Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr., a fourth-generation restaurateur, is nominated for the 2014 James Beard Rising Star Chef Award. The James Beard Awards will be held in New York City on May 5th. You can also listen to our interview with the James Beard Foundation about the 2014 awards.
500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
(312) 464-1744 www.thepurplepigchicago.com
Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr. was ‘born and raised’ in Chicago’s Heaven on Seven. Put to work bussing tables for his father at age five, Jimmy learned the trade first hand while spending days at the family-owned Louisiana-style restaurant. Once realizing he shared his father’s passion for food and the restaurant industry, he decided to attend the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. While there, he worked at the critically acclaimed Al Forno restaurant, located near the university, as well as completed an internship at Emeril’s in New Orleans.
Upon graduating in 2004, Jimmy returned to Chicago to assist Gabriel Viti open Miramar Bistro in Highwood, Illinois. and then assisted Scott Harris with opening one of his Mia Francesca locations. Although raised on gumbo, Jimmy let his passion and palate guide him to more Mediterranean styles of cuisine. He soon embarked on a six-month excursion to Italy where he immersed himself in the culture, foods and wines. When he returned to the U.S., he moved to New York City and spent three and a half years working under Mario Batali at his restaurants Del Posto, Esca, and Lupa Osteria Romana.
Bringing his love for Italian food, the restaurant business and his family, Jimmy returned to Chicago in 2009 to open The Purple Pig in December of that year. Located at 500 North Michigan Avenue, the restaurant offers cheese, swine and wine, among other standout dishes, showcasing the flavors of Italy, Greece and Spain.
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