In today’s new world of olive oil, marked by rapid growth in the olive oil industry and subsequent changes in the retail and foodservice markets, there has never been a more critical time for buyers to take control of olive oil quality.

Much needed information about olive oil quality, flavor and value is the focus of the educational seminar, “Olive Oil Flavor & Quality: Next-Generation Benchmarks for Specialty Retail, Supermarkets & Foodservice,” presented by the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and the UC Davis Olive Center (see the program here).

The January 12 event will take place at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in California’s Napa Valley, just before the NASFT’s 2012 Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Targeting retail, foodservice, production and distribution professionals, top olive oil experts will share insights to help distinguish good quality olive oil from bad.

The reality of what most people think they know about olive oil quality, flavor and value is likely wrong. This seminar aims to replace old and inaccurate beliefs with information aligned with today’s olive oil market. This new world of olive oil is the result of innovative producers delivering better quality oils with an array of flavors at competitive prices.

The seminar includes a range of discussions designed to give industry professionals the information needed to protect themselves and their customers by grasping what constitutes quality olive oil. Attendees will learn the ins and outs of the new world of olive oil, including olive oil grades and how in many cases, an olive oil labeled “extra virgin” may be a lower grade or not even olive oil at all.

Topics will also include “How Olive Oil is Made and How Things Can Go Wrong,” “Boosting the Customer Experience, In the Kitchen and at the Table,” and “New Approaches to Increase Sales” among others.

In addition, the day will include olive oil and food tastings, culinary demonstrations, refreshment breaks, lunch and a tasting reception. The event is limited to 130 participants. Visit the event website for a program schedule and to register.

Speakers at the seminar include:

  • Paul Bartolotta, Owner, Bartolotta, Wynn Casino Resort (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Mike Bradley, President, Veronica Foods (Oakland, CA)
  • Bill Briwa, Chef Instructor, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone
  • Curtis Cord, Publisher, Olive Oil Times (New York)
  • Darrell Corti, Owner, Corti Brothers (Sacramento, CA)
  • Alexandra Devarenne, Olive Oil Educator and Consultant
  • Greg Drescher, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Industry Leadership, The Culinary Institute of America
  • Dan Flynn, Executive Director, UC Davis Olive Center
  • Mike Forbes, Vice President: Marketing, California Olive Ranch (Oakland, CA)
  • Jean-Xavier Guinard, Professor and Sensory Scientist, UC Davis
  • Nancy Harmon Jenkins, Food writer, author of the Essential Mediterranean, and contributor to The New York Times (Maine and Italy)
  • Aris Kefalogiannis, Owner, Gaea (Athens, Greece)
  • Gregg Kelley, President and CEO, California Olive Ranch (Chico, CA)
  • Paul Miller, President, Australian Olive Association (Melbourne, Australia)
  • Tom Mueller, Investigative journalist & contributor to The New Yorker, and author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil (Genoa, Italy)
  • Dick Neilsen, Manager, McEvoy Ranch (Petaluma, CA)
  • Paolo Pasquali, Owner, Villa Campestri (Florence, Italy)
  • Claudio Peri, Founder, Association 3E (Milan, Italy)
  • Deborah Reynolds, Director – Foods, Daymon Worldwide (Stamford, CT)
  • Liz Tagami, President, Tagami International
  • Rosa and Francisco Vañó, Owners, Castillo de Canena (Madrid, Spain)
  • Paul Vossen, University of California Olive Oil Sensory and Processing Expert


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