Chef Jamie Bissonnette of Toro - Biography

Boston, MA

September 2019

As a teenager in Connecticut, Jamie Bissonnette began cooking for friends after punk shows. He realized he liked creating food more than music, and dropped out of high school to attend The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale at 17. Post graduation, Bissonnette settled in Boston and caught the attention of Restaurateur Ken Oringer, who asked him 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.”

Oringer then invited Bissonnette to open Spanish small plates restaurant Toro, where he earned a 2009 StarChefs Boston Rising Stars Award. The duo soon opened another small, neighborhood-style italian spot, Coppa. In 2013, the team ventured southward, opening a second iteration of Toro in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. In 2016, the pair opened Toro + KO/Tapas Bar in Bangkok (followed by another location of the concept in Dubai in 2017) and new globally-inspired tapas restaurant Little Donkey in Cambridge, which was named “Restaurant of the Year” by The Boston Globe. 

In 2011, Bissonette was awarded Food & Wines’s first ever “People’s Choice Best New Chef,” and in 2014, he took home the James Beard Award for “Best Chef, Northeast,” and released his book, The New Charcuterie Cookbook.