An Interview with Dr. Simon Poole, Author of An Olive Oil Diet

Here are excerpts from an interview done with Dr. Simon Poole from a recent COOC newsletter that we found very interesting.

When I first read your keynote title, I thought it would make a good title for a movie! Tell us why you have named the title of your talk simply; “Of all the Gifts of Heaven”?

One of your Presidents, Thomas Jefferson said; “Of all the gifts of Heaven to man, the olive is next to the most precious, if it be not the most precious,” He was a man ahead of his time, a farmer, a connoisseur, a lover of olive oil and an advocate of healthy eating. I suspect that if he were running for president he would campaign to “Make America Well Again”, and I wanted to make the message of health and sustainability of the Mediterranean Diet and extra virgin olive oil the theme of my talk.

When and how did you first become interested in extra virgin olive oil?

As a working physician with a great interest in lifestyle medicine, I saw great changes in my patients who adopted the Mediterranean Diet with regular enjoyment of extra virgin olive oil. I have become a passionate ambassador for extra virgin olive oil and now travel to lecture to the public, health professionals, producers, importers and retailers to educate and advocate the extraordinary benefits of this most wonderful food.

Would you kindly share one of your favorite olive oil recipes with our members?

Extra virgin olive oil is so versatile and is so wonderful to cook with and also to “anoint” on any dish to add flavor and texture. It can be combined with any food and even pairs really well with deserts and ice cream.  I particularly love this simple recipe from the co-author of our book The Olive Oil Diet, Judy Ridgway which mixes fruit, cheese and extra virgin olive oil;


This really is an all-the-year round salad.  Choose fruit in season and any kind of good green olives. Serve as a first course or as a good lunchtime snack with plenty of wholemeal bread.

Serves 4

3 tender lettuce hearts, washed and drained

1 pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented

1 sweet apple. Cored and cut into dice

200g Pecorino cheese, crumbled or diced

100g green table olives

6cm cucumber, diced

2 small spring onions, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Tear the lettuce leaves into pieces by hand and use to line a salad bowl.

Cut the grapefruit segments into small pieces and mix with the apples, cheese, olives, cucumber and spring onion.  Spoon this mixture onto the lettuce leaves.

Beat the lemon juice with olive oil to taste and pour over the salad.  Mix carefully and serve at once.

Dr Simon Poole is a Cambridge based medical doctor, author, broadcaster and commentator and an internationally renowned authority on the science and application of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. He is an expert scientific consultant on extra virgin olive oil and a member of the Advisory Board of the Olive Wellness Institute, Australia and an advisor to the Yale Olive Institute, Yale University. His award-winning book, The Olive Oil Diet, takes a fresh and exciting look at diet, foods, cooking and health, on a gastronomic journey which tells the story of ingredients from around the Mediterranean with a focus on the delivery of health through olive oil.