2021 Judges 

Shane Cummins

Shane Cummins

HEAD JUDGE 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.

 Dr Michelle Wirthensohn

Dr Michelle Wirthensohn

HEAD JUDGE 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. Michelle has been Head Judge for the Australian International Olive Awards in 2017 -2019 and judge at the Fleurieu Fine Foods competition.

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.

Michael Thomsett

Michael Thomsett

AUSTRALIA - LAGGAN, NSW

Michael’s judging experience spans 17 years of National, State and Regional competitions. Including the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show where he was Chair of Judges from 2017 to 2019.

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 characteristics of EVOO.

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 qualified as a full judge in this competition and has since continued as a regular member of the AIOA judging panel, as well as judging at EVOO competitions in several states.

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

Claudia Guillaume AUSTRALIA -LARA, VIC

Claudia Guillaume AUSTRALIA -LARA, VIC

AUSTRALIA -LARA, VIC

Claudia joined Modern Olives early in 2006 to head up the Modern Olives Laboratory. She has over 20 years’ experience in olive oil testing and is now the Modern Olives General Manager.

She finished her studies in Argentina as Food Scientist and olive oil specialist. After working for several years in oil quality, authenticity and sensory testing, Claudia continuous working in characterization and analysis of olive derivatives products, leading the NPD, Technical, Regulation and Quality teams.

Claudia is an approved chemist of the AOCS, participates as technical members for the Australian Standard and USP committees, represents Australia in IOC, Codex and ISO as technical expert and is a NATA technical assessor. She has extensive experience in chemical and sensory evaluation of olive oil and olive derivatives, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. in the Southern Barossa.

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).

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. Abhijit always gets amazed with the versatility of Australian olive products- both extra virgin olive oil and table olives, every time he tastes them.

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.

Barry Sander

Barry Sander

AUSTRALIA - JARRAHDALE, WA

Barry is a qualified baker and pastry chef by trade and has owned and ran his own bakery for 23 years. On retirement Barry turned to olives and has been growing olives and running his own processing facilities in Jarrahdale, Western Australia ever since. Barry is also a board member of the Wester Australian Olive Council.

Barry completed AOA Basic and Advanced Olive oil Assessment courses in 2014. In the same year he was an associate judge at the WAOC Awards. He advanced to being a full judge in 2015 and has been judging every year since for the Perth Royal Olive Awards, South West Olive awards and now WAOC Awards. Barry also successfully completed the Australian Olive Industry Sensory training in 2019.

Barry’s extra virgin and flavoured oils have won over forty olive oil awards in an array of Australian and international competitions. He welcomes visitors to his grove and enjoys sharing his knowledge of olives and olive oil when possible.

 

Briony Liebich

Briony Liebich

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA

Briony is a sensory analyst with 17 years of hands-on experience in the beer, wine and food industries. Working with some of the country’s best known and loved food, beer and wine brands, her experience includes managing sensory programs, leading tasting workshops, quality control and new product development.

Briony has been judging olive oil and table olives at state and national competitions since 2014 and has been head judge of the Fleurieu Peninsula Olive Competition. She is an avid promoter and consumer of extra virgin olive oil and enjoys harvesting and processing wild and grove olives from around McLaren Vale with friends.

 After working at West End Brewery for 10 years, she has launched her business Flavour Logic which is all about good taste. Services to the food and beverage industry include sensory analysis tools to improve the quality and consistency of products and training staff to improve their tasting skills. She also offers tasting experiences for small groups in private or corporate settings to de-mystify the tasting process.

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.

Charlotte Connoley

Charlotte Connoley

NEW ZEALAND - AUKLAND

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). In 2020 Charlotte was head judge at the New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards.

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.

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.

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. 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).

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Jillian Clemenson

Jillian Clemenson

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).

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 favourite 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 2004 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 Australian International Olive Awards and 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.

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).

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.

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.

Margi Carter

Margi 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, 2018 and 2020.

 

Milena Lolic-Wilcox

Milena Lolic-Wilcox

ITALY - ROME

Native of Croatia, has lived in Rome, Italy since 2001. Living in Rome made her appreciate all sensory and cultural nuances of Italian food which led her to pursue and obtain qualifications as a Wine Sommelier from Associazone Italiana Sommelier in 2013 followed by Master’s degree in Italian Gastronomic Culture at the Universita degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata” in 2016.

Her olive oil appreciation journey started after joining the Slow Food Rome community in 2016. Milena obtained the title of the Olive Oil Sommelier from L’Associazione Italiana Sommelier dell’olio and is a registered Olive Oil taster (Elenco nazionale dei tecnici ed esperti assaggiatori olio di oliva) since 2017. She has judged table olives at the Italian National table olives competition Monna Oliva organized by UMAO (Unione Mediterranea Assaggiatori Olio) since 2018. She is certified by the Oil Millers course organized by AIPO (association of interregional olive oil producers) in 2020.

She has been a regular olive oil taster for the Slow food “Guida agli Extravergini” since 2018 and has facilitated extra virgin olive oil tasting workshops for visiting students from English speaking countries for Slow Food Rome. Milena hosts the English version of the Olive Oil Drops podcast (www.oliveoildrops.com).

Nino Zocalli

Nino Zocalli

AUSTRALIA - SYDNEY NSW

Nino is the executive chef and proprietor of The Restaurant Pendolino and La Rosa The Strand restaurants in Sydney’s historic Strand Arcade in NSW. The Restaurant Pendolino is a specialist olive oil restaurant profiling some of Australia’s best extra virgin olive oils www.pendolino.com.au and  houses a purpose built Lolioteca (olive oil store) which features a selection of world class Australian premium extra virgin olive oils, vinegars, olives and food products.

Prior to working in the restaurant industry, Nino completed a double major degree in economics and Italian. He opened his first restaurant, Caffe Contadino, in Margaret River Western Australia at the age of 25. Since then he has established landmark Sydney restaurants including Otto Ristorante Italiano, The Restaurant Pendolino and La Rosa The Strand.

He is a passionate chef, cookbook author and olive oil expert and also makes regular contributions to Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine. Nino has been judging olive oil in Australia at both the state and national competition level for more than twelve years.

Peta Zito

Peta Zito

AUSTRALIA - MELBOURNE, VIC

Peta is an OliveCare Certified olive oil grower and processor with vertical integration of growing, harvesting, processing, HACCP 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. She has judged reliably for the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards, the AOA and then the AIOA awards.

Peta, a trained midwifery nurse and completed a Post Graduate Diploma of 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 regularly been awarded various gold, silver and bronze medals as well as Best in Class awards. Peta has also contract processed oil for numerous producers who have gone on to consistently win medals for their oils.

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.

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 Australia 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 export promotion. He also led an olive study tour to Spain and Italy in 2000.

He has trained in olive oil assessment under several leading tasters such as Richard Gawel, Stan Kailis, Judy Ridgway 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 of which he is a life member and continues to do so in his retirement. He has been involved in viticulture all his life and regularly attends wine industry tasting sessions in the Swan Valley to keep his palate trained.

Richard has judged at the Perth Royal Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition for 20 years-and has also judged at regional WA shows such as the South West Olive Oil Competition. He has also judged at the Australian National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition and recently the Australian International Olive Awards in 2019 and 2020.

Alva Lim

Alva Lim

AUSTRALIA - SYDNEY NSW

Alva holds a degree in M. Public Policy and B. Economics. Her career has covered community development, international aid, agriculture and nutrition. She is co-founder and Director of Agora Food Studio/Timor-Leste Food Lab, a social enterprise that mentors youth food innovators and explores the edible diversity of Timor-Leste and the greater equatorial archipelago. Agora believes in the power of sharing ideas over a nourishing meal and creating real human-to-human connections that bring positive changes in the global foods system (www.timorlestefoodlab.com).

Alva is an educator with a broad range of experience in food and coffee – from sensory judging in olive oil and coffee to food storytelling, celebrating local food and Slow Food values and principles. She is a co-founder of the Slow Food Dili Convivium. She has run sensory workshops on food and coffee for chefs, baristas on flavour appreciation. 

Alva completed her AOA Certified EVOO Assessment training in 2014 under Richard Gawel. Over the years, she has worked on Panels with inspiring industry trailblazers like Helen Taylor, Isabella Okis, Margie Carter, Briony Liebich, Shane Cummins and Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay. “The first time I participated as an associate judge at the 18th Australian National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition, I was blown away by the quality of the oils and extraordinary knowledge, skills and passion of people in the Australian Olive industry. That experience, learning from them, was a seminal moment for me. I became committed to changing consumer mindsets and growing a movement for Australian EV olive oil and table olives.

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.

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.

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.

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 (WAOC) 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, the WAOC EVOO and Table Olive Competitions and the South West Olive Association competitions. Thelma also participated in the early development of Table Olive judging and awards in Western Australia.

In 2018, Thelma judged at the Australian International Olive Awards in Adelaide and again, in 2020, was a member of the Western Australian AIOA judging panel in Perth. In this extensive long-term experience, she has shared tasting and judging experience with world class judges and, in turn, has developed high level skills in EVOO and Table Olive judging.

Now retired from her health profession, Thelma lives on the family olive farm and is engaged in the annual grove activities, including pruning and harvesting. Most recently, Thelma has engaged with a retired EVOO grower and judge to provide EVOO tasting information and education sessions to community groups that include the Margaret River TAFE Hospitality / Chef trainees and the wider public at the Margaret River Markets and local agricultural field days.

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.

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.

Dominic Scarfo

Dominic Scarfo

AUSTRALIA - WILLUNGA SA

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.   

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 successfully completed study in the training course of olive oil sensory analysis organized by International Olive Council in 2018.

In 2019, she completed training 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.

2021 Associate Judges 

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.

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

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.