How to Honor (Deliciously) Women’s History Month

Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? I had nothing planned until I found out a neat way to honor women’s accomplishments in the culinary world: enjoying a pop-up dinner at the CIA at Copia by an esteemed female chef.

At Napa’s CIA at Copia this month, the Grove restaurant is hosting a chef takeover series, inviting some of the school’s female graduates into the kitchen to showcase their exceptional culinary journeys with a series of dinners. 

There are four more dates available (Sorry to miss you, Sue Zemanick!)

Menus, reservations, and other details are at the CIA at Copia, Alumnae Guest Chef Series event page.

  • Saturday, March 9 – Jennifer Jasinski (‘89): James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef, owner of Rioja, and other renowned restaurants in Denver.
  • Sunday, March 17 – Laura Ozyilmaz (‘14): Co-owner of Dalida in San Francisco, former member of Saison’s three-Michelin-star team.
  • Saturday, March 23 – Daniela Vergara (‘16): Executive Chef at Estiatorio Ornos in San Francisco, the youngest and only female executive chef in Michael Mina’s restaurant empire.
  • Saturday, March 30 – Dara Yu (‘21): Youngest-ever MasterChef winner, creator of the acclaimed pop-up “Congee & Crullers” in Los Angeles.

Since I live about 40 minutes from the CIA at Copia, I am most tempted to try the food of chefs who are flying in for the event. Though I missed Sue Zemanick’s event on March 2, there is still time to try Jennifer Jasinki’s and Dara Yu’s food….

Which Chef Takeover Series Dinner to Choose?

A quick peek at the menus yields a few clues.

I am keen to try Jasinski’s cardamom and chocolate cake and her butter-poached sturgeon with edible flowers.

Ozyilmaz’s menu skews Persian – can’t say I’ve ever had zeytinyagli enginar or poached artichoke hearts with feta and orange-sherry vinaigrette – but crispy Persian rice is one of my favorite things.

Vergara’s porchetta deserves more credit (she is better known for her seafood preparations).

Lastly, while I’ve never eaten Yu’s cooking, her Chinese-style short rib with whipped Japanese sweet potato and 5-spice roasted carrots is a reminder that we just finished celebrating the Lunar New Year.

No matter which menu you choose, feel good about supporting women’s education in the edible arts and savor the memory of a wonderful meal.