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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.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savantes Presenter

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 refuses to declare any favourites, stating that there are many wonderful and interesting extra virgin olive oils coming from many regions. He cannot abide 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, shunning the super technical terminology of accredited panels such as ‘olfactory sensations’ and ‘gustatory retronasal sensations’, preferring to use the layman’s terms ‘aroma’ and ‘taste’.

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 programme 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, 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