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Culinary Institute of America (CIA): Lively Discussions (and awesome food) at Conversations at Copia

Local Wally

You know isn't going to be a boring lecture when there are crabs involved! (Culinary Institute of America presents Conversations at Copia)

You know isn't going to be a boring lecture when there are crabs involved! (Culinary Institute of America presents Conversations at Copia)


What Is It?  The most delicious lecture series by the famous Culinary Institute of America at the foodie destination Copia.

When Is the Next Event?  Here's the schedule for Conversations at Copia.

Who Should Go?  Locals and visitors who love wine and food served in an intellectually stimulating environment should definitely attend!  The next event is May 6th, 2018.


What's Pho Dinner?

Our day started with a culinary demonstration by chef Ted Wilson of Fine & Rare which is based in San Francisco with expansion anticipated in Oakland and Petaluma. The theme of our discussion was What’s Pho Dinner? Chef Wilson walked us through the ingredients and steps to creating a vibrant broth which would act as a base for our Pho dinner.

The highlight of the demonstration was when Chef Wilson unveiled gorgeous Dungeness crab sourced directly from the Bay Area and showed us how to cook the crab in our simmering broth to add not only flavor to our crab but an extra dimension to our soup.  The surrounding space aided our lively discussion by providing an easy view of the cooktop with added TV screens as well as gallery seating to view the demonstration and chime in with comments and questions. We started the talk with a glass of chilled, local chardonnay, which didn’t hurt either. 

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Copia, a center for food, wine, and all that is delicious, opened its doors in 2017.  Sharing a parking lot with the Oxbow Public Market, the CIA at Copia is in the heart of downtown Napa and is focused on becoming an integral member of the community.  They host an array of public events including food and wine experiences, musical performances, tasting exhibitions, film screenings, and conversations—not to mention their renowned open-to-the-public cooking courses.

We were lucky enough to spend a recent Saturday exploring the expansive campus and participating in a Conversations at Copia event focusing on seafood sustainability and our impact on the ocean and Bay Area Watersheds. 

Wine and lectures go together at the CIA Presents Copia Conversations events.

Wine and lectures go together at the CIA Presents Copia Conversations events.

With some time to spare before our next event, we wandered up to the kitchens which host cooking classes for the public. This space is a chef’s dream with pristine cooktops, butcherblock countertops, KitchenAid mixers at every station and brand-new appliances. A true paradise for food lovers and enticing enough for us to book an upcoming cooking class.  We also stopped off at the gift shop where you can find all your cooking essential plus a few things to splurge on like handmade ceramics, candies and spices, and local jewelry. 

We finished our evening with a passionate discussion by an esteemed panel including NOAA scientist Sarah Mesnick, Ph.D., Cakebread Cellars CEO and President Bruce Cakebread, Hog Island Oysters founder Terry Sawyer, and fishmonger and co-owner of Fish Restaurant Kenny Belov.

The panel was hosted by Matthew Dolan executive chef at 25 Lusk and the panel members s took turns sharing their perspectives and emphasizing each of our roles in maintaining healthy waterways and Biosystems. We sipped wine, asked questions and considered how intertwined the food, wine, and scientific communities are in this effort. Afterward, we enjoyed a reception in the lobby with freshly shucked oysters by Hog Island, bites from the CIA, and several wineries, including Cakebread Cellars. We mingled with locals, tourists and panel speakers and took a stroll to the grassy amphitheater where they host music events in the warmer months. 

Hog Island Oysters at Copia Conversations in Napa

Hog Island Oysters at Copia Conversations in Napa

The CIA at Copia was the perfect way to spend a Saturday, and with a variety of weekly and monthly events, it’s a great way to fill time between wine tasting and exploring the Napa Valley. We will certainly be back for cooking classes. Be sure to check out their website and keep an eye out for their First Friday events that feature pop-up exhibitions that celebrate the arts.  

Their next Conversations at Copia event explores Terroir and is not to be missed!  Mark your calendars for May 6th and get tickets now!

(Blog Post provided by my stellar marketing team, Brian and Aubree Larson.  Contact me if you have Napa events you would like covered on this website.)