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Availability: Tucson, Arizona; National, International

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Topics: Mediterranean Diet, Healthy Lifestyle, Culinary Arts

Areas: Tucson, Arizona; National, International

Title: Olive Oil Sommelier


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Professional Olive Oil Sommelier reveals health and culinary secrets of this flavorful, miracle food so you can boost your immune system, create delicious dishes, and avoid the unhealthy oils stocking supermarket shelves today.

Searching for a healthier, more nutritious lifestyle? “If you want to boost your immune system, increase heart health and extend your lifespan while enjoying delicious food, Extra-Virgin olive oil is the answer,” says professional olive oil sommelier Catherine Harris. Trained in Toscolano-Maderno, Italy, she’s the creator of the OlioWheel®, which takes the guesswork out of which olive oil to use with which food, and her enlightening talk will inspire you to add this flavorful, miracle food to your lifestyle. Called “the healthiest fat on earth” and a staple of the popular Mediterranean diet, Extra-Virgin olive oil reduces inflammation, has anti-cancer qualities, and boosts longevity, says Life Extension magazine. And the famed Mayo Clinic cites research that links it to insulin and blood sugar control, cutting the risk for diabetes

If you need help clarifying the confusion of olive oil terms and labels so you can choose the best buy from the hundreds of Extra-Virgin olive oils available, and if you want delicious recipes to maximize olive oil’s anti-aging and heart-healthy benefits, this lively, engaging presentation is for you!

The Founder of Virgins in the Kitchen and the food blog,, Catherine combines sensory analysis with an easy-to-understand knowledge of olive oil production so you can understand what puts the “extra” in virgin olive oil and how easy it is to add it to your daily diet. Having worked in an olive mill, she draws on first-hand experience, from harvesting the fruit to pressing the oil, and shares traditional family recipes along with the fascinating stories that go with them.

Think you’re buying “true” Extra Virgin olive oil? In her eye-opening talks, Catherine reveals “the good, the bad and the downright unhealthy” oils that you may currently be using. You’ll discover the differences and the effects they have on your health and gain new ways to enjoy true Extra-Virgins with cooking methods that retain the health benefits and make even Brussel sprouts tasty.

Everyone leaves Catherine’s entertaining talk with their own OlioWheel® (a guide to take the guesswork out of which oils to use with which foods) so they can make nutritious, mouth-watering meals in their own kitchen.


  • Corporations, business groups, non-profits
  • Culinary groups, food aficionados
  • Restaurants/Restaurant Associations
  • Women’s groups, career women
  • Travel groups and companies
  • Health spas, fitness centers
  • Baby Boomers, Millennials, retirees
  • Community Organizations
  • Parents, educators
  • Business and civic groups
  • Hospitality organizations
  • Churches, synagogues, religious, Christian groups
  • Health care groups, hospitals, medical offices
  • Nursing programs, medical centers
  • Caretakers, healers, health workers, cancer survivors

Virgins in the Kitchen

Presented as a keynote, breakout, seminar or workshop, retreat, training and webinar. Catherine Harris is also available as a panel guest or moderator. In addition, Ms. Harris offers guided olive oil tasting classes.

In this fun, interactive presentation, Catherine Harris provides a deep understanding of Extra-Virgin olive oil and explains how it can fundamentally change the taste of a dish when paired with the right flavors. You’ll explore:

  • What “Extra-Virgin” really means
  • How to maximize the health benefits of Extra-Virgin for anti-aging and cardiovascular support
  • Product classification: clarifying the confusion of terms and labels
  • Choosing the correct container
  • Proper storage
  • The three personalities of Extra-Virgin
  • Guidelines of food pairing—contrast vs complementary
  • How to use the OlioWheel®
  • How to adapt to a Mediterranean diet: the lifestyle of taste and health
  • Judicious use of Extra-Virgin olive oils (EVOOs)
  • Flavored oils—agrumato vs. infused
  • Cooking with olive oil—tips and techniques
  • Baking with olive oil—conversion chart
  • The golden rules for producing quality oil
  • How to press olives into oil: traditional methods vs. modern

Audiences come away with the savvy to choose flavorful Extra-Virgins to enhance their meals, along with cooking techniques and recipes to maximize this traditional, deliciously healthy lifestyle as Catherine reminds us that…

“Food brings people together. It’s the culinary thread that connects us all. To say that Italians are passionate about food is an understatement. Our approach to food is more than utilitarian, we believe food should be more than just fuel for our body—it should be an enjoyable experience. It is with much pleasure that we come to the table. It’s a daily celebration of family, friendships and a reminder of our blessings. Taking time to ‘break bread’ with others is as fundamentally important as the meal itself. We leave the table nourished with our hearts as full as our stomachs!”

Meet Catherine Harris…

Founder of Virgins in the Kitchen, Catherine Harris, is the creator of the OlioWheel®, a tool that simplifies olive oil and food pairing by suggesting which fruitiness intensity level—Delicate, Medium or Robust—to use with particular foods, and the food blog,, where she shares her passion for food and culture, offering traditional family recipes and the fascinating stories that go with them.

Trained in Toscolano-Maderno, Italy, Catherine combines sensory analysis with a thorough, easy-to-understand knowledge of olive oil production to enlighten consumers on Extra-Virgins, the essence of a healthy lifestyle. Having worked in an olive mill, she has first-hand knowledge of the harvest, from the picking of the fruit to the pressing of the oil. Catherine has given entertaining tours of the mill and taught Olive Oil 101 classes to thousands of visitors. She offers guided olive oil tasting classes, food pairing classes, and artisan food tours of Italy.

What people are saying…

“Catherine was absolutely delightful, extremely professional and passionate about what she does! We all gained a wealth of information, had a wonderful tasting session, and especially loved her “OlioWheel” provided to those lucky enough to attend the presentation. I am looking forward to trying many of her delicious recipes and truly enjoy reading the stories that inspired her. ‘Brava’ to you, Catherine!”
—Evelyn Quintana, Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, Tucson, Arizona

“Professional yet always personable, Catherine Harris utilizes her humor and storytelling talents to connect with a variety of audiences.”
—Theresa Dimmitt, DTM, Toastmasters International

“With Catherine’s passionate, expert guidance, consumers not only discover the health benefits of olive oil and the best practices for choosing and using it, but more importantly, how to truly experience an Extra-Virgin, Italian-style!”
—Francesca Bajlo, Olive Oil Sommelier, Puglia, Italia

“Catherine’s fun, down-to-earth presentation was filled with very useful information. I now know what an Extra-Virgin olive oil really is! I have the knowledge to choose one of quality, and best of all, I know how to use it. I’m inspired and can’t wait to make her roasted fennel soup and Sicilian olive oil cake!”
—Mary Phillips, Alberta, Canada

Books by Catherine Harris

The Teenager’s Roadside Guide to Life

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