Rising Star Chef Jamie Bissonnette of Toro - Biography

Boston, MA

April 2012

Even as a child, Jamie Bissonnette was drawn to the kitchen, eschewing cartoons for cooking shows on the Discovery Channel. An early bloomer, Bissonnette earned his Culinary Arts degree from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale by 19, spending his early 20s cooking and eating his way through Paris, San Francisco, New York, and Phoenix.

Road-tested and hungry to work, Bissonnette settled in Boston and began working in some of the city’s most notable kitchens, including Peking Tom's, Pigalle, Andy Husband's Tremont 647, and Kenmore Square behemoth Eastern Standard. But it was Bissonnette’s innate ease and curiosity with international cooking styles that made him a key player to Ken Oringer, who asked Bissonnette to head up the kitchen at KO Prime at the Nine Zero Hotel in 2007. For his work, the Improper Bostonian named Bissonnette “Rising Star Chef” and KO Prime “Best New Restaurant.”

After a successful two-year turn at KO, Oringer asked Bissonnette to open Spanish small plates restaurant Toro, where he earned a 2009 StarChefs.com Boston Rising Star. Striking while the iron was very hot indeed, the duo opened another small, neighborhood-style spot, Coppa, this time with Italian small plates, house-made pasta, and wood-oven pizza. In 2013, the duo ventured southward, opening a second iteration of Toro in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.

Bissonnette has been featured in The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appetit, and Edible Boston, among many other publication, and in 2011 was awarded Food & Wine magazine’s first-ever “People’s Choice Best New Chef.” In 2014, with his third nomination, Bissonnette took home the James Beard Award for “Best Chef, Northeast.”