The Olive Oil Times Education Lab, in conjunction with the International Culinary Center, announced today the launch of a series of certification courses for aspiring olive oil sommeliers.
The announcement was made by Olive Oil Times publisher, Curtis Cord and Dorothy Hamilton, the founder of the International Culinary Center at a press conference in New York.
“The Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program will bring the world’s foremost olive oil experts and educators to New York and the International Culinary Theater in a comprehensive series of courses spanning production, quality management and advanced sensory assessment,” said Cord, who will serve as its executive director.
The first three-day course, level one of a three-course series, will begin this fall at the International Culinary Center in Soho (New York). Advanced level courses will continue quarterly.
“There has never been a greater need to foster a deeper understanding of this important food among tomorrow’s culinary leaders, and there is no better place to reach them than the International Culinary Center,” Cord said.
Extra virgin olive oil is the unrefined juice from olives which has been part of the cultural heritage around the world for thousands of years. Like wine, olive oil reflects its terroir and exhibits complex taste characteristics depending on the olive varieties used and countless other variables in cultivation and processing.
Extra virgin olive oil is coveted for proven health benefits and its ability to enhance the tastes of foods. Chefs around the world are learning to harness the endless possibilities in their kitchens and there is a growing demand for high-quality olive oils and those who can identify them.
“The International Culinary Center has always been at the forefront of culinary innovation, and we’re proud to launch the first Olive Oil Sommelier Program,” said Hamilton. “We are excited to team up with the Olive Oil Times Education Lab to introduce a never-before-seen, innovative program to our current and future students.”
The unveiling of the new sommelier program coincided with the release of the results of the New York International Olive Oil Competition, the world’s largest and most prestigious olive oil quality contest. More than 800 entries from 25 countries competed at the four-day event. Spain took home the most awards, followed by Italy and Greece.