Notable Restaurants: wd~50
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Wylie Dufresne is considered the mad gastronomist of NYC's food scene, and for good reason. When he opened his signature Lower East Side restaurant wd~50 in 1999, he took the classic techniques he had perfected at Jean Georges, and turned them on their head with a little science, yielding Willy Wonka-esque creations. For his inventive, molecular gastronomy efforts, he was awarded a Michelin star and nominated as Best Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2007. Dufresne's quirky ways have also made him a coveted guest star on television, where he has appeared on everything from Iron Chef America (where he lost a tilapia battle to Mario Batali), to several guest judge appearances on Top Chef, and even appearing as himself on HBO's Treme.