CIA to be Home of The Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum

Chuck WilliamsA museum honoring Charles E. "Chuck" Williams will become the centerpiece of the new Culinary Institute of America at Copia in Napa, CA. Williams, who reshaped the way America cooks and was the visionary behind Williams-Sonoma, died in December at age 100.

The Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum will house an extensive display of kitchen items collected within his lifetime and will ensure that culinary enthusiasts have a place to learn the history and traditions of America’s culinary heritage.

The Chuck Williams story began in 1952, when he took a trip to Europe with friends and saw what international cooks were using in their home kitchens. He returned to Europe numerous times, scouring shops, restaurants, and factories for high-quality cookware and specialty foods he could introduce to cooks in the United States. In 1956, he opened his first cookware store in Sonoma. Many of those items would become American kitchen classics, such as enameled cast-iron pots, tart tins, kugelhopfs, crêpe pans, the Cuisinart food processor, and balsamic vinegar.

The museum collection represents a rich heritage of the culinary arts from around the world and includes treasures from the 18th and 19th century—a batterie de cuisine of copper cookware from 1890s France; ceramic and metal chocolate and ice cream molds; and European and early American baking and pastry equipment. Among the nearly 4,000 artifacts are bread baking and culinary tools, specialty cookware, tableware, large and small appliances, and cookbooks. Additional items will be curated for temporary exhibits.

In recognition of his contribution to the culinary arts, Chuck Williams was inducted into the CIA Hall of Fame in 2002.

The Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum at the CIA at Copia is slated to open in spring 2017.

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