s top award winning oils. Joan has always been passionate about the industry and olive oil and in August last year left her corporate job to see if Camilo could be profitable. The shift to Camilo has been a great move that has seen Joan’s passion for the industry grow. Joan is on the Australian Olive Association’s Consumer Awareness and Marketing committee and is keen to see Australia’s appetite for great extra virgin olive oil grow. Her working career spans decades of communications, first as a journalist, then as a consultant and then in the corporate world before the world of extra virgin olive oil became her full-time life.