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.
Chef de Cuisine
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 and was later promoted to Chef de Cuisine.