After graduating from Los Angeles’ Epicurean School of Culinary Arts, she worked for top Los Angeles chefs including Michael Cimarusti at the prestigious Water Grill, Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton at Campanile, Mako Tanaka at Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois on Main, and for Alex Scrimgeour at Saddlepeak Lodge and ALEX.
Anne took her first executive chef position in 2002 at EM Bistro in West Hollywood, turning out a contemporary brand of American comfort food that earned accolades from Gourmet Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Bon Appètit Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and LA Weekly.
In 2007 Conness partnered with Mike Simms to open Tin Roof Bistro in Manhattan Beach and their Craft-Beer-and- Burger joint, Simmzy’s. Both Simmzy’s and Tin Roof Bistro were instant hits, garnering a fiercely loyal legion of South Bay regulars, as well as glowing reviews in the press, including Best Local Bar for Simmzy’s by Los Angeles Magazine.
Currently creating soul-satisfying Nuevo Rancho Cuisine at Sausal, in El Segundo, Anne’s hearty dishes sing with authenticity and refinement. Jaffa is another opportunity for her to work her magic; marrying the essence of a cultural eating experience together with fresh California ingredients and approach. A treat for the senses informed by her down- to-earth and welcoming style.
A former professional ballerina, NATASHA MACALLER brings the same diligence and precision to the kitchen as she did to dancing. She’s known as the Dancing Chef. These careers may seem worlds apart –from ballerina to chef– but to Natasha, they are both performance arts, creative disciplines that demand dedication and hours of painstaking practice.
Fresh out of culinary school, Natasha honed her skills at Charlie Trotter’s with Michelle Gayer, Sherry Yard at Spago Hollywood, and at Campanile in Los Angeles where she met and worked with Chef Anne. She accepted her first Pastry Chef job at Union in Santa Monica, where she turned out a much-loved dessert menu, including her renowned Poppy Seed Strawberry Shortcake with Meyer Lemon Curd and lashings of vanilla cream.
Attendance at the First International Vanilla Food & Wine Event at Heilala’s plantation in Tonga began to shape her ideas for her first cookbook, Vanilla Table: The Essence of Exquisite Cooking From the World’s Best Chefs. Published in 2013, the book celebrates the noble vanilla bean in over 100 delicious and intriguing sweet and savory recipes.
Natasha’s second cookbook, Spice Health Heroes: Unlock the power of spice for flavour and wellbeing, was released in 2016 to much acclaim. Inspired by the spice tastes of her travels and sparked by an idea offered to her by her London publisher, Jacqui Small, Natasha explores the culinary, nutritional, and medicinal uses of more than 30 spices found in one’s kitchen cupboard, from the everyday to the more exotic. Natasha is currently working on her third cookbook centered in the world of herbs, and is delighted to be working again with Chef Anne Conness at Jaffa.
NANCY VRANKOVIC began her career as a teenager in her family’s Arizona restaurants, bussing tables to make gas money. What began as an after school job blossomed into a career that had her managing a restaurant while attending the University of Arizona. She would later learn the hotel business at the Westin La Paloma, where she worked her way up from Front Desk Management to Catering Sales Manager.
She moved to Los Angeles after she fell in love with Manhattan Beach while visiting friends and has lived in the community ever since. In 2010, she began work as Director of Catering and Special Events with Simms Restaurants. This was the perfect opportunity to combine the things she loves most –hospitality and guest services– with a chance to do something she’d never done before: build a business from the ground up. She left Simms as Director of Marketing and PR in 2016 to team up with Chef Anne Conness at Sausal restaurant in El Segundo.
Once again partnering with Anne, Nancy is energized by the opportunity to bring Jaffa to the 3rd Street community. Indeed community has long been central to Nancy’s life, serving on the Board of Directors for the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the Chair of the Board in 2014-15. Currently, Nancy serves as a member of the Neptunian Woman’s Club of Manhattan Beach, working with the club to provide scholarships to young women in need and producing the South Bay Chili Cook Off every year to benefit the Manhattan Beach firefighter’s Burn Foundation.
She lives at the beach with her beautiful pug, Bella.