Michael Chiarello’s uniquely NapaStyle Culinary Program enlightens

By our Napa Valley Epicurator, Annette Hanami, The Wine Muse

Napa Valley has its share of cooking classes with distinct approaches, some academic like at the CIA and many created to sell a particular vendor’s or vintner’s products.  Michael Chiarello’s new NapaStyle Culinary Program in Yountville is unique in that it doesn’t feature his wines, recipes or even his products, of which there are many.  The program is essentially an educational symposium around sustainable food that takes place on a weekly basis, featuring chefs, authors, growers, artisanal producers and vintners, all of whom share their own culinary passions and distinct POVs with guests.

The new culinary program takes place every Friday at 4:00 pm in the NapaStyle venue in Yountville and typically lasts 1-2 hours.  The program takes advantage of a little-used but impressive demonstration kitchen right in the casual and homey Paninoteca & Wine Bar at NapaStyle.  Program Director Claudia Sansone says that it was originally designed specifically for educational classes like this but due to Chef’s busy schedule wasn’t realized until now.

Fascinating topics covered not only include cooking instruction by notable Napa Valley chefs, but also organic growing (Peter Jacobsen), flavorful nutrition (Karen Schuppert) and product knowledge (cheeses by Red Hill Farm or 101 ways to use olive oil by Carol Firenze).

The upcoming class by Peter Jacobsen, longtime organic produce purveyor for The French Laundry, is indicative of what NapaStyle participants can learn for a lifetime about where their food comes from.  Jacobsen will teach guest how to grow their own, how to fertilize, harvest sustainably and plant sequentially to make the most of their garden.  All for $25 pp.

Guests learn while relaxing in the bistro-style environment with a glass of wine – which might be Italian, not just local wines – and generous samples of any dishes prepared.

This is a Chiarello-style culinary program in which he shares, not preaches, about healthy, sustainable and flavorful food in a relaxed, wine-country ambiance.  The perfect way to ease into your Napa Valley weekend.

Costs vary depending on the session but recently ranged from $25-$40.

For more information, check out the NapaStyle website.

Photo:  NapaStyle Culinary



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