The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Copia is opening in mid-November. Located in the heart of Napa's bustling Oxbow district, CIA at Copia is the ultimate Napa Valley destination for exploring, experiencing, and enjoying the world of food and wine. Visitors and locals are welcome to attend engaging and delicious cooking and beverage classes in the state-of-the-art Napa Valley Vintners Theater, shop for the best in home goods at the new lifestyle store, delight in family-friendly events, dine in the new restaurant, and much more. In addition to offering daily programming, wine tasting, and dining opportunities, CIA at Copia provides the perfect setting for an array of special events, both public and private, in its 80,000 square-feet of indoor and outdoor event and theater space.
"CIA at Copia is a first for The Culinary Institute of America, entirely dedicated to offering its innovative, industry-leading food and wine education and experiences to the public. It opens a window into what the CIA truly is: a visionary thought-leader and innovator in food and beverage, with world-class faculty and facilities," says Thomas Bensel, managing director of CIA's California campus. "CIA at Copia's educational programming takes our enthusiast programming to another level, for people of all ages and interests."
At CIA at Copia, daily culinary demonstrations and wine tastings in the 72-seat Napa Valley Vintners Theater bring together acclaimed vintners, chefs, visiting scholars, educators, and food and wine leaders who shape the industry, for compelling and thought-provoking programs.
Classes are taught by CIA instructors and expert guest lecturers, and feature seasonally-themed recipes ideal for recreating in the home kitchen. Guests can learn to make fresh pasta or take a Chef's Class on homemade fresh cheese, or even learn to taste wine in 90 seconds. On Sundays, also known as Family Funday, CIA at Copia offers classes such as Brunch Batters, where guests of all ages learn how to make the best pancakes and waffles, or Mac & Cheese, where the classic dish is reimagined. Classes range from demonstration-style to hands-on and tickets are available online.
The state-of-the-art wine tasting and culinary demonstration theater was named in honor of the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), a nonprofit trade association, which recently pledged $1 million to The Culinary Institute of America at Copia.
The restaurant will be a destination for market-based, Mediterranean-inspired, California cuisine that pairs perfectly with Napa Valley wines and craft cocktails. Modern yet timeless, the restaurant's design offers a sleek and comfortable setting, with earth tones, hints of olive green, and lighter woods. In the just-completed remodel of the original Copia building by CIA and Architectural Resources Group (ARG), the façade was extended nearly eight feet from its original location, allowing the dining room to seamlessly blend with the property's breathtaking patio, gardens, and olive grove. Inspired by those at Versailles, and reminiscent of the south of France or Northern Italy, the gardens at CIA at Copia are a source of seasonal produce for the restaurant, overseen by CIA Farm Manager Matthew Gunn.
Under the leadership of Waldy Malouf, CIA senior director of food and beverage operations, and Chef de Cuisine Chris Aken, innovation is at the heart of the restaurant. Front-of-house and back-of-house roles are blended to create a new approach to service. An array of craveable, sharable dishes is offered tableside to guests during dinner, displayed on carts and trays by the cooks who created them. Guests are encouraged to take the dishes that appeal to them, and the cook marks their selection on their menu. Guests will have a chance to see all of the savory items and desserts, plus frequent specials, and meet every cook in the kitchen in the process. The number of dishes they select is tabulated at the conclusion of their dining experience. Wines by the glass will similarly be offered on a cart that travels throughout the restaurant, and guests are invited to taste as many as six wines before selecting one (or more) to enjoy. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner daily beginning in mid-November.
Whether it be kitchen tools or locally crafted home goods, gorgeous linens, or handy garden tools, shoppers need look no further than the shop at Copia. The ultimate culinary lifestyle store is the perfect place to find cookbooks by CIA faculty, alumni, and guest chefs, as well as artisanal food products, CIA branded items, and much more.
CIA at Copia is the ideal location for any type of event involving food and wine, from an intimate wedding in the amphitheater to a cocktail reception in the atrium, or an industry conference that commands the entire building. The light-filled, modern atrium, located in the center of the building, is available for evening receptions and can accommodate 800 guests in a standing reception or a 350-seat dinner. A mezzanine overlooks the atrium, amphitheater, and the Napa River beyond that can host an event for up to 300. Adjacent to the mezzanine are two classrooms that can be used for breakout sessions, each seating 30. Outside, the terraced and grassy amphitheater seats 600 in rows or 375 at tables.
The restaurant has one private dining room that seats 12, and two private dining rooms that each seat 18, but can be combined to seat 36.
Meeting spaces upstairs at CIA at Copia include the Food Business School classroom: 25 seats; the boardroom: 25 seats, reception space for 50 (on balcony); and garden balcony: 80 seated, 120 standing.
Additionally, CIA at Copia has two distinct, stadium-style theater settings: the Napa Valley Vintners Theater, a state-of-the-art culinary demonstration and wine tasting theater that seats 72; and the main theater at Copia, ideal for movie screenings, speakers' series, and panel presentations, which seats 250.
The Wine Hall of Fame and atrium wine tasting experience at CIA at Copia are anticipated to debut in the spring 2017, and the Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Collection and a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen both have planned openings in late summer 2017.