Chef / Owner
Ken Oringer’s career is truly a tale of East meets West (meets East again).
Born in Paramus, NJ in 1965, Oringer started washing dishes in a local restaurant at age sixteen. After studying hotel-restaurant management at Bryant College in Rhode Island, he went on to the Culinary Institute of America in New York, where he was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by his classmates in 1987.
He first put his degree to work alongside David Burke at The River Cafe in New York City, and then took a job as Pastry Chef at the renowned Al Forno in Providence. He worked briefly as Sous Chef under Jean Georges Vongerichten at Boston’s Marquis de Lafayette, and helmed the short-lived Terra Trattoria in Greenwich, Connecticut, recipient of three stars from The New York Times.
Oringer moved west in 1992 and was named Chef de Cuisine at Silks in San Francisco’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It was there that he began to attract attention for his distinctive, Asian-accented style and his flair for making the most of cutting-edge ingredients. Traveler magazine named Silks “one of the top twenty restaurants in America,” and raves followed in the Zagat Survey and Gourmet Magazine.
Returning east three years later, Oringer won similar praise for his work in the Italian milieu at Tosca in Hingham. During the year he cooked there, Tosca was dubbed “Best South Shore Restaurant” and Oringer was profiled on CNN News.
Clio at Boston’s Eliot Hotel, with Oringer at the helm as Executive Chef and Co-Owner, opened in June, 1997, serving a contemporary French-American menu that married schooled technique with an artful, Asian-inspired approach to food. The restaurant was dubbed “Best Newcomer” in that year’s Top Tables issue of Gourmet, and similar accolades followed.
In 1998 and again in 1999, Oringer was nominated “Best Chef Northeast” by the James Beard Foundation, finally winning the award in 2001.
He continues to rack up awards and recognition from all corners of the food world, including Food and Wine, Travel and Leisure, Town and Country, and The New York Times. He even put in a winning performance on the Food Network’s Ready, Set, Cook.
In November 2005, Oringer opened his much anticipated Barcelona-inspired tapas restaurant, Toro, in Boston’s South End. Oringer drew his inspiration for this fifty-five seat restaurant from his travels through the many, varied markets and restaurants of Spain.
In 2007, Oringer continued his trend of bringing new restaurant concepts to Boston with La Verdad, an authentic Mexican concept behind historic Fenway Park, and a modern steakhouse called KO Prime, within the acclaimed Nine Zero Hotel. And finally, in October 2009, Oringer opened COPPA in cooperation with Jamie Bissonnette, with whom he had worked at Toro for years prior.