David Marcovici

I entered the hospitality industry in 1986 when I started washing dishes at my parent’s restaurant after I was informed I had to. I made the leap from dishwasher to chef when my mom and our then-chef at Eleni’s were both simultaneously incapacitated; my mom by a case of Pneumonia and our chef by a case of Old Milwaukee. Cooking proved to be a natural skill acquisition for me as I’d always delighted in setting things on fire.

After Eleni’s, my professional highlight was a two months stint as Back-Stage Buffet Line Manager for Spandau Ballet’s 1996 cross-country reunion tour. I didn’t get paid or learn anything culinarily.1 But I did get to hear an acoustic version of “True” during a show on a Mississippi River Wheel Boat that quite frankly, captured the sound of my soul. You can’t put a price on that.

Hobbies:  I enjoy reading and will devour any book featuring realms, dimensions or worlds; fashion leanings that include shrouds, parkas or ponchos that render their wearer invisible; animals that shouldn’t be able to fly but can; elves and/or forest pixies with magical powers;2and a plot where an imprisoned princess can only be saved by a simple farm-hand from the middle realm who doesn’t know that in reality, he is a prince of the upper realm.  If at some point during the story someone wields a flaming sword while riding on an air-borne unicorn, I’ll read it twice before lunch rush.

I am particularly fond of wearing indoor-outdoor shirt-jacket hybrids that are as comfortable as they will be stylish by the time I turn 70.3

I also enjoy dining out; yelling for reasons that are only known to me;4 and managing the expo line in attire that suggests I am always arriving to work straight from a Don Ho concert.

Greatest Regret:  In the early 90’s I worked with both my brothers at a Greek restaurant in San Francisco. One night there was a situation where a guest wasn’t happy about something or other.  John came to the kitchen and started blaming the other cooks and me.  Words were exchanged, things escalated, and before I knew it, I had grabbed a lemon and threw it across the kitchen at John’s head.  To this day, I regret that I missed.5

What Great Hospitality Means to Me:  It means what Olive Garden wants you to think it means by using actors to say it in their commercials: When you’re here, you’re family. And that’s no act.6

What I Most Like about Jack’s:

  • That we close on Thanksgiving Day.
  • That we serve breakfast lunch and dinner seven days a week, which means I get to enjoy the company of our staff and guests morning, noon and night.

Little Known Facts about Me:

  • My restaurant is named after my son Jack.
  • Our Elena’s omelet is named after my daughter Elena.
  • I have a somewhat unbalanced way of paying homage to my children through branding.

1. Did you think culinarily was a made up word? Don't fret. I did too.

2. I know. I know. "Elves or forest pixies with magical powers" is redundant.

3. It's what fashion experts call "going long" on one's wardrobe investment.

4. To get better control of my pointless rage, I recently bought a miniature Zen sand-garden, which I rake back-and-forth for hours with a teeny tiny rake. I find that this practice brings me an overwhelming sense of calm. Unless I don't take a Valium. Then the raking never seems to take.

5. I gained an accidental measure of redemption when I shot John in the face with a B.B. gun. Again, that was an accident. An accident I say.

6. It was the fourth most interesting thing to happen at my wedding.

7. My one and only foray into acting: Senior year of high school I was Big Chief in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The ideal role for me. No lines. Lots of grunting.4.