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Alisal Signature Experiences

BBQ Bootcamp

BBQ Bootcamp:
Spring Classic

May 5th-7th, 2024

Here at Alisal Ranch we pride ourselves in our Western hospitality which includes some of the best BBQ in the West.

With the help of our BBQ Bootcamp 2024 Guest Instructors and our very talented culinary team, we are mighty excited to share tips and tricks to have you grilling like a pro. If you want to enjoy some amazing barbecue and learn how to take your grilling game to the next level, our BBQ Bootcamp Spring Classic is just for you.

Beginning May 5th  we will be bringing some of the nation’s top chefs and grill masters to Alisal Ranch where they will prepare indulgent grilled feasts and share their barbecue secrets during exclusive demonstrations.

Top local vintners will also be on hand to pour their latest vintages.

After a day of adventure on the Ranch, you are sure to have worked up an appetite. This is a great time to get away and treat yourself to a luxury vacation, eat amazing food and learn from the best in BBQ.

This Experience Includes:

  • Accommodations for 2 nights (Sunday – Tuesday)
  • All meals including special dinners with local celebrity chefs, winemakers and brew masters
  • A selection of alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages at our bars & restaurants
  • Demonstrations on grilling methods & equipment, BBQ instruction, spice blending, and more
  • Special event keepsakes
  • Breakfast ride to Historic Adobe by hay wagon

Limited availability. Adults only. Plus tax and 22% Ranch Fee.

people eating at the outdoor dining area beside the lake
Chef Valerie Gordon

Meet Our BBQ Bootcamp Emcee

Valerie Gordon’s business acumen and warm, entertaining charm lend themselves to her extensive brand, including the flagship retail boutique Valerie Confections in HiFi, and a café and bakery showcasing her savory prowess in Echo Park. The celebrated Los Angeles chocolatier—and James Beard Finalist cookbook author for 2013’s Sweet—embraces a philosophy of telling compelling stories through flavor by ensuring every dish remains approachable, with nuanced interpretation. Gordon founded the confectionary in 2004 with her partner Stan Weightman Jr., and eventually guided Valerie Confections to become one of the nation’s most highly acclaimed boutique chocolatiers. Gaining recognition from national media outlets, TV networks, marquee food festivals, Gordon continues to push the boundary of her artisanal confections by collaborating with innovators in fields spanning fashion, design, and sustainability. Her versatile culinary knack includes handmade chocolates, preserves, historic California cakes, savory delights, and a new frontier involving nationally praised grilled desserts. An active community member, Gordon participates in organizations and events including L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade, Planned the Parenthood Los Angeles Food Fare, No Kid Hungry, and others.

BBQ Bootcamp Instructors

Chef Erik Sandven
Executive Chef

As Executive Chef at Alisal Ranch, Chef Erik Sandven brings Alisal Ranch the best ingredients the state’s central coast has to offer, while creating a sense of place for the hotel’s guests and embracing the ranch’s rich history through an array of dining experiences, including summer rodeos, the multi-day BBQ Bootcamp, weddings, the California Ranch Cookouts held throughout the year, and more.

Sandven began his culinary career in 2011 as a line cook at RAYA at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, quickly climbing the ranks to become the hotel’s saucier, and then sous chef. Six years later, he went to another iconic Orange County luxury hotel, The Resort at Pelican Hill, as the sous chef in their restaurants Pelican Grill and Andrea, before being promoted to chef de cuisine at the Coliseum restaurant.

In 2021, Sandven was recruited by The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara to be their banquet chef, during which he oversaw all banquet culinary functions and operations, the Club Lounge, as well as the Obar Kitchen. In 2023, Sandven joined Alisal Ranch.

Outside of the kitchen, Sandven enjoys spending time with his wife, visiting the local farmer’s markets, and playing golf.

Chef Brad Wise
Rare Society

Coming of age along the shores of Cape May, Chef Brad Wise never had culinary aspirations. A serendipitous tag-along led to a job mopping floors at Jake’s Pizza. Now, he’s one of the region’s leading chefs and restaurateurs, with five distinct concepts that highlight the bold, smoky, wood-fired flavors he’s known for.

His story begins on the Central Coast. Dating his now wife, whose family has roots in the region, Chef fell in love with Santa Maria-style grilling. An ancient method of cooking, live fire proved to be fun for him, the unharnessed, spontaneous flame, the drama fueling his obsession with wood-fired everything. This has become his unintentional trademark, a signature style that is on full display across his portfolio of restaurants, which to date include Trust, Fort Oak, Rare Society, Cardellino, Mr. Trustee, and The Wise Ox.

Before this, he was the Executive Chef at JRDN and Belmont Park. Itching for something to call his own, Chef began quietly cultivating a few investors, showcasing his idea for a restaurant by hosting tastings at his house. The flavors, the ideas of marrying food, beverage, and service was the springboard of TRUST, which opened in 2016. Neighbors flocked to the dining room, devouring shared plates composed of wood-grilled vegetables and rustic entrees, paired with wine and cocktails by his passionate team. Accolades came swift, anointing this fledgling restaurant group as one to watch in the city, with a chef hellbent on pushing San Diego’s culinary reputation forward.

Chef made quick work of building an empire. Fort Oak, with its sophisticated menu and Mid-Century design, signaled a progression in his preferred cooking method. Cardellino, an Italian-American restaurant focused on handmade pasta and pizzas, opened in early 2020, and The Wise Ox, a butcher and sandwich shop in North Park, debuted in September of the same year.

Chef Kimberly Prince
Hotville Chicken

Kim Prince is a third-generation restaurateur with a knack for frying “hot” chicken coursing through her veins; at the age of eight, she recalls being the “Pickle Bucket Girl” at her family’s restaurant in Nashville, TN. The Prince family is recognized and awarded as the creators of Nashville Hot Chicken.

Kim studied Public Administration at Fresno State University where her professional career in Human Resources began in 1992. From 1999-2019 she worked for various TV networks like ABC TV, The WB, CMT/MTV, and NBCUniversal. TV Production and Development afforded her opportunities to travel around the world and work with many A-List celebrities, professional athletes, and high-profile influencers.  In 2016, after returning to LA from Nashville, she started a pop-up restaurant: Holtville Chicken. In 2019, opened a brick ‘n mortar in the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw district with partner Greg Dulan (owner of Dulan’s Soul Food).  Hotville Chicken has been recognized by Los Angeles Magazine’s Best of 2020 and Best New Restaurant.  Hotville Chicken has also been featured in: The NY Times, Infatuation LA, Zagat, and the LA Times.

Chef Matt Horn
Chef & Restaurateur

Chef & Restaurateur Matt Horn is a leading authority on barbecue and a rising star in the US restaurant scene overall, drawing acclaim from barbecue aficionados and media across the nation with his own California-style. In October 2020 he opened his first restaurant, Horn Barbecue, in Oakland, CA, which drew instant acclaim from loyal fans and both local and national media, followed by the 2022 opening of his sophomore concept, Kowbird, and his first elevated dining concept, Matty’s Old Fashioned in 2023. In 2021, Matt Horn was named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs in America, and Horn Barbecue was named one of Esquire Magazine’s Best New Restaurants in America and landed a coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand designation. In 2022 Horn Barbecue was nominated for a James Beard Award, in the Best New Restaurant category. Chef Horn was recently named to the Williams Sonoma Chefs Collective (2023), is a YETI Chef Ambassador and Chef Partner for MadeIn Cookware.


5 Chefs. 2 Nights. 1 Unforgettable Trip.

Day 1 – Sunday
4 pm

Check-in at the Ranch

5 pm

Welcome Demo with Chef Erik Sandven of Alisal Ranch

6:00 pm

Demo and Dinner with Chef Brad Wise


Day 2 – Monday
7 – 10 am

Breakfast available in the Ranch Room

Breakfast Ride

Join by horse or haywagon! Valerie Gordon will host a breakfast demo followed by a cowboy cookout breakfast


Artisan Boxed Lunches Available.

1-3 pm

Pop up Shop at the Mercantile: stop by for cookbook signing, wine tasting, shopping, and mini-massage sessions

1 – 5 pm

Free time! Enjoy golf spa, horseback riding, and more.

5 pm

Happy Hour demo with Chef Kim Prince of Hotville Chicken

6 pm

Demo and Dinner with Chef Matt Horn.

Wine Tasting with Laeticia Winery and Beer Tastings with Firestone Brewery

7:30 pm

Line dancing

Day 3 – Tuesday
7 – 11 am

Breakfast at Leisure in the Ranch Room

9-11 am

Spice Blending Class on Creekside Lawn

11 am

Sadly, it’s check-out time. We hope to see you again soon!


Photos from Past Bootcamps


The spirit of adventure.

At Alisal Ranch, we believe that true hospitality comes straight from the heart— and want you to feel a warm welcome throughout your stay. Our serene Western-style accommodations offer casual and comfortable luxury, designed to help you unwind and relax.

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