Georgofili World

Newsletter of the Georgofili Academy

A FULL IMMERSION COURSE ON EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL SPONSORED BY THE ACADEMY OF GEORGOFILI, ASSISI, 3-9 SEPTEMBER 2015

Inspired by Claudio Peri, Academician and Professor Emeritus of the University of Milan, with the collaboration of Academician Dr. Lamberto Baccioni and Sr. Mary F. Traynor, a Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist and longtime Scientific Editor of the Italian Journal of Food Science, the Academy of Georgofili founded “The Georgofili School of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Science and Technology” in February, 2015. The aim of the school is to promote the culture and knowledge of extra-virgin olive oil among olive oil professionals as well as among simple olive oil lovers and consumers. 
The first full-immersion course of the Georgofili School will take place at the“Istituto Alberghiero of Assisi” (a Professional Institute for Hotel Management, Chefs and Food Service operators) from 3 to 9 September 2015.  

A course about extra-virgin olive oil in Italy, but in English and in a public school specialized in culinary science: it seems to be a rather unusual formula compared to the traditional courses in olive oil. The proposal aroused our curiosity and we asked professor Peri a series of questions. Here are his interesting answers:

Why did you choose to start your courses in a professional school for chefs and food service operators?
Because chefs and influential restaurants are the trend setters that drive new food cultures through society, first in restaurants and then in families.  Chefs are in a position to carry a new narrative about excellent extra-virgin olive oils directly to influential customers, to interested consumers and to the media.  Also, through their creativity and insight, we will learn more about how best to advance consumer understanding and appreciation of extra-virgin olive oil.  

Why did you decided to start from a group of young and obviously quite incompetent people instead of experts and well-seasoned operators?
Because young people, 16-18 years old, are particularly open and receptive. We want to educate a new generation of experts in extra-virgin olive oil and we need to overcome prejudices and wrong opinions or behavior. Incidentally, the use of English was felt as an obstacle by more aged experts, while it was considered as an additional opportunity by the young students. 

Why are you starting your courses in Assisi?
In the first place because there is an excellent, well-motivated and well-organized school. But there are also hidden and deeper motivations. We think that Saint Francis of Assisi is the most appropriate model of this humble and precious product. Furthermore, we want to convey to the students a reference for transparency and ethics which must be at the foundation of their approach to food and business, one that can spur their professional trustworthiness. 

Why in English?
Because the new generation of experts must be in a position to present and talk about extra virgin olive oil in English to the frequent foreign customers of our restaurants as well as to the business partners importing, selling and using our extra-virgin olive oils in different countries and interesting new markets. 

You told us that this course will present innovative subject matter. Can you give some example?
To the traditional technical topics (nutritional and sensory quality, cultivation and processing) of olive oil courses we are adding themes that are very important to increase the value of our best (which means good and honest) olive oils. Therefore we give time and importance to communication style and methods, chain integrated management, sustainability requisites, coaching of producers and user teams, and creation of oil hubs as effective management and marketing tools.

You also seem very proud of the teaching method especially set up for these courses.
Yes, I think that this is the most crucial point of my commitment. I'm coming from forty years of University teaching and I have experience of both the glory of good teaching and pitfalls of bad teaching. I'm ripe to test new teaching methods focusing on simplicity, clarity, structural organization of concepts, propriety of language on the side of the teachers and active participation, critical thinking, practical involvement, collaborative and creative activities on the side of students. 
Our products are education and knowledge and the quality of the school will be judged by the quality (both measured and perceived) of these products


The Program

A standard day starts at 9:00 am and ends at 5:00 pm – the two hours in the afternoon, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, are devoted to guided practical exercises and discussion of the topics presented in the morning classes. 

First day: September 3, 2015, Thursday
Teachers: A. Peri, Sister M.F. Traynor, C. Peri 
The educational aim(s) of the course - the rules to be followed for the most effective participation and learning – evaluation of learning effectiveness and discussion about the students' final project 
legal definition of olive oils
break
chemical characteristics of extra virgin olive oil 
nutritional and health properties of extra virgin olive oil 
informal lunch
guided practical exercises

Second day: September 4, 2015, Friday
Teachers: C. Peri, L. Baccioni, F. Famiani, F. Ravelli, M.G. Gagliardi 
sensory properties, sensory perception
sensory evaluation of extra virgin olive oil as such
olive tree varieties
experimental lunch with evaluation of the oil sensory performance in various oil-pairing dishes
guided practical exercises

Third day: September 5, 2015, Saturday, a special supplementary day about marketing and management principles, in Italian, from 9:00 am through 3:00 pm and an informal lunch
Teachers: A. Peri, C. Peri 

Fourth day: September 6, 2015, Sunday, rest and homework

Fifth day: September 7, 2015, Monday
Teachers: F. Famiani, Sister M.F. Traynor, F. Ravelli, M.G. Gagliardi
olive tree cultivation (visit of an olive grove)
break
olive harvesting 
experimental lunch with evaluation of the oil sensory performance in various oil-pairing dishes
guided practical exercises

Sixth day: September 8, 2015, Tuesday
Teachers: L. Baccioni, Sister M.F. Traynor, F. Ravelli, M.G. Gagliardi
olive processing (visit of an olive mill)
break
oil storage and packaging 
experimental lunch with evaluation of the oil sensory performance in various oil-pairing dishes
guided practical exercises

Seventh day: September 9, 2015, Wednesday
Teachers: the teaching staff
process management fundamentals and examples
break
final test
informal lunch
(in the afternoon, in Italian) presentation of final projects and distribution of the format for students' evaluation of course quality 

A follow-up session of the course (in Italian) will take place on the 24th of February 2016, with a presentation to interested entrepreneurs and traders and a final tasting session organized by the teachers and students of the Istituto Alberghiero of Assisi, with extra virgin olive oils selected from the 2015 harvest.


(Information: claudio.peri@fastwebnet.it)