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
Getting 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 Ledbetter - Executive Chef
A native of Huntington Beach, his affinity for great cuisine and cooking, along with the personal satisfaction he gets from working hard, made a career in the culinary arts a natural and organic progression. He attended the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, graduating in 2000. Desiring a change in culture and scenery, he ventured to New Orleans and worked at Bella Luna Restaurant, which was later destroyed by Hurrican Katrina. For the next three years he conintued to take on new and more challenging roles as his experience and expertise grew, including positions as tourant at Emeril's and Restaurant August. He then fulfilled a life-long ambition and moved to NYC. He worked at Union Square Cafe before becoming the opening sous-chef for Chef Michael Romano at Spigolo. 2006 brought him to California as sous-chef of Street Restaurant in SF. In 2007, he joined LarkCreekSteak where he was quickly promoted to chef. He finds enjoyment and inspiration in customer feedback. "When a guest goes out of their way to send a compliment back to the kitchen, we know we have contributed to making their evening special and memorable. This in itself drives me" When not at Bocanova he finds enjoyment in spending time with his wife, Nicole, and his baby daughter or participating in adventure sports such as snowboarding, dirt biking and wakeboarding.
Sean Weyhmiller - Chef de Cuisine
A native of California, his interest in food and cooking and the joy it brings began as a child watching his grandfather express love for his family by crafting delicious southern meals and barbecuing in the backyard. Time passed, but the soulfulness of those childhood culinary experiences never left him. In 2000, he took the plunge into a culinary career, cooking at Italian Colors in Montclair and attending the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Upon graduation, he moved north to Seattle. He spent the next 6 years honing his skills at Seattle icons including The Pink Door and working with world-class chefs, Samuel Marcuson, Maria Hines of Tilth and Judy Rogers of Zuni. In 2007, he left his position as sous-chef and kitchen manager at The Pink Door to return to Oakland as sous-chef of Garibaldi's. A year later he took the helm at their sister restaurant Marzano on Park Blvd. In 2009, under his leadership, Marzano was named one of Oakland's Top 100 Restaurants. When he's not cooking at Bocanova, you can often find him at home crafting delectable meals for his wife, Marcela and his two kids, Mathias and Paloma. He strives to follow in his grandfather's footsteps by bringing joy and inspiration through a a meal prepared with love and attention.
Paul Conte - Executive Pastry Chef
It's not uncommon for pastry chefs to move to the savory side of the kitchen (sometimes to great effect: think Michel Guérard and Michel Richard). Bocanova pastry master Paul Conte reversed the process: 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. Stints at restaurant legend Joe Baum's Aurora and the original China Grill, in Manhattan's CBS Building, followed. At the same time, Conte was developing his artistic talents through music, photography, and even a stint of painting animation cells with Broadcast Arts.