Q&A: Ken Oringer

Exterior of Uni
Brian Samuels

Ken Oringer’s storied restaurant career began with a dishwashing gig in his teenage years. He then rose through the ranks, working in restaurants from Providence to San Francisco before opening Clio in 1997. A string of James Beard nominations followed; ultimately, Oringer clinched Best Chef Northeast in 2001. The following year the acclaimed chef opened Uni, a sashimi bar, in Clio’s lounge space. He went on to forge a fruitful partnership with Jamie Bissonnette, leading to longtime favorites Toro, Coppa, and Little Donkey. In 2015 Oringer closed Clio to make way for a newly expanded Uni, opened in 2016.

Boston’s best dish:

My favorite dish in Boston is the pizza at Tapestry in Fenway.

Desert island spice:

One spice I can’t live without is urfa pepper. I put it in everything.

Kitchen playlist:

It’s an eclectic mix, featuring everything from ska to Hall & Oates to Pitbull.

Favorite food destination:

My favorite food city is Tokyo. Even the 7/11 has amazing food there.

Cooking inspiration:

I cook because it gives me a tremendous amount of artistic creativity and I love all kinds of food, from high-end indulgences like caviar to the more accessible (but equally complex) flavors in shawarma.

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