Brother and sister team (Chef Manuel and Lucia as your host) share a passion for food and their Portuguese heritage. In 1968, their father, Raimundo Faustino Azevedo, sold his worldly possessions, a pair of oxen and a milk cow, and moved his wife and two sons (Manuel, being the oldest) to Healdsburg, California, where he worked as a dairyman. Lucia was born shortly thereafter. The family eventually grew to six and ultimately settled in Sonoma Valley in 1976.
The work of a dairyman was demanding and life in the United States was a challenge, yet the family never lacked fresh, delicious food. There was always an abundance of fresh milk, as well as sides of beef and pork on a biannual basis. The family grew its own vegetable garden and had fresh eggs daily, courtesy of their hens. Their mother, LaSalette, made fresh cheese and bread on a weekly basis. Manuel and Lucia were very much a part of the food gathering and preparation process in the family home. Neither of the siblings recall “learning” to cook; food preparation was always second nature — in their blood. The parents learned of American foods through their children. The family table was an adventure.
As children of immigrant parents, Lucia and Manuel grew up with a strong work ethic and desire to fulfill the American dream. Café Lucia is a culmination of that dream.
Plaza Restaurant Healdsburg
Lucia Azevedo Fincher
Café Lucia was spurred by Lucia’s desire to apply her business background and pursue her dream of owning a restaurant in Healdsburg, her hometown. It was only natural and fitting that she would ask her big brother, who has extensive knowledge and experience in the Sonoma County restaurant business, to join her in this venture.
Manuel took his passion for food and his birthplace and made it his life work. In 1998, he opened LaSalette Restaurant in Sonoma, appropriately named after his mother, serving “Cozinha Nova Portuguesa” dishes, and more recently published LaSalette Cookbook, the culmination of years of hard work and dedication to spread Cozinha Nova Portuguesa to foodies everywhere and promote the cause of Portuguese cuisine to as wide an audience as possible.
Director of Administration
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, California, has apprenticed at LaSalette Restaurant and is equally passionate about food and his Portuguese heritage. Jason started at Café Lucia as the opening Chef de Cuisine before transitioning to his new role as Director of Administration in order to gain experience of the overall restaurant with hopes that he can achieve his goal of owning his own restaurant in the future.