Ken Oringer

Ken Oringer

Chef and Owner of JK Food Group & Uni Boston

I am lucky to say that unlike most people, my hobby is my career. The creativity in this industry constantly pushes me to try something new or do something a little differently. The passion and vision of those I surround myself with is what pushes me and keeps me excited about what I do.

Jacques Pepin has been my greatest mentor. I have been reading his cookbooks since I was a little kid, and now consider him a friend. He has the most relentless dedication to research and quest for knowledge of anyone I know in the restaurant industry. To me, he is the most knowledgeable food personality and chef. He is 80 and still out foraging mushrooms, raising his own chickens, and cooking everyday. I could not admire anyone more. Jacques Pepin truly walks the walk and talks the talk.
Hands down, the one thing I can’t live without in order to do my job, is the staff on all my teams. From cooks to servers to management, I am surrounded by people who are interesting, passionate, and have incredible work ethic. It’s an absolute joy to collaborate with all of these people. Without them, there is no way I would succeed.
I knew I wanted to be chef since I was 8. I knew right from the beginning. I was always obsessed with food (prior to the internet and food culture explosion), I spent hours in libraries reading cookbooks and watched as many Julia Childs' shows as possible. I’ve been fortunate enough to been able to follow this path ever since. 40 some odd years later, I’m still just as excited to get out of bed every morning and jump back into the restaurant.
The most important things to look for when hiring are confidence and passion. While experience is valuable, I don’t consider it as essential as a person’s commitment to learning, and dedication to their craft.

Disclaimer: Individuals featured in the Inspirational Career Timelines section have been nominated by peers, colleagues and/or other members of the hospitality industry. It is to the best of our knowledge that each individual has demonstrated leadership and acted as a positive role model for others.

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