8 Things the Founder of Brightland Absolutely Loves

Dwell talks to Aishwarya Iyer, the CEO and founder of the olive oil brand with a cult following, about the home items she can’t get enough of.

Aishwarya Iyer founded Brightland in 2018 after she and her husband were sickened by an unlikely source: olive oil. After switching to an elimination diet and doing a bit of research, Iyer found that 70% of the olive oils Americans consume are already rotten or rancid by the time they hit kitchen cabinets. Determined to make a tasty product, and shine a light on problems within the industry, Iyer pivoted from her decade-long career in publics affairs and corporate communications to launch Brightland in sunny Los Angeles.

The brand started by offering olive oil in a well-designed bottle, and its offerings have since expanded to include infused oils, vinegars, honey, and kitchen items. We spoke to Iyer about how Brightland’s products differ from the rest, what home chefs may not know about cooking with olive oil, and the housewares that bring her a dose of joy every day.

Aishwarya Iyer is the founder and CEO of Brightland. She was born in India, grew up in Texas, and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two dogs.

Aishwarya Iyer is the founder and CEO of Brightland. She was born in India, grew up in Texas, and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two dogs.

You mention that you and your husband were sickened by poor-quality olive oil—would you elaborate on the problematic history of the industry? How is Brightland combatting that?

When my husband and I started to get into cooking, we expected to improve our well-being and boost our confidence in the kitchen. Instead, we got a little queasy. After eliminating likely culprits like cheese and bread, we believed—much to our surprise—that the cause was the olive oil we were using. I did some research and quickly discovered the olive oil industry has had a history of problems, and that not all olive oils are created equally: There are both good- and bad-quality products out there. [You can read their research here.] At Brightland, we partner with small, family-run and -owned, organic farms right here in California. They don’t use artificial preservatives or additives, so they are unadulterated—and always from the most recent harvest.

Is there a reason Brightland chose to work with farms in California instead of places where people may expect, like Italy?

After moving to California from New York, I decided to champion American-made, beautiful extra-virgin olive oil that is also modern, elevated, and has character. I enlisted at the Olive Center at the University of California, Davis, and visited 30 farms before selecting a family-run farm on the Central Coast. Since the very beginning, our goal has been to provide consumers with high-quality, honest, and traceable olive oil made in the U.S., rather than sourcing our ingredients from abroad. We all deserve to know where our food is coming from, and who is making it from start to finish. We are committed to partnering with farms that practice organic practices, pay fair wages, and are crafting really exceptional olive oil. I believe in the California sun and soil, and the exquisite olives, grapes, and fruit they yield.

What foods are best cooked with olive oil? Which ones are better to avoid?

Olive oil can be used to cook a wide range of foods. Our nutty, smooth Alive extra virgin olive oil evokes a delicious vibrancy for vinaigrettes and raw vegetables, although it is equally delightful drizzled on ice cream or added to baked goods. Our green, grassy Awake extra virgin olive oil is ideal for heartier fare such as pasta, stews, roasted vegetables and the team-favorite Pakistani-style spicy kebabs made by our chef in residence, Noreen Wasti. Our olive oils also have a smoke point of 410 degrees Fahrenheit, so there is no need to shy away from the heat required of certain dishes, such as frying an egg. We recommend avoiding olive oil when cooking dishes that require deep-frying.

Shop Iyer’s top picks for her home

"This robe from Lunya is so glamorous and perfect for lazy evenings in the kitchen with a glass of wine."

Lunya Washable Silk Robe
We believe that staying in is the new going out, so we designed the dream robe for your dream night - binging Netflix, drinking wine, and going to bed by 10. It’s versatile, washable, and sure to be the most low maintenance part of your day.

"Material’s tabletop items—especially their bowls and plates—are so elegant, and they are crafted from natural Korean soils and hand finished. Whenever I make one of Brightland’s delicious recipes from our chef in residence, I love using their tabletop goods to add more beauty to the meal."

Material Full Plate
The 11” Full Plate is made for full meals. Our ceramics are crafted from natural Korean soils and hand-finished, and as such, each piece is one-of-a-kind and imperfect. 
Material Open Bowl
The Open Bowl is ideal for salads, noodles, and saucy meals. Our ceramics are crafted from natural Korean soils and hand-finished, and as such, each piece is one-of-a-kind and imperfect.

"When I’m baking, I love using this adorable Areaware timer rather than my phone. One of Brightland’s values is to try to embrace the analog over digital, and this is a small way to do that!"

Areaware Everybody Timer
Everybody gets distracted. Everybody burns a bake. Everybody wants a perfectly boiled egg. Everybody takes a break. Everybody needs a reminder sometimes. The Everybody Kitchen Timer will let you know when time is up. Designed by Dusen Dusen for Areaware.

"I have been wanting to paint our dining room for a while, and I’ve had my eye on Backdrop Home’s fantastic paints. Self-Portrait is especially intriguing to me right now."

Backdrop Self-Portrait Paint
Deep, rich red-wine red. Our premium interior water-based paint in Standard Finish is a highly desirable low-sheen, durable semi-matte.

"Cuyana’s signature candle is one of my favorites to light in the evening at home."

Cuyana Signature Candle
Our signature candle Raat Ki Rani, meaning "night-blooming jasmine," contains notes of lily of the valley, cyclamen, and sweet basil.

"My morning kitchen routine includes a honey matcha latte using Golde’s fantastic matcha and Brightland’s Kauai wildflower honey."

Golde Pure Matcha
Enjoy the ultimate green superfood in its purest form: matcha, made with 100% pure, shade-grown green tea leaves from Uji, Japan. Pure Matcha has a rich and vibrant flavor that’s perfect for lattes, smoothies, and more.
Brightland The Couplet
Brightland is excited to announce a brand new addition to our family: raw, unfiltered honey straight from the hive. Our honey offers complex aroma and superior palatability, and was hand-selected to support small, family-run farms in the United States—just like our olive oils and vinegars.

We love the products we feature and hope you do, too. If you buy something through a link on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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