Helen Taylor


Helen has over fifteen 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.

Dr Michelle Wirthensohn


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.


Aleandro currently works with the University of Florence in the Faculty of Agriculture (Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agrarie, Alimentari, Ambientali e Forestali, DAGRI).

Aleandro has been an olive oil judger for more than 20 years.He has achieved many formal olive industry qualifications including Panel Leader Certification and a Member Panel Test Certificate AIF0; ANAPOO. He has also contributed to the competition and guide: Slow Food, II Magnifico and M0OIC Montecarlo.

Aleandro is involved in research focusing on olive orchard management, cultivar characterization, breeding, mechanical harvest and the milling process. He has co-written more than 20 technical and scientific papers on these topics. He also has one Patent on the mechanical pruning process. 

Aleandro is involved in several international projects including introducing olive oil cultivation in a number of East Asia regions.Aleandro is based in Florence and is a Director on the Board of Laudemio. He consults all things olive for Tenuta Maryamadoo and Palazzo Di Varignana Agricultural Estate.


In 2000 Margaret retired from full-time employment after a career as a dietitian and university lecturer, 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 olive oil related organisations.

Margaret attended the International Olive Council’s (IOC) organoleptic training courses in New Zealand and then 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 Olives New Zealand 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.

In 1992, Margaret and her late husband, John, planted an olive grove on Waiheke Island. In 1997 they imported a mill from Italy and established a company that consistently produced award-winning extra virgin olive oil.  The mill was sold in 2021 and now Margaret only produces extra virgin olive oil for her own needs and those of family and friends. 


Toshiya Tada is a Master Olive Oil Sommelier, Senior Taster and Olive Oil Sensory Panel Leader. He is a regular olive oil judge at the Shodoshima/Japan Municipal Olive Oil Competition, The Australian International Olive Awards and has judged in Israel at Terraolivo. Toshiya is the Chairman and founder of the Olive Oil Sommelier Association of Japan (OSAJ) (oliveoil.or.jp/en/). Since 2012 he had organized and been General Director of annual convention and Olive Oil Competition named “OLIVE JAPAN” (olivejapan.com/en).

Toshiya is a founder and Chief Professor of the Olive Oil Sommelier School of Japan which started in Tokyo in 2005. He researched and wrote over 80 hours of course curriculum and the thorough 1,200 page textbooks those cover the history of olives and olive production, olive culture, culinary uses, health benefits and sensory skills. He is a Guest Professor in the Fukuoka University, a commentator, a bestselling book author and writer of monthly magazine articles and newspapers. He regularly appears at conferences, seminars and events.

Toshiya has a Bachelor of Arts, International Christian University (ICU) Tokyo JAPAN and a Bachelor of Science, Trinity College Cambridge UK. He is a member of Japan Oil Chemists Society (JOCS) and is also a trained traditional Tea Master with decades of study in the art and appreciation of tea. Toshiya speaks English, German, Latin and Japanese.


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.


Francesca is an international 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. She also works with the Iatlian Chamber of Commerce.

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.


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.


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 is the Grove Manager for Allpress Olive Groves who have bought Rangihoua and several other brands on Waiheke Island. She is very happy to still be part of the journey of seeing where Waiheke Islands Olive Oil next chapter. 


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.



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). 


Dr Wang Wei got his Ph.D. from Zhejiang University in 2008, and currently he works in the School of Biology and Chemical engineering of Zhejiang University of Science and Technology.

He was the creator and as the executive director of The International Centre for Olive Oil Quality Research (ICOOQR), focus on promoting academic cooperation between China ,Australia and Spain 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 Zhejiang University of Science and Technology. He is as a Ph.D. advisor mainly engaged in functional nutrition and health research. He had finished more than 20 research projects, published more than 100 research papers, and 50 patents for inventions.

Dr Wang Wei Since 2017, he has been as the Judge of AIOA for many times, trained many excellent Judges, and made important contributions to the development of China’s olive industry.



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.



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.



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.



Imed is an engineer who graduated from the Tunisia’s National Engineering School of Gabes specialising in Chemical Process Engineering.He has had over 19 years experience in the oleicol industry.

In 2002 Imed started working as the Chief Operating Officer at the plant oil refining company Raffinrie Africaine. He has since then achieved great success and is currently the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

He is passionate about the olive industry and has been part of a COI certified tasting panel since 2015.

Imed has participation in dozens of training courses concerning the production, enhancement, sensory analysis and tasting of virgin olive oils.



Roslyn grew up on a sheep and wheat farm in Southern Riverina and developed a personal and professional passion for food from an early age.

Today, she is a food technologist and corporate nutritionist with over 30 years’ experience having worked in both Australia, UK and The Netherlands with well-known multinational food companies.

She started her food science career in the flavour industry specialising in new product development and sweet flavour applications for some of Australia’s best known confectionery, yoghurt, ice-cream and soft drinks products.

She moved to The Netherlands to further her flavour science work at Unilever Research, where she became a panel member of the Bertolli olive oil tasting panels. While at Unilever, Roslyn was also a key member of the sensory panels for butter, tomato paste and flavour compounds of culinary herbs.

After leaving Europe, Roslyn has worked in leading FMCG companies supplying major Australian supermarkets finetuning her new product development skill and regulatory compliance knowledge. Having seen and developed industry’s best practice, Roslyn has launched a food regulatory affairs consultancy business in Sydney, Tastebuddies Food Labelling.

Today she specialises in Australian and New Zealand food labelling compliance. Alongside this, she is also a passionate nutritionist with a love for promoting the health and wellness benefits of extra virgin olive oil. She believes in educating Australian consumers on the high quality EVOO available here, helping them discover the wonderful world of olive oil taste and flavour descriptors and matching food and olive oils to delight their tastebuds and give them a new sensory experience.

In 2021, Roslyn joined the EVOO judging panel at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show and in 2022, she joined the Australian International Olive Awards juding team.   



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. 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).



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.




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.



Ali has been an active member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel since her initial training in 2014. She attended what she thought was a 3-hour educational session on appreciating olive oil, the rest, as they say, is history.

Ali has experience as both judge and panel leader, judging olive oil and table olives at the Australian International Olive Awards, Sydney Royal Fine Food Show and the Australian Golden Olive Awards. She participated in the Tastebook program, a sensory professional development and training initiative in appreciating and describing extra virgin olive oil and table olives.

Ali is based in Wagga Wagga NSW, and regularly attends olive oil assessment sessions within her capacity as a member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel. She participates in monthly panel maintenance and training sessions, and is a graduate of the University of Wollongong and Charles Sturt University.  


Sahar has a PhD in Crop Production Sciences and a Masters of Research in Agronomy, Environment and Biotechnology from the National Institute of Agriculture of Tunisia. She has authored several journal publications and spoken at various presentations.

Sahar holds an Expert in Sensory Assessment of Virgin Olive Oils Diploma from the University of Jaen (in association with the International Olive Council). She has also worked as a project manager in setting up packaging categories for olive oil.

Sahar has undertaken many courses and training including plant reproduction, plant and health risks and “El Maestro” Control of olive oil production. She is a member in the supply chain in SOTAM, a company that produces and exports the brand Nichen olive oil’. When entered in international olive shows (New York, London and Canada) she has won many medals including 2 gold and 3 silver medals.

Sahar is the quality manager in the Tunisian Company of Modern Agriculture (SOTAM) which is dedicated to olive oil quality using physicochemical and organoleptic analyses in accordance with the directives of the International Olive Council. Sahar is also the respected panel leader for olive oil organoleptic analysis in SOTAM.



Debra trained and participated for many years, as 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 eleventh 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.



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. 



Andrew has judged table olives at the Australian National Olive Competition, the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards and the Fleurieu Fine Food and Olive Competition. (omit 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 then Riverina Murray Institute of Higher Education, Roseworthy Agricultural College and The Univeristy of Adelaide, Andrew moved to the private sector joining a French-Canadian Company servicing the wine industry worldwide.

Andrew’s Greek backgound 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 of various olive varieties.
Andrew is now professionally retired but remains active in the olive sector. He continues exploring micro-olive processing techniques.  


Joan 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.

Joan 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.

Joan 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 Joan 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”

Joan 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).



Born and raised in South Australia, Michael is a second generation olive grower and regenerative farmer.

Michael commenced judging in 2014, 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 holds a Masters degree in Agribusiness and has published work focusing on Extra Virgin Olive Oil value chains. In 2015 he completed his International ‘Master for EVOO Taster & Olive Experts‘ Diploma in Italy under the instruction of Andrea Giomo, Barbara Alfei and Maria Gabusi.

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



Isabella is based in Western Australia and has been tasting and judging olive oil for over 20 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.



Judging experience was gained on the South West Olive Association competition, recently at the Slow Food Swan Valley Olive Festival, attending the Royal Agricultural Show and regional agricultural shows and organizing a local competition.

Since 2017 she has been judging at the WA Olive Council EVOO competition and is now a panel leader. With the WA panel remaining in Perth during COVID restrictions the opportunity arose to judge alongside the AIOC WA panel as Associate, then 2022 as a Judge.

Overseas travel is now providing the opportunity to extend her palate and experience in other countries, together with networking and absorbing information from others within the industry.



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’Italia, Vino 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, on RAI Uno.



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).



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).



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.



Monica has been involved in the olive industry since 2016 when she purchased an abandoned olive grove with her husband. From this point on, Monica made it her mission to restore the grove and produce gold medal winning extra virgin olive oil, from the 7 varieties produced on the farm.

She immersed herself in olive education, which included numerous trips to Spain to meet with growers and producers, and various olive oil sensory training programmes. In 2017 Monica completed the Savantes training programme, and was awarded the highest ever score in Australia as an Associate Savante. This training, education and travel ignited Monica’s new passion for the Olive tree, and everything that could become of it.

Since then, Monica’s business Romley Estate has gone on to win countless Silver, Gold, Reserve Champion and Champion awards at competitions including the Adelaide Olive Awards, Australian International Olive Awards, Royal Tasmanian Fine Food Awards, Royal Fine Food Awards Sydney, Fleurieu Olive Awards, NYIOOC, London International Olive Competition.

Monica was the key event organiser for the 2018 Fleurieu Olive Awards, and has been involved in judging many olive and olive oil competitions, including the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards, and the Fleurieu Olive Awards.

Monica sold the olive grove in 2022 so she could spend her time focusing on her family owned and operated Australian, all- natural, olive oil skincare range. She makes a range of high quality skincare products using extra virgin olive oil. //www.everythingolive.com.au/ 


Depending on the day, you might find Westerly wandering through the ALTO olive groves on her family farm in NSW, or in one of the many forested areas of Southern Tasmania, which she now calls home.

Born in Australia, Westerly spent her formative years in South East Asia, which instilled a deep-rooted curiosity and appreciation for all things edible. She is a qualified Cordon-Bleu chef, and worked in the kitchens of a hatted Sydney restaurant before transitioning her attentions to wholesale food distribution, firstly with Nicholas Foods and then Australia on a Plate, connecting Sydney’s chefs and retailers to great Australian farmers and food producers.

During this time she came across her first taste of truly excellent Australian extra virgin olive oil, which led Westerly to pursue her love of the noble olive by focusing on her own family’s olive business, ALTO Olives, where she is in charge of Sales and Marketing, Business Development, and Communications.

For 16 years Westerly has contributed to the Australian olive industry as a highly regarded extra virgin olive oil and table olive judge, a long-standing contributor to the Australian Olive Association (AOA) Consumer Awareness & Education Committee, and now, as Director representing Tasmania on the AOA Board of Directors. Westerly is a respected olive oil educator, and regularly hosts EVOO training, tasting, and appreciation talks and masterclasses for the foodservice industry.

An avid forager, gardener and cook, Westerly’s own philosophy around food is simple: source the best and freshest produce available, know where it comes from and what is in it, treat it simply, and cook with love. And always use high quality, Australian extra virgin olive oil joyously, and with abandon. On everything! 



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 with Claudia Guillaume.

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 nurse with a post grad in midwifery has 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 harvested and processed oil for numerous producers who have gone on to consistently win medals for their oils. As a result of the rich Italian culture she married into, Peta has also been pickling olives for over 40 years for family and friends.


Nino is a highly awarded Italo-Australian chef and cook book author. He grew up in country Western Australia surrounded by quality produce. His mother was from the Prowse farming family in Capel, a family that has reared and tended livestock in that region for almost 100 years. His father, a first generation Italian migrant, grew, harvested and hand-made just about everything that was ever placed on the dinner table, from artisan home-made charcuterie and tomato sugo to the highest quality homegrown meats and vegetables. Nino’s love of high quality dining and deep connection to fine, fresh produce was born at this table and seeded a lifelong passion of sourcing super premium produce and ingredients from Australia, Italy and beyond.

After completing a double major degree in Economics and Italian, Nino pursued a career in the culinary arts. At 25, he opened his first restaurant, Caffe Contadino in Margaret River, attracting critical attention from its inception. In 1998, Nino moved to Sydney where he led the opening team of Otto Ristorante Italiano on Woolloomooloo Wharf. The restaurant received instant acclaim, and Nino has called Sydney home ever since.

In 2008 Nino embarked on a new hospitality project as the chef/proprietor of The Restaurant Pendolino in the Sydney CBD. Named in honour of the Tuscan Pendolino olive, the restaurant is a celebration of Australia’s best extra virgin olive oils. Situated on the second floor of the Victorian-era Strand Arcade, The Restaurant Pendolino has offered the very best in Italian food, service and style since 2008, and is now considered a veritable dining institution within the Australian dining landscape.

Amongst other awards, in its first year, The Restaurant Pendolino was named Best New Restaurant in Australia by Restaurant & Catering Australia. Soon after, the restaurant was awarded one Chef’s Hat in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, which it has received ever since. In 2018, it was named Australia’s Best Formal Italian Restaurant at the Restaurant & Catering Australia Awards for Excellence. The ‘Olive Oil’ Private Dining Room was also awarded Australia’s Best Private Dining Room in 2017 at the Qantas Business Travel Awards. Most recently in 2022, The Restaurant Pendolino was awarded Best Food and Wine-Matching Restaurant in Australia at the Australian Wine List of the Year awards.

After being approached by Murdoch books in 2010 to write a book about making quality pasta, Nino’s career as a writer began. Nino subsequently authored two cookbooks, Pasta Artigiana and The Venetian Republic. He has deep knowledge of fine cuisine and wine specialising in both premium Italian food and wine, and has written extensively about them in his books as well as in esteemed food and wine publications. Nino’s regular trips to Italy inspire and inform his culinary style, and he also takes great pleasure in continuing to work with the Pendolino wine team to source and provide the finest wines from the diverse regions of Italy.

Nino has been a regular member of the Australian National Olive Oil judging panel over the past 20 years and has also judged at many state based extra virgin olive oil shows through this period. He is a strong advocate for Australian grown olives and Australian produced super premium extra virgin olive oil. The Restaurant Pendolino showcases Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil as the foundation of its evolving Italian menu.


2022 Associate Judges 

The Australian International Olive Awards competition prides itself on offering a number of ‘Associate Judge’ positions to future judges. These are training positions where associate judges hone their skills, get more experience and learn from the best judges available. 


Dr Rebecca Deed is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemical Sciences and the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BSc), BSc (Hons) and Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences.

Her research areas walk the interdisciplinary line between wine yeast molecular biology and biochemistry, analytical chemistry and sensory science to understand the mechanisms behind the formation and impact of key compounds in fermented beverages.  Rebecca is also interested in understanding yeast metabolic pathways that impact on aroma formation, fermentative ability, stress and survival. Rebecca has been involved in the University of Auckland Wine Science teaching programme since 2014, lecturing in viticulture, wine microbiology and sensory evaluation.

She also has over 10 years of experience as an associate judge, senior judge, and panel leader in wine judging with over 10 years of experience in judging at national wine competitions and for magazines including Winestate and Dish.  Rebecca holds the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits (Distinction) and the Level 1 Award in Sake. 


Dr Danaé Larsen is a lecturer in the school of Chemical Sciences at The University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science. Danaé has worked in the food industry in New Zealand and Switzerland as a sensory scientist, as a food sensory researcher in the Faculty of Chemical and Materials Engineering, at the University of Auckland and as a postgraduate research fellow at the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

Her research and teaching in the food and wine science programmes at the University of Auckland revolves around the sensory science of wine and food, in particular how the association of sensory and chemical qualities of aroma, flavour and texture inform our food and wine preferences and eating patterns. Danaé has several years of experience as a trained panellist for the sensory evaluation of various food and wine products.


Dr. Hongpeng Wang studied Chemistry at the University of Göttingen in Germany for more than 10 years, and currently works in the School of Biology and Chemical engineering of Zhejiang University of Science and Technology.

As a member of Chinese Herbs Testing & Certification Technology Professional Committee (CATCM), he is mainly engaged in the Isolation and structure elucidation of natural products from Chinese medicine and fruits, he has published more than 20 papers on natural products chemistry.

As a member of the Modern Agriculture Professional Committee of Zhejiang Invention Association, he also holds two invention patents about microbial derived active substances.


Emily has judged many times over the last 10 years for the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards and Fleurieu Olive Awards. She has a degree in Agribusiness where she studied organoleptic assessment, focusing on wine.

For the last 15 years she has owned and run Talinga Grove, a boutique grove near Strathalbyn, South Australia.  In 2009 she won Australia’s best table olive and the business has been successful with being awarded numerous gold, silver and bronze medals. She has recently sold the grove but continues to run the business.

Emily is passionate for the olive industry and showcasing these great olive products. She is proud to be part of the industry, but also in awe of her fellow producers.



BAI KAIWEN currently works with the Zhejiang University of Science and Technology in the Faculty of Biological and Chemical Engineering.

Though BAI KAIWEN exerts a pre-olive oil judger for just one year, he has excelled in sensory evaluation and identification of olive oil.

BAI KAIWEN is involved in research focusing on Oil and protein nutrition, efficient utilization of plant-derived functional protein peptide, preparation process and efficient utilization of structural oil, intestinal health and obesity syndrome.


Yi is currently affiliated with the College of Biology and Chemical Engineering at Zhejiang University of Science and Technology in Hangzhou, China.

He has amassed a wealth of experience in the field of olive oil tasting, having worked diligently under the guidance of Dr. Wei Wang for a year. During this time, Yi has honed his sensory evaluation skills and gained valuable insights into the nuances of olive oil flavors and qualities.

What sets Yi Wu apart is their dedication to continuous learning and professional development. He has consistently sought to expand their expertise through formal olive industry qualifications and certifications. He consistently demonstrates reliability, punctuality, and a willingness to go above and beyond in their pursuit of excellence. He has ability to work effectively within a team and their commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity and fairness.







Keith completed the NSW Dept of Primary Industries, Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel training at Wagga Wagga in 2016. Since then, he has participated in several tasting panels and also joined the Golden Olive Awards as an associate judge as part of the follow-up training sessions.

Keith is a non-commercial olive grower with a small multi-varietal grove in the Grampians region in Victoria. He is an enthusiastic amateur with a long-standing interest in olive growing and olive oil. Keith has visited numerous groves, presses and specialist stores to sample olive products while traveling extensively in Europe, Africa, and America. 

Keith shares an interest in how the restaurant industry in Australia perceives the local olive oil industry and how they appreciate and use oils in their business. He always champions the use of fresh, flavoursome local olive oil as much as possible.