Features on StarChefs.com

Bistro Night

By Miriam Marcus

Veteran Star Chef Gordon Hamersley has been on the culinary scene since the early 1980's. He is a role model to young chefs. Over the years, he has successfully maintained the integrity of his one beloved restaurant, Hamersley's Bistro, while continuing to retain culinary excellence. Chef Hamersley is an example for chefs who strive to remain grounded in their original passion:
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Frisée Salad with Lardons and Poached Egg
Creamy Bistro Potato and Leek Gratin
Coq Au Vin
Apple Tarte Tatin

An early Wolfgang Puck protégé, Chef Hamersley blends his French culinary training with contemporary American cuisine to create distinctive seasonal dishes. His acclaimed Hamersley’s Bistro in Boston has received numerous awards and praise since its 1987 opening, including Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” and “Hall of Fame,” as well as a four-star rating from The Boston Globe, to name just a few.

In many ways, Chef Hamersley represents the anti-celebrity chef, bucking the trend of expanding and building a mega-empire in favor of his one and only operation. “One of my best friends and customers said to me over coffee one time, ‘The Hamersley name is one of the most underutilized brands in the history of the US – in terms of the Harvard Business School model, you guys are a bloody failure!’ But our goal has always been to run one restaurant well. I found a job years ago where I could put my head and my hands together, and I don’t want to jeopardize that joy that I have on a Friday night when everything is going great, and I look out over the restaurant and I say, I love it.”

As a young chef/owner only a couple of years into the restaurant’s existence, Hamersley was approached to do a cookbook. “I thought about it for five minutes. Then I called Julia Child up [a longtime friend and mentor]. She said ‘I don’t think that’s a very good idea. You don’t know very much. You can’t write a book until you have something to say.’”

Twelve years later, Chef Hamersley had something to say. His cookbook Bistro Cooking at Home (Broadway Books, October 2003) is the culmination of 16 years experience with Hamersley’s Bistro. Realizing that his unpretentious culinary style could be easily manipulated to accessibility at home, Chef Hamersley “finally had a prescient moment a couple years ago where it made natural sense to bring all the recipes of the last few years together.” The book has found far more success than Chef Hamersley ever imagined it would.

“The process [of writing the book] was really a good one; I enjoyed adapting these restaurant recipes for the home cook, buying the products at home supermarkets, cooking at home and having an extensive number of dinner parties.”

   Published: January 2006