From Our Editors
The Three Faces of wd~50
Chef Wylie Dufresne
In 2013, wd~50's owner and executive chef, Wylie Dufresne, finally won the James Beard Foundation's award for Best Chef: New York City. It was his sixth nomination. Since opening wd~50 in 2003, these prestigious nominations have become the norm for Chef Dufresne—though his cuisine is anything but typical. He approaches cooking from an avant garde angle, prompting the New York Times to describe him as "a skilled chef with more than a dash of mad scientist in him." This innovation has helped turn him into a bit of a culinary celebrity; he even appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where he transformed puréed shrimp into gourmet ramen noodles.
The "mad scientist" portion of Chef Dufresne's résumé stems from his use of molecular gastronomy. This unconventional culinary approach relies on physics and chemistry to completely alter the tastes and textures of food, transforming ingredients into something completely different. Because of the complex techniques used to prepare the food, the restaurant's servers typically offer a detailed description of each dish they deliver, including its conception, preparation, and proper method of consumption.
Prix Fixe Menu
Food preparation at wd~50 may not be simple, but ordering it is. That's because, rather than an à la carte menu, the restaurant only offers a 5- or 12-course prix fixe meal. This allows Chef Dufresne the freedom to orchestrate a dining experience from start to finish, one that introduces diners to exotic ingredients and exciting preparations that they might not have tried otherwise.