Chef Wylie Dufresne of Du's Donuts & Coffee - Biography

Brooklyn, New York

September 2017

Before his last year as a philosophy student at Maine’s Colby College, Wylie Dufresne went home and took a job at iconic Providence, Rhode Island restaurant Al Forno. That summer was a major turning point for Dufresne. After graduation, he enrolled at The French Culinary Institute in New York, marrying two skillsets—in philosophy and gastronomy—that would ignite one imaginative career. 

Remaining in New York, Dufresne worked his way up Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s kitchen ladder: four years at JoJo’s, followed by opening Jean Georges, where he eventually rose to sous chef. In 1998, Dufresne was hired as chef de cuisine at Vongerichten’s Prime in Las Vegas. The following year, he became the first chef at 71 Clinton Fresh Food on New York’s Lower East Side, where his father was a partner. 

In 2003, Dufresne moved across the street to debut the experimental wd~50. Dufresne’s playful innovations made him one of the most recognized and influential chefs in America. He was named a StarChefs Rising Star in 2005, and wd~50 maintained a Michelin star for four consecutive years, received a slew of James Beard Awards, and made it on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list before Dufresne decided to close the restaurant in 2014.  

Dufresne has been busy since, consulting and collaborating with friends. In 2017, before opening his bakery, Du’s Donuts & Coffee in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Dufresne spent months perfecting the recipe for his cake-style doughnuts. He also recently released his first cookbook wd~50: The Cookbook, telling the story of his pioneering restaurant and the dishes that made it famous.