Alina Lawrence
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Alina Lawrence. Owner of Olivette

I love Alina. I met her last year and I was immediately drown to her immense love for food and cooking. She is passionate about educating chefs, costumers and food lovers about olive oil and categorically one of the most insightful and informed women on the subject. We have collaborated on many events together and she always manage to teach me something new and dare I say also make me smile.

Alina Lawrence is an olive oil educator, speaker, consultant and owner of Olivette, a boutique olive oil tasting room in Darien, CT. Alina received her training and certification in olive oil sensory analysis from the National Organization of Olive Oil Tasters (ONAOO) in Imperia, Italy and shares her expertise with epicureans and chefs alike in her signature tasting workshops. Alina Lawrence provides training and consulting services to the food industry, including chefs, restaurants, cooking schools and importers. She trains food professionals to taste and evaluate olive oil, evaluates olive oil for restaurants and importers, develops olive oil tasting events and coursework, and serves on olive oil tasting and judging panels. Alina Lawrence has developed Professional Olive Oil Tasting 101, a hands-on training course designed to teach food professionals the fundamentals of olive oil sensory analysis and empower them to make better informed purchasing decisions. Held at your place of business or at Olivette, this course teaches practical concepts and skills that can be put to use immediately. Chefs and restaurateurs wishing to showcase premium extra virgin olive oils to their customers work with Alina to develop Single Varietal Olive Oil Tasting & Food Pairing events. Alina meets with the chef and staff for a professional development session to evaluate and select olive oils and discuss a pairing menu, then serves as chief olive oil educator at the event. Please contact Alina at or 203-621-0643 to discuss your needs, including custom workshops and events.

Aliana’s Most Priced Utensil:

My favorite utensil is my Borner Mandoline I brought with me from Romania. I bought it back in 2000 and still works great. It’s so sharp it makes quick work of any vegetable and leaves no excuse for not making a big salad for dinner even when I don’t feel like being in the kitchen! They’re pretty readily available in the US now too.

Favorite Restaurant Le Bernardin:

I live to eat and taste, so I don’t limit myself to having just one favorite restaurant. I let the occasion, or whatever food I’m craving at the moment, dictate where I’ll be dining! But, if I have to chose one restaurant in the world that’s constantly wowed me from start to finish every time, it would have to be Le Bernardin in NYC. My short list here in Fairfield County & behond would be Kawa Ni, The Spread, le Farm, Olio, Vespa, Community Table, Winvian, and the Whelk.

Number One Brunch Spot The Spotted Pig:

Brunch is by far my favorite meal ever! I love the combination savory and sweet and taking time on the weekend to just relax and enjoy at leisure. My favorite brunch spot would have to be the Spotted Pig in the West Village. We made a habit of brunching there at least once a month when we lived in the city and anytime we had guests in town. Can you say French Toast with caramelized bananas, crème fraiche and bourbon maple syrup for dessert? Split with the table of course…

 Alina’s Olive Oil Tip:

Seek out the highest quality ingredients and buy locally whenever possible. Your dish is only as good as what goes into it, so make sure you so don’t use a rancid olive oil with your fresh local produce! And yes, you can cook with olive oil; just educate yourself on how to choose the right oil for the right occasion.

 Shopping Finds :

I was taking an olive oil tasting course last September at UC Davis and got a chance to check out the Davis Farmers’ Market. The produce was all locally grown and abundant. There was a sea of food trucks and vendors offering options to please just about every palate. It was held in the central park with a live band playing and people lounged in the grass eating delicious food or got up and danced. It was a foodie paradise and all around great experience. In CT we’re not so lucky to be able to grow crops year round like in California, but we do have many farmers’ markets with high standards and high quality produce. I enjoy shopping at the Westport Farmers’ Market every Thursday. It’s the closest market locally that captures that feel good California vibe with produce, food, music and fun.

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