It might be hard to imagine Gordon Hamersley cooking anywhere but Boston, where he works nightly at one of the city’s favorite restaurants, which happens to be his own, his Red Sox cap squarely in place. After all, his namesake restaurant, Hamersley’s Bistro, has been around for decades. His career began in the City on the Hill, cooking while at Boston University in the early 1970s and training in several local French restaurants. However, we might not be acquainted with the Bostonian chef today, were it not for a couple of sojourns that took him beyond the city limits. He spent 1979 working for Wolfgang Puck at Ma Maison in Los Angeles. He spent another year in the early 1980s sopping up the food culture of Nice with his wife Fiona. After that the couple used their return tickets to come home, and Hamersley went to work, first as sous-chef for Chef Lydia Shire at the Boston Hotel.
A few years later, in 1987, a tiny storefront on Tremont Street in Boston’s South End saw the opening of Hamersley's Bistro. Fast-forward a quarter-century, and the homey, French-inspired eatery has matured into a Boston landmark. Over the years, it’s been covered by Gourmet, Food & Wine and The New York Times. It’s won awards all over the Northeast and Boston, such as the Boston Globe’s hard-won four-star rating, awarded in 1997. Zagat has got it permanently on its radar.
In 1995, Chef Hamersley was awarded the James Beard Award for Best Chef Northeast, after receiving five consecutive nominations. He appeared with Julia Child on her television series “Cooking with Master Chefs” and is featured in the accompanying cookbook. Hamersley published a well-received cookbook, Bistro Cooking at Home, in 2003. Esquire Magazine said of the book, “Gordon Hamersley deserves credit for bringing classic French bistro cooking to prominence in America…what other chefs have copied from him over the past two decades is now between the covers of this splendid book for everyone to enjoy.”
Hamersley serves on the Board of Advisors of The New England Culinary Institute and collaborates with several environmental groups to help protect New England's vast natural resources. He has taught cooking through the University of Boston Special Programs division and traveled the country to share his knowledge with upcoming chefs.
Reuters published a survey done by TripAdvisor.com in August 2010 in which Hamersley's Bistro was listed among the top 10 celebrity chef-owned restaurants in the United States. It was the only New England restaurant to make the list. TripAdvisor’s editors and diners around the country indicated their appreciation for the restaurant’s cheerful, energetic atmosphere, its always seasonal, always local menu, and its simple, passionate approach to food.