Posted: October 16, 2018
Wylie Dufresne, James Beard award-winning, Michelin-starred chef, advocate of the scientific cooking style known as molecular gastronomy, and more recently, chef and owner of Du’s Donuts in Brooklyn, joins the BlueStar® All-Star Chefs. A Rhode Island native, Dufresne started in the food industry running his great-grandfather’s diner, and has had a decorated culinary career, best known for his ingenious creations at renowned wd~50 and Alder. He is now at the helm of the popular Du’s Donuts, where he applies his imagination and inventive techniques to crafting the most amazing donuts. This latest venture makes his favorite customers, his two daughters, exceptionally happy.
Chef Dufresne and his wife purchased his childhood home in Manhattan several years ago, but it needed everything. For the remodel they went right down to the sub-flooring and started to build from scratch – a whole new floor plan. For the Dufresne’s, the open kitchen concept with adjacent family room and dining was critical to get right as they spend most of our time there.
When picking appliances, chef said, “Commercial Grade is my favorite term. I like things that are well built and thoughtfully built and can take a beating in a good way. I like things that can be used. We put our kitchen through its paces and wanted equipment that could come along for the ride with us. We’ve made good choices with BlueStar.” Also, noting that his wife is an excellent cook and loves baking with their daughters in the double ovens.
Chef Dufresne chose a powerful 48” Nova Series gas range and 48” Incline hood. “We love the 24” griddle. I used to find a lot of inefficiency with all burners; you are limited to a certain number of pots/pans. I come from commercial French-style kitchens, so I use the griddle interchangeably as a cooking surface, and also as a French top. Sometimes we are making grilled chesses, pancakes or Paninis directly on it, sometimes I am using it to keep pots warm.” A staple that they make on the griddle is a “fancy” grilled cheese, a recipe that can be recreated in any kitchen.
Grilled Cheese with Romesco & Serrano
- 8 slices sourdough bread
- 6 oz. sliced Serrano ham
- 4 oz. soft Spanish cheese (Mahon, Tetilla, etc) think sliced
- 3 – 4 Tbsp prepared Romesco sauce
- 2 Tbsp cold butter
- Preheat BlueStar griddle to 325° F
- Layout all six slices of bread and spread evenly with Romesco
- Alternately, lay ham and cheese down on 4 slices of bread
- Top with other 4 slices to make 4 sandwiches
- Take 1 Tbsp butter and spread on to griddle
- Lay sandwiches on griddle and press each one gently
- Once golden brown (about 4 – 5 minutes) flip and add additional Tbsp of butter to griddle and press again
- Once golden brown and heated through remove from griddle, quarter, and serve
Ventilation was another important part of the remodel, since they could not vent externally, a 48” Incline recirculating hood was chosen. The recirculating option allowed the Dufrense’s to have pro-style ventilation within building specifications. It was a perfect solution since the right hood is crucial when you have a range with so much power.
Another staple dish in the Dufrense household is French toast. He uses a combination of the powerful burners to fry, then the extra-large ovens to finish his signature breakfast dish, which we are excited to share here:
- 4 slices challah bread, cut 1 1/2″ thick
- 1 qt. heavy cream
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 c. vegetable oil or clarified butter
- Powdered sugar and maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350° F (Once pre-heated turn on convection fan)
- Place challah in high sided baking dish
- Warm heavy cream with 1 c. sugar until fully dissolved. Pour over bread and allow to soak for 3 – 4 min, turning occasionally
- Place oil (or clarified butter, my preference!) in a high sided saute pan and set over medium heat
- Whisk remaining 1/2 c. sugar with the eggs vigorously
- One at a time, carefully dredge each piece of bread in egg/sugar mixture and place directly into saute pan
- Once golden on one side (about 1 – 1 1/2 min), flip and color the other side
- Drain well on paper towels and place in oven on a sheet pan for 5 min, until warmed through and nicely puffed
- Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup
Today, Brooklyn-based, Du’s Donuts serves up New England-style cake donuts and crullers in classic and imaginative flavors including brown butter key lime, oatmeal chai, peanut butter yuzu and grapefruit camomile. Dufresne is branching out once again, selling his made-from-scratch treats in Whole Foods stores in New York City as well as coffee shops around Manhattan.