` UC Davis Olive Center Plans Two-Part Sensory Evaluation Course for Spring

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UC Davis Olive Center Plans Two-Part Sensory Evaluation Course for Spring

Feb. 18, 2015
By Leah Dearborn

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The sen­sory eval­u­a­tion cer­tifi­cate course is return­ing in June to the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Davis Olive Cen­ter. The course has been offered reg­u­larly in the past, but this year marks the first time it will be extended to two sep­a­rate ses­sions.

Dan Flynn, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the pro­gram, says that stu­dents of all lev­els are wel­come to attend Sen­sory Eval­u­a­tion of Olive Oil Part One, which in addi­tion to cov­er­ing meth­ods for spot­ting defects and pos­i­tive attrib­utes in olive oil, will include instruc­tion on how it can be used in cook­ing.

William Bill” Briwa, an expe­ri­enced chef-instruc­tor with the Culi­nary Insti­tute of Amer­ica at Grey­stone, will serve as an instruc­tor for por­tions of the cer­tifi­cate course. Flynn called Briwa among the nation’s most expe­ri­enced chefs with olive oil. He’s really an out­stand­ing instruc­tor who under­stands how chefs use olive oil and how to best pair (olive oil vari­eties) with cer­tain foods.”

Part two of the class will last for three days and delve fur­ther into pan­elist train­ing, the oils from spe­cific coun­tries, and culi­nary uses. Accord­ing to Flynn, stu­dents should have taken the first class prior to enter­ing the more advanced sec­ond ses­sion.

Approx­i­mately twenty dif­fer­ent oils will be eval­u­ated each day, amount­ing to over a hun­dred across the full five days of both ses­sions. Atten­dees of Part 2 are required to bring a lap­top or tablet in order to uti­lize the Olive Center’s unique soft­ware, which Flynn explains as a cloud pro­gram where stu­dents can input data. From there, it’s used to gen­er­ate accu­rate feed­back through detailed sta­tis­ti­cal analy­sis. Those enrolling in Part Two will receive quick feed­back on how their per­for­mance com­pares to the class as a whole,” said Flynn.

Estab­lished sen­sory sci­en­tist Sue Langstaff will also be return­ing as a course instruc­tor. Langstaff is co-edi­tor of Olive Oil Sen­sory Sci­ence, the devel­oper of the Olive Oil Defects Wheel and had pre­vi­ously served as chair­man for the Sen­sory Eval­u­a­tion Com­mit­tee for the Cal­i­for­nia Eno­log­i­cal Research Asso­ci­a­tion, among numer­ous other acco­lades.
See more: UC Davis Sen­sory Eval­u­a­tion of Olive Oil
Sen­sory sci­ence was pio­neered by UC Davis,” says Flynn. What Sue brings to the table is an under­stand­ing of human sen­sory equip­ment and an under­stand­ing of the biases we carry as eval­u­a­tors. She can really give peo­ple an excel­lent idea of their pro­fi­ciency.” There will be plenty of oppor­tu­ni­ties for atten­dees to put that pro­fi­ciency to the test dur­ing a final exam in the sec­ond half of the course.


Those who missed the pre­vi­ous install­ment of the mas­ter miller class are also in luck, as the recur­ring cer­tifi­cate course has been sched­uled again by the Olive Cen­ter for Octo­ber. It will be lead by Lean­dro Ravetti of Australia’s Bound­ary Bend, whom Flynn refers to as a walk­ing ency­clo­pe­dia.”

What’s also spe­cial about his year’s course,” Flynn added, is that we’re doing a field trip day to visit local olive oil mills, includ­ing the new Bound­ary Bend U.S. loca­tion. They were rumored to be locat­ing in Cal­i­for­nia [at the time of the last class], but they’re actu­ally build­ing right now.”

The sen­sory eval­u­a­tion course will run from June 15 through 19 at the Sil­ver­ado Vine­yards Sen­sory The­ater at UC Davis, and the mas­ter miller class is set for Octo­ber 1 through 4. Reg­is­tra­tion is now open for both upcom­ing cer­tifi­cate courses on the Olive Cen­ter web­site.

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