Is the Culinary Vegetable Institute a building? Or is it a destination? Is it just for chefs? Is it exclusive and private or can regular people go there, too? So, which is it?
In fact, the Culinary Vegetable Institute is a beautiful building that is a destination for chefs—indeed, a playground for chefs. It’s a sought-after venue for private events and parties, and a site for vegetable-centered dinners that are open to anyone who wants to come join us. If we had to choose a single word to sum up the Culinary Vegetable Institute, we’d say it’s an “experience.”
Experience an Event
Scroll through the schedule of upcoming CVI events and you’ll see what we mean. Our Vegetable Showcase Dinners aren’t just about food. Each one is a celebration of a single perfect ingredient, prepared in a multitude of imaginative ways by extraordinarily talented chefs. You can literally see for yourself what we mean. Our open kitchen puts our team in full view for a front row look into the sights, sounds and smells of a working professional kitchen in full swing.
“We love the entire dining experience from walking in the doors and through each course,” said Deborah, a guest at our most recent potato and carrot Vegetable Showcase. “It’s intimate, welcoming and relaxed, and we are present to enjoy every moment. We have been coming two times a year in previous years but are making a concerted effort to attend more times this year. Big smiles!”
Our annual Twelve Days of Christmas dinner is a magical edible journey through the stanzas of a beloved holiday song, imaginatively rendered in twelve delicious courses.
Attend one of our “Uncorked” wine series events and experience perfect pairings of Chef’s Garden-inspired cuisine with hand-selected fine wines from all corners of the globe—from Old World to the newest nouveaux.
Lovebirds flocked to our Valentine’s Day dinner in February. Couples enjoyed an evening warmed by hearthfire at intimate, candlelit tables for two, with guest Pastry Chef Melania Castegnaro’s “Textures of Chocolate” dessert for a sweet, happy ending.
Chef for a Day
If seeing into the kitchen isn’t enough, why not be in the kitchen? Our “Chef for a Day” program is your chance to spend an entire day as a contributing member of the CVI’s team of chefs as you help prepare the meal for an evening dinner. It is a one-of-a-kind, hands-on opportunity that welcomes aspiring chefs to experience the ins and outs of a professional kitchen, from prep through plating.
During his Chef for a Day experience, culinary instructor Chef Lincoln Marquis said being in the CVI kitchen deepened his reverence for “the journey” a vegetable takes to reach the kitchen, and “the care and expertise that was lavished on it to make each ingredient something exceptional in and of itself, and the amazing impact that we can have on the end result.”
Vow to Wed with Us
“We had our wedding at CVI and everything about the day was perfect! The staff have a great attention to detail—which meant nothing was forgotten. And of course—the food! Chef Jamie prepared an unforgettable meal custom to our requests and ideas. You cannot go wrong booking an event here. My husband and I didn’t want to leave and cannot wait to come back for a dinner or a class!”
What more significant experience is there than a wedding? The CVI is a rustic backdrop for the most elegant, or the most laid-back, marriage ceremonies and celebrations. Our secluded, out of the way location, flower gardens and wooded natural landscape make an idyllic environment for outdoor weddings.
Our very own Farmer Lee Jones is an ordained wedding officiant, and he’ll gladly guide you through your ceremony. For your reception, our kitchen team will work with you on a menu that’s just your style, whether it’s a hog roast—or a sit-down gourmet meal under white outdoor tents or inside our vaulted, natural wood dining room.
Our upstairs Chef’s Suite is a perfect place for bridal parties’ day-of preparations, or a romantic retreat for a couple’s wedding night. We have additional available lodging, as well, to accommodate members of the wedding party or families.
Add an Overnight Stay
The Chef’s Suite is also available for guests to reserve for an overnight stay while they’re attending a CVI event. Why not trade in a long drive home for a short walk upstairs? With its cozy fireplace, king-sized bed, chef-worthy kitchenette and two-person hot tub, be our guest and end your evening in elegance.
“The CVI exceeded expectations, and staff was effectively dedicated to making our two days staying at the luxury chef’s suite memorable,” commented a recent guest. “The farm is truly amazing, the Jones family are simply adorable. All in all an unforgettable place in the middle of nowhere. On a scale of 1 to 10, our experience and stay was 11.”
A Giving Place
Server Amy Bogard said she relishes her role as someone who initially ushers guests into their CVI experience. “I oftentimes will direct people, once we’ve gone through the menu, to go upstairs, explore the library, go all the way up where there’s comfy chairs and a beautiful view, and feel free to go take a peek in the kitchen,” she said. “I don’t think you can do that anywhere else, really. They kind of look at me like ‘That’s OK?’ Definitely! At first they think that’s odd, but it’s really OK. Walk around. I’ll bring you your cocktail when it’s ready. I’ll find you. I know you.”
CVI Chef Jamie Simpson calls the Culinary Vegetable Institute “an open space, and a giving space.” It’s a place where we encourage our guests to come back and ask questions and taste things, and just watch and smell,” he said.
Wine Steward Liz Studer said she takes crafting a guest’s experience very seriously. “People trust us,” Studer said. “They’re giving us the control, essentially, and really trusting us to show them a great time. We’re not putting an a la carte menu in front of them and letting them choose. They’re sitting down and we’re feeding them. And they don’t know until they get here and sit down, really, what they’re going to eat.”
In the end, Studer said she and the CVI team approach every event with the same goal in mind.
“We want you to feel comfortable, we want to make you feel welcome, like you’re a part of something magical.”