Andrew Zimmern

All-star panelists include series host Andrew Zimmern and chefs Rick Bayless, Traci Des Jardins, Dan Giusti, and Kwame Onwuachi

Napa, Calif. – The Culinary Institute of America announces celebrity chef speakers and programming for Conversations at Copia, hosted by four-time James Beard award-winning TV personality, author and chef Andrew Zimmern. Held at The CIA at Copia in downtown Napa, this new live talk series brings together pioneers and innovators within the world of food to share their stories of positive change.

“At The Culinary Institute of America, we recognize the impact that food has on every aspect of our culture, and we are going to shine a light on the success of these passionate and bright minds through this speaker series at The CIA at Copia,” said Thomas Bensel, managing director of the CIA California. “Importantly, we are celebrating the diversity of the culinary world and sharing these ideas to spark a larger conversation.”

The topic kicking off the 2019 series on September 7 is Culture & Cuisine.

Chefs will come together to discuss the question, “What does it mean to be authentic and who gets to cook what?” Featuring Mexican cuisine expert Rick Bayless from Frontera, modern soul food trailblazer Tanya Holland from Brown Sugar Kitchen, and former community and labor organizer Reem Assil from Reem’s Arab bakery and café, the conversation will center on how chefs prove their authority around a specific cuisine and how they are adopting, embracing, and immersing themselves in the cultures that have inspired their cooking.

Additional Conversations at Copia topics include:  
• Food for Good: How can we expand access to food and reduce waste?
Being held on October 26, featuring Daniel Giusti from Brigaid, Matt Jozwiak from Rethink Food NYC, and Michel Nischan from Wholesome Wave.

• Setting the Equity Table: Where is social change in the food and beverage industry coming from? 
Being held on December 7, featuring acclaimed chef and restaurateur Traci Des Jardins from Jardinière and The Commissary, Brandon Chrostowski from Edwins Leadership & Restaurant Institute, Kwame Onwuachi from Kith and Kin, and Angela Dunleavy-Stowell from FareStart.

Each event will also include a fundraising dinner in support of the newly created Andrew Zimmern’s Second Chances Scholarship at the CIA. The dinner will take place after the panelist event in The CIA at Copia’s Hestan Kitchen, where guests will be invited to continue the conversation and interact with Andrew Zimmern and the all-star panelists while dining on dishes influenced by featured guest chefs.

The scholarship was created to support students in overcoming extremely adverse conditions on their pathway to a CIA degree and a successful culinary career. By reducing the financial burden, the fund is intended to increase college access and success for motivated students working through hardships and personal challenges.

“As someone who has dealt with my own personal challenges early in my life and has been given second chances, I wanted to give back and provide aid to those struggling to embark on their own culinary journeys with the best foundational education that only The Culinary Institute of America can provide,” says Andrew Zimmern.

Tickets for each Conversation are $95 per person and include a pre-conversation reception with wine and bites and the opportunity for guests to meet-and-mingle with featured panelists. Early bird pricing is $75 per person and is available for a limited time prior to each event. Tickets for the scholarship dinner are $500 per person, and include the pre-conversation reception, the conversation and VIP dinner with host, Andrew Zimmern, and panelists. All Conversations at Copia events take place from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

For additional information on Conversations at Copia and to purchase tickets, please visit:

About The CIA at Copia:

Hailed a “foodie wonderland” by The New York Times, The CIA at Copia is The Culinary Institute of America’s epicurean destination in downtown Napa, designed for the public to immerse in the past, present, and future of food. Located in the Oxbow District, it offers an array of enticing culinary experiences delivered by CIA chefs and experts. The CIA at Copia hosts hands-on cooking classes and demonstrations, lively public events and art exhibits, a signature garden-to-table restaurant, cult wine tastings from K. LAZ Wine Collection, an exclusive 3D interactive dining experience, a late-night outdoor venue with bocce, Napa’s own Contimo Provisions casual eatery, a culinary marketplace, and The Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum. The CIA at Copia is also a unique setting for weddings and private events. For more information, visit