Some of America’s top cooking schools, restaurants and corporate dining rooms have been the locations for learning how to use Spanish olive oil, as part of a campaign this month by Spain’s Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español.

In recognition of the United States’ role in setting food trends and as Spain’s second most valuable olive oil export market, the promotion has targeted its consumers and trainee chefs.

Earlier this month, San Francisco-based chef Mat Schuster led events in which a total of 225 students from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in San Francisco, Kendall College in Chicago, JWU’s College of Culinary Arts in Denver, and the International Culinary Center in New York learned culinary applications for Spanish olive oil.

Staff at the NBA, The New York Times chow down with olive oil

And over several days in 54 corporate dining rooms in Chicago and New York – including at the Federal Reserve, the NBA, Morgan Stanley, Ernst & Young, Bank of Amercia, Disney, the ABC, HBO, Time Warner, Viacom and The New York Times – workers were offered dishes prepared with Spanish olive oil, and information on it.

Staff at The New York Times, Google and AllianceBernstein also participated in on-site tastings hosted by olive oil expert Alfonso Fernández.

Ten restaurants celebrated Spanish Olive Oils Week

Meanwhile, ten restaurants in the cities of New York, Chicago, Denver and San Francisco celebrated Spanish Olive Oils Week. Over seven days, each offered special dishes made with extra virgin olive oils of the arbequina, cornicabra, hojiblanca or picual varieties.

Restaurant guide Zagat said at Contigo in San Franciso cornicabra oil was the staple of a vinaigrette in a chicory salad, shrimp a la plancha got a dose of arbequina, local cod was poached in picual and vanilla gelato drizzled with hojiblanca.

Teach chefs about olive oil

Interprofesional director Teresa Pérez spoke to El Economista recently about the need to educate chefs on olive oil use. She said it was remarkable that famous Spanish chefs emphasized its value in adding taste, aroma and texture, yet no specific course on olive oil was included in Spain’s cooking schools. “It seems absurd that this should occur in the country that is the world’s leading olive oil producer” she said.

Educating American chefs and consumers is also crucial for Spain, because the United States is the destination of a tenth of its olive oil.

The Interprofesional is a non-profit official organization representing Spain’s olive oil sector.

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