Along with his partner Ken Oringer, Jamie Bissonnette is one-half of one of the most dynamic duos in the culinary world today. After achieving his Culinary Arts degree from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale at the age of 19, Jamie traveled the country and staged in kitchens, first in Hartford, then in Boston. After stints in Peking Tom’s, Pigalle, Tremont 647, and Eastern Standard, Jamie met Oringer, who hired him to run the kitchen at his new restaurant KO Prime in 2007. Jamie made an immediate impact, earning himself praise from The Improper Bostonian magazine as a “Rising Star Chef” and earning KO Prime their “Best New Restaurant” award.
Today, Jamie works with Ken at Toro and Coppa, and their partnership has led to plenty of acclaim. Jamie was nominated for the James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: Northeast” in 2012 and 2013, and finally won the award in 2014. Jamie has also taken home Food & Wine magazine’s “People’s Choice: Best New Chef” award, and later took home the grand prize on “Chopped.” This year, Jamie and Oringer opened Little Donkey in Cambridge, Massachusetts and expanded the Toro empire abroad, opening a location in Bangkok, Thailand.
Specialties & Resources
Based on the menus at his restaurants, you wouldn’t think Jamie ever had anything less than an insatiable appetite for meat; however, Jamie recalled in an interview in 2013 that he was a vegetarian when he was younger, and when working in a kitchen, his boss threatened to fire him if he didn’t start eating animals. Whatever his boss’ motivation for issuing such an ultimatum, the culinary world is better off for it.
At Coppa, the menu is more traditional Italian fare, with a focus on smaller items such as salumi plates, cheese plates, and snacks like mortadella pimento formaggio, Thumbelina carrot hummus with black garlic and leek giardiniera, Island creek oysters with cucumber, yuzu kosho and cilantro, hanger steak with blue cheese butter, charred shishito and marjoram salsa verde, squid ink pasta with snail sugo, nduja butter and parsley, white pizza with bone marrow, roasted beef heart and fresh horseradish, and whipped lardo with clementine, honey and chervil. At Toro, the tapas plates include ensalada (gem lettuce with carrots, sunchokes, migas, cucumbers, tahini dressing and mahon cheese), escalivada catalana (smoked eggplant with onions, peppers and tomatoes with sherry vinegar and olive oil), and aged duck ham.