I love the taste of Lebanese extra-virgin olive oil, which is why I co-founded Oleavanti.
I grew up with olive oil at home in Southern California. My father came from a family of winemakers and he loved to cook the Calabrian foods that he remembered from his youth. At the time, Italian foods were not a staple in supermarkets and we had to drive across town to get our supplies. He used olive oil on everything and even insisted my sister and I take a tablespoon every day “for health.”
I am a mathematician and statistician who specializes in analyzing the sensory properties of food. Prior to that I was the host of a classical music program on KUSF in San Francisco. I published a literary magazine in San José and catalogued rare books on Central Asian travel for an antiquarian bookseller Soho, London. Five years ago, I achieved my lifelong dream of visiting Mount Kailash in Tibet.
I have travelled extensively in Lebanon marvelling in the ancient cities of Byblos, Baalbek and Tyre as well as the monasteries of the Qadisha Valley and the souks of Tripoli. With the Saadé family, I have visited farmers and artisanal food makers across the country. Connecting with this ancient Mediterranean culture has been a life-changing experience and I am excited to be growing Oleavanti to be able share some of these products with farmer’s markets, restaurants, and grocery stores.