Imagine being in high school and taking a five-day culinary pilgrimage to Napa and San Francisco. That’s exactly what 6 ProStart students from Bonita and San Dimas High Schools, 30 minutes inland from Downtown Los Angeles, experienced in December.

The students traveled to Napa to attend a ProStart competition “boot camp” hosted by the CRA Foundation at The Culinary Institute of America. ProStart teachers, Laurie and Nick Brandler, maximized this opportunity and introduced their students to some of the top restaurants and hotels in California.


  • Shucking and tasting oysters for the first time at Hog Oyster Island
  • Receiving sourdough starter from Farallon (from 1862!)
  • Touring The French Laundry’s state-of-the-art kitchen
  • Getting a bread history lesson and tasting at Boudin Bakery
  • Trying caviar at Gary Danko
  • Catching up with a ProStart alum, Kris Lara, from San Dimas High School who actually works as a cook at Farallon!
  • Learning about fermentation, vinegar and umami at Goose and Gander
  • Baking bread at Bouchon Bakery

Field trip Sites:

  • The French Laundry
  • Andaz Napa
  • Bouchon Bakery
  • Gary Danko
  • Boudin Bakery
  • The Culinary Institute of America
  • Goose & Gander
  • Farallon
  • Hog Oyster Island

Are you interested in hosting a field trip at your restaurant or hotel? Contact Natalie Tong (!