Jimmy Bannos, Jr.
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Jimmy Bannos Jr.

Piggie Smalls Mediterranean /The Purple Pig


Jimmy Bannos Jr., a fourth-generation restaurateur, was born and raised in Chicago’s Heaven on Seven. Put to work for his father at age five, Jimmy learned the trade firsthand while spending days at the family-owned Louisiana-style restaurant. Once realizing he shared his father’s passion food and the restaurant industry, he decided to attend the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I.

Upon graduating, Jimmy returned to Chicago to assist Gabriel Viti at Miramar Bistro, and then Scott Harris with opening one of his Mia Francesca locations. From there, Jimmy let his passion and palate guide him to more Mediterranean styles of cuisine, taking a six-month excursion to Italy to immerse himself in the culture, foods and wines.

Jimmy then spent three and a half years in New York City under Mario Batali at Del Posto, Esca, and Lupa Osteria Romana. Bringing together his love for Italian food, the restaurant business and his family, Jimmy returned to Chicago in 2009 to open The Purple Pig, showcasing the flavors of Italy, Greece and Spain. The chef was named a Rising Star Chef by CS magazine in July 2010, selected as one of StarChef’s Rising Star Chefs of Chicago in 2011, one of the 2012 class of Chicago’s 30 Under 30 from Zagat and was included in Food & Wine’s latest cookbook “America’s Greatest New Cooks.” Jimmy was nominated for the James Beard Foundation Award for Rising Star Chef in 2013 and 2014, winning the prestigious award in 2014.

            September 2020            

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