The Good Food Awards oil category recognizes America’s tastiest fruit, nut and seed oils from pioneering producers who hold to the highest standards of quality and sustainability. Whether from olives, hazelnuts or squash seeds, Good oil is pressed and bottled without the use of added heat, chemical extractors, artificial additives or genetically modified ingredients.
The Good Food Awards rely on the expertise of the oil community to create the tasting, determine judges and set standards for the category. Read on to learn who has been integral to building the category, as well as what the oil standard are and who will be judging this year.
Operations Manager at California Olive Oil Council
Max Kirwin came to California by ways of little Rhode Island back in October 2015. With an acute interest in the world of food and how it influences people, their overall wellbeing, and relationships with others, Max is quick to surround himself with like-minded foodies in efforts to promote high quality and local sourcing. Having over 10 years of experience in food service, most recent being with We Olive & Wine Bar Los Gatos as the Store Supervisor, a degree in chemistry, and an attraction towards genetics and dietetics, becoming an advocate for the California extra virgin olive oil industry was a natural fit. Following a year of part time work with the California Olive Oil Council, Max joined the organization as the new Operations Manager in January 2018, with primary focus overseeing the non-profit’s Seal Certification Program, ensuring quality for all COOC member’s oil(s). Not only does he hope to further foster the mission of the COOC through his role as co-chair for the oils category at GFA but, Max also looks forward to endorsing the vision of Good Food and all participating organizations.
Founder of Klugman & Associates
Roberta Klugman, Klugman & Associates, provides strategic communications for the food and wine industries. Previously, Klugman served as executive director of The American Institute of Wine & Food (AIWF), where she produced programs such as “Resetting the American Table” and several annual Conferences on Gastronomy. She has served as a board member of the California Olive Oil Council, and received its 2017 Pioneer Award. A member of Les Dames D’Escoffier and a past president of the San Francisco Professional Food Society, she serves on the advisory boards for Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) and Communities Adolescents Nutrition Fitness (CANFIT). She has been championing olive oil for over 30 years!
In order to be eligible for a Good Food Award, oil entries must meet the following standards:
- Made in the USA or US territories.
- Made with olives, avocados, nuts or seeds.
- Pressed from ingredients from the most recent harvest and grown in the region of entry.
- Free of genetically modified ingredients.
- Free of artificial ingredients, including colors, flavors or preservatives.
- Use ingredients grown using fair labor practices.
- Use ingredients grown without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers.*
- Oil comes from a first crushing or milling and is not subjected to added heat or chemical extractors throughout the entire process.
- The entry is not a third party private label oil, where finished oil from another source has been purchased and rebranded.
- Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, committed to equity, inclusion, and justice in all levels of their business.
Additional criteria for olive oil:
- Growers must demonstrate an effort to use sustainable practices in water conservation and waste management.
- Non-flavored olive oils are certified as extra virgin by a COOC- or IOC-recognized panel.**
Additional criteria for flavored oil:
- Base oil must meet all above criteria except the extra virgin certification requirement for olive oils.
- Added flavor ingredients, including but not limited to spices, herbs and fruit, must be domestically sourced and meet the above criteria related to sustainable growing techniques and fair labor practices.
- Flavor must come from either infusing the actual flavor ingredient in the oil or pressing it with the oil and not by adding a flavoring extract or oil.
*Oils made with avocados, nuts or seeds grown with minimal synthetic inputs using Integrated Pest management practices will be permitted.
**California Olive Oil Council or International Olive Council
Additionally, oil entries must fit within one of the following subcategories:
- Olive Oil
- Nut Oil
- Seed Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Flavored Oil
July 8 – July 31, 2019: Online entry forms are submitted for the 2020 Good Awards Oils category. Entrants are allowed to submit a placeholder “To Be Determined” entry if they are not ready to specify the exact oil they want to submit.
January 2020: Good Food Awards Weekend
February 2020: Good Food Awards team follows up with Oils entrants to finalize submissions.
June 2020: Products are shipped for an Oils-only pre-screening and Blind Tasting. High-scoring products from the Blind Tasting undergo sustainability vetting.
July 2020: 2020 Oils Finalists and Winners are announced.
Tasting Room Director, Royal Coffee
Senior Content Editor, Yummly
Grocery/Specialty Buyer, Oliver’s Market
Senior Buyer, Market Hall Foods
President, Strictly Olive Oil
Chef, Zuni Cafe
Founder, Hedonic Coffee
Founder, Olive Love
Director of Prepared Food & Fresh Pasta Program, Market Hall Foods