By Denise Johnson
Olive Oil Times Contributor | New York
Cesare Casella, dean of the International Culinary Center Italian Studies program, addressed seminar attendees at the 2013 New York International Olive Oil Competition last April.
The results of the first New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC) are still being trumpeted four months after April’s groundbreaking event made New York City the center of the olive oil universe — and the black, gold and silver award labels adorn the winning olive oils on retail shelves around the world. Yet plans for NYIOOC 2014 are already well underway.
The NYIOOC website began accepting registrations for entries today for the next competition, which will be held April 8-10, 2014 in New York City.
The world’s most important olive oil competition will again be held at the International Culinary Center — New York’s premier center for culinary arts — however the program of events will be city-wide, during what organizers are calling “Olive Oil Week” in New York.
There will be culinary demonstrations, workshops and tastings in every borough, all with the aim of sharing with as many people as possible an appreciation of this vital food.
Back at the International Culinary Theater, the program will go far deeper into olive oil assessment and usage.
On April 15th, there will be an international olive oil tasting course, taught by some of the world’s foremost experts. On the 16th, having become skillful in identifying the taste characteristics of olive oil varieties, participants will learn how to use them from top chefs from New York and beyond, during an advanced culinary course on olive oil applications.
More on the schedule events will be posted in the coming weeks on the official website, nyoliveoil.com.
As for the competition itself, NYIOOC President Curtis Cord says the focus for this year’s second edition will be on adding even more value for the olive oil producers who enter their oils in the competition.
“The whole point of this is to reward producers for the extremely hard work and determination that are required to make the best extra virgin olive oils in the world. First, we need to be sure we execute the fairest process possible to identify those brands. Then, we must make sure we are doing all we can to get the word out about the winners.”
The roster of international judges will be further expanded, under the leadership of panel leader Dr. Gino Celletti, and an extra day will be added to blind-taste the expected 700 entries from every region in what Cord calls “the most rigorous process we can possibly design for an olive oil competition.”
Expanded media coverage
Organizers say this year’s event, and its results will reach an even broader audience thanks to a number of initiatives with new and existing media partners.
The official results website (bestoliveoils.com) has been redesigned and will include even more information about each winning brand with enhanced product photography, notes about the producer, and links to where consumers can buy the product — and where retailers can source it.
A new “Distributor Connect” program
While some of the winning oils will be established brands that have developed distribution networks, many will be from smaller producers who are interested in finding distributors in new markets. “Determining the best olive oils in the world is one thing,” Cord noted, “but we need to help small, quality producers get their products on store shelves every way we can.”
NYIOOC has designed a program for regional distributors who want to represent top quality olive oils in key markets. Participating distributors will be featured throughout the bestoliveoils and nyoliveoil websites — and in a new section of Olive Oil Times — providing a convenient, high-profile reference for retailers and consumers everywhere who want to find the best olive oils.
After the competition, winning producers and NYIOOC Distributor Connect distributors will be provided with the contact details of suitable partners, and a dedicated program liaison will be on hand to assist the connection. More on the program will be announced soon.
“Let’s take this one step further,” Cord says referring to the new program. “In addition to rewarding the producers of the top olive oils, let’s recognize and publicize those who stock them in the most popular places people go to find information like this — Olive Oil Times and the New York competition websites.”
For many winners, an easy in
Fairway Market, a sponsor of the event and New York’s premier gourmet retailer, tapped the 2013 NYIOOC results and already features a wide range of the competition winners throughout its thirteen wildly successful stores across the region.
“This is what Fairway is all about,” said Steven Jenkins, Fairway’s renowned merchant who has called himself a “student of olive oil.”
“Olive oil is the most important ingredient in your kitchen, at your table and in your diet.”
For more information about the New York International Olive Oil Competition, visit nyoliveoil.com.