Olive Oil is Routinely Recognized as Being a Healthy Inclusion To Numerous Meals. Her Selection Includes Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar From Around The World. Meet Jill Cady, Owner of The Robust Olive
Q: For those in our audience not familiar with The Robust Olive can you tell us about it?
JC: The Robust Olive is a specialty/gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegar store in West Little Rock. We offer the highest quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Infused and Fused Olive Oil and Aged Balsamic Vinegars (White and Dark Balsamic) from around the world. Our products are superior to any commercially offered brands that you shop for at the grocery store. They are not only much more delicious in flavor but also in healthfulness and quality! I would be happy to explain the science around the production processes that make them superior anytime. Feel free to call or visit the store to experience the difference!
Q: Can you share with us some of the products you offer?
JC: Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Mild, Medium, and Robust categories and typically have 5-6 options of the newest and most recent harvests. For example, Hojiblanca, Coratina, Chetoui, Picual, Athinolia and Arbosana to name a few.
Infused and Fused Olive Oils such as Tuscan Herb, Herbs de Provence, Basil, Milanese Gremolota, Persian Lime, Lemon, Blood Orange, Cilantro and Roasted Onion, Wild Mushroom and Sage, Green Chile, Cayenne, Chipotle, plus more.
Dark Balsamic Vinegar (Aged 18 years) in the Traditional flavor as well as Blackberry Ginger, Black Cherry, Maple, Blueberry, Strawberry, Raspberry, Fig, Dark Chocolate, Espresso, etc.
White Balsamic Vinegar (Aged 12 years) in a non-flavored traditional style, Sicilian Lemon, Grapefruit, Peach, Lemongrass Mint, Cranberry Pear, Coconut, Pineapple, and many more.
Other Products: Gluten Free Pasta from Italy, Nut Crumbs (A Bread Crumb Alternative), Bread Dipping Seasoning, Stuffed Olives (Lemon stuffed, Garlic stuffed, La Abuela, Almond stuffed, Pimento stuffed, Bleu Cheese stuffed, Green Chile stuffed, Habanero stuffed), Fig Jam and Olive Tapenades.
Q: What was your mission at the outset?
JC: Because of my own health issues that I was diagnosed with approximately 10 years ago, I was constantly searching for the best and highest quality products to cook with at home. The only treatment/cure for my Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease, is to eat a pure and gluten free diet. When I found these products, my life improved greatly and I wanted to share them with my local community so I researched the business as an investment, studied the science regarding the health benefits of high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegars and decided to take a leap of faith and open my store, The Robust Olive.
Q: What are some of the benefits of cooking with olive oil?
JC: Olive Oil is a monounsaturated fat that is in liquid form and doesn’t harden up in arteries like saturated fats and trans fats. So, there is less potential in developing cardiovascular disease or having cardiovascular events when consuming olive oil in one’s diet.
Also you will potentially notice: Lower LDL “Bad” Cholesterol, Lower Blood Pressure, Decrease in Depression Symptoms, Decrease in risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, Decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Decreased appearance in sun damage to skin, Decreased risk in the onset of Osteoporosis (because olive oil increases the absorption of calcium)
With all that said, high quality olive oil is a “Power” product that can improve the overall state of your health, but best of all, the flavor of these olive oils are extraordinary!
FDA recommends to consume 2 tablespoons per day of a High Quality Olive Oil every day! (Best to consume straight out of the bottle like a shot in the am and midday!)
Q: Do you have favorite meals that you use olive oil that you can share with us?
JC: Yes, too many to list them all, but here are a few…Any Italian dish! The Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil is what I opened the store for! It takes your spaghetti sauce to a new level of delicious! Spread Tuscan Herb on a baguette and bake for 10 minutes…great option instead of garlic bread…Yum!
Cast Iron Skillet Pork Chops in Madagascar Black Peppercorn Olive Oil! Marinate the pork chops in Madagascar Black Peppercorn OO, salt and pepper. Heat some of the oil in cast iron skillet and sear the chops on each side (cooking about 2-3 minutes on both sides). Then put your seared pork chops in the oven to cook the rest of the way in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. The sear is what seals the juices in for the most tender pork chop you’ve ever tasted!
Blueberry Muffins or Crumb Cake baked with the Butter Infused Olive Oil make great breakfast options! I substitute Butter OO for traditional solid butter or veg oil in any recipe…it always turns out moist!
Espresso Balsamic marinated Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms and Garlic Mashed Potatoes! Bon Apetito! Marinate a rib eye steak in ¼ C Espresso Balsamic Vinegar for approximately 4 hours (turning every hour to make sure each side gets coated in the balsamic) Grill the steak and top with Bleu Cheese! It’s that simple!
Q: Where do you see your business five years from now?
JC: I see expansion throughout south Arkansas with a presence from Bryant, AR (just outside Little Rock) all the way down to Texarkana, AR! I have customers throughout the state and beyond that have to drive to Little Rock or I ship to them if they can’t make the trip. I’d love to make these products as easy to purchase as possible and increase the awareness of healthy eating to as many individuals as we can reach. I’m hopeful that the trend of cooking at home continues so we can encourage eating healthy and fun cuisine at home!
Q: What is most important to you and why at this point in your life?
JC: The most important thing to me is my family and their health. In light of the pandemic, health is now a key and paramount concern. I want to make sure my family’s immunity is at its most optimal state! And I believe in the science known about the importance of high quality foods and olive oil in specific! Dr. Steven Gundry, a cardiovascular surgeon, says in his books that food should only be considered a vehicle to transport olive oil to our bodies! High Quality Olive Oil is a great way to heal our bodies’ nutritional deficits.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?
JC: I’ve learned so much throughout my career, but most of all that you have to believe in yourself! Don’t let people talk you out of your ideas/dreams! Go with your gut and believe in yourself! Great things evolve within your being when you prove you are on your own side!
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to pursue their dream and start a business?
JC: You can never achieve your dreams if you don’t try!
For so much of my life, I worried about failing and about what others would think of me. As I’ve aged and am mid-life now, I want to try achieving success because the alternative is that I will regret not trying! I don’t want to disappoint myself now!
Five Things About Jill Cady
1. If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
I’d like to talk to J. K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter Series of Books. She hit rock bottom when she divorced and was raising an infant alone. They were on welfare when she wrote her first book of the Harry Potter Series, but she took her “big idea” and her worn out typewriter and went to work even with experiencing conflict. She was turned down by 12 publishers, but she never gave up! She believed in herself even when her struggles seemed too large to succeed! She is now worth $24 Billion dollars!
2. What would you sing at Karaoke night?
Miley Cyrus’ The Climb because it is an empowering song about our journey in life!
3. Who is your favorite author?
Joel Osteen is my favorite author because he encourages and empowers people to believe in a higher power and to have faith! Without my faith, I would not be half as strong of a person as I am!
4. What app can’t you live without?
Waze is the app I can’t live without! I am always in a hurry and Waze directs you to the shortest path to your destination, steering you away from roadblocks, construction and backed up traffic! It’s a time and life saver!
5. Do you have any hobbies?
Yes, I love to go fishing and hiking with my 3 boys. We like to find new places to fish and new trails around our local area and around the state. Pinnacle Mountain is right in our backyard so to speak and Petit Jean Mountain is only about 45 minutes to the north of us. The Buffalo River (2 hours north off of Hwy 65) offers a lot of trails and we love to canoe (go floating) there as well. That’s the area that I grew up in and then migrated to Little Rock after college.