Neal Wavra is the proprietor, chef & sommelier of Field & Main Restaurant in Marshall, VA which he opened with his wife Star in September 2016. He is recognized as one of the leading experts on the Virginia wine industry and currently the director of the Loudoun County Wine Competition and a Virginia Governors’ Cup judge. In addition, Wavra provides wine and hospitality consulting and presentations through his company FABLE Hospitality.
Food was a central part of Wavra’s upbringing. When attending college in Walla Walla, Washington, he furthered his passion for all things culinary by starting the Gastronomical Society on campus. He caught the wine bug which was further reinforced when he pursued a post graduate degree in Monterey, California. His culinary career began after a brief stint as a trade compliance specialist in the Department of Commerce in Washington, DC. Wavra realized he could make more of an impact bringing together local farmers and producers through a locally sourced restaurant experience – the initial seed for the future vision of Field & Main.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Wavra began his career in earnest, working with Charlie Trotter in Chicago, Illinois, as dining room manager for several years and then moving to Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, where he was dining room and farmstead manager.
Wavra spent nearly 5 years as the innkeeper and sommelier for The Ashby Inn & Restaurant in Paris, Virginia, where the wine list was recognized by various publications for its vast and careful selections, with particular focus on wines of Virginia. Following The Ashby, Wavra was the host and sommelier at The Riverstead, a sixteen-seat restaurant located in Chilhowie, Virginia, run by Trotter alums, now Michelin starred chefs John Shields and Karen Urie.
He holds degrees from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, The Monterey (now Middlebury) Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Wavra is certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers and is the recipient of the Commanderie de Bordeaux Wine Scholarship and the Kopf Foundation Wine Excellence Scholarship.
Outside of his hospitality practice, Neal enjoys all manner of outdoor activities and traveling with his wife and two girls.