If we’re being honest, some kitchen essentials aren’t so exciting, but we felt the complete opposite once we heard about Brightland. The chic olive oil and vinegar dispensers are one thing, but the high-quality (and delicious!) goodness inside is worth adding them to your pantry. We spoke to the brand’s founder, Aishwarya Iyer, about why your cooking staples matter.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I am Indian American, grew up in Texas, lived in New York City for nearly 10 years and worked primarily in tech/startups, before moving to LA where I started Brightland in 2018, a modern pantry essentials company.
What led you to start Brightland? Did you have a specific interest in the food industry or olive oil in general?
My journey to create Brightland began when I was experiencing constant stomach aches. After a process of elimination and a bit of research, I learned that my problem stemmed from the fact that 70% of olive oil Americans consume is already rotten or rancid due to the corruption within the olive oil industry. Determined to transform and shine a light on this industry, I moved across the country and pivoted careers. In 2018, I founded Brightland in Los Angeles: a California-made, nutrient-dense extra virgin olive oil that is made with intention – from sourcing to bottling – and tastes simply delicious.
Olive oil is a foundation of wellness; a cornerstone of nourishment for thousands of years and a historic source of well being. I truly believe in honoring the beauty of the land—the California sun and soil and respecting the nourishment it provides.
Can you take us through Brightland’s different olive oils and what makes each of them special?
- ALIVE – Made with heirloom California olives and is perfect for salads, dressings and baked goods. ALIVE has a smooth but nutty flavor and contains hints of green tomato and green pear.
- AWAKE – Made with heirloom California olives and is perfect for stews, hearty pastas, and warm bread. AWAKE is herbaceous olive oil with grassy and artichoke flavors.
- ROSETTE – 100% garlic olive oil, made for plush and sumptuous fare, lovingly blended with garlic and Frantoio olives and is harvested early by a master miller onsite in a certified organic mill. ROSETTE is strong and rounded with a delightfully zesty flavor.
- ARDOR – 100% chili olive oil, blended with red chili peppers, jalapeño peppers, chipotle peppers, and paprika, and heirloom Frantoio olives. ARDOR has a smoky, bold, and fiery flavor.
- ARISE – 100% basil olive oil, lovingly blended with basil and heirloom Frantoio olives. ARISE is warm and peppery with hints of clove and undertones of mint and anise.
- LUCID – 100% lemon olive oil blended with lemon and heirloom Frantoio olives. LUCID is citrusy and zesty in flavor, but also luminous and smooth in texture.
How do you source and create your olive oils?
From a beautiful family-run olive farm in the Central Coast of California, with a certified organic mill on-site. We work closely with them to craft the custom blends that become Brightland.
What is your favorite way to use Brightland olive oil? (a specific dish? any ways outside of cooking?
My favorite recipe right now is Bryant Terry’s Green Rice adapted by our Chef in Residence, Noreen Wasti. This dish is intensely fragrant and uses our herbaceous ARISE basil olive oil. It is definitely my go-to when I am craving a simple yet comforting dinner.