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A Chef's Dream Farm

A Chef's Dream Farm

Vincent, his daughter and some cauliflower

Leona Taylor | Chef's Blade

What makes a man ditch a high paying, high profile luxury resort chef position in the middle of a recession, uproot his family of four, and move two states away to live in a tiny apartment in Coupeville Washington?

Well, historical providence, low interest rates, and greener pastures perhaps; in this case literally.

Chef Vincent Nattress, the Executive Chef of Meadowood Resort in the Napa Valley, has gone hog-wild for his agrarian dream of finding and creating the perfect family farm.

Born and raised in Western Washington, Nattress is also returning to his roots. Beginning to realize his culinary dreams in the early 90s while in college at Western Washington University, Nattress designed his own degree: “A Cultural and Historical Perspective on the Culinary Arts.”

His studies took him to France at Avignon and for a term he worked his trade in a small village in the Cote du Rhone called Seguret. Returning to Washington he worked briefly for a friend’s restaurant in Bellingham, which closed before its time.

“The day the restaurant closed, I bought a pick up truck at a government auction, and packed up all my stuff and headed to the Napa Valley.” Mused Nattress, not a stranger to adventure, “When I was eighteen I bought a one way ticket to London and a Eurail pass”.


Nattress, his wife Tyla Jones Nattress, and their two daughters will situate themselves in Coupville, WA where Vincent went to grade school while they search the lush agricultural preserve of Edey’s Prairie for farmable land.

“It’s the Hubbard Squash capital” says Nattress referring to an oblong shaped squash which grows up to 40lbs, “there’s already two well known CSA’s and a lot of Dairy farms.” “Our goal is to have 1/3 orchard, 1/3 row crops, and 1/3 livestock and poultry. Maybe some pigs, goats and a kitchen where we can do some charcuterie, cheeses, canned preserves and cooking classes”.

Those who know Nattress know this richly woven aspiration won’t stay a fairytale for long. Having cut his second or third set of teeth in the Napa Valley Nattress has worked as a winery chef for the likes of Robert Sinskey Vineyards and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, cooked behind the scenes for a celebrated Jacque Pepin cooking show on KQED, run his own catering business and eventually restaurant (the acclaimed but since closed Roux Restaurant in St. Helena,) and settled comfortably for the last five or six years at Meadowood Resort. His young family and small flock of “Broilers” as he affectionately refers to his chickens, have served as the inspiration for pursuing this next challenge. And of course he is “still trying to save the world”.

Somewhere in the fields of Coupeville the dream farm is calling.

Nattress’ love of all things culinary has always reflected on the use of fresh, local, and sustainable food production. His small dinner parties of 20 to 30 at his old home in St. Helena were legendary not only for the food, but for the conversations about food, and the vision to which he is still so passionately rooted in.

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