Executive Chef, PlumpJack Cafe
In his role as Executive Chef at PlumpJack Cafe, Jack Connell focuses on a seasonal, New American culinary approach utilizing modern techniques. Jack started his culinary journey in Ocean City, Maryland where he worked in a kitchen the summer before graduating from Xavier University in Ohio. From there, his passion for food brought him to several notable restaurants over a span of seven years including some time in Chicago working under Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand at Tru and Paul Kahan at Blackbird who mentored him and made him realize he wanted to take his culinary skills to the next level. His wanderlust took him to Lake Tahoe where he had his first stint at PlumpJack Cafe as sous chef for three years and then he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park where he excelled among his peers and graduated with the highest cumulative GPA in his accelerated class. After the CIA, Jack went to Philadelphia where he worked with Certified Master Chef Oliver Andreini at the Merion Cricket Club.
The outdoors and the pull of Lake Tahoe kept calling to him and he decided to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the big cities to pursue his culinary roots back in Tahoe to work as Chef de Cuisine at Bistro 22 in the Village at Squaw and then for the newly opened Ritz-Carlton at North Star, before making his way back to PlumpJack Cafe as sous chef under Executive Chef Wyatt Dufresne. In the Spring of 2015, Jack was promoted to Executive Chef at PlumpJack Cafe where he and Chef de Cuisine Shawn Arney lead a strong team of talented chefs and cooks. Together they turn out some of the best food in all of North Lake Tahoe. Jack takes pride in working closely with several local farms in the Sierra foothills and in nearby Reno to source ingredients and also adheres to the Monterey Bay Aquariums seafood watch program. He is passionate about the outdoors and has several hobbies that fit into the Tahoe lifestyle including skiing, sailing, hiking, biking, and camping. He also enjoys music, lasers, thrift store shopping, antique bicycles, and his expansive cookbook collection.