Jimmy Bannos Jr.
CHEF/PARTNER, THE PURPLE PIG
Jimmy Bannos Jr., a fourth-generation restaurateur, 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 firsthand 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. While there, he worked at the critically acclaimed Al Forno restaurant as well as completed an internship with friend, Chef Emeril Lagasse, at Emeril’s in New Orleans.
After, he embarked on a six-month excursion to Italy where he immersed himself in the culture, food and wine. When he returned to the U.S., he worked in some of New York City’s most acclaimed restaurants, including Chef Mario Batali’s Del Posto, Esca, and Lupa.
Bringing together his love for Italian food, the restaurant business and his family, Jimmy returned to Chicago in 2009 to open The Purple Pig.
Since, Jimmy has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Wine Spectator, Chicago Tribune, Delta Sky, Time Out Chicago, and Eater, and more. He 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,” where he was hand-selected to feature the restaurant and his recipes among 11 other emerging chefs from across the country. Jimmy was nominated for the James Beard Foundation Award for Rising Star Chef in 2013 and 2014, winning the prestigious award in 2014. Most recently, Jimmy won the MenuMasters 2015 “Innovator Award”.