“All of my research and development is grounded in the skills I learned at ICC. They taught me how to apply my creativity.”
Wylie Dufresne has established himself as one of the most creative chefs working today. Combining his love of food with a thirst for knowledge, he creates innovative dishes by incorporating science and new, cutting-edge techniques. Wylie is considered the leading American proponent of molecular gastronomy.
Before giving birth to dishes like pickled beef tongue with fried mayonnaise at his now-famous wd~50, Wylie studied philosophy, graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Colby College. While studying Nietzsche and honing his critical thinking skills, he took a summer job before his senior year working at Al Forno’s, an Italian restaurant in his hometown. It was this experience that made him realize he belonged in the kitchen. After he finished his senior year, Wylie enrolled at the International Culinary Center and never looked back.
Although many consider Wylie as a chef with unorthodox techniques—pushing buttons and boundaries—he firmly believes that having a solid foundation of basic cooking knowledge and skills is necessary for any creativity to bloom. “It’s essential to have a solid grounding of traditional techniques—I still use many of them.”
After graduating from ICC, Wylie worked on the opening of Jean Georges, later becoming its sous chef. His experience there was deeply influential on his style of cooking, and Wylie considers Jean-Georges Vongerichten a friend and a mentor to this day. In 1998, Wylie packed his bags and moved to Las Vegas to become the chef de cuisine at Vongerichten’s Prime in The Bellagio. A year later, he returned to New York to become the first chef at 71 Clinton Fresh Food, garnering a James Beard nomination in 2000 for Rising Star Chef.
In April of 2003, Wylie opened wd~50 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Armed with a state-of-the-art kitchen, it is here that Wylie has melded his ideas and skills into his famous dishes. Building upon “solid grounding” of techniques, he re-imagined classic dishes, deconstructing them into familiar, but entirely, new creations. The result is a taste experience that is both familiar and distinctive. A signature dish, eggs Benedict, takes an old recipe and turns it inside out, turning hollandaise sauce into fried cubes held together with hydrocolloids and modified cornstarch, accompanied with columns of perfectly textured egg yolk.
His work at wd~50 has awarded him with several James Beard nominations for Best New Restaurant (2004) and Best Chef, New York City. In 2013, he won the James Beard Award for Best Chef, New York City after six nominations. In the same year, he opened Alder, a well-reviewed neighborhood spot that applies innovative techniques to comfort food. In 2015, he won the James Beard award for Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America.