beyond extra virgin olive oil was the name of the conference held at UC Davis and The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone the last couple of days. in attendance was a who's who of the international olive oil industry as well as the california industry. the conference was a collection of many brilliant minds which included Doctors, Scientists, Producers, Educators, Technical types, Taste Makers, Authors, Media,and humble chefs. the exchange of ideas, dialog & healthy debate, all for the merits of what defines excellent extra virgin olive oil. this was truly an awakening for me. I had not realized until now, how young the olive oil industry of california is. other olive growing and oil producing nations have been at it much longer. think Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal & Morocco as well as new countries like Australia and New Zealand which all produce both incredibly high quality extra virgin olive oil and unfortunately, poor quality extra virgin olive oil. that was precisely the point and focus of the conference. the driving purpose of getting all of these giants of the olive oil industry to coming together in one room, was to determine the validity of creating a system and an association to recognize a new category of "Super-Premium" extra virgin olive oil. this effort was led by the vision of Claudio Peri, Ph.D., the president of Associazione TRE-E, an organization dedicated to promoting high-quality extra virgin olive oil. He is professor emeritus of food technology at the University of Milan; and chair of food quality and safety management at the University of Gastronomic Sciences, Pollenzo, in partnership with UC Davis and The Culinary Institue of America. the current evaluation system for determining the designation of extra virgin olive oil appears to be in question and a need has been identified for more stringent regulation and testing to determine which oils being produced are actually deserving of the designation. at a minimum, this effort should help raise the bar in a rather large and often confusing industry in the eyes of the consumer as to what is and what deserves to be designated extra virgin olive oil. this is an incredibly exciting time for not only olive oil world wide but especially for the california olive oil industry. both UC Davis & The Culinary Institute of America have picked up the ball on this one. it is going to be fascinating to see how the industry grows as a result of their leadership.