If you are in Napa, CIA is short for the Culinary Institute of America. The CIA expanded its campus in 2015 when it bought part of the Copia, a museum and event venue that declared bankruptcy in 2008. Now this is the site for the Business part of the CIA. In 2017 the Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum opened. Named for the founder of Williams-Sonoma, this museum showcases his extensive 4,000 pieces cookware collection.
Chuck Williams through his store and cookbooks introduced Americans to French cooking and authored more than 100 cookbooks. At the museum you will be greeted by porcelain boar heads and everything you need to butcher an animal. If that is not your area of interest maybe you’ll like the 30 different rolling pins? I was fascinated by the wall of shiny copper bundt pans. Additionally, the old mixer and mixing utensils are ingenious pieces of equipment.
Although by any standards a small museum, it is still worth the trip and admission is free. Opening hours are every day from 11 am to 5 pm; except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum is located on the second floor of the CIA at Copia, 500 1st Street, Napa, CA. I recommend you stop at the gift shop afterwards, if you like cookbooks and the latest and greatest of cookware.
Do you have a favorite kitchen utensil?