Director & Executive Chef
Jack was born and raised in Varese in the Lombardian region of Italy. He developed an interest in cooking from an early age, fascinated with the aromas emanating from the kitchen of his mother and grandmothers. The spark to become a chef was ignited while Jack was still at school and working at a summer holiday job delivering food on his scooter. He decided to experiment with taking simple ingredients and turning them into something delicious. The joy of eating what he had created made such an impact on him that he decided cooking was going to be his career choice.
After completing his culinary training in Italy, Jack began his food career as a commis chef in a small restaurant owned by a family member. This gave him a little taste of the industry, which was all he needed to realise that he had truly chosen a career path that he loved. After a few years working in Varese, Jack moved to London where he was lucky enough to gain experience in a few Michelin star restaurants which really kick-started his career.
For several years Jack was able to combine his love of travelling with his job increasing his knowledge of food and cooking techniques as he went. Soon enough he had travelled across Europe, USA and on to Australia. In 2012 a short break away to New Zealand turned into a chance meeting of a good friend who he was able to help out as they were short staffed at their restaurant. Jack found some great connections and began doing extra work at functions and before he knew it he had fallen in love with New Zealand and decided not to return to Australia.
Settling in New Zealand proved to be a turning point in his career when he landed a job as Chef de Partie at Sidart. Under the guidance of Sid Sahrawat Jack was able to refine his cooking skills and food style and began to have a greater appreciation of the New Zealand food story and the wonderful produce available to New Zealand chefs.
The experience and confidence gained during the three and a half years at Sidart helped him to step up and take an opportunity offered to him when Javier Carmona offered him a partnership on a project called Beirut. Jack also spent time working with Ben Bayly at The Grove before he decided to take the next step in his career and open his own restaurant.
He says the years spent working in Auckland with the likes of Sid and Ben and seeing their passion and success gave him the spark to go out and open his own restaurant. The knowledge he gained during these years gave him a 360 degree view of how to organise a kitchen team, instill passion into his front of house and run his own business. In the few short months Number 5 has been open, Jack says the rewards have been huge. Not only have the reviews been excellent but the sense of pride to be able to showcase his own food vision onto the plate and show his customers what Jack’s food philosophy is all about has been amazing.
Jack says working with New Zealand beef and lamb is so important to him. Not only do our farmers do a wonderful job of growing beef and lamb more sustainably but because the flavour of their produce is phenomenal. He says to be chosen as a Beef + Lamb Ambassador Chef is an amazing accolade to receive and to be recognised for something that is an extension of himself is a fantastic reward for eight years of hard work in New Zealand. Jack is looking forward to 2020 and to be able to further showcase beef and lamb under his ambassadorship is a great way to give back to other chefs and to support the farmers in New Zealand.