Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

The CIA to Host Benefit Supporting Valley Fire Victims

Fundraiser to be Held March 20 at Greystone

St. Helena, CAThe Culinary Institute of America at Greystone is hosting a wine tasting and auction on Sunday, March 20, with proceeds earmarked to help those affected by last September’s Valley Fire. The college is working with #LakeCountyRising Valley Fire Relief Fund on the event, to be held in the Vintners Hall of Fame Barrel Room from 2–5 p.m.

“For more than two decades, the CIA has been an integral part of this community,” says Thomas Bensel, managing director of the CIA’s California campus. “We mobilized last fall to assist both rescuers and those displaced by the fire, and the college is proud to continue to support victims in its aftermath.”

Four CIA staff members and the families of five students either lost their homes or were evacuated. One freshman lost not only her home, but also her pets when the fire swept through Cobb. Other students and staff in Lake County were required to have their bags packed and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

During the fire, CIA chefs and students prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the evacuation site at the Napa Valley Fairgrounds in Calistoga, while dozens of other staff members volunteered in other ways. One chef opened his house for evacuees to stay in his guest bedrooms. The CIA also donated food, ice, paper goods, frying oil, and cleaning supplies, and turned its Harvest Table event into a fundraiser that made $750 toward relief efforts.

Well-known wine auctioneer Fritz Hatton has been secured for this event. Lake County wineries will be providing wines, and the Napa Valley Vintners and many Napa Valley wineries have donated auction lots. In addition to serving as the venue for the fundraiser, the CIA will present food stations and passed hors d’oeuvres for attendees to enjoy.

#LakeCountyRising is a collaborative fundraising effort of the Lake County Winegrape Commission, Lake County Winery Association, and Lake County Wine Alliance. Tickets are $150 each and can be purchased online through Eventbrite. More information about #LakeCountyRising and how to contribute may be found at

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image:

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone is hosting a wine tasting and auction on March 20, with proceeds earmarked to help those affected by the 2015 Valley Fire. (Photo credit: CIA/Keith Ferris)
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Jeff Levine
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Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to driving leadership development for the foodservice and hospitality industry, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts; bachelor’s degree majors in management, culinary science, and applied food studies; and executive education through its Food Business School. Its conferences and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, world cuisines & cultures, and professional excellence & innovation. The college also offers certificate programs and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its worldwide network of 48,000 alumni includes leaders in every area of foodservice and hospitality. The CIA has campuses in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.

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