When Ken Oringer decides he’s going to do something, he does it and he does it well. He knew he wanted to be a chef when he was a kid. So he set about making that happen once he graduated high school, heading to Bryant College, where he earned a degree in hotel and restaurant management. He then learned basic cooking techniques at The Culinary Institute of America.
Oringer’s first kitchen job was at Brooklyn’s famed River Café, working with Chef David Burke. Oringer’s then moved to Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island, where he befriended a Cambodian cook who gave him an insider’s tour of the flavors of Southeast Asia. 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 in the Mandarin Oriental in San Francisco. After five years, success at Silks, and trips abroad to Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Spain, and Argentina, Oringer decided the time was right for his own restaurant.
Sensing that Boston was ready for more innovative cooking, Oringer opened Clio in 1997 to rave reviews. He expanded the concept in 2002 to include Uni, a sashimi bar offering the freshest seafood. Next came Toro, the Mexican restaurant La Verdad, and KO Prime in Hotel Nine Zero. In 2009, Oringer and Chef Jamie Bissonette opened Coppa. And Bissonnette and Oringer will bring their talents to New York in the fall 2013 with the opening of a second Toro in Chelsea.