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70th Annual Black & White Ball and Business Awards

2024 Entrepreneur of the Year

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Ivan Jacobo, Executive Chef & Owner, Anhelo Restaurant

Despite his traditional Mexican mother's daily culinary delights, Chef Ivan Jacobo, founder and owner of Anhelo in Phoenix, initially dreamed of becoming a mechanic. However, a fascination with Food Network shows during high school shifted his focus towards cooking. Inspired by the artistry of culinary creation and a revealing poll among classmates, he embarked on a culinary journey. Attending culinary school, he expanded his skills beyond the classroom, particularly in sugar sculptures, and seized every opportunity for additional experience. After various culinary roles, including at a renowned San Francisco restaurant, he returned to Phoenix and ventured into the food truck scene before establishing Anhelo. Recognized by Wine Spectator for its f ine dining and vibrant wine program, Anhelo also distinguishes itself through charitable endeavors, including donations to LoveIAM for children with heart defects and scholarships for culinary students. Chef Jacobo prioritizes a familial work environment, fostering career advancement for his staff while ensuring work-life balance. Committed to both guest satisfaction and community impact, he dedicates himself to enriching the lives of others, mirroring the support he received on his journey to success. Family remains central to his life, with dedicated time for his wife and daughter, whom he involves in his work, echoing his own upbringing. Driven by a desire to give back to those who supported him, Chef Jacobo embodies a commitment to both excellence in hospitality and community enrichment, shaping Anhelo's success through a blend of culinary mastery and compassionate leadership.