Olive Oil Sommelier Program Expands to California

Following the success of the New York series, the International Culinary Center and the Olive Oil Times Education Lab are expanding the sommelier certification program to the school's Bay Area campus.

Apr. 18, 2017
By Olive Oil Times Staff

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The Olive Oil Program at the International Culinary Center is expand­ing to the school’s Campbell, California cam­pus with a six-day, two-level olive oil som­me­lier cer­ti­fi­ca­tion course this October, said Curtis Cord, the pro­gram’s exec­u­tive direc­tor.

We are out to build a com­mu­nity of edu­ca­tors who can change the lives of peo­ple every­where by reveal­ing the truths about this gift of nature.- Curtis Cord, Program Director

An inter­na­tional fac­ulty of renowned experts will guide stu­dents through more than 100 olive oil sam­ples from 26 coun­tries in the world’s most com­pre­hen­sive cur­ricu­lum in olive oil qual­ity assess­ment.

The expan­sion of the pro­gram, pre­sented by the Olive Oil Times Education Lab and the International Culinary Center (ICC), fol­lows two suc­cess­ful courses in New York, where par­tic­i­pants came from as far as Uruguay, Mexico, Brazil, The Netherlands, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Tunisia and Dubai to gain a thor­ough under­stand­ing of one of the world’s most impor­tant foods.

The direc­tor of the International Culinary Center Olive Oil Program, Curtis Cord, said stu­dents were in store for an unri­valed edu­ca­tional expe­ri­ence designed to fos­ter a deep under­stand­ing of olive oil qual­ity assess­ment. Cord con­ceived the pro­gram with the late Dorothy Cann Hamilton, the ICC founder.

The responses to our pro­gram have been over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive and extremely help­ful in guid­ing the devel­op­ment of this ground­break­ing course,” Cord said. We’re so proud to be work­ing with the International Culinary Center to offer a pro­gram in olive oil sen­sory assess­ment like no other in the world.”

While stu­dents of the som­me­lier pro­gram have included such diverse pro­fes­sion­als as pro­duc­ers, mar­keters, importers, mer­chants, food buy­ers, qual­ity-con­trol man­agers, chefs, jour­nal­ists and lawyers, Cord said the pro­gram is designed to teach the vital skills of sen­sory analy­sis to any­one con­cerned with olive oil qual­ity.

Instructors from five coun­tries will guide tast­ings of an inter­na­tional selec­tion of oils to expose stu­dents to an unri­valed diver­sity of olive cul­ti­vars and fla­vor pro­files, build­ing an inter­nal sen­sory library to steer future deci­sions on mat­ters of olive oil qual­ity and usage.

The pro­gram aims to do more than cre­at­ing olive oil experts, Cord said. We are out to build a com­mu­nity of edu­ca­tors who can change the lives of peo­ple every­where by reveal­ing the truths about this gift nature has given us.”

The pro­gram man­ages an active online com­mu­nity forum where those who have taken the course col­lab­o­rate and other social tools are in the works to serve the grow­ing ranks of olive oil som­me­liers. To develop their skills even fur­ther, Cord recently announced an appren­tice­ship pro­gram at next week’s New York International Olive Oil Competition, where the new som­me­liers will sit along­side the lead­ing experts as they ana­lyze entries in the world’s largest olive oil tast­ing event.

While the analy­ses of these emerg­ing experts will not be a fac­tor in the judg­ing, the appren­tice­ship pro­gram will rapidly build upon their skills and expose these tasters to an envi­ron­ment few will ever expe­ri­ence as part of the elite team of NYIOOC judges,” Cord said. If they con­tinue to work hard to develop their mas­tery I have no doubt some will even­tu­ally be called upon to serve on the panel as full mem­bers.”

More infor­ma­tion about the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program is avail­able on the Education Lab web­site.


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