MOUNT ZERO HERO | Julianne Blum & Cameron Miller

October 18, 2023

Cameron Miller, of the much-loved Cam’s Kiosk in the Abbotsford Convent, discovered Mount Zero years ago at the Melbourne Farmers Market that was also held on the Convent site. 

“I’ve been at the convent for 17 years and I remember seeing Mount Zero at the market," says Cam. "The products looked luscious, and you could sense the origin, the place they were from. There was and is a very Australian, very local, feel to them through the branding, and they taste great!“ 

Cam goes on to say he likes the pungent finish of some of our oils and loves cooking with them at the Kiosk. 

 “It’s nice to cook with olive oils that are super-fresh and peppery,” he says. “We always have two or three oils in the kitchen for different reasons. I love finishing focaccias with olive oil or using it as a finishing oil over cured fish. Mount Zero's extra virgin olive oils are great to highlight what’s on the plate and bring out the flavours of a dish.” 

What started as a gallery and bookshop, Cam started to sell chips and ice creams as an add-on to the markets, “then we became a bit of a deli and are now a full-blown restaurant,” he says, “we were a mixed business, and we’d often have customers leaving with olive oil under one arm along with art books.”   

Fast forward to this year, and Cam has opened a new restaurant, Julie, with his former head chef of Cam’s, Julianne Blum. 

Julie – also in the Convent – is a celebration of the kitchen garden there, with some produce coming from the neighbouring Collingwood Children’s Farm. With Julianne's deft touch and shared ethos with Cam, it made sense for us to ask both of them to be this month’s Mount Zero Hero.

“I started using Mount Zero here at Cam’s and love the product,” she says, “we use the Frantoio Extra Virgin Olive Oil and olives, across a variety of situations and combinations in the restaurant. 

Grilled Sardines, Orange & Chilli Gastrique with Mount Zero Olive Oil

Julie has chosen to share a recipe of Grilled Sardines, Orange and Chilli Gastrique & Mount Zero Olive Oil.

“These grilled sardines are perfect as an interesting dish for your next BBQ, or grilled on a cast iron skillet as a light but punchy entrée for your next dinner party,” she says, “The dish gets great feedback at the restaurant, and it may sound like fancy technique but it is so easy to achieve at home.” 

The Fast Five with Julianne Blum  

1. If you weren't in hospo what would you be doing?    

I don’t know, I really don’t. 

2. Last place you dined out? 

Kafeneion on Bourke Street, it was so good! 

3. What's your favourite Melbourne restaurant? 

 I have two, La Pinta and Embla. 

4. Favourite season/s of the year for produce? 

Summer, for the tomatoes. You can’t beat it. 

5. Do you have any special projects scheduled for this year or beyond? 

I’d love to get more involved in community work, soup kitchens. It’s important to me.

By Hilary McNevin