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Alisal Signature Experiences

BBQ Bootcamp

BBQ Bootcamp:
Spring Classic

May 4th-May 6th, 2025

Early Bird Pricing - Book and Save

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 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 2025 BBQ Bootcamp Spring Classic is just for you.

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.

The ranch is home to a group of exceptionally talented individuals who are passionate about BBQ. Recently, Guest Chefs Brad Wise, Kimberly Prince, and Matt Horn joined us and shared their amazing stories, traditions, and love for family and food. Chefs Elizabeth Proett and Burt Bakman are also part of the Bootcamp family and have helped our guests develop their grilling skills and create their own unique barbecue traditions.

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.

Stay tuned for the 2025 Guest Chef line up!

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

Stay tuned for additional Guest Chef line up…

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.


Sample Itinerary from 2024 Event

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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