Mount Zero Hero - Jessie Spiby, My Grandma Ben

July 29, 2019

This month's Mount Zero Hero is Jessie Spiby, chef and owner of Adelaide eatery My Grandma Ben. 

Jessie, an Adelaide born, self-taught cook, has a passion for seasonal and locally produced food. Through her selective sourcing of ingredients and a wealth of learned knowledge, Jessie opened My Grandma Ben with sustainable values at its core.

Jessie and Mount Zero have a lot in common, mainly stemming from a shared passion in finding more sustainable solutions and having fun with it at the same time. We think Jessie sums it up perfectly in saying that she hopes through her eatery 'the ethical choice is the easy choice and that the sustainable way doesn't have to mean missing out'.

Although My Grandma Ben is new to town, it has found its way into the hearts of many 'Adelaideians'. What is it, that makes it is so special? 

Well, for starters each plate on the menu feels like a hug to both your body and the environment; think warming house-made crumpets, spelt pastry samosa pies and roo-bolognese. 

It is the details, however, like last season zucchini pickles, organic natural wines and the plastic-free space, that make us fall extra hard for My Grandma Ben. 

It's therefore not surprising that for the curious local, who has long been searching for a nourishing, sustainable plate of food, this has quickly become the new go-to watering hole.

A plate of delicious and thoughtful food is not all that My Grandma Ben has to serve up. What Jessie offers her community, extends 'beyond the plate' to educating customers on food waste-reducing practices, through pickling and fermenting workshops.

The comforting spell that My Grandma Ben has cast over the city is, in reality, a call to action. One that facilitates customers to become more sustainable. We are delighted to supply this true Mount Zero Hero with our organic oil.

We caught up with Jessie, who has generously shared this recipe for Whole Cauliflower and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Mount Zero Olive Oil, to help you last the cold winter weeks.

All images of Jessie are taken by Josie Withers.

Jessie Spiby’s Whole Cauliflower, Jerusalem Artichoke and Blue Cheese Soup with Mount Zero Olive Oil Confit Leek Recipe

"Perhaps you’re scarred from childhood memories of overcooked and flavourless cauliflower, or watery cauliflower cheese. But before you turn your nose up at ‘old mate’ cauliflower, I urge you to give this recipe a go. Cauliflower is a versatile beast, from silky smooth purees and gratins oozing with creamy cheesy goodness, the humble cauliflower will be your new best friend when it’s been given this luxe soup treatment. This recipe uses the whole cauliflower, leaves and all, as well as the whole leek to minimise waste and maximise flavour. The addition of the artichoke and blue cheese is optional, but for those wanting to take their soup to the next level, I suggest giving them a whirl. Super simple, quick and no fuss, this recipe will easily become a staple winter warmer in your kitchen"


Confit leek
1-2 medium leeks, thinly sliced, white and green parts
1-2 cups Mount Zero olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
Cauli soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup butter
1 brown onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup (125ml) dry white wine
1 large cauliflower
500g Jerusalem artichoke, peeled, coarsely chopped
4 cups water
1/2 cup (125ml) cream
80g blue cheese, crumbled
Jerusalem artichoke chips
Oil for frying
1/2 Jerusalem artichoke, thinly sliced for chips
Mount Zero olive oil, extra, to serve

Heat 1 tbs of the oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until onion softens. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, then add the wine.

Let it bubble away until the liquid has reduced by half.

Roughly chop your cauliflower leaves and all – no waste here. Add the chopped Jerusalem artichoke, cream and water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender around 25 minutes.

Once the veggies are tender add the blue cheese if using. Allow it to melt through the soup, then set aside to cool slightly before blitz with a stab blender or blender until super smooth.

Add more water if the soup is too thick, season to taste.

Begin the confit leek while the soup is on the go. Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a deep saucepan. Add the leeks and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook the leek until the edges begin to turn brown, stirring occasionally for approximately bout 15 minutes. The lower heat will allow the sweetness to develop so don’t be tempted to turn up the heat!

While the soup and leeks are cooking, heat frying oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat to fry off the chips. Add the Jerusalem artichoke in batches, cook until crisp and they have turned a caramel colour. Drain on a paper towel to keep crispy.

*This step is totally optional but definitely worth the effort if you have time. If you’ve never had Jerusalem artichoke chips before, you’re in for a treat.*

Serve soup in bowls, drizzle with confit leek and sprinkle artichoke chips. Finish with a good lug of Mount Zero olive oil and serve with crusty sourdough.

Mount Zero supplies the My Grandma Ben kitchen with the help of our friendly SA Agent, Edible Exchange.

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