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WYLIE DUFRESNE


in the menus for both restaurants, although he is reluctant to name signature dishes, “as we don’t want to get typecast”. He acknowledges there are dishes over the years that have resonated with people. These include eggs Benedict from wd~50 – slow cooked egg yolks with deep-fried hollandaise and Canadian bacon crisps, and foie gras with anchovy – “which was very polarising. It received a lot of attention and ink. Ultimately everyone has their own idea of what comes to mind when they think of wd~50 or of me as a chef. I would rather be known for an approach than a particular dish.” He describes his style of cooking as


modern American food. “We’re cooking what we believe to be delicious food using our geography, personal history, memories and even our sense of humour.” Dufresne experiments with new culinary methods such as trying to find a new way to scramble an egg by piercing its shell with a needle and cooking it inside so when the egg is cracked open, it


“We’re cooking what we believe to be delicious food using our geography, personal history, and memories”


comes out scrambled and ready to eat. “No, we have not successfully been able to scramble egg in its shell yet,” he says. “Often that’s the case – we try something, it doesn’t work so we put it on the shelf, then revisit the idea later. We have a new perspective and as a result, we can sometimes achieve success, but not always. We’ve been trying to create hot ice cream for 10 years.”


Experimenting with new dishes is part of both restaurants’ everyday process, whether it’s just talking about it, researching online or in books or the actual act of experimenting in the kitchen.


What dish are you working on? “We are always working on things, dishes, ideas. I can’t ever say that this is the one thing we are working on now, because it is an ongoing process.”


How do you relax? “I like to sneak away to the movies. I find spending time with my wife and two daughters very relaxing. We try to get out to our home in Connecticut as often as possible and enjoy the country.”


You’ve appeared on TV shows Top Chef and Iron Chef America. Would you like to do more TV? “Sure! You can actually catch me on the new show Beat Bobby Flay as a judge.”


Do you have plans to write a book on your restaurant’s story? We’re working on a book and the exact details are still being developed. The book will certainly be about wd~50.


What is there left for you to achieve? “I am very happy with the way Alder has come along so far, but there are other ideas in my head and I’d like to see these happen. I’ve long believed our approach to cooking is not limited to fine dining. I think there is room for it in every dining stratum, from super cheap and cheerful all the way up to Michelin- star dining.”


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