Sommelier Certification Course Returns to NY with Intensive 7-Day Program

The Olive Oil Program at New York's International Culinary Center returns next month with a comprehensive, week-long course for those who wish to achieve olive oil sommelier certification.

Jan. 2, 2017
By Olive Oil Times Staff

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The Olive Oil Times Education Lab and the International Culinary Center (ICC) will present the sec­ond install­ment of the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program next month at the Center’s New York City cam­pus.

All three lev­els of the pro­gram will be held back-to-back from Saturday, February 4 through Friday, February 10.

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.

A course that will begin build­ing an army of edu­cated olive oil pro­fes­sion­als.- Thomas Sheridan, Olive Oil Importer

Following the suc­cess­ful, first-level ses­sion in October that sold out in just a few weeks, the con­densed, 7‑day pro­gram offers the oppor­tu­nity to earn the som­me­lier cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in one inten­sive week.

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 first ses­sion in October 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.

Many first-level stu­dents from the October ses­sion will be return­ing in February, eager to com­plete the pro­gram based on their expe­ri­ences in the first-level:

I was so impressed by the inter­na­tional team of experts who taught the course,” said restau­ra­teur Joseph Calcagno. It was amaz­ing how top experts in their field from around the world were brought together to teach in this very com­pre­hen­sive pro­gram. Much more than I or my class­mates ever expected.”

“(Level 1) was the per­fect intro­duc­tion to the world of olive oil and touched on all the crit­i­cal top­ics,” said an aspir­ing pro­ducer of Tuscan olive oil, Margot Stone Bowen. You have an abil­ity to artic­u­late the issues related to olive oil so clearly and your pas­sion for the topic is evi­dent and inspired every­one in the room.”

Salvatore Russo-Tiesi, who mar­kets the award-win­ning Bono olive oil brand said, The course helped my palate catch up with my exper­tise in the com­mer­cial side of the prod­uct and to dig into the cat­e­gory fur­ther. It also gave me a bet­ter under­stand­ing of my com­pe­ti­tion and how I need to be sell­ing.”

Cord said a guid­ing mis­sion of the pro­gram is to build a net­work of olive oil experts who can, in turn, set out to edu­cate oth­ers on olive oil qual­ity mat­ters and change the many mis­con­cep­tions that under­mine the value of one of the world’s most impor­tant foods.

Or, as Thomas Sheridan, a first-level stu­dent, and an olive oil importer put it, “… a course that will begin build­ing an army of edu­cated olive oil pro­fes­sion­als.”

Registration is open for those who would like to enroll in the pro­gram.


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