Cooking School in Spain Aims to Promote EVOO Usage and Benefits

The Extra Virgin Olive Oil International Cooking Academy aims to promote the Mediterranean diet and the biological benefits of cooking with EVOO.

Jan. 4, 2017
By Malena Mangas

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We will spread out through the world the knowl­edge of the ben­e­fits of cook­ing with EVOO”, said José Antonio Amérigo, chair­man and founder of The Extra Virgin Olive Oil International Cooking Academy (ICA) a culi­nary insti­tu­tion offi­cially pre­sented in Benalmadena (Málaga, Spain) at the end of November. 

Born to pro­mote world­wide the Mediterranean diet and the bio­log­i­cal ben­e­fits of EVOO, The Academy takes on two tasks: to teach cook­ing with extra vir­gin olive oil and pro­vide a sci­en­tific basis for its char­ac­ter­is­tics and appli­ca­tions in cooking.

I would like EVOO to be used as the offi­cial fat for cook­ing in homes and restau­rants.- José Antonio Amérigo

The first sem­i­nars and work­shops, con­ducted in English and Spanish, will begin January 16 at the Finca de los Caballeros, in Benalmádena, on the world-famous Costa del Sol. 

We are going to teach cook­ing to the cooks,” Amérigo explained to Olive Oil Times. He con­ceived the project, he said, because cooks do not cook with extra vir­gin olive oil” and because the use of the prod­uct too often goes no fur­ther than salad dress­ing. I would like EVOO to be used as the offi­cial fat for cook­ing in homes and restau­rants,” he said. 

ICA courses are aimed at kitchen pro­fes­sion­als: restau­rants, food com­pa­nies, other cook­ing schools, nutri­tion­ists and health author­i­ties, but par­tic­u­larly, to chefs, whose pop­u­lar­ity makes them great advo­cates” and gives them the power to pro­mote a health­ier diet. 

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Amérigo, who is also pres­i­dent of Oleocanthal International Society, is con­vinced that, after the fight against tobacco, salt and sug­ary drinks, the next health cru­sade will be against trans fats, but­ter and mar­garine — and there we might have a golden oppor­tu­nity. The work of the Academy is headed in that direction.”

In addi­tion to health pro­fes­sion­als, ICA has two olive oil-pas­sion­ate chef-instruc­tors: Daniel García Peinado, the teacher for the first courses, is a cre­ator of new dishes and EVOO ambas­sador for culi­nary tech­niques; and Firo Vázquez, owner and chef of El Olivar” restau­rant, the pro­ducer of Olivar de of Moratalla olive oil, and a widely-rec­og­nized as pro­mo­tor of extra vir­gin olive oil. 

Scientific basis for cook­ing with AOVE

The Academy also aims to expand sci­en­tific knowl­edge on the uses of extra vir­gin olive oil in the kitchen. For exam­ple, by study­ing how phe­nols in EVOO are trans­mit­ted to cooked food, and dis­card­ing old prej­u­dices, such as the belief that other fats are prefer­able for cer­tain culi­nary tech­niques like frying. 

Amérigo does­n’t think extra vir­gin olive oil is get­ting due recog­ni­tion for its phe­no­lic com­po­nents, which are what makes the dif­fer­ence. It has the best qual­i­ties of smoke point, antioxidants…it is bet­ter than any other veg­etable oil and, of course, but­ter and mar­garine. All that is based on sci­en­tific evidence”. 

ICA’s advi­sory board includes researchers and health experts from the United States, France, Australia and Spain. We have done a big doc­u­men­ta­tion work, and we have cre­ated a small lab linked to the Granada University Foundation,” explained the pres­i­dent of the Academy to Olive Oil Times. 

An International mission

The Academy will not only per­form activ­i­ties at the Benalmadena head­quar­ters; the goal is to bring train­ing to places with a pos­i­tive atti­tude towards health inno­va­tion, such as Australia, Japan, Russia or the European Union. 

But, above all, ICA wants to focus on the United States, where, accord­ing to Amérigo, they are increas­ingly aware that they have to change their diet and we can do a very good job because they believe in innovation.” 

The Academy already has col­lab­o­ra­tion agree­ments with Drexel University in Philadelphia and The Culinary Academy of Melbourne (Australia), and has begun affil­i­a­tion processes with cook­ing schools in sev­eral countries.



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