Jacob Kenedy is one of London’s leading restaurateurs. He is the chef-patron of the award-winning restaurant Bocca Di Lupo, the owner of the traditional gelateria Gelupo and the owner of the Plaquemine Lock, a pub serving Cajun and Creole food from Louisiana. Kenedy is also the author of two successful cookbooks: The Geometry of Pasta and Bocca: Cookbook and is releasing his third, Gelupo, in mid-May. Kenedy’s first foray into the cooking world was as an adolescent, where he did a stint at Moro, training under the watchful eye of Sam & Sam Clark. He then spent his early twenties, hovering between Moro and Boulevard, a restaurant in San Francisco run by Nancy Oakes “The Clarks taught me how to cook; Nancy taught me how to be a chef,” he says.
In harnessing these transatlantic influences, Kenedy realised he wanted to have his own restaurant. After toying with the idea of having “a dark, gritty Mexican taqueria”, Kenedy’s dream changed course after travelling around Italy. From the electric streets of Rome, to the sun-drenched shores of Sicily and up to the rolling countryside of Emiliga-Romagna in the North, the budding epicurean realised the extent of Italian culinary diversity. “There is the Italian food most recognise – pizza, pasta, pesto, but there is so much more variety in Italian cuisine. Take the Sicilian dish of caponata, for example,” Kenedy says. “Town-to-town and door-to-door people will have blood feuds over whether it should have celery or how best to dice the vegetables.” A light-bulb moment ensued. Kenedy realised there was no restaurant in London that captured Italian food region-to-region: “I realised that I wanted to eat in an Italian trattoria that served food so simple and delicious it would make someone cry.”