INSPIRATION

Executive Chef / Director of Culinary Programs

Chef Elena Sirignano

Chef Elena Sirignano - With over 25 years in the industry as a chef, sommelier, culinary instructor, bean-to-bar chocolate maker, manager, and specialty foods entrepreneur on both the East Coast and in the Napa Valley, Chef Elena Sirignano brings passion, knowledge, and experience to the NV Cooking School. Her early training began in her hometown of New York City at the Yale Club upon completion of her Associates Degree in Culinary Arts at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Hyde Park. This provided her with a solid foundation in both hospitality and fine dining which then lead her west to California. She has been part of the restaurant scene within the Napa Valley since 1992, where she has worked with Thomas Keller as a member of the original French Laundry Kitchen Team and has been part of both front and back of the house operations at Bistro Don Giovanni, Pat Kuleto’s Martini House, Bouchon, and Bouchon Bakery. An experienced culinary instructor, Chef Elena taught International Cuisine, Garde Manger, American Regional, Foundations, and Dining Room Management at Delaware Technical & Community College (2006-2012) as well as a variety of food enthusiast classes at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Greystone and COPIA (2012-2018). She is the founder/owner of Mayacama Chocolate, familiar to many from local farmer’s markets. She is finishing a Bachelors degree in Business Management/Finance from Wilmington (Delaware) University.

 

ASSISTANT CHEF INSTRUCTOR

Chef Savanna Duchala

Chef Savanna Duchala - Savanna grew up in Modesto, California, where she joined the United States Air Force after high school and served eight years stationed in both England and Washington State. While working and traveling overseas, she fell in love with many international cuisines and found a passion in recreating them at home for friends. This new love of cooking ultimately encouraged her to leave the military and attend culinary school at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Greystone, St. Helena. During her culinary studies, she worked for Elaine Bell Catering in Napa and Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro in Yountville. After completing her Associates degree from the CIA Greystone, Savanna worked at Peju Province Winery in Rutherford as Estate Sous Chef, where she mastered the art of food and wine pairing through a variety of vineyard events and on-site cooking classes. Here she realized how much she loved teaching the culinary arts. She has also worked for CIA at Copia in Napa as a Demonstration Chef, leading cooking classes and intimate demonstration dinners.

 

Adjunct Faculty, Guest Chefs, Guest Speakers:

Chris Kennedy Aken, Executive Chef, Trefethen Family Vineyards, Napa
Bryan Avila, Winemaker/Wine Educator, Napa Valley
Cathy Balach, Napa Sonoma Small Business Development Center Advisor/Instructor
Pat Burke, National BBQ Champion, Napa
Derek Corsino, Culinary Educator/Competitive Pastry Chef, Healdsburg
Janet Fletcher, Culinary Educator/Cookbook Author, Napa
Sarita Lopez, Entrepreneur, Green Go Cactus, Rutherford
Noel Lopreore, Culinary Gardener/Farmer, St. Helena
Stan King, Butcher, Cal Mart Calistoga
Ian McIver, Mindful Meditation Instructor, St. Helena
Greg Miraglia, Educator/Advocate, KRCB Radio, Santa Rosa
Mariano Orlando, Private Chef, Napa Valley
Osprey Seafood, Napa
Chris Sawyer, Sommelier/Wine Educator, Sonoma Valley
Jon Sevigny, Beekeeper/Sommelier, Napa Valley
Rebekah Wineburg, Winemaker, Quintessa, Rutherford

** Guest chefs may vary each year depending upon availability.