I made some knobs for drawers out of tiny pieces of olive. I finished them with lacquer and they are beautiful. I know this does not answer your question.
You mentioned a food safe finish. On cutting boards and salad bowls I have used safflower oil. I think Russ used to recommend it. Supposedly it will not go rancid, and it has very little odor and taste. I have pieces that are years old and they have not darkened significantly. Might try warming it and adding a bit of bees wax. I think I would do that on a scrap.