2017 NYIOOC Panel Leader Lina Smith

The New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC) has announced the appointments of the three panel leaders for the fifth edition of the world’s largest and most prestigious olive oil competition.

Unlike other competitions where there is one panel leader, or head judge, the NYIOOC each year appoints three judges from different countries to lead the international team of experts that make up the elite judging panel.

The panel leaders for the 2017 NYIOOC are Miciyo Yamada from Japan, Lina Smith from the United States and Robert Harris from Australia.

Top experts in their fields who exemplify the excellence of the NYIOOC panel.- Curtis Cord, NYIOOC President

NYIOOC president Curtis Cord called the three panel leaders “top experts in their fields who exemplify the excellence of the NYIOOC panel — the leading olive oil tasters in the world.”



Miciyo Yamada is the first (and, so far, only) Japanese who passed the Italian Olive Oil Taster examination organized by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies. She is a panel member of AIPO (Associazione Interregionale Produttori Olivicoli) and the Laboratory of DISTAL (Departimento Scienze e Technologia Agro Alimentari) in Italy, and of JOOP (Japan Olive Oil Prize) organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

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Miciyo Yamada

Lina Smith is a Boston-based olive oil educator and consultant. She began her career as a chemical engineer, then seeking a way to incorporate her love of the Mediterranean into daily life, pursued a Master of Arts degree in Italian at Middllebury College in Florence. In Tuscany, she wrote her Master’s thesis on olive oil and learned to taste professionally under the late visionary, Marco Mugelli.

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Lina Smith

Smith leads educational events in Boston and has taught for Slow Food, Harvard Food Literacy Project and CCAE in Cambridge. She is the founder of the Boston Olive Oil Club, an educational organization that teaches the public to understand and recognize quality olive oil.

Robert Harris is an Australian expert in the sensory evaluation of olive oils and a frequent judge in regional and international competitions including the Australian Olive Association National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Shows and the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards.

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Robert Harris

The panel leaders are among the fifteen distinguished experts who will evaluate over 800 olive oils from 27 countries next month, ultimately determining the best olive oils in the world for 2017.

The winning olive oils are coveted by chefs, food buyers and discerning consumers who value extra virgin olive oils of the highest quality. The results are presented on the website bestoliveoils.com and syndicated worldwide.

The New York International Olive Oil Competition is produced by Olive Oil Times, an independent publication unaffiliated with any olive oil brand.


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