2020 Judges

2020 Extra Virgin and Flavoured Olive Oil Judges

Shane Cummins

Shane Cummins

AUSTRALIA - SYDNEY, NSW

Shane picked his first olives in 2000 with long paddock olive rustlers and has been hooked ever since. Shane is a landscaper and paver by trade but his incessant passion is for olives.

Shane has been formally assessing olive oil since 2007. In 2009 Shane completed the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Appreciation and Assessment course. Since 2010 he has been show judging in regional and national competitions including the Australian National Olive Competition, Olives New Zealand, Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Australian Food Awards, Sydney Fine Food Show, Canberra Olive Oil Show and the Golden Olive Show.

He is the convenor of the ‘Tastebook’ program, a sensory professional development and training initiative in appreciating, describing and understanding how to improve the quality of extra virgin olive oil and table olives.

He has been the head judge of the Australian National Olive competition since 2016 and he is extremely honoured to be head judge for the  Australian International Olive Awards. He sees his responsibility as an advocate for olive oils and olives and facilitator for judges and the event team.

Helen Taylor

Helen Taylor

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Helen has over twelve years experience in olive oil judging at regional, state and national olive oil competitions in an associate, standard and head judge capacity. Helen was a judge at the finals of the Armonia International Olive Oil Show in Spain. She is a trained food technologist and in 2003 began training in olive oil sensory evaluation. Helen was one of the founding members of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel at Wagga who then went on to undertake olive oil sommelier and olive oil sensory analysis training in Milan, Italy in 2015. She has trained in table olive production and assessment and has judged in several table olive shows. Helen continues to be an active member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel.

Susan Pottie

Susan Pottie

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Susan is based in Wagga Wagga and has been an active member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel since 2009.

She has judged at numerous Australian National Olive Competitions, The Australian International Olive Awards, Sydney Royal Fine Food Show, The Royal Canberra Extra Virgin Olive Oil Show and Golden Olive Awards, both in extra virgin and flavoured olive oils.

Susan has a Bachelor of Education and her interest in olive oil has encouraged her to further develop her skills and knowledge through regular tasting and maintenance meetings.

Margaret  Carter

Margaret Carter

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Margaret has a horticultural and farming background and has been in the olive industry for over 20 years.

Having owned an olive tree nursery in 1996, she is well versed in the olive tree and resultant ‘naturally brined’ processing methods. She runs the third generation family farm www.parafieldolives.com.au in the Riverina region just outside of Wagga Wagga.

Margaret is a producer of premium award winning organic table olives and olive oil.

She has been on the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel at Wagga since 2010 and has been judging olive oil at the Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne state competitions,  the Australian National Olive Competition since 2003 and the Australian International Olive Awards in 2017 and 2018.

Sue James

Sue James

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Sue has been an olive oil tasting judge at the Charles Sturt University and a show judge at the Australian Golden Olive Awards in North East Victoria and the Australian International Olive Awards in 2019.

She has a Bachelor of Arts, Diploma in Education and a Diploma in Information & Communications Technology. Sue is a retired high school teacher who currently spends time as a panel judge at the Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga.

Cassandra Nicholson

Cassandra Nicholson

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Cassandra is a Gemmologist and Jewellery Valuer. She and her husband own and operate two jewellery businesses in Wagga Wagga, NSW.

Cassandra is very enthusiastic about all things olive. Having successfully completed training with Peter Olsen and the Department of Primary Industries, Cassandra became a member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel in 2014. She keeps her olive palate refreshed with regular training and refresher courses, most recently a tasting course with Claudia Guillaume & Toshiya Tada in Geelong.

She has enjoyed being a part of the olive oil and table olive judging panel for The Sydney Fine Food Show & Golden Olives Show for the past five years and the Australian International Olive Awards in 2019.

Cassandra is passionate about the industry, the produce and the fabulous people she has met through her association.

Ali Tanner

Ali Tanner

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Ali is based in Wagga Wagga NSW. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Graduate Diploma in Education. Ali has been a member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel since 2014 and has judged at both the Australian National Olive Competition and the Northern Victorian Olive Awards. Ali has judged at the Australian International Olive Awards in 2017 and 2018.

Michael Thomsett

Michael Thomsett

AUSTRALIA - SYDNEY, NSW

Michael’s judging experience spans 17 years of National, State and Regional competitions. Including Sydney Royal Fine Food Show – Chair of Judges 2017- 19

Michael is currently the President And Chairman of the Australian Olive Association

Michael has a long history of active involvement in the Australian olive industry. Having provided professional advice and hands on expertise to producers of premium national and international award winning EVOO’s and Table Olives for many years.

Horticultural expertise in the grove combined with impeccable post harvest processing and storage practices, gives Michael an intimate knowledge of the product, including the nuances of what varietals, their blends, origin, regionality and climate contribute to the characteristic’s of EVOO.

Freshness and the quality of premium Australian Olive Oil products and their contribution to delicious nutritious and, healthy cuisine drives his ultimate passion behind many years of working, growing and judging Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oils.

Michael Boulton

Michael Boulton

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Michael has judged at the Royal Canberra Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition, Australian Golden Olive Awards, Sydney Royal Fine Food Show, Armonia International Olive Oil Competition and National Australian Olives Awards.

Michael trained at the Department of Primary Industries Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel at Wagga Wagga in 2009 and has had continuous participation since.

He is a founding member of long paddock olive rustlers and has been voted president for life.

Whilst Michael’s opinions, tastings, descriptions and assessments of olive oils are highly regarded Michael himself is quiet and reserved. He is an olive tragic who believes there is a gold medal oil in every olive.

Michael Esposito

Michael Esposito

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA

As a young gun, Michael started judging as an associate judge in 2014. In 2015 Michael completed his International Master for EVOO Taster & Olive Experts Diploma in Italy under the instruction of Andrea Giomo, Barbara Alfei and Maria Gabusi.

Since then he has been elevated to a full state and national judge and has participated in the Australian National Olive Competition, Royal Adelaide Olive Awards and Fleurieu Fine Food and Olive Competition. Michael has judged at the Australian International Olive Awards since its inception in 2017.

Michael is the general manager and olive grower of Kangaroo Island Olives, a family owned olive farm on South Australia’s pristine Kangaroo Island kiolives.com.au. The brand has received multiple awards from various olive oil shows around Australia.

Catherine Harbison

Catherine Harbison

AUSTRALIA, ADELAIDE, SA

Catherine has a foody background, stemming from a family love of all things edible and drinkable, hunting, gathering, fishing, diving.

She studied cooking in Paris, followed by years of chefing all over Australia and owning two restaurants.

Catherine has a degree in Oenology and has worked various vintages in the infamous Barossa Valley. She still helps out at Leibichwein.

For the last 10 years Catherine has worked in primary schools, teaching kids how to run an organic garden, growing food, cooking it and eating it (Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program).

Catherine’s interests include cheesemaking and giving workshops in cheesemaking, harvesting wild foods, including olives.

She has been judging olives and olive oil for the last five years at the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards and has been a regular judge at the Fleurieu Olive Awards. She has been an associate judge in training at the Australian International Olive Awards and in 2020 she has qualified as a full judge in this competition.

Briony Liebich

Briony Liebich

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA

Briony works at West End Brewery as a Sensory Analyst. For the last 15 years she has honed her skills with a broad range of experience in the food and drink industries including working for her family’s Barossa Valley winery, as a sensory consultant and running a sensory lab.

Briony has been judging at state and national olive oil competitions since 2014 and has been head judge of the Fleurieu Peninsula Olive Competition. She has been a judge at the Australian International Olive Awards since its inception in 2017. She also runs food and olive oil sensory workshops to teach flavour descriptors under her Flavour Logic brand.

Briony also enjoys harvesting and processing wild and grove olives from around McLaren Vale with friends.

Gerri Nelligan

Gerri Nelligan

AUSTRALIA - BAROSSA VALLEY, SA

Having spent seven years emerged in olive industry communications, Gerri formally put on her judging hat in 2015 as an associate judge at the Australian National Olive Competition. Working with some of Australia’s leading olive oil judges, it was a huge learning experience. Since then she’s has grasped every opportunity to taste and evaluate oils, and learn as much as she can about the organoleptic qualities of EVOO.

In 2017 she judged at the Australian International Awards, refining her skills as an associate judge in training while working alongside expert judges including Pablo Canamasas, Toshiya Tada, Shane Cummins and Alexandra Kicenik Devarenne. In 2018 she has qualified as a full judge in this competition.

In 2018 she joins the AIOA judging panel as a fully-fledged judge and has also been invited to judge at several state EVOO competitions across the country.

Gerri is Managing Editor of the Olivegrower & Processor industry publication platform and is currently establishing her own mini-olive grove on a two-acre property in the Southern Barossa.

Claudia Guillaume

Claudia Guillaume

AUSTRALIA -LARA, VIC

Claudia joined Modern Olives early in 2006 to head up Modern Olives Laboratory. She has over 15 years’ experience in olive oil testing. She finished her studies in Argentina as a Food Scientist and olive oil specialist. After working for several years in the area of quality, authenticity and sensory testing in a commercial food laboratory, Claudia completed a Post Degree Course in Spain; where extensive experience in olive oil analysis was gained.

Claudia is an approved chemist of the AOCS, participates as technical members for the Australian Standard and USP committees, represents Australia in IOC and ISO as technical expert and is a NATA technical assessor. She has extensive experience in sensory evaluation of olive oil carrying out many trainings and judging in this matter.

Claudia has been invited to several national and international conferences as speaker and she has published numerous scientific papers in national and international journals.

 

Jillian Barson

Jillian Barson

AUSTRALIA - MELBOURNE, VIC

Jillian has a background in personnel and staffing solutions. In 2003 Jillian and her husband Julian established Paringa Ridge Estate in Red Hill, Victoria. They planted 1100 trees with four varieties. As well as growing olives, Paringa Ridge Estate also contract harvests for local growers.

Jillian has won Grove of the Year (2010) as well as yearly awards for their Leontyna extra virgin olive oils. Paringa Ridge Estate has also won the best oil in the southern hemisphere three times and several ‘Best in Show’ awards.

Jillian is on the Victorian tasting panel and has been for many years. She has attended many tasting and processing courses run by the Australian Olive Association, New Zealand Olive Association and Boundary Bend. She has judged on the panel for Victorian Fine Food awards seven times and the Royal Hobart Fine Food Awards twice. Jillian was also on the committee of the Morning Peninsula Olive Association when it was functioning.

Jillian is involved in the Olive Wellness Institute as a small grower representative. She has recently been asked to be on the panel of the Olive Industry Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP).

Helen Salem

Helen Salem

AUSTRALIA -MELBOURNE, VIC

Helen’s background is in education. Over the last 20 years she has taught English to a variety of culturally and linguistically diverse adults. Many of them have links to overseas markets and aspire to establish export enterprises.

In recent years, Helen has undertaken a language support role for some members of this multicultural cohort and facilitated research and liaison into trade partnerships with Australian businesses. It was this involvement that inspired her to undertake olive oil assessment training.

Helen has since judged at the Australian International Olive Awards, the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards and the Golden Olive Awards. She has also participated in the Tastebook program with the Australian Olive Association.  

Peta Zito

Peta Zito

AUSTRALIA - MELBOURNE, VIC

Peta is an OliveCare Certified olive oil grower and processor with vertical integration of growing, harvesting, processing and marketing.

For the last six years she has regularly tasted and assessed olive oil on a fortnightly basis at Boundary Bend Ltd. in Lara, Victoria. Having trained with Stan Kailis and Gino Russo, Peta was part of the inaugural table olive judging team at the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria olive competition.

Peta, a trained midwifery nurse and completed a Post Graduate Diploma, Horticulture, in 2004. She was a partner in Victorian Olive Groves, a business founded in 1997 and located in Bendigo Victoria.

Since concentrating on their family grove they have been awarded various gold, silver and bronze medals

Westerly Isbaih

Westerly Isbaih

AUSTRALIA – SYDNEY, NSW

Depending on the day, you might find Westerly Isbaih either wandering through the olive groves on the family farm, cooking up a storm with her son in her own kitchen, or managing the sales and marketing for the family business, ALTO Olives. Some days it’s all three.

Although born in Australia, Westerly spent her formative years in South East Asia, which instilled in her a deep-rooted curiosity & appreciation for all things edible.

She is a qualified Cordon-Bleu trained chef, and worked in the kitchens of a hatted Sydney restaurant before transitioning her attentions to wholesale and distribution, and the connecting of Sydney’s chefs & retailers to great Australian farmers and producers across the country. Firstly, with her time at Nicholas Foods, and then at Australia on a Plate. It was during this time that she first came across some excellent Australian extra virgin olive oil, which led her to pursue her love of the noble olive by focusing on the family olive business.

Westerly is a highly regarded extra virgin olive oil & table olive judge of 12 years, and also a long-standing contributor to the Australian Olive Association (AOA) Consumer Awareness & Education Committee. Westerly is an olive oil educator and regularly hosts EVOO tasting & appreciation masterclasses for the foodservice industry as well as the general public.

A graduate from the Michael Pollan school of thought, Westerly’s own philosophy around food is pretty basic: source the best & freshest produce available, know where it comes from and/or what is in it, and treat it simply. And always use high quality, Australian extra virgin olive oil joyously and with abandon. On everything!

Debbie Worgan

Debbie Worgan

AUSTRALIA - BERMAGUI, NSW

Debra is a member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel, the peak chemical and organoleptic testing body based at the NSW Department of Primary Industries Australian Oils Research Laboratory in Wagga.

This will be Debra’s tenth year judging olive oil. She has judged at the Sydney Olive Oil Show, the Australian Olive Association National Competition, New Zealand Olive Awards, the Canberra Olive Oil Show, the Golden Olive Show and the Australian International Olive Awards. 

Debra works as a graphic designer and teacher but her passion for olive oil has seen her undertake regular and ongoing olive oil quality assessment

Abhijit Paul

Abhijit Paul

AUSTRALIA - SYDNEY, NSW / INDIA

Abhijit Paul is an avid user of Australian extra virgin olive oil and table olives and he is passionate about exploring the sensory nuances of Australian olive products. Abhijit has started his olive oil appreciation journey from Wagga Wagga, where he had successfully completed extensive palate training with Peter Olson in 2014. Since then, he is a proud trained member of Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel (AOOSP) at Wagga Wagga.

Abhijit has been involved with Australian olive industry since 2014 as he has judged in various shows in and around Australia. Some notable mentions are Sydney Fine Food show (since 2015), Golden olives (since 2014) and Australian International Olive Oil Awards (AIOA) in Adelaide since 2018.

Abhijit was also part of the stewarding team with Trudie Michels when the 1st AIOA started in Adelaide in 2017. bhijit always gets amazed with the versatility of Australian olive products- both extra virgin olive oil and table olives, every time he tastes them.

Dr Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay

Dr Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay

AUSTRALIA - SYDNEY NSW / INDIA

Dr Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay is New South Wales Department of Primary Industries’ (NSW DPI) new Sensory and Consumer Research Scientist for Horticultural research. She is an expert in understanding how sensory and consumer science can facilitate better promotion and placement of various products (from grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, wine and olive oil to everyday grocery products).

She has extensive experience in both academic and food industries in her 10+ year’s career with national and internationally recognised FMCG companies such as Nestle, Global Calcium, Whirlpool and Goodman Fielder in India, Australia, USA and Italy. She brings together a fresh perspective of how sensory attributes of different food products can be better communicated to various stakeholders in the language they understand.

She is currently leading the Hort Innovation funded project OL17003- “Australian Olive industry sensory training” to deliver a series of integrated national sensory training program for promoting Australian extra virgin olive oil and table olives in domestic and international market and developing a guide to understand and appreciate the products.

Soumi is a trained member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel (AOOSP) at Wagga Wagga and has had extensive palate training. She is frequently travelling in and around Australia for various show-judging of Australian and international olive oils and table olives; some notable mentions are Sydney Fine Food show (since 2014), Golden olives (since 2014), the Australian International Olive Oil Awards (AIOA) in Adelaide since 2017 and New Zealand Olive Awards in 2018.

She has published several industry articles related to the TasteBook™ program in “Australian and New Zealand Olive Grower and Processor” and several peer-reviewed articles in international journals related to her sensory and consumer research work.

Isabella Okis

Isabella Okis

AUSTRALIA - PERTH, WA

Isabella is based in Western Australia and has been tasting and judging olive oil for over 17 years.  

She initially trained under Professor Stan Kailis and Dr Luciano di Giovacchino in 2000-2001 and since then has had training under Judy Ridgeway, Richard Gawel, Paul Vossen, Marc Morain, Gino Russo, Richard Butler and Linda Costa.

In 2013 Isabella completed her Diploma for Tasting Panel Supervisor in accordance with IOOC norms held in Viterbo, Italy and presented by Wenceslao Moreda and Mauro Martelossi.

In the last two years Isabella has been working with Stan Kailis to present refresher olive oil tasting sessions in Perth, WA.

Isabella has been judging at numerous competitions including the Australian Olive Association National competition (since 2013), Olive Japan (since 2016), regional South West Olive Association (head judge since 2010), Perth Royal Show (since 2000 and head judge since 2015) and Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.

She harvests fruit from her small 1000 tree grove in the great southern region of Western Australia and produces her award winning Yaribelle Braes brand of extra virgin olive oil.

Tim Martella

Tim Martella

AUSTRALIA - PERTH, WA

Tim is based in Western Australia and specialises in table olive assessment. He has a Bachelor of Science, (Hons) in Agriculture and was a lecturer in horticulture for eighteen years at Curtin University, Perth WA.

Tim has trained under Professor Stan Kailis and Dr Richard Gawel and has been judging olive oil and table olives at the Royal Perth Show since 1998.

Tim has been a big supporter of the burgeoning olive industry in Western Australia and is an enthusiastic consumer of olive products. He enjoys pickling his own olives for family and friends

Thelma Burnett

Thelma Burnett

AUSTRALIA, PERTH, WA

Thelma participated in training to taste and judge olive oils soon after she and her husband, Peter, established their olive grove near Margaret River, Western Australia in 1997. Initial training was under Professor Stan Kailis and visiting EVOO experts organised by both the West Australian Olive Council and the (then) Margaret River Olive Industry Association.

While continuing work as a health professional in Perth, Thelma has continually attended training sessions and joined EVOO judging panels for the Perth Royal Show and the South West Olive Association. In 2018, Thelma judged at the Australian International Olive Awards in Adelaide. In this extensive experience over many years she has shared tasting and judging experience with world class judges. In turn, this has allowed her and to develop high level skills in EVOO judging.

Thelma also participated in the early development of Table Olive judging and awards in Western Australia; a skill that she continues to use and develop.

Now retired from her profession, Thelma now lives on the family olive farm and works on the annual grove activities, including pruning and harvesting. Her hopes for the future include growth of the olive industry with a greater percentage of the population being aware of, and using, Australian EVOO and Table Olives.

Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor

AUSTRALIA - SWAN VALLEY, WA

Richard is based in Western Australia and has a background in olive production through his role at the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food providing agronomic and industry advice to olive growers. He co-authored several papers on olive growing including liaising on the NOVA project and researching and sharing knowledge with other state olive industry counterparts. He provided policy advice to the Western Australian Government on developments in the WA olive industry and participated in horticulture export development initiatives including olive oil promotion. Richard also led an olive study tour to Spain and Italy in 2000.

Richard has trained in Olive Oil Assessment under several leading tasters such as Richard Gawel, Stan Kailis, Judy Ridgeway, and visiting Italian and Californian specialists.

Richard has been a big supporter of the Western Australian olive industry helping establish the West Australian Olive Council (WAOC) of which he is a life member and continues to do so in his retirement. He has a background in viticulture and regularly attends wine tastings sessions in the Swan Valley to keep his palate trained.

Richard has judged at the Royal Extra Virgin Olive Competition for 19 years and has also judged at regional WA shows such as the South West Olive Competition. He has also judged at the Australian National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition and recently at the Australian International Olive Awards in 2019.

Margaret Edwards

Margaret Edwards

NEW ZEALAND - WAIHEKE ISLAND

In 2000 Margaret retired from full-time employment after a career as a dietitian and university lecturer (part time), and having held management positions at major New Zealand companies, to concentrate on olive oil.

She is the author of numerous publications about food, nutrition and olive oil and a member of several specialist food and oils related organisations. 

Margaret attended the International Olive Council’s (IOC) organoleptic training courses in New Zealand and the IOC Training Courses for Supervisors of Virgin Olive Oil Tasting Panels held in Italy in 1999 and 2005. She also attended Savantes courses in Australia.

In 2003, in conjunction with The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Consumer and Sensory Science Facility, Margaret set up, trained and led the ONZ Sensory Panel for Extra Virgin Olive Oil. In 2005 the panel obtained IOC recognition and retained this until the panel was disbanded in 2012.

Margaret has been an international olive oil judge since 2004 and judges regularly in the USA, Australia and Japan. She is a consultant to the New Zealand olive industry, runs olive oil workshops and lectures nationally, and internationally about New Zealand extra virgin olive oil.

For the past 30 years, Margaret has owned an olive grove and olive mill on Waiheke Island where she produces award-winning extra virgin olive oil.

Charlotte Connoley

Charlotte Connoley

NEW ZEALAND

Charlotte was a member of the Olives New Zealand IOC accredited Sensory Panel since its inception. Charlotte became involved in olive oil judging after completing her honours dissertation on “Olive Oil Quality; The Effect of Cultivar and Location on Oil Quality” during her B.Hort.sc at Lincoln University. She received first class honours based on this research.

Charlotte has a passion for the olive industry in New Zealand. She has been in the judging pool for the NZ EVOO Awards since the beginning in 2001. Charlotte has been a regular judge at the NZ Olive oil Awards, a panel member of the IOOC accredited NZ Olive Oil Panel and a speaker at the NZ Olive Conference (2001).

Charlotte is the Managing Director of South Pacific Seeds NZ LTD, a subsidiary of the Australian based vegetable seed production and marketing company SOUTH PACIFIC SEEDS PTY LTD. The SOUTH PACIFIC SEEDS group (est. 1986) has since grown to be the largest specialist vegetable seed company in Oceania.

Professor Marie Wong

Professor Marie Wong

NEW ZEALAND - AUCKLAND

Professor Marie Wong is an experienced academic with a PhD in Food Engineering and a Bachelor of Technology (Honours) in Biotechnology. She is currently a Professor at the School of Food & Advanced Technology, Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand. Prior to this she worked as a scientist with DSIR and HortResearch in Auckland.

Marie has been involved with olive oil research with the NZ olive industry since 2007 – working with the NZ industry and postgraduate research students. She is currently involved with a number of ongoing research projects on olive oil.

She has extensive research expertise in edible oil extraction, processing and chemistry, not only with olive oil but other plant oils. She has authored and co-authored numerous referred publications on oil research. Marie has contributed various chapters in books relating to food science and edible oils as well as presenting conference posters, papers and oral presentations both in New Zealand and across the globe.

Marie has judged at many olive oil competitions including the Auckland Agricultural & Pasture Show Easter Olive Oil competition and the Olivetti Olive Oil Competition, Northland.

Anne Stanimiroff

Anne Stanimiroff

NEW ZEALAND - WAIHEKE ISLAND

Anne has honed her olive oil, wine and food knowledge and her tasting skills by spending several years as a restaurant manager, tour manager, tastings manager and office manager at Stoney Ridge Vineyard.

Anne and her husband then established Rangihoua Estate on Waiheke Island in 1997. This olive growing business produces premium quality olives and world class olive oil. The brand is well known across the world and is popular with several very well-known celebrities. Combining the traditional and modern methods of Olive Oil processing, Rangihoua is now a leading brand in Extra Virgin Olive Oils, and produces the most prolific award-winning Extra Virgin Olive Oils in New Zealand.

Anne proudly declares she was the first person in the North Island of New Zealand to grow olives and make quality olive oil. Anna plants, grows, hand harvests, processes, blends, markets and sells her oils. She has operated and grown the business for twenty-three years now.

Anne has worked with the esteemed Margaret Edwards on judging panels and regularly assess and tastes olive oil. Anne’s oils have won numerous national and international awards including thirteen golds and five best in class awards in the last five years.

Today Anne operates tours & tastings at Rangihoua Estate all year round, concentrating on educating the public on how olive oil is made, what makes it extra virgin, the way it enhances food and the enormous health benefits of the oils.

Ángeles Calvo Fandos

Ángeles Calvo Fandos

SPAIN - REUS

Angeles has been manager of a family run agricultural-livestock company since 1991. In 1989 she graduated in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Zaragoza with specialties in food science, technology and food safety. Angeles has also completed numerous panel leader courses COI and MAPA in Granada and Madrid (1999, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2014).

Angeles has been leader of the ‘Panell de Tast Oficial d’Olis Verges d’Oliva de Catalunya’ since 2004. Since its creation in 1997 she was technical secretary and member of this Catalonia virgin olive oil tasting panel. Angeles has also taught oil tasting courses at a variety of locations including Federació de Cooperatives Agraries de catalunya, Escola d’enologia de Falset, ECA-Mas Bobé, Gandesa y Borges Blanques, Vallfogona, Escoles d’hosteleria, and Unió de Pagesos.

Following the requirements of DOGC nº 4291 (2004), Angeles is responsible for the implementation of the ISO 17025 Standard for the accreditation of the Official Tasting Panel of Catalonia. She has also consulted and provided auditing services at the Fòrum Verge Extra: Oli I Territori.

Since 2005, Angeles has been a member of the MAGRAMA group of olive oil tasting experts. Since 2008 she has been a member of the olive oil sensory analysis expert group on IOC and she is also a member of the Olearum Association.

Angeles participates in the selection and training for new emerging olive oil tasting panels across Spain (Toledo, Murcia, Aragón and Navarra). She also has numerous collaborations in scientific activities of various entities (IRTA, URV, UB, P H2020-Oleum).

Angeles has participated in the IBEROLEUM (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020), EVOLEUM (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020) and EVO IOOC Guide (2018, 2019) olive oil guides. She has also participated in national and international congresses in Greece, Morocco, Chile and Tunisia. Angeles has been a valued judge and panel leader at numerous olive oil competitions in Spain, Italy, Israel, Argentina, Portugal, Japan and Turkey.

Enrique García-Tenorio

Enrique García-Tenorio

SPAIN - TOLEDO

Enrique García-Tenorio, agricultural engineer and expert in international business management, is CEO of the foundation “Montes de Toledo Olive Oil” from 1998. Responsible of management, promotion and product certification of this Protected Designation of Origin, he also drafted the application for EU registration and its specifications.

As olive oil taster, Enrique has qualifications as sensory judge and panel leader, has conducted olive oil workshops and seminars across the world including European Union, Japan, China, Korea, México and USA, and been jury member in various international olive oil competitions such as Spanish Ministry of Agriculture awards, the Evooleum and Iberoleum guides in Spain, Olive Japan International Competition and others.

He also collaborated in the creation and accreditation of the sensory laboratory of virgin olive oils owned by the Montes de Toledo foundation, which is certified by IOOC and the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture.

In addition, he is external collaborator of the Spanish Accreditation Body (ENAC) as technical auditor for the accomplishment of product certification audits in the olive oil sector and guest speaker at several seminars on product certification and designations of origin management.

Dr. Agustí Romero

Dr. Agustí Romero

SPAIN - REUS

Dr. Agustí J. ROMERO, PhD (Food Technology) Specialized in plant pomology from University of Lleida, Spain. Researcher of the IRTA’s Food Division since 1987 and leader of the IRTA’s Olive & Oil research team. His work focuses on virgin olive oil extraction and quality, olive orchards designs and nut processing and quality. Since 2000 he is involved in mill technology improvement programs, supported by Catalan Government, involving more than 50 olive mills and 50.000 ha of olive orchards.

A.Romero is co-author of one book about olive cultivars in Catalonia and made contributions to technical books on olive oil, sensorial analysis, etc. Co-author of more than 80 scientific reports and more than 100 articles of divulgation. Currently, he is involved in several research projects on olive oil and nuts. Furthermore, he is an expert assistant for both the International Olive Council (IOC) concerning olive germplasm banks and the United States Pharmacopaea regarding olive oil quality standards.

Professor in several master courses: “International Expert on Olive Oil Tasting” University of Jaen; “Food Industry Innovation and Management” University of Lleida. He collaborates regularly with “Escuela Universitaria de Hotelería y Turismo” (University of Barcelona) and “Escuela Superior de Hostalería de Barcelona” for olive oil subject.

Member of the official olive oil tasting panel of Catalonia (Spain), he contributed to its formation and currently is responsible for its continuous training under ISO-17025 regulations. He has designed special training strategies for many tasting panels in several countries (Argentina, Chile, China, Germany, Japan, Morocco, Spain, Turkey and USA). He has been jury of several international olive oil competitions (Argentina, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, New Zealand, Shanghai and Tokyo)

 

Juan Baseda Torruella

Juan Baseda Torruella

SPAIN - REUS

Juan Baseda Torruella holds a degree in Veterinary, Bromatology and Food Technologies from the Facultad de Veterinaria (Universidad de Zaragoza), Collegiate Nº 450, once of the illustrious Official College of Veterinarians of Teruel.

Juan Baseda Torruella is the Secretary and Technical Director of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) ‘Aceite del Bajo Aragón’, a position he has held since 1999. This PDO is located in the north west of Teruel and the south west of the province of Zaragoza, a geographical area that is one of the largest olive-oil producing areas in the north of Spain.

Juan Baseda Torruella has been the Tasting Technical Manager of Panel de Catadores de Aceite de Oliva Virgen de Aragón from 2005, the Deputy Panel Leader of Panel de Catadores de Aceite de Oliva Virgen de Aragón since 2008 and a respected taster on the Panel de Catadores de Aceite de Oliva Virgen de Aragón since 2001. From 1985 to 1998 Juan Baseda Torruella was chief in charge of production in Laboratorios Cenavisa, S.A. Spain.

Since 2001 Juan Baseda Torruella has organised the “Mejor Aceite del Bajo Aragón” prize which celebrates the best extra virgin olive oil with the Designation of Origin (D.O.) “Aceite del Bajo Aragón”

Juan Baseda Torruella is a valued member of many international and national extra virgin olive oil competition juries (Expoliva, Terraolivo, Evooleum, Iber Oleum, Argentina, Portugal) and he has also been a Panel Leader of table olives judging (2015).

Dr Francesca Rocchi

Dr Francesca Rocchi

ITALY - ROME

Francesca is a teacher and educator in the fields of food, wine and olive oil. She has been a regular taster and journalist at the Slow Food publisher’s Guide to Extravergini and is a member of the Il Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali’s (MIPAAF) working group dedicated to the culture of extra virgin olive oil.

In 2010 she was elected President of Slow Food Lazio and became a National Council Member for Slow Food Italy. In 2014, Francesca was made Vice President of Slow Food Italia, a role she continues today. Francesca is a member of the Italian Slow Food Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Presidia, an international project which promotes the environmental, landscape, health and economic value of Italian extra-virgin olive oil, and inform consumers about the qualities of good, clean and fair oil. She is also an educator in the field of food and wine for Slow Food and Eataly, with a focus on the olive tree cycle and on the potential of using EXTRAVERGINE in the daily diet.

Francesca is the artistic director of Fiera di Roma, an event dedicated to the Mediterranean Diet, which is held in Rome every year in November (www.mercatomediterraneo.it) where she facilitates a number of presentations dedicated to the culture of extra virgin olive oil. Furthermore, she is part of the tasting panel of SOL/Vinitaly and the Olive Japan International Olive Oil Competition. She speaks Italian, Spanish and English.

Francesca has numerous qualifications in the olive oil and wine (sommelier) as well as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice) and enjoys volunteering her time as a representative committee member with Foodinsider (www.foodinsider.it), a digital platform devoted to food education with a focus on Italian school canteen menus.

Sonia Donati

Sonia Donati

ITALY - TUSCANY

Sonia is one of the great olive oil experts in Italy. She is known and appreciated for her in-depth knowledge in the oil sector and she is often a speaker at important Italian field events.

Since 2003 Sonia has been developing her palate by training as a Sommelier (Italian Sommeliers’ Association), an ONAV wine taster (National Wine Tasters Organisation) and a wine fault specialist (University of Bordeaux).

In 2007 Sonia became a certified oil taster and was registered on the National Italian List of tasters. In 2008 she also became a registered Grappa taster from the Italian National Association of Grappa. She was a taster and judge at the ‘Concorso Nazionale distillati – Premio Alambicco d’Oro’ in Termeno.

Since 2010 Sonia has been the coordinator for the region of Tuscany’s Extra-virgin Slow Food Guide and member of the National Panel. As a Slow Food ambassador she collaborateeds with the Guide Osterie d’ItaliaVino Quotidiano and Slow Wine.

From 2016 to 2019 Sonia has been on the tasting panel for the Carabinieri Corps – Forestry of Tuscany. In September 2019 she participated in the Oil Millers Course organized by AIRO (Italian Oil Restaurants Association). Sonia teachers Slow Food, Wine and Oil Masters.

From 2019 to January 2020 Sonia tasted oil from around the world and was a contributor to the revolutionary research project – “To calibrate the electronic nose defects of olive oil’ at the Department of Horticulture and Scientific Centre (Dipartimento di Ortoflorofrutticoltra, del Polo Scientifico) in Sesto, Florence.

She is famous in Italy for her collaboration in successful television programs, such as “Buono a sapersi”, where she intervenes as an olive oil taster expert. Likewise, for her regular presence in “La Prova del Cuoco” (Ready Steady Cook) and “Tutto Chiaro” TV programmes, both on RAI Uno.

Johnny Madge

Johnny Madge

ITALY - CASPERIA

After gaining a History of Art degree from Cambridge University in the UK, Johnny Madge went to live in Italy in 1982 to study his favorite architect in Rome. After falling in love with freshly-made olive oil at a luncheon in Umbria, Johnny has never looked back. Four years later Johnny found a ruined farmhouse in the middle of an olive grove in Casperia, north of Rome, and bought it.

In 2002 he opened an olive oil/wine bar art gallery in his local village. In 2006 Johnny started tasting olive oil on the panel of the Slow Food Extravergini Guide and in 2013 he was invited to the 1st New York International Olive Oil Competition to talk about bitterness in olive oil.

In 2008, Johnny started his successful ‘Johnny Madge Olive Oil Tours’ which provide olive oil education for small groups of chefs, producers and tourists from all over the world. Tours include scenic olive grove visits, oil tastings, presentations about oil production and lunch www.johnnymadge.com.

Johnny has a certificate for tasting from the Organizzazione Nazionale Assaggiatori Olio Di Oliva (ONAOO). Since 2014 Johnny has judged olive oil in international competitions including Olive Japan (Tokyo), The London Olive Oil Competition, Athena International Olive Oil Competition (Greece) and Izmir (Turkey). In 2020 Johnny judged in the Berlin International Olive Oil Competition.

In 2017 he was awarded the Lekythos award at the Ercole Olivario Competition for the non-Italian person who distinguished himself for spreading the good word of quality Italian olive oil in Italy and abroad.

Johnny Madge has presented olive oil on British and American television and radio and recently made an explanatory video about olive oil for the hugely successful Pasta Grannies YouTube channel.

 In partnership with Grano & Farina Cooking School in Trastevere, Johnny also gives regular tasting & pairing events on olive oil in Rome.

Duccio Morozzo della Rocca

Duccio Morozzo della Rocca

ITALY - ROME

Duccio Morozzo della Rocca is the director and founder of the company Olive Bureau which specialises in international consultancy in olive oil production, olive oil blending, olive project development and olive oil business. Duccio founded Olive Bureau in 2005 in Italy after having completed his master in “Olivicolture and High-Quality Olive Oil” at the Agricultural Faculty of Pisa University.

Duccio works in North and South America, the Mediterranean region, Middle East and Asia. He focuses in the olive oil extraction process, olive tree and olive oil project development, oil profiles and journalism related to olive oil. He specialises in oil blending and does so for private producers and companies from the Americas to Japan.

Duccio has been an IOC official taster since 2007 and he has held the qualification of IOC Panel Leader since 2010. Since 2004 he has participated as a judge in over 38 international olive oil contests in Italy, Japan and Spain. His work has been published in many guide books and online resources. 

Duccio is on the list of the official IOC consultants for IOC olive oil projects.

Dr Wang Wei

Dr Wang Wei

CHINA - HANGZHOU

Dr Wang Wei graduated from Zhejiang University with a doctorate in food safety in 2008. He was the creator and now executive director of The International Centre for Olive Oil Quality Research (ICOOQR) with a key focus on promoting academic cooperation between China and Australia in the field of olive oil, to improve Chinese enthusiasm for the consumption of quality olive oil and to promote market share of Australia high quality olive oil in China.

Dr Wang Wei is the head director of Nutrition and health research team of Institute of Quality and Standard for Agriculture Products, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences. He is as a Master advisor mainly engaged in functional nutrition and health research of agricultural products. He had finished more than 20 research projects, published more than 70 research papers, 21 patents for inventions, include 1 U. S. patents, and 14 patents has been authorized.

Dr Dr Wang Wei is also an executive director of the sixth Zhejiang Food Association, and a member of Zhejiang New Century “151 talents project”, “talent plan” of Zhejiang academy of agricultural sciences, and premium members of Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology. Dr Wang is also a senior member of AOCS, the world’s most extensive and respected collaborative proficiency testing program for oil- and fat-related commodities, oilseeds, oilseed meals, and edible fats.

Zhu Shenlong

Zhu Shenlong

CHINA - HANGZHOU

Zhu Shenlong has engaged in the olive industry for more than 20 years. He is currently a member of the Olive Branch of China Economic Forest Association. Zhu Shenlong has extensive experience in the whole olive industry including olive germplasm assessment, olive tree growing and olive oil quality control. In 2019 Zhu Shenlong was invited as an expert to judge Chinese-brands of olive oil on the third olive Festival of Chengdu.                   

In recent years, Zhu Shenlong has participated in many olive training courses. More specifically he has studied olive oil sensory analysis including the ‘Training course on olive oil sensory analysis and senior qualifier’ jointly organised by Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (ZAAS) and Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and Technology (IRTA) in 2019”. Zhu Shenlong holds the certificate released by ZAAS and IRTA with authorisation from Dr Agusti Romero.         

Zhu Shenlong current work focuses on olive oil production, quality control, appropriate growing methods and suitable cultivar assessment in a region high in precipitation in southern China. Traditionally it can be shown that olive trees were hard to be grown in strong acidic soil and rainy regions, however, Zhu Shenlong’s research group have successfully produced extra virgin olive oil for years under these conditions. He is promoting the whole olive industry in such challenging regions like southern China.                                                                                               

 Deng Yu

Deng Yu

CHINA - GANSU

Deng Yu is a professor of the olive, currently working as the vice president of Longnan Academy of Economic Forestry, Gansu Province. He is also the director of the Longnan Olive Research Institute, secretary-general of the Chinese Olive Innovation Strategic Alliance and vice managing director and leader of the China Economic Forest Association’s processing group ‘Olive Specialized Committee’.  Deng Hu served as Chairman of Longnan Olive Oil Testing Association and leader of the Longnan Government Quality Award review panel.

For more than 30 years, Deng Yu has been engaged in scientific research and practice in the cultivation and processing of olives, olive product quality and safety and quality analysis of olive oil quality characteristics and olive oil tasting.

Deng Yu has travelled to Greece and Spain to study olive oil planting, processing and oil testing techniques. He has participated in training courses for olive oil sensory analysis at home and abroad. Deng has obtained the Madrid Polytechnic University’s training certificate, Italy’s University of Bologna’s certificate for oil appraisal training and Spain’s Catalonia Institute of Agricultural and Food Technology’s training certificate and chief quality officer certificate. He also served as the judge of China’s first olive oil tasting and appraisal event.

Deng Yu has hosted and participated in the completion of more than 20 ministry, province, and municipal research jobs relating to the olive. He has won 20 provincial and municipal Science and Technology Progress Awards, won 2 national patents, and had more than 40 papers published including 3 SCI papers and 5 monographs on the olive including the International Oil Olive Council (IOC)published ‘World Olive Variety Map’.

Deng Yu has drafted “Virtual Olive Oil Sensory Evaluation Guide (Draft)” and cooperated to complete “Olive Oil Sensory Evaluation System Software”. He has also obtained the National Copyright Administration Soft Book Certificate.

Currently, Deng Yu is leading the analysis and evaluation of olive oil quality of different varieties and different maturities, and building a Chinese (Longnan) olive oil sensory analysis and evaluation laboratory according to international standards. Deng Yu is a highly regarded and influential person in the Chinese olive industry.

Dr Zhang Yu

Dr Zhang Yu

CHINA - HANGZHOU

Dr Zhang Yu graduated from Zhejiang University with a doctorate in fruit quality in 2004. She is the deputy director of nutrition and health research team of Institute of Quality and Standard for Agriculture Products, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

She is also a researcher in the International Centre for Olive Oil Quality Research (ICOOQR), which is dedicated to promoting academic cooperation between China and Australia in the field of olive oil. She is mainly engaged in evaluation of quality and functional nutrition of agricultural products.

Dr Zhang Yu has completed more than 20 research projects, published more than 30 research papers and authorized 15 invention patents. She is familiar with sensory analysis and quality analysis of olive oil.

She has completed study in the training course of olive oil sensory analysis organized by International Olive Council in 2018. In 2019, she has completed study in the training course on olive oil sensorial analysis senior qualifier organized by Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China and Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and Technology in Spain,and get the training certificate.

Dr Mariem Gharsallaoui

Dr Mariem Gharsallaoui

TUNISIA - SFAX

Mariem is a researcher at the Olive Tree Institute in Sfax, Tunisia. She has a PhD in Chemistry and a Masters in Chemical Engineering. She is also an expert academic in tasting virgin olive oil (University of Jaén).

Mariem has been a researcher at the Institute of the Olive Tree since 2001 and has been responsible for two research projects “Extraction systems and exploiting by-products” and ‘Olive Oil Quality and Voice Recovery’. She is responsible for the national innovation research project ‘New ecological process of olive oil extraction: Qualitative, economic, and environmental impact’.

Mariem is an acclaimed teacher of olive oil extraction systems and refining processes for olive-pomace oils and acid oils for the Master’s degree at the Higher Institute of Biotechnology in Sfax. She also teaches sensory analysis for a Master’s degree at Higher Institute of Technological Studies. Mariem also teaches quality tools for a Master’s degree at Higher Institute of Technological Studies.

Mariem has supervised over 50 completed study projects as well as eleven Masters Degrees thesis, five Doctoral Degree thesis and 80 training courses for students. She has participated in 18 scientific paper seminars and is an author and co-author of 15 scientific peer-reviewed papers in international journals.

Mariem is a member of the National Chemistry Committee for the revision of the commercial standard for olive oil and pomace olive oil and also a member of the regional Sensitization Oil Mills Operators committee.

Mariem has judged at Olive Japan from 2015 to 2019. She has judged the best olive oil in the competition at the 2016 and 2018 ‘Mon Olivier Festival in Sfax and has been a C’TOVert tasting panel leader.

Mariem has run over 50 training days for the production of good quality olive oil. She has also organised and provided training for over 20 workshops and courses for professionals in the field of olive oil.

She is a consultant for the accreditation of chemical and sensory analysis laboratories for the Tunisian olive industry.

Dr Mahdi Fendri

Dr Mahdi Fendri

TUNISIA - SFAX

Dr Mahdi Fendri is from Sfax, the largest olive producing province in Tunisia. He comes from an olive growing family where he started to discover the fascinating world of the olive oil in his early childhood.

After completing his studies at the Higher Institute of Agronomy, he completed an International Master degree in Olive Growing and Olive Oil Technology in Spain. Dr Fendri then furthered his research and obtained his PhD in Agricultural Biology from the University of Granada in 2011. He also holds an Expert in Sensory Assessment of Virgin Olive Oils Diploma from the University of Jaen.

Dr Fendri is currently a researcher in food technology and olive oil quality at the Olive Institute in Tunisia. He is presently involved in several national and international projects aiming at enhancing the valorization of local olive oils and better identifying their properties. Prior to this Dr Fendri was a research fellow on two Tunisian and Spanish projects. He has worked as manager of the SGA private Olive Mill in Sfax, Tunisia and has had various other technical and scientific roles in the Tunisian and Spanish olive industry. He has been tasting and training in olive oil in Spain and Tunisia since 2014.

Dr Fendri has participated in several olive oil completions in Tunisia and abroad such as the New York International Olive Oil Competition and the Sol d’ORO International Extra Virgin Olive Oils Competition (Italy). He has judged at the Tunisian national competition ‘The Best Monocultivar Olive Oil’ and at the 1st Tunisian Contest of Local Products in Tunis 2017.

Dr Fendri has extensive achievements in literature and research and development.
Since 2008 he has participated in twelve internationally financed R&D projects, has presented in nineteen national and international symposium and scientific meetings, has twenty national and international olive growing and olive oil technology related journal publications/books and has a registered Patent in OEPM-Spain.

Convinced that there are no limits to explore the exiting universe of extra virgin olive oil, he is continuously eager to find out new tasting experiences.

 

Abdelkarim Laatar

Abdelkarim Laatar

TUNISIA - SFAX

Abdelkarim Laatar is an accredited ‘Head of Panel’ of the International Olive Council authorised Tunisian National Board of Olive Oil, member of the international jury for the Mario Solinas Awards (Madrid, Spain) and Head of Panel for the National Olive Oil Office Awards (Tunisia). Abdelkarim Laatar was Head of Panel at the ‘Festival de l’Olivier de Sfax’ in February 2020.

Abdelkarim Laatar has been a trainer for sensory analysis of olive oil with 37 years of tasting experience and tasting consultancy for the O.N.H (Tunisian National Olive Oil Office). at the National Olive Oil Office Tunisia. He is a member of an experts’ group of the International Olive Council in Madrid for the review of the sensory analysis of olive oil norms.

Abdelkarim Laatar is responsible for the production at the Oil-Mill of Nour Oil Company and olive oil tasting with various companies. He has also helped obtain the ISO 17025 for the sensory analysis of olive oil for the National Olive Oil Office with the goal to install a certified laboratory for the sensory analysis of olive oil.

Abdelkarim Laatar has trained professionals within several workshops in the field of sensory analysis of olive oil. He has a Diploma of ‘Tasting Head of Jury’ (Olio -The Florence School of Olive Oil 1992) and the university diploma ‘Expert Course of Olive Oil Tasting’ from the University of Jaen (Spain 1999).  

In 2019 Abdelkarim Laatar was Head of Panel of a Mario Solinas Awards sponsored competition for best extra olive oil in Tunisia. This competition was organized by the National Olive oil Office (ONH).

Dr Sonda Laroussi

Dr Sonda Laroussi

TUNISIA - SFAX

Dr Sonda Laroussi is a panel leader, passionate olive oil expert, trainer and a project management consultant based in Sfax, Tunisia.

Dr Laroussi was the founder and leader of the first private Tunisian IOC recognised laboratory for extra virgin olive oil analysis ‘Olea Conseil’ which she continues to be managing partner and panel leader. She was also the creator of ‘SGS Tunisia’, the first accredited and IOC recognised sensory analysis laboratory for virgin olive oil in Sfax.

Dr Laroussi has been the consulting engineer at Mezghani SARL for agriculture activities in Sfax, Tunisia as well as the manager of SARL ‘Olivex’, a Tuniso-Italian company specialising in exporting and producing biomass from almond hulls and olive kernels. She was also a research engineer at Mezghani SARL for agricultural activities (Sfax, Tunisia).  

Dr Laroussi is a Doctor of Science, Analytical Chemistry and Chemometrics (University of Aix-Marseille) and Biological Engineering from the National Institute of Applied Sciences and Technologies (INSAT). She has a master’s degree in Agricultural Sciences, Food Science and Technology from the National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia, an Engineering Degree in Industrial Biology and a Baccalaureate in Mathematical Science. Her research projects have explored the biodiversity of Tunisian virgin olive oil, traceability and adding value to Tunisian virgin olive oil.

Dr Laroussi has extensive tasting and training qualifications and has been a panel leader and trainer for virgin olive oil and table olive sensory analysis for over seven years including various IOC recognised courses. She also provides advice and support to Tunisian olive producers.

Dr Laroussi has extensive experience in quality olive oil competition judging and has judged at the SOL d’ORO Northern Hemisphere International Competition (Italy), Mario SOLINAS (Madrid) and the London Olive Oil Competition. In Tunisia she has led the Teboursouk Best Olive Oil Competition and been a judge at ‘The Best Mono Cultivar Olive Oil Competition’.

2020 Associate Judges 

Sarah Ascuitto

Sarah Ascuitto

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA (Associate Judge)

Sarah has come from a long line of passionate food lovers. Having spent her younger years in a renowned South Australian food producing region, quality and freshness have always been at the fore of her culinary experiences. Growing up in an Italian – Australian household has meant extra virgin olive oil always takes center stage in the Kitchen.

Being involved in her family’s Olive groves in both the Adelaide Hills and Murraylands has allowed her to refine her skills in blending and tasting extra virgin olive oils, as well as working along with a strong South Australian extra virgin olive oil community where her family’s oil is respected and well awarded.

Sarah has completed the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes course and has been involved in judging the Fleurieu Olive Awards and associate judging at the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards in 2018. She thrives on the nuances found between olive varietals and flavours and is currently involved hands on with the blending of varietals and oils for her family grown and operated Rio Vista Olives in the Adelaide hills as well as undertaking a number of marketing and sales roles.

Dr Li Xue

Dr Li Xue

CHINA - HANGZHOU

Dr Li Xue has received a Ph.D of Physical Chemistry from Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, CAS.

Li Xue successfully completed her olive oil sensorial analysis training course in 2019. This was jointly organized by Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (ZAAS) in China and the Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and Technology (IRTA) in Spain.

In 2016, she achieved the qualification of Food Sensory Analyst, awarded by China Mechanical Engineering Association. She had participated in the detection ability assessment of AOCS in 2016 and has three years’ experience in olive oil research.  Li Xue has published 7 scientific papers in national and international journals.

She is devoted to the study of olive oil, specialising in quality evaluation and the biological activity and mechanisms of olive oil.

Rojina Maharjan

Rojina Maharjan

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW (Associate Judge)

Rojina is current Sensory Panel Leader for Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel based in Wagga Wagga, actively running under NSW-Department of Primary Industries (DPI). She has completed Olive Oil Sensory Course conducted by NSW-DPI and Sensory Masterclass in Geelong, both of which included detailed knowledge and skills required for organoleptic assessment and show judging of olive oil. She has been provided with on-job training in regards to Olive Oil Classification, various defects in olive oil and IOC standards and methods for Sensory Analysis of Olive Oil. She is involved in both chemical and organoleptic analysis of olive oil and other edible oils under NSW-DPI Oil Testing Services.

Rojina holds a Postgraduate Degree in Food Science from The University of Queensland, where she has completed a research in Sensory Science to build a Trained Panel as part of her degree. She has worked in multitude of food industries and possess expertise in Quality Management Systems, Research & Development and Laboratory practices.

Geoff Treloar

Geoff Treloar

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA NSW

Geoff and his family planted their 1700 tree grove in 1998. Located on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, the grove has flourished with the ideal climate, soil and irrigation. Since then, Geoff has grown to appreciate the quality of EVOO as a highly valuable food for its sensory characteristics and health benefits.

An early collaboration with local growers formed the brand W20 EVOO and Agrumato olive oil. Now owned by Geoff, W2O has striven for best practice producing many award winning oils over the last decade, 2019 proving its most successful year, scooping the best awards in Australia in both EVOO and agrumato oils. Geoff has gained from training in sensory analysis through the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel at Wagga and has been an active panellist for 6 years. Further training workshops have been undertaken.

Geoff has judged at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and Golden Olive shows. Since retirement from Veterinary Practice in 2018 Geoff has enjoyed the opportunity to engage with the business and science of EVOO and the wider grower community.

Tomasz Kwiecien-Fisher

Tomasz Kwiecien-Fisher

AUSTRALIA – PERTH, WA (Associate Judge)

Tomasz is the manager and olive grower of the award-winning and innovative Regan’s Ford Estate, a 50 hectare, super high density olive grove in Gingin, north of Perth in Western Australia.

Since 2016 Tomasz has been training in extra virgin and flavoured olive oil assessment with Isabelle Okis, an international olive oil judge. He has participated as an associate judge in the Western Australian Olive Awards in 2017 and 2018 and as a full judge in the 2019.

Tomasz had attended consecutive training sessions and is a regular participant in Olives WA hosted olive events.

2020 Table Olive Judges

Bob Barrett

Bob Barrett

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA

Bob Barrett was Lecturer at the University of Adelaide with over 25 years of teaching at Waite Campus and the National Wine Centre in Oenology, horticulture and wine marketing. His book “Olive Production & Marketing in Australia”, published in 2008, was the based on his lectures developed for this subject at the Waite Campus of the University over a period of years. Bob was Chief Judge at the inaugural National Table Olive Competition in 2010. Prior to retirement he was on the inaugural panel Australian Panel which sought and obtained accreditation from the International Olive Oil Council to make judgements as to the organoleptic status of oils (Extra Virgin, Virgin, and so on). He was a long standing member of Olives SA board and initiated the original Olives South Australia website in 2010. Bob has been a table olive judge at both the Australian National Olive Competition and the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards. He currently consults to the olive industry.

Dr Andrew Markides

Dr Andrew Markides

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA

Andrew has judged table olives at the Australian National Olive Competition, the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards and the Fleurieu Fine Food and Olive Competition for some years.  He holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and PhD in Microbiology from the University of New South Wales. After 25 years in wine academia teaching wine production, microbiology and sensory evaluation at the Riverina Murray Institute of Higher Education, Roseworthy Agricultural College and The University of Adelaide, Andrew moved to the private sector joining a French-Canadian Company servicing the wine industry worldwide. Andrew’s Greek background has had him interested in olives since his teenage years. Over many years, he learnt a great deal exploring the relationship between olive maturity, flavour, texture and size using various olive varieties. Andrew is now professionally retired from full-time employment but remains active in the olive sector. He continues exploring micro olive processing techniques and is particularly looking forward to increasing my involvement with the olive sector, both nationally and internationally.

Delyth Taylor

Delyth Taylor

AUSTRALIA - COONALPYN, SA

Dr Michelle Wirthensohn

Dr Michelle Wirthensohn

AUSTRALIA - CHARLESTON, SA

Dr Michelle Wirthensohn is the Horticulture Innovation Australia Senior Research Fellow with the University of Adelaide. Michelle has been involved in horticultural breeding and research since graduating from the University of Adelaide where she gained her Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons), Graduate Certificate in Higher Education and a PhD in Horticulture. As a member of the Australian Olive Association’s (AOA) National Table Olive Committee, Michelle helped develop the Voluntary Industry Standard for Table Olives and the Australian Olive Association’s Code of Practice for table oil, table olives and other products. She has been Head Judge for the Australian Olive Association’s National Table Olive competition since 2011 and for Olives South Australia (OSA) Royal Adelaide Olive Awards. She also judges for the Fleurieu Fine Foods competition.

Sarah Asciutto

Sarah Asciutto

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA

Sarah has come from a long line of passionate food lovers. Having spent her younger years in a renowned South Australian food producing region, quality and freshness have always been at the fore of her culinary experiences. Growing up in an Italian – Australian household has meant extra virgin olive oil always takes center stage in the Kitchen.

Being involved in her family’s Olive groves in both the Adelaide Hills and Murraylands has allowed her to refine her skills in blending and tasting extra virgin olive oils, as well as working along with a strong South Australian extra virgin olive oil community where her family’s oil is respected and well awarded.

Sarah has completed the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes course and has been involved in judging the Fleurieu Olive Awards and associate judging at the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards in 2018. She thrives on the nuances found between olive varietals and flavours and is currently involved hands on with the blending of varietals and oils for her family grown and operated Rio Vista Olives in the Adelaide hills as well as undertaking a number of marketing and sales roles.

Michael Esposito

Michael Esposito

AUSTRALIA - KANGAROO ISLAND SA

As a young gun, Michael started judging as an associate judge in 2014. In 2015 Michael completed his International Master for EVOO Taster & Olive Experts Diploma in Italy under the instruction of Andrea Giomo, Barbara Alfei and Maria Gabusi.

Since then he has been elevated to a full state and national judge and has participated in the Australian National Olive Competition, Royal Adelaide Olive Awards and Fleurieu Fine Food and Olive Competition. Michael has judged at the Australian International Olive Awards since its inception in 2017.

Michael is the general manager and olive grower of Kangaroo Island Olives, a family owned olive farm on South Australia’s pristine Kangaroo Island kiolives.com.au. The brand has received multiple awards from various olive oil shows around Australia.

Catherine Harbison

Catherine Harbison

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA

Catherine has a foody background, stemming from a family love of all things edible and drinkable, hunting, gathering, fishing, diving.

She studied cooking in Paris, followed by years of chefing all over Australia and owning two restaurants.

Catherine has a degree in Oenology and has worked various vintages in the infamous Barossa Valley. She still helps out at Leibichwein.

For the last 10 years Catherine has worked in primary schools, teaching kids how to run an organic garden, growing food, cooking it and eating it (Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program).

Catherine’s interests include cheesemaking and giving workshops in cheesemaking, harvesting wild foods, including olives.

She has been judging olives and olive oil for the last five years at the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards and has been a regular judge at the Fleurieu Olive Awards. She has been an associate judge in training at the Australian International Olive Awards and in 2020 she has qualified as a full judge in this competition.

Briony Liebich

Briony Liebich

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE SA

Briony works at West End Brewery as a Sensory Analyst. For the last 15 years she has honed her skills with a broad range of experience in the food and drink industries including working for her family’s Barossa Valley winery, as a sensory consultant and running a sensory lab.

Briony has been judging at state and national olive oil competitions since 2014 and has been head judge of the Fleurieu Peninsula Olive Competition. She has been a judge at the Australian International Olive Awards since its inception in 2017. She also runs food and olive oil sensory workshops to teach flavour descriptors under her Flavour Logic brand.

Briony also enjoys harvesting and processing wild and grove olives from around McLaren Vale with friends.

Gerri Nelligan

Gerri Nelligan

AUSTRALIA - BAROSSA VALLEY, SA

Having spent seven years emerged in olive industry communications, Gerri formally put on her judging hat in 2015 as an associate judge at the Australian National Olive Competition. Working with some of Australia’s leading olive oil judges, it was a huge learning experience. Since then she’s has grasped every opportunity to taste and evaluate oils, and learn as much as she can about the organoleptic qualities of EVOO.

In 2017 she judged at the Australian International Awards, refining her skills as an associate judge in training while working alongside expert judges including Pablo Canamasas, Toshiya Tada, Shane Cummins and Alexandra Kicenik Devarenne. In 2018 she has qualified as a full judge in this competition.

In 2018 she joins the AIOA judging panel as a fully-fledged judge and has also been invited to judge at several state EVOO competitions across the country.

Gerri is Managing Editor of the Olivegrower & Processor industry publication platform and is currently establishing her own mini-olive grove on a two-acre property in the Southern Barossa.