The second Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Course at the International Culinary Center (ICC) has reached capacity and closed registration, organizers said, and there are only a few spots remaining for the Levels 2 and 3 courses immediately following.

All three levels will be held February 4-10 at the Culinary Center’s Soho campus in New York City.

Following the successful, first-level session in October that also quickly sold out, the condensed, 7-day program offers the opportunity to earn the sommelier certification in one intensive week.

Students from as far as Tunisia, Dubai, Canada, Mexico, Austria and Colombia are registered to attend the session, where more than 100 oils from every region in the world will be sampled in guided tastings.

The director of the International Culinary Center Olive Oil Program, Curtis Cord, said students were in store for an unrivaled educational experience designed to foster a deep understanding of olive oil quality assessment. Cord conceived the program with the late Dorothy Cann Hamilton, the ICC founder.


“The responses to our first session in October have been overwhelmingly positive and extremely helpful in guiding the development of this groundbreaking course,” Cord said. “We’re so proud to be working with the International Culinary Center to offer a program in olive oil sensory assessment like no other in the world.”

While students of the sommelier program have included such diverse professionals as producers, marketers, importers, merchants, food buyers, quality-control managers, chefs, journalists and lawyers, Cord said the program is designed to teach the vital skills of sensory analysis to anyone concerned with olive oil quality.

Instructors from five countries will lead tastings of an international selection of oils to expose students to an unrivaled diversity of olive cultivars and flavor profiles, building an internal sensory library to steer future decisions on matters of olive oil quality and usage.

Cord said a guiding mission of the program is to build a network of olive oil experts who can, in turn, set out to educate others on olive oil quality matters and change the many misconceptions that undermine the value of one of the world’s most important foods.

Or, as Thomas Sheridan, a first-level student, and an olive oil importer put it, “a course that will begin building an army of educated olive oil professionals.”

The next three-level program will be offered again in September.

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