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Olive Oil Immersion Course Comes to New York City

Feb. 6, 2014
Vanessa Stasio

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Del Posto Restaurant, New York

The National Organization of Olive Oil Tasters (ONAOO), home of Italyā€™s preĀ­mier olive oil tastĀ­ing school, will be hostĀ­ing an immerĀ­sive, five-day olive oil tastĀ­ing course in New York City this March. Historically only offered at ONAOOā€™s headĀ­quarĀ­ters in Imperia, Italy, the proĀ­gram is the first of its kind in the United States and will be held at the acclaimed restauĀ­rant Del Posto.

The comĀ­preĀ­henĀ­sive semĀ­iĀ­nar was designed to expand Americaā€™s netĀ­work of cerĀ­tiĀ­fied olive oil tasters and promises in-depth eduĀ­caĀ­tion and trainĀ­ing in olive oil proĀ­ducĀ­tion processes, senĀ­sory develĀ­opĀ­ment, and indusĀ­try regĀ­uĀ­laĀ­tions as well as food and culiĀ­nary appliĀ­caĀ­tions. On the final two days of the course, parĀ­ticĀ­iĀ­pants will also have the opporĀ­tuĀ­nity to take a senĀ­sory cerĀ­tiĀ­fiĀ­caĀ­tion examĀ­iĀ­naĀ­tion to attain senĀ­sory analyĀ­sis cerĀ­tiĀ­fiĀ­caĀ­tion from ONAOO, which proves the olfacĀ­tory senses are capaĀ­ble of sensĀ­ing the subĀ­tle difĀ­ferĀ­ences in aroma and taste of varĀ­iĀ­ous olive oils.

The tuition for the course is $1,850, or $1,550 withĀ­out the ONAOO cerĀ­tiĀ­fiĀ­caĀ­tion.

Nicholas Coleman, chieMbQŻPęE/+ø‰˜œīJ”c2W²ģŌnÆßķ-¶°f oleĀ­olĀ­oĀ­gist at Eataly in New York, and Kathryn Tomajan, founder of Eat Retreat, are co-orgaĀ­nizĀ­ers of the course. They met while comĀ­pletĀ­ing the tastĀ­ing course themĀ­selves in Italy and have been workĀ­ing together since that time to bring this speĀ­cialĀ­ized trainĀ­ing to the United States. Coleman and Tomajan are both cerĀ­tiĀ­fied olive oil tasters. Colemanā€™s expeĀ­riĀ­ence also includes hand-harĀ­vestĀ­ing olives in Tuscany, overĀ­seeĀ­ing the pressĀ­ing of olive oils, teachĀ­ing oil courses, and trainĀ­ing chefs and somĀ­meĀ­liers within Mario Bataliā€™s restauĀ­rant empire. He will be servĀ­ing as a judge at the New York International Olive Oil Competition (NYIOOC) in April.

Nicholas Coleman

With a growĀ­ing interĀ­est in higher-qualĀ­ity olive oils in America, more indiĀ­vidĀ­uĀ­als are seekĀ­ing to difĀ­ferĀ­enĀ­tiĀ­ate olive oils, propĀ­erly taste them, and learn to incorĀ­poĀ­rate difĀ­ferĀ­ent variĀ­eties into daily life. Furthermore, peoĀ­ple who work in the food indusĀ­try, proĀ­fesĀ­sional chefs, restauĀ­raĀ­teurs, and othĀ­ers want to know how to idenĀ­tify high-qualĀ­ity olive oils and underĀ­stand their culiĀ­nary appliĀ­caĀ­tions.

ā€œUnderstanding how to taste for posĀ­iĀ­tive attribĀ­utes and senĀ­sory defects is an essenĀ­tial abilĀ­ity for anyĀ­one that works with olive oil,ā€ Coleman said. ā€‹ā€œThis includes proĀ­ducĀ­ers, importers, retailĀ­ers, somĀ­meĀ­liers and culiĀ­nary proĀ­fesĀ­sionĀ­als.ā€

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The course orgaĀ­nizĀ­ers have limĀ­ited enrollĀ­ment to 20 parĀ­ticĀ­iĀ­pants to ensure an intiĀ­mate and interĀ­acĀ­tive expeĀ­riĀ­ence for all involved. Attendees will be led through five days of taste trainĀ­ing and senĀ­sory develĀ­opĀ­ment by a colĀ­orĀ­ful line-up of preĀ­senĀ­ters.

Mauro Amelio, chemist direcĀ­tor of sciĀ­enĀ­tific activĀ­iĀ­ties at ONAOO, will focus on senĀ­sory evalĀ­uĀ­aĀ­tion techĀ­niques and scorĀ­ing, physĀ­iĀ­cal and chemĀ­iĀ­cal propĀ­erĀ­ties of olive oils, and adminĀ­isĀ­traĀ­tion of the 16-part cerĀ­tiĀ­fiĀ­caĀ­tion exam. Marcello Scoccia, vice presĀ­iĀ­dent and panel leader of ONAOO, will lead sesĀ­sions on pracĀ­tiĀ­cal senĀ­sory evalĀ­uĀ­aĀ­tion and descripĀ­tion of Mediterranean and global olive oils.

Kathryn Tomajan

For experĀ­tise on olive oil proĀ­ducĀ­tion conĀ­sidĀ­erĀ­aĀ­tions from tree to table, course orgaĀ­nizĀ­ers have called upon Paul Vossen, a panel leader at this yearā€™s NYIOOC and a farm adviĀ­sor at the University of California Cooperative Extension, to teach parĀ­ticĀ­iĀ­pants how growĀ­ing and proĀ­cessĀ­ing conĀ­diĀ­tions impact the final prodĀ­uct. Dr. Mary Flynn of Brown University will offer perĀ­specĀ­tives on olive oil and health through the lens of curĀ­rent sciĀ­enĀ­tific research on extra virĀ­gin olive oil comĀ­pared with other fats. Tomajan rounds out the rosĀ­ter proĀ­vidĀ­ing insights on the basics of senĀ­sory analyĀ­sis as well as olive oil clasĀ­siĀ­fiĀ­caĀ­tion, marĀ­ketĀ­ing and labelĀ­ing guideĀ­lines.

Culinary appliĀ­caĀ­tions are also inteĀ­gral to the five-day proĀ­gram. Coleman and Chef Alicia Walter of La Scuola di Eataly, will present on food and wine pairĀ­ings. An impresĀ­sive set of Bataliā€™s chefs includĀ­ing Mark Ladner, execĀ­uĀ­tive chef of Del Posto, Brooks Headley, execĀ­uĀ­tive pasĀ­try chef of Del Posto, Dave Pasternack, execĀ­uĀ­tive chef of Esca, and Gaetano Arnone, butcher and line cook at Babbo, are schedĀ­uled to perĀ­form culiĀ­nary demonĀ­straĀ­tions to demysĀ­tify olive oil and share techĀ­niques used in some of New Yorkā€™s top restauĀ­rants.

Coleman and Tomajan hope to expand their offerĀ­ing of the course to other American cities in the future.

Further inforĀ­maĀ­tion on the course is availĀ­able at the orgaĀ­nizĀ­erā€™s webĀ­site.

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