Vincent Nattress - Chef and Owner of The Orchard Kitchen
Vincent grew up on Whidbey Island and began his restaurant career at the age of 16; his first job was as a dishwasher at a local fine-dining restaurant. Vincent quickly moved up the ranks, eventually leading the hot line in this fast-paced restaurant. He was hooked on restaurants.
The fall after graduating high school Vincent took his first trip to Europe and quickly fell in love with the rich culinary history that he found there. Over the next several years he would return three more times, culminating with a three-month Stage in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Provence. This internship served as his Senior Project for his Bachelor of Arts degree, "A Cultural and Historical Perspective on the Culinary Arts."
After college Vincent decided to hone his cooking skills by spending "a year or two" in California's Bay Area. This was the beginning of what would be a 16 year odyssey which included time as Winery Chef at two different wineries and the creation of a catering company that made it possible for him to work with many of the best wineries in California and beyond. In 2001 he and his wife Tyla Jones Nattress opened Roux Restaurant in St. Helena, which would go on to garner much critical attention, including selection as one of the San Francisco Chronicle's Top 10 New Restaurants and Top 100 Bay Area restaurants overall.
In 2005 Vincent joined Meadowood Napa Valley as the Executive Chef with the express mandate of restoring the property to culinary glory. Vincent was a part of an amazing team, including Patrick Davila, Joseph Humphrey and Christopher Kostow, that set the stage for Meadowood to become a culinary Mecca.
Vincent & Tyla returned to Whidbey Island with the desire of creating a culinary destination of their own. This dream became reality in 2015 with the opening of the Orchard Kitchen, a teaching kitchen and dining room on their five-acre organic farm in Langley.
Tyla Jones Nattress - Wine & Service Maven
While Tyla was born and raised on the East Coast, and centuries-long family ties to Maine and Massachusetts, she now freely admits she prefers Dungeness Crab to Atlantic Lobster.
Tyla career in restaurants began was she was a teenager, but she discovered fine dining service after completing college at the University of Vermont. It was there she met Tosha Norris, a restaurant manager from Napa Valley, who opened Tyla's eyes to fine dining service and to the world of wine. Two years later, when Tosha decided to return to California, Tyla made the leap to switch coasts and head west.
She also met this friend of Tosha's named Vincent, but that's a long story.
In the years that followed, Tyla worked in several fine-dining restaurants. She also drew upon her science background with stints working in the Lab at Robert Mondavi Winery as well as at Miner Family Winery and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. During her time in Napa, Tyla learned a great deal about wine, food and hospitality. She worked in the very demanding special events department for Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, coordinating and executing events for their extremely demanding clientele. She worked with Vincent to build his fledgling catering business, doing everything from food preparation to event coordination and fine table service. She even took an excursion to New Zealand to work as a cellar rat at the pioneering Pinot Noir producer, Felton Road Winery.
Tyla & Vincent married in 2000, and the following year took a huge leap, opening a restaurant of their own, right in the heart of Napa Valley. Roux won many accolades, including selection as one of the San Francisco Chronicles Top Ten Restaurants of 2001. This was due in no small measure to the seamless service that Tyla inspired from her staff, and to the innovative wine list she created, which focused on small production “Tiny Wines” with case productions of less than 1000 cases. One of her great fortes is an understanding of how food and wines interact, and so wine pairing is child's play for Tyla.
After Roux closed in 2004, Tyla had her hands full for a few years with two young daughters. She worked for several months in 2007 as the chief recruiter for the reopening of The Restaurant at Meadowood, interviewing, evaluating and helping to train the opening staff there. She even followed a long time passion and natural talent as a teacher, becoming a certified Yoga instructor, always being one to seek balance.
In 2009 she and her family left Napa in search of a place to call their own in the Pacific Northwest. In 2011, based on her desire to create a Food Hub, the Nattresses found their farm: a five-acre property in Bayview.