Few spots remain in the first London edition of the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program, an international course jointly produced by the Olive Oil Times Education Lab and the International Culinary Center.

It is the first time the course, which has trained hundreds of industry professionals, chefs and enthusiasts in olive oil quality assessment since it began in 2016, will venture beyond its annual New York and California sessions.

Curtis Cord, the executive director of the program said there will be attendees from at least 15 countries at the course, which will be held January 20-25 in the Bloomsbury district in London’s West End.

“This program is international in every respect,” said Cord. “Our expert instructors are from 8 countries, the olive oils we are exploring and analyzing are from every corner of the world and past participants have traveled to New York and California from 28 countries to take the course. So it was obvious that we needed to branch out and bring this comprehensive curriculum to London.”

Graduates of the program have included olive oil producers; importers, distributors and retailers; chefs, restaurateurs and foodservice professionals; health professionals, journalists and entrepreneurs; and those who just want to deeply understand one of the world’s healthiest foods. There are no prerequisites to enroll in the course.

Program topics span olive oil tasting and quality assessment, cultivation and history, harvesting and production, health benefits, chemistry, regions and cultivars, standards and grades, culinary applications and consumer education.

More than 100 olive oils curated from the largest collection of samples in the world are analyzed in guided tastings to expose participants to an unequaled variety of regions, cultivars, production techniques and unique sensory characteristics.

Instructors will include Chilean olive oil expert Carola Dummer Medina; Italian expert Antonio G. Lauro; Greek consultant Konstantinos Liris; oleologist Nicholas Coleman; Brazilian chef and culinary instructor Perola Polillo; physician and author, Simon Poole; award-winning producers Karim Fitouri from Tunisia and Lucia Gamez, Sebastian Romero and Juan Ignacio from Spain; and program director and Olive Oil Times publisher, Curtis Cord.

Those who successfully complete the course receive a joint Olive Oil Sommelier certification from the International Culinary Center and the Olive Oil Times Education Lab and join a growing community of olive oil sensory analysts and educators.

Past participants of the program have said it was an educational experience that empowered them to take on a range of far-reaching initiatives.

“The quality and range of instruction were at a level that far surpassed my expectations,” said Jacqueline Tyburski, who successfully completed the course in New York. “The program was very balanced and in depth, with a real emphasis on training a new community of empowered, knowledgeable, and passionate olive oil experts,”

“I will apply what I have learned by going back to our production pipeline from cultivation all the way to bottling,” said an olive oil producer from Sparta, Greece, Demosthenis Chronis. “We can fine-tune some things so we get a better quality olive oil and, hopefully, an award-winning extra virgin olive oil.”

“Fabulous course with incredible amounts of information that will be used as a reference guide for years to come,” a producer from Turkey said of the New York program.

“I highly recommend it. Every day was absolutely worth it,” a grocery executive, Elise LaGamba said.

“The quality and range of instruction were at a level that far surpassed my expectations,” said Willem Voorvaart, an investor from the Netherlands.

For more information or to enroll in the London course, visit the Olive Oil Times Education Lab website.

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