Rising Star Chef Jackson Kalb of Jame Enoteca - Biography

El Segundo, CA

May 2021

When 11-year-old Jackson Kalb fell ill, he coped by binge-watching the Food Network. From there, he could put together elaborate dinners for his family. By age 12, he’d founded a catering company out of his home, which led the wunderkind to Chef Josiah Citrin. At Citrin’s Mélisse, Kalb trained throughout high school and was even sent to stage at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand Las Vegas for a summer. 

When high school ended, Kalb headed to Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. During school, he worked at Grant Achatz’s Alinea and Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. Upon graduating in 2013, Kalb was hired as the culinary manager for Houston’s with the Hillstone Restaurant Group, where he met his business and life partner, Melissa Saka. Kalb felt the need for a break two years later and flew to Italy, where he really, really got into pasta. He returned to L.A. as chef de cuisine at The Factory Kitchen in 2016 then executive chef at Bottlefish in 2017.

The next year, Kalb and Saka launched Jame Enoteca, featuring Italian food with a Californian twist in El Segundo. Kalb was one of the few to open a new restaurant during the pandemic; Ospi is a Southern Italian concept on Venice Beach serving hand-stretched pastas and pizzas with cracker-thin crusts. He is also a partner at breakfast burrito eatery Wake & Late. With his knack for industry success, Kalb dreams of a future as a restaurateur, hotelier, and vintner. And on his way there, he’s not holding back.