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Wylie Dufresne was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1970. When he was seven his father, a restaurateur and designer, moved the family to New York. Growing up he wanted to be a professional athlete, but he recognized that he didn’t have the aptitude. He studied philosophy at Colby College in Maine and graduated with a B.A. in 1992. It was at a summer job while he was in college, working on pizzas in hospitality uniforms at Al Forno, that he got bitten by the cooking bug.
He enrolled in New York City’s prestigious French Culinary Institute. For the five years beginning in 1994 he worked under Jean Georges Vongerichten – first at JoJo’s, and later at Jean Georges, working his way up to sous chef. He became chef de cuisine at Prime – another Vongerichten restaurant – in Las Vegas’ The Bellagio in 1998 and he left a year later for the post of first chef at 71 Clinton Fresh Food, a 30-seat restaurant in Lower East Side Manhattan. In 2002 71 Clinton Fresh Food received a 27 rating (out of a possible 30, but with 28 being the highest ever awarded) from Zagat survey.
In 2003 he opened his own 60-seat restaurant wd~50 (after his own initials, and the address of the restaurant) on Clinton St. in Lower East Side, Manhattan, in partnership with Jean Georges Vongerichten and Phil Suarez. wd~50 was nominated for the 2004 James Beard Foundation’s award for Best New Restaurant. wd~50 was listed in 2005 on the English Restaurant Magazine‘s list of the World’s Best Restaurants. In 2006 wd~50 was named fourth-best on New York Magazine‘s list of the 101 best restaurants in New York, and was award four stars out of a possible five. Dufresne was nominated in 2000 by the James Beard Foundation as Rising Star Chef of the Year and New York Magazine chose him that same year for their New York Award. He was a contestant in chef pant on the television program Iron Chef America in 2005, where he lost a valiant battle of tilapia against Mario Batali. In 2001 he was named one of America’s Ten Best Chefs by Food & Wine magazine and Michelin awarded him a star in 2006, 2007, and 2008. He was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as the Best Chef New York in 2007. Also in 2007 Dufresne received the honorary Doctor of Culinary Arts degree from Johnson and Wales University. In 2008 he married Maile Carpenter.
Dufresne’s fusion style of cooking in his restaurant shirt is strongly influenced by Ferran Adria’s molecular gastronomy, a movement dedicated to introducing science and new techniques into the preparation of food. He himself applies the word “Culinology” to his combination of experiment and serendipity. His kitchen at wd~50 is state of the art, boasting several Vita-Prep 3’s among other high-tech tools. Popular among his own signature creations are Pickled Beef Tongue with Fried Mayonnaise, and Sunnyside Up Carrot-Coconut, but for himself he just cooks scrambled eggs.
write by Acacia