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Culinary Arts Programs

The beloved, sumptuously produced “Downton Abbey” was always a feast for the eyes. In anticipation of the forthcoming movie based on the series, food historian Francine Segan invites you to vicariously take your seat at the Crawley family’s table (and also peek into the kitchen) to learn what went into planning, serving, and attending an Edwardian-era feast that only great houses like Downton could produce.

Event date
Sunday, September 8, 2019 - 2:00 p.m.

We know him as one of the world’s most prolific creators, but there’s an overlooked role that’s worth considering when we celebrate the genius of Leonardo da Vinci: Renaissance foodie. Food historian Francine Segan sets da Vinci in the context of the culinary culture and manners of the Italian Renaissance and explores his appetites for a life he richly savored.

Event date
Monday, September 9, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

For Smithsonian Associates members at the Promoter ($100) level or below: From newborns to recent arrivals, the National Zoo’s latest residents are in the spotlight during this much-anticipated annual event. Enter the zoo before it opens to the public, enjoy breakfast and special activities, get up-close looks at the animals, and take in the memorable sights and sounds of Smithsonian’s wonderful zoo.

Event date
Saturday, September 14, 2019 - 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

For Smithsonian Associates members at the Advocate ($175) level or above: From newborns to recent arrivals, the National Zoo’s latest residents are in the spotlight during this much-anticipated annual event. Enter the zoo before it opens to the public, enjoy breakfast and special activities, get up-close looks at the animals, and take in the memorable sights and sounds of Smithsonian’s wonderful zoo. This ticket option includes VIP access at the Mane Grill across from Lion and Tiger Hill from 8 to 9 a.m.

Event date
Saturday, September 14, 2019 - 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast served 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

For Smithsonian Associates members at the Advocate ($175) level or above: From newborns to recent arrivals, the National Zoo’s latest residents are in the spotlight during this much-anticipated annual event. Enter the zoo before it opens to the public, enjoy breakfast and special activities, get up-close looks at the animals, and take in the memorable sights and sounds of Smithsonian’s wonderful zoo. This ticket option includes VIP access at the Mane Grill across from Lion and Tiger Hill from 9 to 10 a.m.

Event date
Saturday, September 14, 2019 - 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast served 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

For Smithsonian Associates members at the Advocate ($175) level or above: From newborns to recent arrivals, the National Zoo’s latest residents are in the spotlight during this much-anticipated annual event. Enter the zoo before it opens to the public, enjoy breakfast and special activities, get up-close looks at the animals, and take in the memorable sights and sounds of Smithsonian’s wonderful zoo. This ticket option includes VIP access at the Mane Grill across from Lion and Tiger Hill from 10 to 11 a.m.

Event date
Saturday, September 14, 2019 - 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast served 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

D.C. bartender and spirits expert Derek Brown raises a toast to the fascinating history of the cocktail—and its place in America’s history as well. He traces the potable's birth, rise, fall, and eventual resurrection, spotlighting some of the men and women who made their mark on cocktail culture.

Event date
Friday, September 20, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Savor the beautiful lower Hudson Valley—a treasure trove of historic houses and home to the school that produces top chefs—in a 3-day excursion led by Bill Keene, a lecturer in history, urban studies, and architecture. The tour includes visits to the Kykuit Rockefeller estate, the Culinary Institute of Ameirca (for a French lunch), the Springwood family estate where Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born, magnificent Vanderbilt Mansion, and more.

Event date
Depart: Sunday, September 22, 2019 - 7:00 a.m.
Return: Tuesday, September 24, 2019 - 10:00 p.m.

Perplexed by wine lists or selecting a bottle to bring to dinner? Join Food and Wine magazine’s 2019 Sommelier of the Year, Erik Segelbaum, in an enjoyable interactive workshop designed to boost the wine IQ and confidence of both novices and seasoned aficionados.

Event date
Friday, September 27, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Perplexed by wine lists or selecting a bottle to bring to dinner? Join Food and Wine magazine’s 2019 Sommelier of the Year, Erik Segelbaum, in an enjoyable interactive workshop designed to boost the wine IQ and confidence of both novices and seasoned aficionados.

Event date
Saturday, September 28, 2019 - 3:00 p.m.

Sometimes a pie in the hand is more tempting than one on in a plate. Local food writer and pie maker Cathy Barrow digs into the world of small tarts, turnovers, empanadas, knishes, fried pies, and poppers, and offers a step-by-step demo of a recipe that makes turning out a free-form pie practically foolproof.

Event date
Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Have you ever found yourself pondering deeply cheesy thoughts: What makes certain cheeses smell, look, or taste the way that they do? How do I serve them? Where best to find them locally? Join Alice Bergen Phillips, Cheesemonster Studio’s founder and head cheesemonger, for a lively investigation that serves up all of the answers—and a tasting, too.

Event date
Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

In recent years, the longtime popularity of bourbon and rye had been on the decline, but these venerable all-American drinks have made a spirited comeback. Learn how—and about the traditions and tastes behind them—from Andrea Wilson, executive vice president of Michter's Distillery in Louisville, and Lew Bryson, author of Tasting Whiskey. Cheers!

Event date
Thursday, October 17, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Jancis Robinson, described as "the most respected wine critic and journalist in the world,” shares her valuable expertise and insights on what’s new in the world of wine. Then raise a glass as you sample a generous selection of wines representative of today’s trends.

Event date
Sunday, October 20, 2019 - 2:30 p.m.

Can a food truck be a symbol of social justice? What happens when natural entrepreneurs are provided the right resources and hands-on technical assistance? Find the answers in the story of La Cocina, a nonprofit small-business incubator in the Mission District of San Francisco that is turning home cooks into businesswomen.

Event date
Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

Have you ever found yourself pondering deeply cheesy thoughts: What makes certain cheeses smell, look, or taste the way that they do? How do I serve them? Where best to find them locally? Join Alice Bergen Phillips, Cheesemonster Studio’s founder and head cheesemonger, for a lively investigation that serves up all of the answers—and a tasting, too.

Event date
Sunday, October 27, 2019 - 2:00 p.m.

French gastronomy is the benchmark for the world’s finest cuisine. Join French cuisine expert Susan Herrmann Loomis for a lively tour through the centuries that showcases the rich history of a unique and beloved cuisine and the influences that shaped it.

Event date
Thursday, October 31, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.

From Prohibition through the 1950s, the Stork Club, 21 Club, El Morocco, and other swank nightspots and eateries were the center of a glittering new kind of social scene. Cocktail historian Philip Greene takes a spirited look at the glamour of these legendary venues through the great drinks developed and savored there.

Event date
Monday, November 4, 2019 - 6:30 p.m.