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From Lost Connections to Nuanced Mediterranean Food: How et Oliva is Repositioning the Post-Pandemic Culinary Discussion

A chef for more than 15 years, Patrick Karsu maintains great passion for sharing food with others.

 “It is the ultimate act of love and intimacy—to make something that someone else can enjoy in real time,” he said.

 Patrick has channeled his passion for sharing food into a new company inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic—et Oliva. The Mediterranean brand also speaks to Patrick’s love of culinary nuance and a desire to pay homage to his partner’s roots in Turkey. 

“The startup,” Patrick said, “came out of what we lost during the COVID pandemic—the chance to connect with each other over food, drink and those close to us.”

He continued, “Once things came back to normal, we were still longing for what we lost. That is why we established our brand—to help us all reconnect through the power of great food.”

The inspiration that lies at the heart of et Oliva can be traced to disappointment that Patrick experienced during a post-pandemic search for products that captured the detail of flavor he had experienced in the Mediterranean.

“Many commercial options just fell flat, flavor-wise,” said Patrick, the CEO, Founder and Executive Chef at et Oliva. “They either were processed to the point of blandness; had way too many weird fillers and preservatives in them; or, contextually, were simply out of reach for most people not familiar with specific reference points. At et Oliva, we set out to change that, and to change people’s perceptions of modern Turkish and Aegean food.” 

The vehicle for this undertaking has been products inspired by the mezze style of dining, composed of small plates meant to stimulate appetite.  

“We wanted to bring the flavors of the sun-dappled shores of the Aegean as well as the textures and vibrant colors of the region to everyone’s table,” Patrick said, “true Aegean flavors, close to nature.”

On trend with the gourmet and slow food movement, et Oliva can be found in many specialty independent grocers and soon at Macy’, Gelson’s and William Sonoma.

An emerging, independent, LGBT-owned-and-operated company passionate about food security and social justice, et Oliva is adding dimension to its depth by reimagining the post-pandemic culinary discussion.

With an identity composed of many strands, et Oliva was a 2022 awardee of the IIEIF Fund for Diversity and Inclusion, from 1863 ventures. Also, the company is in the running for a 2023 SOFI award, through the Specialty Food Association.

After taking the business from table top accelerator model to full out manufacturing and distribution, Patrick anticipates et Oliva becoming a national luxury or premium brand. Plans also call for a C-Suite to help manage day-to-day operations and sketch out an overall vision for the company. 

“Success a year from now is two-fold,” he said. “We see it in revenue numbers that will hopefully net out to over $375K, as well as the addition of new team members to manage operations and further double down on sales.”

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