As one of Boston’s most notable chefs and restaurateurs, Chef Ken Oringer’s interest in restaurants began as a child in New Jersey. Mesmerized by early dining experiences with his family at New York City’s many restaurants, Ken’s youthful interest blossomed into the beginnings of his restaurant career as a teenage dishwasher in a local restaurant. After pursuing an undergraduate degree at Bryant University in Rhode Island, Ken returned to his food roots, working under Chef David Burke at River Café in New York City before moving back to New England to work as the Pastry Chef at Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island and Jean Georges Vongerichten’s Le Marquis de Lafayette in Boston.
Ken moved to San Francisco in 1992 to become Chef de Cuisine at acclaimed dining destination Silks in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. At Silks, he began to attract attention for his distinctive, Asian-accented style and his flair for making the most out of cutting-edge ingredients. Traveler magazine named Silks “one of the top twenty restaurants in America,” and raves followed in the Zagat Survey and Gourmet.
In 1997, Ken returned to Boston to open Clio, an elegant restaurant within The Eliot Hotel serving a contemporary French-American menu that marries schooled technique with an artful, Asian-inspired approach. Within the first year, Clio was named “Best Newcomer of the Year” by Gourmet magazine and made John Mariani’s respected list of “America’s Best New Restaurants” in Esquire. The early success of Clio earned Ken a James Beard Award nomination for Best Chef Northeast four years in a row, ultimately being honored with Best Chef Northeast in 2001. Clio was named one of Gourmet magazine’s “Top 50 Restaurants in America” that same year.