The Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program jointly produced by the Olive Oil Times Education Lab and the International Culinary Center is set to begin in London this weekend.
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 and the publisher of Olive Oil Times, said the attendees of the sold-out London course come from all corners of the world.
The six-day course, which will be held in the Bloomsbury district of central London January 20 – 25, is designed to empower and inspire a new generation of olive oil experts and educators. The fast-paced, interactive curriculum accelerates the process of learning, packing into six days a foundation of knowledge that might otherwise take years to master.
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.
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Program topics span olive oil 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 from 20 countries will be analyzed in guided tastings to expose participants to an unequaled variety of regions, cultivars, production techniques and unique sensory characteristics.
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.
The next course will be held in New York immediately following the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition.
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 New York course, visit the Olive Oil Times Education Lab website.