John Spenger, originally from Berkeley, California, has been around food his whole life. John’s great-great grandfather started a little fish market and bar in Berkeley in 1890 called Spenger’s Fish Grotto and never looked back. That little fish shack grew to become one of the most famous restaurants in the world. It is from this background that John became familiar with all the goings on in a kitchen. John also remembers dearly, his experiences with both his mother and his father in their family kitchen in El Cerrito learning fun things such as how to correctly hold and use a knife, how to bake banana bread and, how to make good, solid roux. All this by the age of 9.
In John’s words: In 1995, at the height of my service career, I started working at Scala’s Bistro in San Francisco. My life would never be the same. It was while working at this amazing country French and regional Italian restaurant that I first encountered the recipe that would change my life forever as well as over 120 companies that all stemmed from that first recipe, originally named Bistro Oil. It is now called Classic Italian. While serving this recipe to folks instead of butter in hopes of getting a better tip, I realized that this “dipper” was going to be something. So, I started to collect business cards for potential first customers and accounts. By the time I left Scala’s in 1997, I had a nice little two-inch tall stack of business cards that would lead to most of the first wholesale accounts that I got at that time.
Fast forward to 2011. John is no longer alone in the business. This time around having relocated to the Pacific Northwest, John has partnered with his real-life partner, Jackie Spenger originally from Joseph, Oregon. Jackie is the other half that John has been looking for his whole life, and in business they are making HUGE things happen! Together, they have created another line of all-original products that are everything that John’s first line was TIMES 10! Jackie’s back of the house experience combined with John’s sales and marketing, make Gianni’s the strongest and creative brand of oils and vinegars ever launched. Since those days of waiting tables in 1996, John has had the pleasure of developing dozens of recipes and placing them into the marketplace. If you’re a fan of garlic, or love aged balsamics, then you’ll be right at home with over 20 recipes.