Chef Jamie Cooper and wife Kim make home entertaining a breeze, with a meal as heartwarming as their home’s décor
One question that a chef hears over and over again is, “What’s your favorite meal to cook at home?” And very often the reply is, “a nice roasted chicken.” Jamie Cooper, chef and owner of Bonda, couldn’t agree more. “It’s simple, it’s easy and it’s really delicious,” says Cooper. “It’s the perfect meal for a chef’s night off.”
Kim and Jamie met at Bonda’s former Westport location, married a year later and eventually moved to the Southport home they share with 18-month-old son Hayes, a quick drive to the restaurant’s new Fairfield address. With her innate sense of décor, Kim has created a home with a warm and friendly cottage feeling, perfect for entertaining family and friends. Jamie credits his father for encouraging his interest in cooking, and his mother’s artwork, well known on Nantucket, graces the walls of their home.
On a recent evening, the couple invited friends for dinner, which started with a “knock-out” appetizer—as Jamie describes it—of purée of cauliflower soup with butternut squash and sage crostini, and a pancetta cup with roasted fig, aged balsamic vinegar and gorgonzola dolce. The first course of fire-roasted Brussels sprouts with toasted hazelnuts, shaved parmigiano and a sherry-hazelnut vinaigrette was followed, of course, with a roasted chicken and mouthwatering wedge of bacon, cheese and potato pie. With a cheese plate for dessert and a selection of Champagne, white and red wines, this is a meal that you can re-create at home.
The first course sets the mood. Jamie Cooper thinks of Bonda as his second home and strives to treat his customers as guests. He describes his cuisine as modern American bistro. “The food on the menu at Bonda is really driven by what I like to eat,” says the chef. “My likes are constantly changing and varied, and I draw inspiration from culinary traditions around the world. My goal for Bonda has always been to achieve sophistication without pretense.” He goes on to say that he appreciates the warm response he’s received from the Greenfield Hill community since moving the restaurant to Fairfield. “We’re also grateful to have the good fortune of retaining our loyal fans from Westport, who frequently ‘cross the border’ to visit us.”
A nice roasted chicken. It seems to be the favorite Sunday night dinner for a chef’s night off. “Jamie works so hard and has incredibly long hours,” says Kim. “There’s nothing more relaxing and rewarding after a long week than being at home together on a Sunday and sharing a delicious meal with friends. It’s becoming a nice tradition.”