The Culinary Institute of America’s (CIA) new vision of Copia held its grand reopening last weekend next to Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa, with a flourish of cooking classes for home cooks and professionals, as well as a new gift shop and reimagined restaurant.
The campus, which Robert and Margrit Mondavi launched in 2001 as Copia: the American Center for Art, Food and Wine, closed due to bankruptcy in 2009, and was recently purchased by CIA with the help of the late Chuck Williams, founder of Williams-Sonoma. The new Copia Napa has been open to the public since November.
Last weekend’s reopening celebration was mobbed with the “Copia curious” looking to see how the new campus might have changed. The answer is not much – at least architecturally. The vast two-story downstairs room was loaded with Napa wineries dispensing $4 wine pours, and $10 fried chicken sandwiches, burgers and noodle bowls with soft drinks. Upstairs were tables for young and old to decorate cookies.
On one wall was a display previewing the Chuck Williams Culinary Museum, which is scheduled to open by the end of summer. The museum will feature polished copper pans and molds, cookie jars, and much more.
What used to be a historic display gallery upstairs is morphing into a large teaching kitchen where CIA will offer cooking classes for its enrolled students as well as for the public.
The new Copia shop features kitchenware, cookbooks, wine paraphernalia and glasses, and kitchen supplies.
And don’t miss Napa artist and frequent Sonoma visitor Gordon Huether’s fork outside the main entrance and Robert and Margrit Mondavi sitting atop the building’s tower balancing their glasses of wine. 967-2555. Therestaurantatciacopia.com.