Chef Ken Oringer of Toro NYC - Biography

New York, NY

October 2019

As a kid, Ken Oringer knew he wanted to be a chef. He set about making that happen once he left for Bryant College, where he earned a degree in hotel and restaurant management, and then The Culinary Institute of America.

Oringer’s first kitchen job was at Brooklyn’s famed River Café, working with Chef David Burke. He then moved to incubator of great chefs Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island, where he befriended a Cambodian cook who gave him a tour of Southeast Asian flavors. Oringer continued to learn how to adapt Asian ingredients at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Le Marquis de Lafayette in Boston and as chef de cuisine at Silks at the Mandarin Oriental in San Francisco. After five years, and trips abroad to Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Spain, and Argentina, Oringer decided the time was right to open a restaurant.

In 1997, Oringer opened Clio in Boston with rave reviews. In 2001, he took home James Beard’s “Best Chef, Northeast.” He expanded Clio in 2002 to include Uni, a sashimi bar offering the freshest seafood. Next came Barcelona-style tapas bar Toro; the Mexican restaurant La Verdad; and KO Prime in Hotel Nine Zero. In 2009, Oringer and business partner and fellow StarChefs Rising Stars alum Jamie Bissonnette opened Coppa, an Italian style enoteca. In 2013, Oringer opened a New York-outpost of Toro, which earned two stars from The New York Times. Oringer and Bissonette’s partnership has continued and now also includes Little Donkey, a global tapas eatery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and locations of Toro in Dubai and Bangkok.