James Beard Award Winning "Rising Star" Chef, Jimmy Bannos Jr.
James Beard Foundation Awards 2014
About The Purple Pig
CHEESE, SWINE & WINE
Experience the exquisite cuisine of James Beard, Rising Star Chef 2014 – Jimmy Bannos Jr. As a fourth generation restaurateur, he was mentored by his father, Jimmy Bannos (Chef/Owner of Heaven on Seven) and catapulted his expertise through training by nationally renowned chefs.
Since opening in 2009, under the leadership of Jimmy Bannos Jr., The Purple Pig has received numerous accolades, including being named one of 2010’s “10 Best New Restaurants in America” by Bon Appétit magazine; and a Bib Gourmand recipient from the Michelin Guide Chicago in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014; among other honors.
Dubbed the “Prince of Pork” by Dana Cowin (Food and Wine Editor and Chief); Jimmy Jr. brings his love for Mediterranean food to the Windy City in fun, inventive ways – at this rustic sharable plate restaurant, conveniently located on the Magnificent Mile.
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.
Michelin Awards & Links
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.
Alan has held just about every front of the house position there is in the restaurant industry, starting as a bouncer and barback at the venerable neighborhood bar, Pippin’s Tavern. From there he’s been a bartender, server, manager and general manager at some of Chicago’s best restaurants.
As a server at Boka, Alan got a taste of fine dining in a chef-driven restaurant and was exposed to his first serious wine list. Inspired, Alan’s next stop was at Cru Cafe where he worked with a passionate staff of oenophiles and started to seriously study wine. From there Alan moved on to NoMi at the Park Hyatt Chicago. Working as a Captain in one of Chicago’s most renowned dining rooms, Alan was introduced to the man who would become his wine mentor, Master Sommelier Fernando Beteta. Fernando taught Alan how to truly taste wine and encouraged him to seriously study wine, eventually leading him to become a certified sommelier with The Court of Master Sommeliers. While at NoMi Alan started to take an interest in craft cocktails and saw that as the next step in his development. Alan took a position as the NoMi lounge and garden manager where he collaborated with industry professionals like Master Mixologist Bridget Albert and Peter Vestinos to develop a progressive cocktail program incorporating house-made shrubs, syrups and infused spirits.
Stepping away from restaurants for a brief time, Alan took yet another opportunity to learn more about wine and the wine making process for a pioneering wine distributor, Tenzing Wine and Spirits. There, he worked with two other Master Sommeliers, Ken Fredrickson and Douglas Marello.