It is strange that to this day, we still wonder why extra virgin oil is not considered a vital element when starting up or running a serious, top-notch restaurant.
More attention is devoted to furniture, fabrics, chairs, colour schemes, glasses and dishware. No expense is spared on the kitchen equipment, so that often the cooking premises are more futuristic than functional, and good money is wasted instead of being used more wisely. For instance, the olive oil on the tables, and in the kitchen, is, in my opinion, a key element revealing the true quality of a restaurant.
It may seem a detail, but it is something that only an improvised manager would neglect, believing that all products are more or less equivalent, and that what matters is the price. And once again I cannot help thinking how many people just seem to take a stab at running a restaurant, and fail to see how little they save in the overall budget of their enterprise by purchasing a mediocre oil, or one that has been subjected to refining processes to make it edible.
On the other hand, the disgusting flavour of poor quality oil will certainly cast a shadow on the overall impression of the venue and the meal served there.
Personally, I always put a bottle of the extra virgin olive oil I make on the tables in my restaurant. I supervise every aspect of its production, from harvest to the pressing of the olives at the oil mill.
We like to have it on the table, because it is the first "dish" that we serve to our customers: this extra virgin olive oil will therefore introduce us to our guests, illustrating our idea of cuisine and restoration.
This oil, of which we only produce a few hundred bottles a year, is just one of the dozen or so extra virgin olive oils that we serve on our premises, all of which have been selected among the best made in Puglia.
And the customers? They seem to appreciate it. Hurrah for oil.