The Incontro family came from Carlentini Sicily and Reggio Calabria, Italy.
Introduced to the craft at a young age by his Nanu Incontro, our Founder and 3rd-generation pork aficionado, Tony Incontro has been involved in the family's love affair of all things pork, sausage, and salumi for nearly thirty years. The Incontro family has the annual ritual of butchering and making salumi in the garage before Christmas Eve, creating the family salame Calabrese and Siciliano, along with hot, sweet, and fresh Sasizza (Sicilian sausage) for sausage and Peppers.
As a Culinary Arts graduate, Tony worked as a chef in fine dining establishments between Napa Valley and San Francisco for the majority of the past decade - Martini House, Perbacco, Barbacco, Del Dotto Vineyards.
Tony always factored in his passion for butchery and salumi when choosing restaurants; everything he does would be in the service of further developing his salumi craftsmanship.
Tony led the salumi program while working at Del Dotto Vineyards, a Napa Valley winery. There, he focused solely on old-world style salumi and wine collaborations to develop his own unique and innovative curing styles to create world-class products. He believed there was a large gap between the processes of artisanal meat curing and winemaking that he could bridge. Tony has a different take on food and wine pairings, and his goal is to make a lasting impression in the gastronomical realm of Napa Valley by turning attention back onto small production, hand-made craft. They are something he so profoundly believes America needs to claim.
"Salumi is my passion. It is my gift. Cooking immersed me in the art of great food. It trained me on flavor building on top of respecting and understanding every ingredient, but I've come full circle. I'm butchering and salting meat from here on."
In 2019, Tony was well on his way to opening his own specialty store when the pandemic brought all his careful plans to a screeching halt. When he moved back to Nebraska to be with family, he found himself accepting the position of Head Butcher and Salumist of Casa Bovina and The Mercato*.
With blessings from his family and encouragement from Shane Peed, owner of Certified Piedmontese, Tony carried on his INCONTRO CURED brand through the beef company. His rare and unorthodox methods of making salumi in today’s modern lifestyle is highly appreciated at Casa Bovina and The Mercato, which also takes a hands-on, artisan approach to their business.
“We share the same values. Certified Piedmontese is a single breed-oriented company, raising their own specific heritage breed and heavily involved in all processing and packing, which is what I do with my Mangalitsa hogs. It’s a very primal, protein-driven mindset, which I truly admire.”
A new meat curing facility is set to open in the Fall of 2022 on the main campus of Certified Piedmontese. In Tony’s words, this experience has been a blessing in disguise, and he is now doing what he was meant to all along. Looking ahead, Tony hopes to create an artisan cured beef product line that does not yet exist in America, on top of relaunching his entire INCONTRO CURED product line through Certified Piedmontese.
*Certified Piedmontese is a beef distribution company, and under its wings are Casa Bovina the fine dining restaurant and The Mercato, its flagship butcher shop and retail store. The restaurant and the store are both located on Certified Piedmontese’s main campus in Lincoln, Nebraska.