David Jarvis was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, and worked in restaurants after school to get out of the cold. He then attended and graduated from the Johnson & Wales Culinary School in Providence, Rhode Island and apprenticed under Great Chefs Jean Banchet in Chicago and Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel-Air, where he discovered California cuisine. In 1984, he returned to Chicago and opened the American Grill in Glenview.
In 1986, he and his wife, Cindy, opened Mélange American Eatery in Wilmette, and in 1991 moved it to Northfield, Illinois. In 1994, the Great Chefs television crew showed up to tape Chef Jarvis for the Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs – Great Cities television series and also for their Great Chefs of America series.
In 1996 he joined the Texas-based chain, Pappadeaux Restaurants, however a year later the Chicago Club brought him back to that town as executive chef. In 2007, Great Chef Rick Tramonto put him in charge of his steak and seafood restaurant as executive chef. In 2008 he joined the Pappas Restaurants as a research and development chef, until 2012, when Chef Jarvis moved to Lake Forest, Illinois to be the executive chef of Conway Farms Golf Club, where he remains today.