chef-name: Gordon Hamersley

Gordon Hamersley discovered early in his career that for him food was a way of life. “I realized that food and cooking were a passion that was all consuming, not only for me, but for many others, too,” he affirms. He started cooking as a student at Boston University in the early 1970s and began his culinary career at various French restaurants in the Boston area. In 1979, he escaped New England winters and moved to Los Angeles, where he trained at the famed Ma Maison restaurant under Wolfgang Puck. It was there that Gordon discovered the real potential of food and began to seriously hone his skills as a chef. In 1982, he and his wife Fiona moved to Nice, France. Cooking by day and dining in restaurants by night, they absorbed the nuances of French cuisine, and Gordon found his inspiration and discovered his culinary “voice”.

In 1987 Gordon and Fiona opened the original Hamersley’s Bistro in a tiny storefront in Boston’s up-and-coming South End. “We wanted our restaurant to be more like the informal, relaxed bistros in France that we felt ourselves drawn to again and again,” says Gordon. The restaurant’s homey, French-inspired bistro food was an immediate success. In 1993, they moved their restaurant into a larger space a few blocks down Tremont Street into an historic building alongside the Boston Center for the Arts. Hamersley’s Bistro quickly became one of Boston’s favorites. Gordon has kept his cooking unique yet simple, and his food always reflects the freshest seasonal New England ingredients.

In early December 1993, the Great Chefs team caught up with Chef Gordon just before he moved into his current facility. Gordon prepared a roasted garlic flan appetizer for our Great Chefs of the East series, and a braised lamb shank entrée for our Great Chefs – Great Cities series. Later, in the late ‘90s, Chef Gordon met up with our Great Chefs crew again for a Weber Grills Grill Out special, where he prepared a grilled quail and created an iron skillet clambake.

Gordon is a respected cooking teacher and mentor to many aspiring chefs. He teaches classes in Boston and in many other cities around the country. Students find his ability to relate food history to modern cooking techniques both informative and fun. Gordon served on the Board of Advisors of the New England Culinary Institute from 1997 to 2002 and he currently is part of several environmental groups that help protect New England’s vast natural resources. Gordon also works closely with Share Our Strength whose mission is to end childhood hunger in 2015.