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Elena Sirignano

Elena Sirignano is the executive chef for the Napa Valley Cooking School, a part of the St. Helena campus of Napa Valley College.

Whether you are a home cook looking to expand your repertoire, a tween in search of a fun food-related summer experience, or a student considering an advanced professional career in the culinary arts, Napa Valley College has a variety of offerings at its Upper Valley Campus in St. Helena.

Professional chefs working with Napa Valley Cooking School students teach food enthusiast classes in an intimate culinary school kitchen setting at Napa Valley College’s Upper Valley Campus. Napa Valley Cooking School instructors include Elena Sirignano, executive chef; Savanna Duchala, chef; Derek Corsino, pastry chef; Chris Kennedy Aken, Trefethen Family Vineyards winery chef; Toni Chiapetta, founder and owner, Sweeties Pies Bakery, and pastry chef; Pat Burke, barbecue master; and Greg Miraglia, educator and food/restaurant blogger.

Upcoming food enthusiast classes include:

  • Saturday, June 29, 10 a.m.-noon: Popsicles & Moore with Chef Derek Corsino
  • Saturday, July 13, 10 a.m.-noon: Beyond Ice Cream with Chef Derek Corsino
  • Saturday, Aug. 10, 9 -11 a.m.: Café Fundamentals: Piping Techniques with Pastry Chef Derek Corsino
  • Saturday, Aug. 31, 10 am-1 pm: Hawaiian Luau with Chef Savanna Duchala

Summer camps for youngsters

Napa Valley College also has two summer camps for younger food enthusiasts at the Upper Valley Campus. Open to students ages 10-14, Learn to Cook: Junior Culinary Camp, is a four-day immersive culinary camp on June 24-27. Led by Chef Savanna Duchala, students will prepare and eat different foods from different regions, always made with fresh, locally sourced, organic ingredients.

On July 15-18, Chef Savanna will lead participants, ages 9-14, in a hands-on exploration of ice cream. From the science and technique of hand-churned ice cream to the production of ice cream cakes and ice cream sandwiches, students will learn how to master ice cream in all of its delicious forms and flavors.

Beginning this fall, Napa Valley College’s six-month Advanced Professional Culinary program will be offered twice a year, starting Aug. 14 and again on Jan. 22, at the Upper Valley Campus. The intensive six-month program follows a curriculum designed to build on itself and concludes with an externship in a restaurant or professional setting. Demonstration of basic culinary skills is required for admission and applications are due at least two weeks before each start date in August and January.

Don’t want to cook? Napa Valley Cooking School Advanced Professional Culinary Program’s fall 2019 Restaurant will be open Nov. 19-22 and Dec. 3-13 (Tuesday-Friday lunch service only). Students in the professional program will prepare a multi-course, locally sourced seasonal menu with wine pairings. Visit napavalleycookingschool.org/" target="_blank">napavalleycookingschool.org on or after Nov. 1 to make reservations.

For more information about Napa Valley Cooking School, visit napavalleycookingschool.org or call 707-967-2901 (after June 17, call 707-302-2542).

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