LuxeGetaways Magazine – Spring 2017 | The second time I saw Jordan Nova, I recognized him not by his impeccably tailored Armani suit, or by his sincere smile, but rather in the crisp way he poured my glass of Champagne. And I did not even know his name at that point. It was a few years before that we had first met, while I was sitting in a restaurant 2,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean on Oahu. But here, completely out of geographical context, I knew him immediately by his sophisticated style of hospitality.
How did this 27-year-old professional get to be in management at the elegant Spago, Beverly Hills – the mother ship of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant empire? Simple, it is his focused approach, tireless work ethic and a wealth of experience gained in various restaurants where he has always worked with the best James Beard Foundation and Michelin-awarded chefs. The restaurants of Daniel Boulud in New York City to Roy Yamaguchi in Hawaii are prime examples of the “institutions” that taught Jordan varying styles of service and cuisine, while offering opportunities for him to share his passion for wine with his guests. Nova is one of the youngest sommeliers who has achieved the title Advanced Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators.
What makes a fine-dining experience exceptional? For a guest, it can be many things. As someone who has made hospitality his art, and for whom fine-tuning and learning is constant, Jordan is now Assistant General Manager at Spago, Beverly Hills where he embraces his mission to ensure his staff and guests have memorable experiences each evening. LuxeGetaways recently asked this rising hospitality star a few questions about what he does so well.
LuxeGetaways: Jordan, what constitutes perfect service?
Jordan Nova: It’s funny, we talk so much about this elusive “perfect service” of flawless movements, precise silverware placements, poetic food descriptions and every tiny detail in place, but it’s actually so much more. Guests come expecting these things, but they come back to feel the love, and to feel valued. If everyone left our dining room feeling like they’re welcomed, they’re important, and they’re cared for – then they will leave feeling valued. When that happens, we have achieved something more than perfection in service. I think we’ve then created a relationship… and in the end, that’s most important.
LG: Tell us your mantra or mission with respect to hospitality?
JN: I’m constantly reminding myself and my colleagues that we are not in food service, and we are not in wine service; but that we are in the restaurant industry, and we are in the hospitality profession. The hospitality begins with us.
LG: What are the unique talents and ideas that you bring to Spago?
JN: Spago is daunting because we have 180 team members. Attitude is everything. I try my absolute best every moment to smile. When I arrive, I shake everyone’s hand and say hello and ask about his or her day. Up until the moment I walk out of the door, the sincere performance of hospitality cannot just be for the guests, but for everyone. It’s also extremely important that the words “I,” “me,” ”they” and “them” be eliminated from your lexicon. For example, rather than saying, “I need you to set table 10 for six people,” I would say instead, “When you have a moment, we’d like table 10 for six.”
LG: You always look so polished Jordan, what brands do you wear at Spago?
JN: I am a small guy, so I’m pretty stuck with form fitting suits. I love Emporia Armani for nights when I really have to move and look dapper. On a budget I also wear a lot of TopMan pieces. For accessories I have a few David Yurman rings and tie clips that are staples, as well as my favorite Movado watch. Our guests make a tremendous effort to look great when they see us, so the least we can do is reciprocate the effort.
Jordan’s Favorite Things
Champagne I’m Indulging In Right Now: After service, I’m a little tired and I tend to like Champagne that’s light on its feet and laser-precise: Bereche et Fils, Gaston Chiquet and Pierre Peters. What I really like to drink is broad, intense and generous: Andre Clouet, Clos Cazals, Paul Bara’s Special Club and Champagne Miniere.
Where I Drink After Work: Having lived in Napa, we always say that we’re never drinking, we’re always tasting. And we’re never having another, we’re always revisiting. Wally’s Beverly Hills has a great wine selection and is down the street from Spago. They’re never short on truffles for your pizza, grilled cheese or fries. Of course, I’m biased and love Wolfgang Puck’s CUT Lounge at the Beverly Wilshire. The Uni Toast is life changing. And for a cocktail, Roger Room is a great cocktail bar that is simultaneous trendy and dive-y, and never runs out of Champagne.
The Los Angeles Breakfast: Jordan Kahn’s new daytime restaurant, Destroyer, has one of the calmest breakfasts. The environment is pure zen, and the morning fare is some of the most simple, elegant and thoughtful that I’ve ever eaten. I visit here a few times a week.
Beach Snacks: After spending a few years in Hawaii, I live for my poke. I get traditional poke that tastes just like the islands at Poke-Poke on Venice Beach.
Spago, Beverly Hills
176 N Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Wally’s Beverly Hills
447 N Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel)
9500 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
The Roger Room
370 La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
3578 Hayden Avenue
Culver City, CA 90232
2011 Ocean Front Walk
Venice, CA 90291