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Beantown Breakdown at Coppa

By Gretchen Torrey | July 30, 2012

Being a chef today means many more things than it used to. The meaning has evolved because the cuisine all over the world today is so diverse, thought about, and presented in ways our eyes and palates never thought possible, but also because the human persona of a chef has changed.

Fifty years ago Chefdom, as I’ve coined it, was a very different life; chefs were either good or bad, and to be a chef was not considered a well-to-do profession. People went out to eat, not for the experience. If the food was good they’d go back, no thought was given to who was cooking their food. Much has changed; people are becoming more connected to what they eat. More and more diners want to know where their food comes from, what ingredients are in it, how the flavors are developed, the techniques involved and very importantly; who is cooking it.

Jamie Bissonnette

Boston has a fast growing culinary scene. We might not be looked at as a national power player yet, but we have some big names making some serious waves. Restaurants like Uni, Toro, Coppa, Clio, La Verdad are all part of the Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette pedigree. Each restaurant is very different from the next but all are inspired by each of their travels and journeys as young chefs. The flavors of Mexico, Spain, Asia, Italy and France attract diners from all over and it is the who that keeps us coming back.

In the kitchen, there is no “Maybe, Chef,” “I’ll get to it later, Chef,” or “I can’t, Chef.” There is only one answer–”Yes, Chef!” Chef Ken and Chef Jamie know this phrase all too well. Since the beginning of the careers this has been the mantra of their Chefdom, the reason for their success, the push into the unfamiliar, and the willingness to get it done. It is with these two words that chefs unite.

Chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette will be hosting Marcus tonight for a dinner at Coppa Restaurant to celebrate the book who’s title these men know all too well. These three chefs, who are all friends as well as culinary boundary pushers, will be tipping their hats and cooking their hearts out for this exciting event. The dinner menu draws from Marcus’s upbringing, background and epicurean influences.

Guests will take a journey of Marcus’s life with a “variation of things, a little funky, a little different, really representative of who he is. [We are] thinking of doing a pickled oyster dish inspired by Sweden with buttermilk, oxalis, and caraway, then maybe an Ethiopian dish with teff, chickpeas and braised greens” says Oringer. “Rather than looking at some of the ingredients of Sweden we are going to look at the flavors and styles of cooking, and then go to the farmers market and see what we can get locally,” adds Bissonnette.

Guests can expect a “smorgasbord at the bar” and possible communal tables with family style seating. “I just want it to be the kind of thing where people go and they feel like they got a good representation of the foods and the life of Marcus and have fun” Bissonnette adds. After having spoken to Chef Ken and Chef Jamie about this special occasion, both are very passionate and excited to represent their fellow colleague on this fascinating life achievement.

Gretchen has loved cooking and eating all her life. A recent graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, she is currently honing her chops is some of the finest kitchens in Boston before she starts working for America’s Test Kitchen in the Fall. To read more about Gretchen, follow her on her blog Under My Knife or on Twitter @gretchentorrey

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