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Napa’s newest eatery isn’t really a newcomer; Foodshed Pizza & Pasta has just moved from a location in the industrial park near the Napa County Airport to a prime location for its takeaway food in north Napa at Trancas Street and Old California Way near Bel Aire Plaza. It opened Jan. 27.

In addition to being more convenient for potential customers, the operation has added considerably to its offerings, from added dinner menu items to wine, beer and spirits — and it will soon offer delivery for those as well as food.

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Since opening Foodshed Pizza & Pasta in Napa a year ago, Gio Guerrera has fielded a consistent request from customers:

Can you make your location more convenient? The industrial park near the Napa Airport isn’t exactly an easy destination for everyone.

Wish granted. Guerrera has secured a second location on Old California Blvd. near Trancas St. in north Napa, and is planning to offer delivery service, too. Sweetening the Foodshed Take Away space is a wine, craft beer and fine spirits shop.

But first – it seems every restaurant is doing this these days – he’d like folks to contribute to a ‘Give-and-Get’ program, so he can raise $100,000 for the build-out of the new space and a November opening.

Rather than Kickstarter or other such plans, this idea is self-managed. Guests who purchase a Foodshed Take Away gift card of $500 or more by November 5 get an additional 25% in value. For example: Give $500 and get a gift card worth $625.

The airport store will remain open, too. That’s partly because the restaurant operates culinary internship program, for at-risk youth and aspiring young chefs. Interns work at least 20 hours a week for three months, and receive a stipend, are reimbursed for the cost of their food handler’s permit fee, then get job placement assistance.

Since the program’s debut, more than two dozen graduates have secured employment in the local service industry (including the Foodshed kitchen).

Foodshed Pizza & Pasta: 630 Airpark Road, Napa; (707) 265-7760 or Also coming to 3385 Old California Way, Napa.

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Foodshed Pasta and Pizza restaurant is a community-minded eatery that promotes the people, products, and resources of our unique locality in Napa Valley. It's where culinary skill and intuition meets sustainability and inclusivity.  The spirit and vibe of the Foodshed is lighthearted, "we provide serious food without a serious attitude," says Sean Pramuk, Director and Co-Owner.  It's not uncommon to see staff joking around and thoughtfully engaging with customers.  

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It’s more than just the delicious breakfasts and lunches that have been bringing people to Foodshed Pizza and Pasta, the Napa, California, restaurant that opened in an office park near the airport in July 2013: through a unique internship program, Foodshed gives low-income youth and at-risk and underserved populations hands-on experience in a commercial kitchen and restaurant that they can then translate into long-term jobs.

Chef and Founding Principal Giovanni Guerrera spent two years as sous chef at the Rome Sustainable Food Project. Returning home last year, Guerrera approached one-time business partner Sean Pramuk, with whom he’d run Napa’s successful Uva Trattoria; together with Michael Miguel (front of house) and Chef James Ehrlich (a former RSFP intern), they established Foodshed, whose name is a nod to their desire to serve locally produced food with an awareness of “conscious consumption.” But Guerrera also wanted to create a teaching kitchen and internship program similar to those at RSFP, so the four reached out to On the Move, a Napa County nonprofit that serves at-risk youth, to suggest a public/private partnership, with all restaurant profits going to the program.

The internships last three months; participants train for 20 hours weekly and are expected to take part in every aspect of the restaurant’s operation, including cooking, cleaning, serving, organizing inventory, and dealing with compost and recycling. With time, interns are allowed to focus on their own developing areas of interest, so eventually, one might be entirely responsible for completion of a dish—from prep work to plating—while another might choose to attend to customer service and its many nuances.

Prospective interns aren’t expected to have food industry experience and are selected largely based on background and interests, along with a genuine desire to overcome economic, social, and other issues. They’re paid California’s minimum wage—US$8.25 per hour—through grants from the Dean Witter andMiranda Lux foundations and the Napa-Lake Workforce Investment Board, given job placement assistance, and reimbursed for the cost of a legally mandated Food Handler Card.

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A bag of chips and a soda is not what most people would consider a balanced meal. Many children grow up thinking healthy food isn’t a necessity so one local establishment is trying to break the chain for disadvantaged youth by turning the table on greens.

Foodshed Pizza and Pasta opened in July of this year with the hope of making a difference in its community. Co-owners Giovanni Guerrera, Sean Pramuk, Michael Miguel and James Ehrlich have dreams of a profitable restaurant that also works as a tool to teach kids how to cook.

It temporarily hires local interns referred from  On The Move (OTM), to help to create a new kind of job training program in the Napa Valley. Its goal is to not only teach healthy eating but promote leadership skills and economic self-reliance among Napa’s low-income population.

OTM plays a critical ongoing role by providing financial support for the Foodshed Internship Program as well as identifying internship candidates. It found the funding to kick start the program.

“We’re thrilled to create the private-public partnership, combining our background with youth in need with foodies at Foodshed,” Leslie Medine, On the Move Senior Fellow, said. “There are many young people in our community who just need their first chance to prove that they can be successful in the world of work.”

Medine says On the Move’s Foodshed interns not only become part of the whole “farm to table” movement but get a great employment experience. Guerrera and Pramuk are great trainers who hold a high bar that will ultimately make a big difference in the life of each of these youth.

Guerrera and Pramuk are former business partners who owned Uva Trattoria in downtown Napa from
2001-2009 so the two know what it takes to run a successful restaurant business.

Guerrera fell in love with the idea of starting a restaurant and teaching kitchen while living and working as a sous chef at the American Academy in Rome a couple years ago. Giovanni worked with trained chefs as well as dozens of interns and volunteers.

“I had been interested in developing a teaching kitchen before I went to Rome so when I heard about the program there it was a perfect fit,” he said. “My wife and I have had a longstanding dream of living abroad with our children so when the opportunity presented itself, we couldn’t say no.”

His parents came to Napa from Italy and opened a restaurant when he was a small boy so he grew up in a pizzeria. Living in Italy was a way for him to reconnect with his roots. Upon return he made his dream into reality. He took what he learned abroad and applied it in his new part profit, part non-profit creation.

The co-owners looked around and did a lot of research, finding out there are non-profit restaurants, but not ran the same way so it is creating a model for profit and
non-profit establishments.

The interns are there for a three month program, 20 hours a week. Each intern is paid $8.25 an hour. It cycles through interns based on need and if it has space, it can hire them. It is trying to reach an underserved demographic, in which young adults either want to cook for themselves or it is a desired career field.

Guerrera says the interns have a different objective every month in culinary crafts, whether it is making dressing, sauces or pasta. A lot can be taught in three months. The rotation gives others the opportunity to learn. In a couple of years, the majority of employees will have gone through the intern program.

“It is a great service teaching kids how to cook,” Guerrera said. “The kids got so much out of it; building confidence to make something out of nothing.”

Foodshed Pizza is committed to authentic production and more conscious consumption. It prepares meals based on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Everything it makes is from scratch. Guerrera comes up with the recipes and they are passed down to the interns.

He says it is rewarding to watch a kid cook who has never even seen an artichoke before. For him, this is a way to give back, teaching healthy eating and basic cooking skills to kids who may have not been taught at home.

“I love to cook at home. I have two small children and we cook together but so many children miss that growing up,” he said.

According to him, liking vegetables may depend on the way it is prepared. He has heard interns mention not liking or eating vegetables until working there because he/she only tried canned food. Preparing it unique ways is a new experience for some.

“I wasn’t familiar with different types of produce,” Jesus Guzman, 22 year old intern and Napa resident, said. “I never had healthy food choices before but now I am eating healthier since I started working here.”

Guzman says he eats vegetables now that he didn’t before. Because he has discovered new produce and various ways to prepare it, he eats greens on a daily basis.

“It has been a wonderful experience being an intern here,” he said. “I am creative in cooking and would like to expand my cooking skills.”

Guerrera says the feedback has been positive from interns and customers. He has seen highly motivated interns and others who were just not ready to make the commitment.

The goal of the owners is to keep growing in other areas. In the future it hopes that the restaurant can generate enough funds to pay for the internships. It wants to establish relationships with other restaurant, so it can work together to recruit jobs.

630 Airpark Road in Napa • 

For info go to or call 265-7760

All Photos by Megan Reeves Photography

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