The Thomas Gets New Chef

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By L Pierce Carson

Pierce After spending four years contributing to New York City’s diverse culinary scene, chef Jonnatan Leiva has returned to the Bay Area to man the stoves at the Thomas at Fagiani’s in downtown Napa.

Leiva had been helming Saxon + Parole’s kitchen in Lower Manhattan, one of the two dinner houses operated by AvroKo, the culinary design and hospitality firm that has operations in New York, Napa and Moscow.

AvroKo executive chef Brad Farmerie asked Leiva to lead the Thomas’ culinary team with the departure of the restaurant’s opening chef de cuisine, Jason Kupper. Leiva and Kupper had been working together for the past few weeks to ensure a smooth transition.

Growing up in San Francisco’s Mission, Leiva became interested in cooking as a boy while watching his grandmother prepare her authentic Spanish dishes. A California Culinary Academy alumnus, Leiva is a veteran of renowned restaurants like Apicius in Paris, Union Pacific in New York, La Palme D’Or at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, and San Francisco’s Fifth Floor. He also worked with noted San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino, of Incanto fame, and prior to departing for New York in 2009 he was executive chef at Jack Falstaff in San Francisco.

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