Turkish celebrity chef and entrepreneur Jale Balcı has revealed the secrets of the magical olive with the launch of her new book Riches From Deep Roots: Olives & Olive Oil at an exclusive event held at the residence of the Consul General of Turkey in Los Angeles on October 6, 2022.
“There are many reasons that compelled me to write Riches from Deep Roots. Unfortunately, this heavenly fruit which has a place in all the holy books, is not given the attention and interest it deserves. However, high quality, pure, and pristine olive oil has extremely significant health-giving properties. It wasn’t called liquid gold for nothing…,” comments Chef Jale.
At the event, Chef Jale prepared samplings of some of her favorite olive and olive oil recipes featured in the book, and each guest was gifted a copy. Supporting Chef Jale was Mey|Diageo, Turkish subsidiary of global brand Diageo as the exclusive event beverage sponsor and Sin Global Forwarding as logistics sponsor.
In attendance at the event were Jale Balci, Honorable Consul General of Turkey Sinan Kuzum and wife Alina, Barbara Lazaroff, Larry Namer, Tony Potts and Shalini Vadhera-Potts, Dee Dee Sorvino, Carolyn Hennesy, Josie Goldberg, Chef Ryan Rondeno, Chef Christophe Eme, Sophie Gayot, Melissa Papel, and many other diplomats, business leaders and celebrities.
Dedicated to the eternal olive tree, whose story began in the Levant and from there spread to the world, the book is an excellent resource highlighting the importance of consuming the right type of olives and olive oil, providing information on the olive harvest process, and showcasing a collection of extraordinary olive oil-based recipes by Chef Jale. Some of the dishes featured at the event includedPoached Figs, Goat Cheese and Almonds, Cauliflower with Peanut Sauce and Pomegranate Vinaigrette, Bulgur with Turkish Apricots and Nuts, andRoasted Halva with Orange & Olive Oil, and much more.
Riches From Deep Roots: Olives & Olive Oil was co-authored with professional olive oil taster Müge Nebioğlu and is available now on Amazon in the United States from publisher Remzi Kitabevi. Olives & Olive Oil – Riches From Deep Roots: Balci, Jale; Nebioglu, Müge: 9789751421067: Amazon.com: Books
Chef, food/menu writer, table etiquette and nutrition expert, restaurateur, and educator Jale Balcı has spent decades both in her native Turkey and abroad cultivating and gradually transforming her passion for gastronomy into a career – which includes having studied and apprenticed under the wing of many big names.
A prolific author, she released her first book in Turkish language titled “Keyifli Sofralar İçin 50 Pratik Mönü” (Lit: “50 Practical Menus for Delightful Tables”) in 2006. Now in its 12th edition, it remains Turkey’s bestselling cookery book of all time. She has since gone on to write five more, all of them highly popular:
“Aperitif Mönüler” (2008); “Antakya ve Yemekleri” (2010 – also translated into English: “Antakya-Antochia City & Cuisine”); “Tadında Yolculuk” (2010 – co-authored with Hande Çilek); “Tarihin Tadı Denizin Tuzu” (2018 – co-authored with Murat Bozok); “Derin Koklerin Meyvesi, Zeytinyağı” (2022 – co-authored with Müge Nebioğlu; also translated into English: “Riches From Deep Roots: Olives & Olive Oil”).
An entrepreneur, she has launched, run, and been the head chef of two successful restaurants in Turkey: Antiochia Concept and Lokanta Farina. She has also helped design the menus of many other cafes and restaurants across the country – a task she still enjoys taking on when asked of her.
Born and raised in Antakya/Hatay (a.k.a. “the city of civilizations”) and compelled to promote its unique cuisine the world over, Chef Jale proudly serves as the region’s culinary ambassador. In 2019, she helped organize and moderate the hugely successful four day-long Hatay Gastronomy Festival – attended by over one million visitors!
Between 2018 and 2019, she served as lead chef and planner at one of Istanbul’s most eminent restaurants, Alancha Nişantaşı. An active gastronomy consultant, Jale has collaborated with countless food and beverage companies across Turkey, offering them advice and creative ideas for new products.
She is a board member of and a lecturer at Şişli Trades School (Şişli Meslek Yüksekokulu), alongside a founding member of Gecce Gurme Kurulu – Turkey’s grass roots equivalent of Michelin.
Photos Courtesy of Nelson Shen Photography, Tshombe Sampson.