Anthony “Nash” Cognetti, Executive Chef began his culinary career at the ripe age of twelve working in the family business, Notarianni Produce Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The company, started by his immigrant Italian grandfather, eventually became the largest produce distributor in the state of Pennsylvania. Nash reports that all the children in the Cognetti family, uncles and cousins alike worked at the company as they were growing up.
When he was a 17-year-old high school student, he got his first kitchen job at Agolino’s Restaurant to earn money for college tuition. Later, while a student at the University of Vermont he supported himself working full time as a sous chef at Burlington Bay Café, a restaurant and retail fish market.
Nash graduated from the University of Vermont in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. A post graduation road trip down the California Coast led Nash away from his formal education and back into the kitchen. He hit pay dirt when he dined at Ventana Inn and Spa in Big Sur, introduced himself to the Chef, and was hired on the spot as a line cook. During his tenure there, he enjoyed living in a rustic cabin on the picturesque resort grounds. His experience in Ventana’s four-star kitchen made Nash realize that his passion was cooking. He moved to San Francisco and enrolled in the California Culinary Academy to formalize his education.
Upon his arrival in San Francisco, a providential meeting with James Ormsby of the Plumpjack Restaurant Group led to a series of jobs. Nash worked for Plumpjack for the next four years at three different locations: Balboa Café, Plumpjack Café and Jack Falstaff. In 2002 he established a San Francisco independent catering company, Rimini Group. Nash especially enjoyed doing charitable work through Rimini benefiting various organizations including the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Casa de las Madres.
In 2005 he yearned to live and work in California’s Wine Country, and found a home at Tra Vigne Restaurant in St. Helena where he became the Executive Chef in 2006. Tra Vigne is the perfect match for his personality, passion, talent, culinary skills and formal education. Locals and visitors alike have given him a warm and enthusiastic welcome in the Napa Valley.
In the fall of 2006, he spent six weeks as Estogier at Il Falconniere, a two-stared Michelin restaurant in Cortuna, Italy. Nash describes this experience as a mind focusing experience guiding his direction for the kitchens of Tra Vigne Restaurant, Pizzeria Tra Vigne Restaurant and Real Events Catering.
Nash, who was on the golf team in high school and college, still finds time to play golf at least once a week. He lives with his girlfriend, Gillian in downtown Sonoma, enjoying his new roots in the Wine Country.