The format of Savantes has evolved with the experience of participants. While retaining the guidance given to relatively inexperienced tasters, we have recognised that more experienced tasters are participating to experience the range of oils uniquely brought together and discuss the current market. The programme encourages discussion of information provided and full participation in taste and flavour description.

Current Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes Presenters

Simon Field

Founder and lead presenter of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes, Simon Field, simply loves tasting extra virgin olive oils and using them in food. His family owns an olive grove and this keeps his approach practical and market oriented.

His knowledge of the flavours of extra virgin olive oils comes from years of extensive travel to growing regions and purposeful engagement with producers.

He believes that there are many wonderful and interesting extra virgin olive oils coming from many regions. By introducing a wide range of varietals and blends for tasting, he hopes to help overcome the parochialism and bias which permeates many parts of the industry.

Savantes tasting is based on the commercial advantage of describing flavours in terms of common food ingredients Language used, such as ‘aroma and taste’, is more familiar to consumers and less technical than much of the official terminology.

Simon also believes that everyone learns better when they are enjoying themselves, injecting humour and levity into sessions which would otherwise be very tedious.

He enjoys the personalities of the program participants and works hard to ensure everyone in the group receives personal attention and extra assistance if requested.

The longevity and continued expansion and diversification of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes is testament to his knowledge and impartiality.

Simon has presented the programme in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Italy, The Netherlands, United States of America, South Africa and Spain.


 Presenters from Previous Savantes Programs

Judy Ridgway

Judy Ridgway is the author of ‘The Best Olive Oil Buys Around the World’ and travels the world tasting and evaluating extra virgin olive oils. She is an author, broadcaster and journalist specialising in all aspects of taste and flavour. She is an international judge and expert on olive oil and an acknowledged authority on wine, cheese, vinegar, mustard, condiments and charcuterie. She has written more than 55 books on olive oil, food and wine and is a regular contributor to a variety of trade and consumer publications. She also appears on radio and television. She is a co-founder of Savantes. Visit Judy’s website at

Judy Ridgway has presented the programme in Australia, the United Kingdom and Spain

Gerardo Jiménez Luquehas
Gerardo Jiménez Luquehas 12 years experience in the field of olive oil covering all aspects from growing and producing to tasting. He is a respected state-appointed Master Taster in olive oil and has given training courses in many different countries.

He leads tasting panels and is an auditor for companies wanting to improve and optimise their production and quality of extra virgin olive oil.

Geraldo has presented the programme in Spain and Italy

Linda CostaLinda Costa

Linda Costa BSc (Hons) (Pharmacology) MSc (Experimental Pharmacology) Certificate of Institute of Integrative Nutrition (US) – Savante

Linda Costa has headed up her company OlivesInFact (Pty) Ltd since 2000. OlivesInFact serves the olive industry across a broad spectrum of services, ranging from advice and workshops on table olive processing as well as in olive oil tasting, process training and blending.

Having completed B.Sc (Hons) in Pharmacology (Biochemistry and Physiology majors) in Stellenbosch South Africa, she obtained an M.Sc (Experimental Pharmacology) in the UK.

In 2005 she attended a Panel Supervisors Course in Imperia, Italy and has been an active olive oil taster ever since, attending various courses whenever possible.

Her intense interest in the nutritional aspects of olive oil led her to become certified as a health coach by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (US) in 2012.

Linda’s vivacity and knowledge are a valuable addition to the Savantes programme.