Wylie Dufresne was born in 1970 in Providence, Rhode Island moving to New York in 1977. In 1992 he completed a B.A. in philosophy at Colby College, Maine.
After college, Wylie enrolled at the French Culinary Institute in New York and was then employed at Jo Jo's from 1994 to 1997. Wylie was hired to work on the opening of Jean Georges, eventually becoming the sous chef. In 1998 Dufresne was hired as chef de cuisine at Vongerichten's Prime in The Bellagio, Las Vegas. In 1999 he left Prime to become the first chef at 71 Clinton Fresh Food, a 30-seat restaurant on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
Dufresne opened wd~50 (named for the chef's initials and the street address) in April of 2003, on Clinton Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side. His partners in the venture are Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and restaurateur Phil Suarez.
Frank Bruni of the New York Times awarded wd~50 three stars in March of 2008. In 2006, in the Michelin Guide's inaugural American edition, wd~50 received one star, which it has retained in each subsequent year.
In May of 2007, Wylie was conferred with an honorary degree of Doctor of Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University.
Born in Connecticut, January 31, 1978, Jon Bignelli graduated from James Madison University with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology in 2004. Though he has no formal culinary training, Jon was raised in a family that sat down to meticulously prepared dinners every night. His father had lived in France and enthusiastically introduced the family, including Jon, to the joy of cooking and dining well.
During his career, Jon has been fortunate to work with Jerry Hayden (Amuse), Marcus Samuelsson (Aquavit), and Nils Norn (Aquavit). Jon was promoted to the position of sous chef at Aquavit. In March 2007, Jon joined wd~50 as Roundsman and was promoted to sous chef a year later, in June of 2009 he became wd~50s Chef de Cuisine.
Jon won the Seasons Choppings (Holiday challenge) episode on Chopped (Season 3), the Food Network reality show.
General Manager & Wine Director
Siobhan Lowe moved from Chicago to New York City in 1997 to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. After receiving her BFA in Photography & Imaging in 2001 she worked as Manager and Registrar at Marianne Boesky Gallery in Chelsea. Siobhan went on to earn a degree in Interior Design from Parsons School of Design in 2004 and became the Business Manager at MADE LLC, a design-build firm in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Combining her love of art and desire to run her own business, she founded Never Work, a contemporary art gallery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in 2007. Later, she established The Lowe Bureau LLC, a business advising and bookkeeping company. After selling The Lowe Bureau, Siobhan decided to follow her passion for food and wine and pursue a career in the restaurant industry. She worked at several highly regarded restaurants including Maialino and Spiaggia before joining the team at Alder.
Kevin Denton will be sharing dual responsibilities as Bar Manager of WD-50 and Alder. Akin to the food at both locations, Denton crafts cocktails that utilize obscure ingredients and modern techniques. Denton worked his way up as a journeyman bartender at establishments steeped in classic and neo-classic form.
Denton was born in Lawrence, Kansas in 1979. He earned his Bachelors and Masters of Regional Planning degrees from the Architecture, Art and Planning College of Cornell University in 2001, and 2003. Following a brief period as a land use planner in Philadelphia, Denton moved to New York in 2005 to become head bartender at Danny Meyer's "Tabla." He worked as a bar consultant in Siena, Italy, for a boutique, historic hotel. Upon returning stateside, he assisted in opening "Hotel Delmano" in Williamsburg (2008) and shortly thereafter was part of the opening staff at the Tequilaria "Mayahuel" in the East Village.
His most recent work experience was as General Manager and Beverage Director for Gramercy Terrace at the Gramercy Park Hotel, where he established the city's first rooftop bar and restaurant garden. Denton, and his cocktails, have been featured in The New York Times, Esquire, GQ, Details, and Men's Health magazines. He has also been featured on the Martha Stewart Show, and as a guest Mixologist for the Cooking Channel's Holiday programming (2012).
Ryan Henderson was born in 1987 in Colorado. He attended Macalester College in Minnesota, where he earned his degree in Anthropology and Mathematics While working in Twin Cities kitchens to pay his college bills, Ryan discovered his enthusiasm for cooking.
In 2010, Ryan moved to New York City to pursue his career in the food industry. He began working at Momofuku Noodle Bar under chefs Sean Heller and Ty Hatfield. In fall 2011, he joined chef Alex Stupak at Empellon Taqueria and shortly thereafter assisted in the opening of Empellon Cocina. Six months later, Ryan was promoted to sous chef. At the end of 2012, he began looking to broaden his culinary skills and took a job at Neta. While there, Ryan was asked to join the opening team of Alder as sous chef.