Wylie Dufresne was born in 1970 in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of a designer and restaurateur. His family moved to New York in 1977. In 1992 Wylie completed a B.A. in philosophy at Colby College, Maine, after which he enrolled at the French Culinary Institute in New York. After graduation he began working at Jo-Jo, where he was employed from 1994 to 1997. Wylie was then hired to work on the opening of Jean Georges, eventually becoming the sous chef. In 1998, Wylie was hired as chef de cuisine at Vongerichten’s Prime in The Bellagio, Las Vegas. In 1999 he left Prime to become the chef at 71 Clinton Fresh Food.
In 2000 Wylie was a James Beard nominee for Rising Star Chef of the year. In the same year he was selelcted by New York magazine for their New York Awards. Food & Wine magazine selected him as a recipient of their 2001 America’s Ten Best Chefs award. IN the 2002 Zagat survey, 71 Clinton Fresh Food received a rating of 27 for food (28 being the highest awarded out of a possible 30).
Dufresne opened his 60-seat restaurant, wd~50 (named for the chef’s initials and the street address) in April of 2003 on Clinton Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. His partners in the venture are chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and restaurateur Phil Suarez.