Olive oil producers, food industry professionals and enthusiasts from nine countries met online Friday in the first session of the International Olive Oil School. Renowned olive oil consultant and taster Dr. Richard Gawel led the inaugural course of the unique online platform from Australia, broadcasting a live lecture and simultaneous multimedia presentation for global viewers. The sold-out seminar, “Testing and Tasting: Understanding Olive Oil Chemistry,” was the first in the school’s expanding program of courses taught by leaders in the olive oil industry.
Gawel, who regularly conducts seminars and workshops in basic and advanced olive oil tasting, blending, and show judging spoke on olive oil chemistry as it relates to flavor and quality. As a member of the technical committee of the Australian Olive Association, Gawel imparted his advanced scientific knowledge of olive oil to viewers from Turkey to Taiwan, the US to the UK.
Seminar attendees received tasting samples and six “official” cobalt blue tasting glasses in advance, and live-tasted the samples with Gawel’s instruction. Using the tastings to illustrate his workshop, Gawel’s course was an intellectual and sensory experience. Drawing on the unique interface, Gawel was able to answer live questions from participants throughout the session.
International Olive Oil School founder Curtis Cord, who introduced Gawel’s presentation from the United States, called the initiative “a school designed to reach more people than ever before with advanced instruction on all aspects of olive oil, and to provide a modern forum for sharing ideas on this vital subject.” Consultant and taste panel leader Dr. Antonio G. Lauro leads the school’s next seminar streaming live from Calabria, Italy on olive oil defects and quality assessment.
Cord said in the next few weeks the school will be adding more interactive online classes to its growing curriculum including advanced programs in olive oil quality and sensory assessment.