Even as a child, Bissonnette was drawn to the kitchen eschewing cartoons for cooking shows on the Discovery Channel. With this early start, he earned his Culinary Arts degree from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale by the young age of 19 and spent his early 20s eating and cooking his way through Paris, San Francisco, New York and Phoenix. These early experiences fed his culinary drive, teaching him expression through his daily-changing menus.
After cooking in Europe and across the United States, Bissonnette settled in Boston and began working in some of the city’s most notable kitchens. Following stints at a few highly regarded restaurants, Bissonnette opened Eastern Standard as executive chef in 2005. Two years later, he was recruited for the steakhouse KO Prime, winning praise for his modern take on this classic fare. That year in 2007, The Improper Bostonian named him “Rising Star Chef” and KO Prime “Best New Restaurant.” Shortly after in the fall of 2008, Bissonnette joined Ken Oringer as executive chef and partner of the acclaimed tapas restaurant Toro in Boston’s South End and then together in late 2009 they opened the innovative Italian enoteca Coppa. StarChefs awarded Bissonnette Rising Star Chef that same year, and directly following Coppa was awarded 3 Stars in a rave review from the Boston Globe and honorable mention in Esquire’s Best New Restaurants annual list.
In 2011, Bissonnette was awarded the prestigious honor of Food & Wine magazine’s first ever People Choice Best New Chef. In the fall of 2013, he opened Toro in New York City’s South Chelsea neighborhood and it was met with critical acclaim from The New York Times, New York Magazine and others. Additionally, Bissonnette was just announced as Best Chef: Northeast at the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards.
Bissonnette is a champion of nose-to-tail cuisine and is well-known locally and nationally for his exceptional charcuterie and passionate dedication to supporting local, sustainable purveyors. As chef and owner of Coppa and Toro in Boston, and Toro in New York City, Bissonnette continues to helm the kitchens of his award-winning restaurants, and can be found at nightly overseeing his menus of innovative small plates and nose to tail cooking.