Huilerie-Saint-Michel-Karim-créateur-de-saveurs-Nice-Matin-du-13-novembre-2010 Huilerie Saint Michel

Huilerie Saint-Michel: Karim, “creator of flavors” – Nice Matin of November 13, 2010

The success of Huilerie Saint-Michel, which has just been selected by the Nice Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for the 36th “Mercure d’or” Challenge for commerce and services (read elsewhere) ? Above all, the passion of a family, which has been able to put an ancestral company back on track with innovation in the heart of the old town of Menton... When Karim Djekhar, the happy “boss” of the place for five years, talks about He never forgets to involve his two brothers, Amar and Hacène, as well as his wife Sylvie and his friend Nicolas in his business. “We form a united team and every success is shared” says Karim.

Because this Mentonnais, of Algerian origin, has been able to ride the wave of modernity, while respecting an artisanal product which alone gives the identity of the Mediterranean region: olive oil.

If the taste and the selection of olives and oils (they all come from Provence) are the major concern of the Djekhar family, the image of the small business, nestled in the depths of rue de Bréa, has evolved a lot. in a few years: a logo, special caps created in Italy, modern and elegant bottles made from French glass, such as perfume bottles, an online store... and real innovations, such as the olive oil spray or stackable duos… Karim has reinforced the visual aspect of his products, while giving them a nobility… of taste.

Soon, a new surprising olive oil

He also likes to call himself a “creator of flavors”. From raspberry or strawberry olive oil to vanilla or chocolate, the Saint-Michel oil mill is home to a wealth of surprising flavors, which attract local, departmental and increasingly international customers. But, when great starred chefs come to get involved in his work, as is regularly the case with Mauro Colagreco, chef of “Mirazur”, the olive oil from rue de Bréa is transformed into a precious and explosive elixir! There was olive oil with lemons from Menton, that with lemon and ginger, and soon a new one based on citrus fruits and red fruits. But… we won't know more for the moment. Karim intends to surprise his customers with an innovation every year during the Lemon Festival. We will therefore have to wait a few more months.

“Proud of the progress accomplished”

Somewhat surprised by the news of his selection, Karim Djekhar says he is “proud of the progress he has made” , even if nothing has been easy…

Arriving at the age of five in the city of lemons, he was not always unanimously accepted because of his origins. “But, I have always drawn my strength from my work and my family. After working twenty years at Huilerie Saint-Michel, I decided to take over the company, which dated from 1896 and was not in good financial health, because I was sure I could do something with it. A successful bet for Karim, who held on, from the small out-of-the-way street of Bréa, still refusing to go down into the tourist area to guarantee the quality of his products. With nearly 800 customers per month and some 400 liters of oil sold, Huilerie Saint-Michel can continue to satisfy its customers on this good momentum. The family motto: “Create an oil to increase the desire to use it” . Let's wish him good luck in winning the "Golden Mercury" and continuing the marriage of this centuries-old liquid with the most original flavors.

photo: Oil, the fruit of artisanal work. patrice lapoirie

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