Chef and Owner Sonja Finn began her career as a prep cook at Pittsburgh’s Baum Vivant. At 18, she moved to New York and earned degrees from Columbia University and the Culinary Institute of America. Sonja continued her training in several restaurants including James Beard Foundation award winners Magnolia Grill (Durham, NC) and Zuni Cafe (San Francisco, CA).
Sonja had not planned to open her restaurant in Pittsburgh. But, she couldn’t resist the opportunity to be part of East Liberty’s positive redevelopment, and in May of 2008, after 11 years away, she returned home. Sonja wrote a business plan, secured a bank loan and opened Dinette on October 9th, 2008.
Since Dinette’s opening, Sonja has twice been a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Star Chef of the Year” (2009 and 2010), was number 10 of Mother Nature Network’s “40 Chef’s Under 40,” one of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s “Young Pittsburghers to Watch in 2009,” and a regional nominee for Food and Wine’s “Peoples’ Best New Chef” (2011 and 2012).
Sonja is also the Executive Chef of The Cafe Carnegie at Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History and Consulting Chef for The Andy Warhol Museum.