The daughter of a foreign correspondent and a noted food writer, Sara Jenkins grew up all over the Mediterranean, eating her way through its cultures and learning to cook. She began her kitchen under Todd English at Figs in Boston. Then she went on to work as a chef in Florence and in the Tuscan countryside, as well as on the Caribbean island of Nevis, before returning to the United States.
In New York City, Jenkins became chef at I Coppi, earning two stars within three months and developing a reputation as a fine rustic Italian chef. After I Coppi she helmed Il Buco, Patio Dining, and 50 Carmine. She also authored cookbook, Olives and Oranges: Recipes and Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and Beyond.
In September 2008, Jenkins opened Porchetta, a storefront in the East Village focusing on the Italian roasted pork, typically sold as street food. Porchetta has been wildly successful, receiving a four-star review from New York Magazine. In November 2010, Jenkins opened Porsena in the East Village where she has received excellent reviews, and focuses on classic Italian pastas drawing on her Tuscan and Roman childhood. As Mario Batali puts it, “She’s one of the few chefs in America who understands Italy and how Italians eat.”
Sara’s newest cookbook, The Four Seasons of Pasta (Avery, October 2015) co-written with her mother Nancy Harmon Jenkins, is their salute to the versatility of pasta, as well as a love letter to it having spent most of their lives on their farm in the hills of Tuscany cooking and eating pasta, learning firsthand from neighbors and visiting places where pasta is made. More than 120 recipes are arranged seasonally – Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn – and focus on seasonal ingredients from supermarkets and farmstands across America. Throughout they offer quick-and-easy weeknight dishes as well as more ambitious meals.
Sara has been featured in Bon Appetit, and on NPR, and contributes to the Atlantic’s food blog.