By Lara Camozzo
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Charleston

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l’Ecole at The International Culinary Center

Culinary professionals, food industry executives, aspiring chefs and journalists will gather in New York City from April 16th through April 18th for the New York International Olive Oil Competition. Coinciding with the contest will be two days of seminars in The International Culinary Theater, featuring an international roster of well-known speakers. In just its first year, the competition will be one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Many of the competing olive oils will be featured during the event at selected restaurants throughout the city. These elite oils will be used in dishes designed to highlight their unique qualities. Chefs at Sanctuary T, Cafe du Soleil, Fairway Market Cafe & Steakhouse, Back Forty, Osteria Il Paiolo, L’Ecole and Tertulia will be demonstrating how extra virgin olive oils can elevate the flavors of dishes to create something even more extraordinary.
Located in Soho’s cast iron district, Sanctuary T offers a calm from the busy city streets, and was recently named by Clean Plates NYC, “one of the top 50 healthiest, tastiest places to dine.” Their take on contemporary dining centers around a cozy environment where all are welcome to enjoy dishes that feature delicious and satisfying ingredients.
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Cafe du Soleil is a Provençal bistro on the Upper West Side. Sit outside on their terrace surrounded by bushes of rosemary and scents of garlic wafting through the air, and you will be immediately transported to the French countryside. Classics such as Escargots de Bourgogne, Le Croque Monsieur, Moules Marinière, and Steak Frites tempt diners daily. What better atmosphere and cuisine could there be to highlight extra virgin olive oils than that of Southern France? 
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Many readers know Fairway Market as home to cheesemonger, olive oil importer, and food savant, Steve Jenkins. Fairway is also home to Chef Mitchel London, and his Fairway Market Cafe & Steakhouse on the Upper West SideWith a plethora of fresh ingredients at Fairway (including unfiltered olive oil by the barrel full), Chef London prepares simple dishes for a seasonal menu that allow each flavor to shine.  Fairway Market will also carry winning olive oils in all of its stores following the competition.
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Based on organic, responsibly sourced, and locavore ideals, Back Forty brings farm-to-table dishes to East and West Side locations that offer a relaxed approach to the concept of a chef-driven restaurant with greenmarket ideals. Lunch and dinner specialties include Green Chili Pork Face Nuggets, Sweet Potato and Bacon Soup, and Fried Brussels Sprouts topped off with smoked egg. Be sure to save room for dessert, like the olive oil cake with heirloom citrus marmalade and blood orange caramel.
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A little piece of Northern Italy can be found in Brooklyn where Alex Palumbo’s, Osteria Il Paiolo, brings back the tradition of hospitality. A native of Piedmont, Palumbo recreates dishes from home such as, veal ossobuco, polenta, and wild boar, as well as pastas made fresh in house. Olive oil is an integral ingredient in Italian cuisine, and in Il Paiolo’s menu. Visit Williamsburg, one of Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhoods, to taste what Palumbo has in store for the competing olive oils.
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At L’Ecole, the students of The International Culinary Center are the talent behind the scenes. The French Culinary Institute, as it was previously known, has trained some of the most extraordinary chefs in the industry. Culinary legends like Jacques-Pepin and Jose Andres serve as deans of the program, which includes 6 to 9 months of training at L’Ecole. While working alongside professional chefs, these senior students get to explore their creativity and hone their skills. The public gets to enjoy an up-scale, 3-course meal at an affordable price. Head to L’Ecole where these rising chefs will be put to the test in creating an olive oil paired menu.
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Writing for New York Magazine, Adam Platt wrote that renowned chef Seamus Mullen’s cooking at Tertulia, “is authentic in its essential Spanishness, but it’s also brawny, seasonal, and deeply flavored in a nuevo rústico, distinctly New York kind of way.” The magazine awarded Tertulia three stars. Choosing from 700 vying to be declared the best olive oils in the world, Tertulia, in the West Village will show how extra virgin olive oils can enhance and elevate the tastes wholesome Spanish foods.
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