Is seven Wylie Dufresne’s lucky number? He has had as many consecutive nominations for a James Beard Foundation Award, and he has yet to win.
The Providence, R.I., native started his kitchen career under the tutelage of Jean-Georges Vongerichten in 1994, before moving on to open the pioneering 71 Clinton Fresh Food on the Lower East Side in 1999. In 2003, Dufresne left 71 Clinton to focus on his dream concept: wd-50, where he was fully able to explore his scientist-like technique via modernist dishes such as eggs Benedict with deep-fried hollandaise. After garnering three stars from the New York Times and one from the Michelin guide, wd-50 still feels, at 10 years old, as innovative as when it first opened. Dufresne most recently unveiled his second restaurant, a “modern interpretation of a public house,” Alder, in the East Village, a casual, cocktail-driven spot that reinvents comfort classics. Pigs in a blanket, for example, are made with Chinese sausage, Japanese mustard, and sweet chili sauce. With two of the city’s most intriguing restaurants, win or no win, Dufresne is poised go down in New York City history as a culinary game-changer.
Where to eat Wylie Dufresne’s food:
50 Clinton St.
157 Second Ave.
This chef profile is part of a series we’re running as part of the annual James Beard Foundation Awards and Gala, commonly referred to as the “Oscars of the food world.” Winners will be announced on Monday, May 6, at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. For more information, see our introductory story.