Jury Panel

Fil Bucchino, Toronto - Canada

Toronto-based Fil Bucchino, is an extra virgin olive oil expert, international contest judge and certified taster. Fil is the founder and olive oil producer at Abandoned Grove and the host of the award winning documentary “Obsessed with Olive Oil”. Nationally and internationally Fil collaborates with top culinary personalities and institutions and lends his expertise to various olive oil publications.

Emily Lycopolus, Victoria - Canada

Emily is the author of seven cookbooks, including the Recipes for Olive Oil and Vinegar Lovers series. She is a level 2 olive oil sommelier, and holds an MA in Cultural Anthropology. She is the founder of the The Olive Oil Critic (oliveoilcritic.com) and she co-founded EAT Creative a food focused content creation agency, where her specialties include recipe development and R&D. Her family owns an olive grove in Italy, where her love of olive oil began. She lives in Victoria BC with her husband, daughter and pug.

Karen Rapp, Toronto - Canada

As the first O.N.A.O.O. certified Professional Olive Oil Taster in Canada, Karen is passionate about educating people about olive oil, most importantly, about what to look for when choosing an oil and how to make sure that what you’re buying is a true extra virgin olive oil and not a fake. Certified by the National Association of Olive Oil Tasters (O.N.A.O.O) in Imperia, Italy and having first-hand experience in all areas of the process, from farming to harvesting to milling, she has a deep understanding of what goes into creating a truly excellent extra virgin olive oil. Along with participating as a juror in international olive oil competitions and frequent tasting sessions that include oils from all over the world, she continually works at broadening her knowledge through advanced courses; most recently completing her Masters in Monocultivar Olive Oils from world-renowned expert and author, Gino Celletti.

Claudio Vignoli, Miami - USA

Claudio Vignoli is an internationally recognized Olive Oil Sommelier & Master Miller with 23 years of experience in the olive oil industry. He is partner of “OLEA”, the International School of Sensory Analysis and Food Culture, Italy. 2017 to present – “OLEA” (International School of Sensory Analysis and Food Culture), International Olive Oil Council Accredited: Level 1 Technical Taster. Quarterly blind tastings with OLEA professors for the sensorial development and to maintain his qualifications. He has instructed olive oil tastings, blind comparisons and provides knowledge to trades and consumers. He is Council Member of GLG, Gerson Lehrman Group, for the Olive Oil Industry and Agricultural Olive Market. He is an Advisor for the olive growing and Olive Oil Sector of GUIDEPOINT GLOBAL LLC, a multinational consulting company.

Dr. Ing. Mariem Gharsallaoui, Sfax - Tunisia

She is Researcher at the Institute of the olive tree since 2001. Responsible for two research projects “Extraction systems and exploiting by-products” and “olive oil Quality and voice recovery” In Olive Tree Institute since 2001. She is member of the regional committee: sensitization oil mills operators and responsible in the national innovation research project “New ecological process of olive oil extraction: Qualitative, economic, and environmental impact”. She is member of the National chemistry committee for the revision of the commercial standard for olive oil and pomace olive oil.

Ruba Daghmish, Amman – Jordan

CEO of Jordan olive producers and Exporters Association (JOPEA). Member of Women in Olive Oil. It is international Association just for women all around the world who involved with olive oil. Funder of Jordan Women Industrial Community (JWIC). Member of Pandolea it is an Italian Association for women olive oil producers. International olive oil taster recognized by the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC). Member at the advisory committee at (IOOC). One of the partners who published a book that contains recipes of traditional food cooked with extra virgin olive oil. Member of the Society for Sensory Evaluation of Food‎.

Birsen Pehlivan, Manisa – Turkey

Birsen holds a MSc degree in Olive Oil Chemistry and Processing Technologies and BSc degree in Food Engineering. She has over 20 years of hands-on experience in olive oil production with a strong focus on processing technologies.

Javier Sànchez Pedròs, Teruel - Spain

Professional master miller and quality advisor with more than 15 years of experience at award-winning olive oil companies. In 2019 I received the “Maestro de Almazara” (master miller) award at Oleomaq International Fair. He is an active olive oil taster since 2006, panelist of the IOC accredited “Panel de Catadores de Aceites de Oliva Virgenes de Aragón” and member of the international jury at TerraOlivo 2018 and EVO-IOOC 2019 & 2020.

Marco Antonucci, Lovere - Italy

Marco Antonucci – Born in Lovere BG (Italy) in 1967, architect, journalist, professional olive oil taster, panel leader recognized by Italian law. For many years now he has been internationally engaged in spreading culture of extra virgin olive oil through popular and university courses, conferences, guides, articles, and books. he is collaborator of several olive oil guides. He is the founder of “Gocce d’Olio” the first and only podcast dedicated to olive oil.

Ehud Soriano, Kibbutz Magal - Israel

Ehud is an olive oil expert and consultant. Started its journey in the olive oil sector as a producer and oil miller, where he became more and more enthusiastic about olive oil quality and culture. After graduating the “Olive Oil Expert” program in the University of Jaén (Spain), a cooperation program with the IOC, and being accredited as a Panel Leader, he returned to Israel to establish the Israeli olive oil tasting panel and the Ministry of Health tasting panel. Ehud is a part of the revolution of olive oil quality in Israel, leading many courses about tasting, cultivating, producing and marketing olive oil. Not stopping there, he is leading and teaching in numerous olive oil courses around the world (China, Japan, Turkey). He is traveling extensively abroad as a taster in several international olive oil competitions, including Ovibeja, EVO-IOOC, EVOOLEUM, Masters of Olive Oil, TerraOlivo, and he is the professional manager of the Israeli National olive oil competition.

Nicolas Koutsoukos, Kalamata – Greece

Νicolas Koutsoukos is a chemist and founder-president of the Kalamata Olive Oil School. He is an accredited EVOO taster and member of the tasting panel of the Greek Agricultural Organization “Demeter”. He is a consultant to numerous olive oil mills and a quality consultant to a number of companies in the olive-oil sector. Nicolas has more than 30 years of experience in the olive oil industry. Since 1994 he has been an analyst with the “Peter Boufeas” chemical laboratory in Kalamata and, prior to this role, he was in charge of quality control at “Greek Agricultural Products”.

Takis Dimitrakopoulos, Gargaliani - Greece

He is olive oil producer of Messinia Greece, since the 1985, member of agricultural cooperative “Nilea” and member of “Kalamata olive oil school”. He also is an olive oil taster for the last twelve years in the organoleptic laboratory of SEVITEL, which has been recognized from the IOC. He is a judge in international olive oil contest “OVIBEJA” in Portugal and “KOTINOS” in Greece.

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