In late 2008 Jacob Kenedy and his partner, proprietor Victor Hugo, opened their first – and now award-winning – independent restaurant venture, Bocca di Lupo on Archer Street, Soho. Gelupo, a traditional gelateria and delicatessen, followed in June 2010 directly across the street.
Kenedy was previously head chef at Moro before moving to Boulevard in San Francisco. Bocca di Lupo focuses on being a stylish and exquisitely simple concept in food, design and service, creating a sophisticated yet informal atmosphere of understated elegance.
Kenedy’s enthusiasm for and knowledge of Italian cooking stems from extended periods of time traveling around Italy and researching its regions and cuisine. Taking inspiration and expert advice from his mentors Nancy Oaks (Boulevard, CA), and Sam Clark (Moro), Bocca di Lupo’s regional Italian cuisine is explored with a contemporary eye and executed with panache and authenticity.
Described by Sam Clark of Moro as ‘a formidable presence in the kitchen’ and by Nancy Oakes of Boulevard as ‘the most gifted natural cook I have worked with’, Kenedy gained a wealth of experience cooking and learning about the restaurant business prior to setting up his own dream project.
Over a period of ten years, 29-year old London born Jacob Kenedy was integral to the success of Moro, retaining close links with the Clarks. He was also a major contributor to the best-selling Moro cookbooks. Prior to that, he was ‘visiting executive chef’ at Boulevard in San Francisco, in addition to consulting on the award winning Boulevard cookbook. Boulevard was awarded a Michelin star following Jacob’s most recent stint cooking at the restaurant.
Kenedy’s winning menu structure at Bocca di Lupo, with the majority of dishes available both in small and large portions – as opposed to the conventional segregation of starters and mains – has been universally praised both by customers and critics alike. The small plates formula enables diners to go on a gastronomic tour of Italy, exploring the regions into which each dish on the menu is categorised.
Located in the heart of Soho, the buzzing and vibrant atmosphere in both the restaurant and gelateria combined with award winning well-judged menus, have resulted in Kenedy’s wide media acclaim to date and overall popularity. Additionally, its positioning in central theatreland adjacent to Shaftesbury Avenue, has resulted in Bocca di Lupo and Gelupo becoming favourites amongst the stars of the stage with visitors including Sir Ian McKellen, Josh Hartnett, James MacAvoy, Ralph Fiennes and Miranda Richardson, Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller.
Most recently, Jacob Kenedy and Victor Hugo opened VICO, at Cambridge Circus, in August 2015. A bustling trattoria where Soho and Covent Garden meet, Vico serves regional Italian food, The Appian Way – a road linking Rome and Brindisi. Simple food cooked with heart, the menu offers authentic, delicious and inexpensive fare from South-Central Italy alongside award-winning Gelato from the in-house Gelupo counter.
Jacob Kenedy has written two cookbooks: The Geometry of Pasta (published May 2010) and BOCCA (published by Bloomsbury, June 2011).