Rick Hackett - Chef/Proprietor
A native of Michigan, Rick Hackett graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and learned the principles of nouvelle cuisine at Yannick Cam's acclaimed Washington D.C. restaurant Le Pavillon before moving to the Bay Area himself in 1979. There he became part of the American culinary revolution, working at such establishments as Chez Panisse, Bay Wolf, Oliveto, Postrio, and Acme Bread. In 1992, Hackett and his wife, Meredith Melville, reopened the fabled Enrico's in North Beach as a supper club featuring live music and California–Mediterranean cuisine. More recently the Executive Chef at the popular MarketBar in San Francisco's Ferry Building, Hackett has now created the perfect showcase for his innovative Pan-American cuisine, combining flavors and techniques from North, Central, and South America with Mediterranean traditions.
Meredith Melville - Owner
Got her first inside knowledge of the restaurant business as a server at Chez Panisse and Bay Wolf—where she met her future husband, Rick Hackett. Melville and Hackett went on to open the revivified North Beach landmark Enrico's. There, and at two other restaurants the couple subsequently launched, she developed a philosophy of service based on understanding and meeting the diner's wants and needs. "The most important thing we can do as restaurateurs," she says, "is to make each guest's overall experience a comfortable and memorable one."
John Jackson - Executive Chef
A Cleveland, OH native, John Jackson graduated with honors from the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts and began his career at Mike's on the Avenue in New Orleans.
He later moved west to work with Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, continuing to expand his culinary skills, Jackson landed next at Michelin-starred restaurant, The Village Pub in Woodside, CA as sous chef under Mark Sullivan.
In 2001, he followed his dream to run his own restaurant, opening Mix Restaurant in West Hollywood serving French-Mediterranean cuisine. The 85-seat restaurant received much acclaim from both local and national media. Four years later, he found himself at the award-winning Crepe Vine Bistro in Pasadena as the opening executive chef before moving back to Northern California.
Jackson's arrival to Bocanova was a departure from his French, Southern and Mediterranean culinary background but also a welcomed challenge, saying "The pan-American food and cooking style was something new, but the dishes are simple, made from scratch and authentic, which is right in line with my own approach to cooking."
Currently, residing in Oakland, Jackson is a thrill-seeker at heart. He enjoys sharp knives and fast cars.
A native of Chile, Gerardo brings his intimate knowledge of South American flavors to Bocanova. His restaurant background is deep and broad and includes stints at Tiramisu,Prima, Pres a Vi and Bacar.
Paul Conte - Executive Pastry Chef
A graduate of the Culinary Arts program at the esteemed Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, Conte got his first restaurant experience cooking under Tom Colicchio at Mondrian in New York City. From there, he moved to the kitchen of the Plaza Hotel, where chef Kerry Simon recognized his latent talent as a pastry chef and encouraged him in that direction, moving him to the pastry station. He also spent time at restaurant legend Joe Baum's Aurora and the original China Grill, in Manhattan before moving to the Bay Area.