Here in California wine country – one of the world’s most renowned culinary destinations – cooking is not just a spectator sport. So what better souvenir of your Napa Valley visit than to learn some recipes and new kitchen moves? Below are some of the top cooking classes and food experiences available this fall and winter.
Are you a fungi-lover? Then mark your calendar for the 2019 Napa Truffle Festival, held at the Westin Verasa from January 18 to 21. The four-day event will be packed with demonstrations, scientific seminars, winery lunches, and wild mushroom forays.
This culinary training venue does some demonstration classes, but most of its instruction is hands-on. A professional kitchen boasts state-of-the-art equipment and fresh, seasonal ingredients from the school’s own farm. You’ll cook under the guidance of a professionally trained chef and be given specially selected recipes to prepare – after which you’ll sit down with your fellow students to enjoy your handiwork. Classes are open to adults and teens 16+.
Julie Logue-Riordan is passionate about teaching cooking to serious foodies. Classically trained by some of the world's most accomplished French master chefs, she’s been teaching for more than 25 years and is a Certified Culinary Professional (CCP) by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She offers Saturday classes, private classes by appointment, and team-building for professional groups.
The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) recently opened a new branch at Copia in Napa, and its daily interactive, demonstration-style classes are perfect for all ages and levels. Or you can sign up for the Chef’s Class series or learn the “Pairing Basics” of how food interacts with wine. Classes range from hour-long chef demonstrations and lectures to two-hour wine tastings and food-and-wine-pairing exercises.
At Copia, every Sunday is Family Funday, so you can bring the kids along for hour-long cooking demonstrations – which are always followed by samplings of that day’s work. It’s a win-win: Adults and children will walk away with new kitchen skills and cooking tricks.
The CIA at Greystone is a fully certified, full-time culinary school, but it also offers a wide range of cooking, baking, holiday, and wine or beer-pairing classes for more casual cooks. If you’ve always wanted to wear a toque, this is your chance.
Located in the town of Calistoga, Gourmet Retreats are held at the Casa Lana bed and breakfast. They offer hands-on classes that are customized in format and length and geared to avid home cooks and food enthusiasts. All knives, tools, and equipment are provided, and students end their lessons with the meal they’ve prepared. Classes can be taught on everything from knife skills to reductions and sauces to soufflés