Story By: Laurie Jo Miller Farr // Photos Courtesy of The CIA at Copia


In the heart of downtown Napa is The Culinary Institute of America’s food and culture center—The CIA at Copia—playing host to various events, festivals, industry conferences, culinary classes, boot camps, and of course, restaurants, pop-ups, and unique dining experiences. Although it’s located next door to the popular Oxbow Market, it is still considered a hidden gem. However, the secret is out now, as is their mantra, which is suitably, Feed Your Joy.™


One of the first things any visitor to The CIA at Copia notices is the chef’s garden. It was developed by Executive Chef Sayat Ozyilmaz, in partnership with culinary gardener Zainab “Zee” Husain, to support the onsite signature restaurant, The Grove, and the to-go Lunch Box. Home to an abundance of seasonal vegetables, citrus and olive trees, it’s the true heart of Copia. This is a full production garden where guests can casually stroll among rows of pea shoots, colorful kales, pumpkins, and more in this space designed to grow varieties of produce not readily found in California.

The garden’s bounty flourishes on the menu at The Grove, where guests enjoy Chef Ozyilmaz’s seasonal dishes showcasing the bold flavors of the Mediterranean with a California twist paired with a curated selection of wines from innovative regional producers and cocktails inspired by the garden. The Grove is open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday and brunch on the weekends. New this year are the Sunday Night Suppers, featuring a rotating prix fixe family-style menu destined to be an end-of-week (or start-of-week) Napa tradition.


A visit to Copia isn’t complete without taking a few moments to explore Marketplace. The curated culinary retail space has everything a host needs for cooking and entertaining in a well-equipped kitchen, including expert knife sharpening service. Select from professional cookware to local dishware, culinary antiques to cookbooks, garden tools, spices, and artisan seasonings (many of which are house made from the Copia garden by Chef Ozyilmaz) to take home some of the magic of Napa Valley and the Culinary Institute of America.

And of course, at the CIA, a hallmark of the Copia experience is education. Hands-on cooking classes and wine courses are taught in the stadium-style kitchen for foodies of all skill levels. Food Enthusiast Classes led by expert CIA instructors celebrate a variety of cuisines and cultures and create opportunities for new food discovery. Classes range from single-day sessions and multi-day boot camps to chef demonstrations and holiday courses. Private sessions and corporate programs can also be arranged.

More experiences are planned to welcome guests at The CIA at Copia. Soon, the highly anticipated return of 3D dining featuring Le Petit Chef™ will offer a unique interactive digital dining journey along Marco Polo’s Silk Road and a yet-to-be-announced new movie premiere.