Congratulations to Jamie Bissonnette, Winner of Food and Wine’s The People’s Best New Chef Award for 2011

Congratulations to Jamie Bissonnette for winning Food and Wine’s The People’s Best New Chef Award for 2011. Not only did he win the New England regional award over gifted fellow Boston chefs like Chris Coombs (Deuxave, dbar), Joseph Margate (Clink) and Robert Sisca (Bistro du Midi), but the overall national award. In recognizing his work as executive chef at Coppa Enoteca and Toro, two of the most popular dining destinations in the restaurant-rich South End, F&W cited his “daring nose-to-tail cooking” and signature dishes like his spaghetti carbonara with smoked bacon, farm egg and sea urchin (indeed a wonderful plate of housemade pasta).

From where I’m sitting, this kind of recognition is long overdue. Bissonnette has been wowing Boston diners with his gift for charcuterie and his way with offal dating back to his stint opening Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks, to his first gig working for Ken Oringer at KO Prime, where he stunned patrons with novel dishes like calves’ brains pipérade, to his lively updating of the mostly-Spanish menu at Toro, to his newest stage at Italian small-plates venue Coppa, where Oringer was smart enough to make him co-owner. Humble, inventive, tireless, and seemingly more content behind a stove than in front of a camera, Jamie is the kind of chef that other chefs admire, and whose food attracts prime-time mobs practically every night of the week. We’ve always known we were lucky to have him, and now a lot more of the country knows it, too.