CHEFS

Chef Beck Bolender

FRANK BONNAUDET

Sucré Salé

Chef Bonnaudet, a native of Brittany on the west coast of France, began his training at age 15. He owned two restaurants in France before moving to the United States and opening a crêpe and sandwich shop in lower Manhattan in 2005. According to his wife, Virginie Kahrouby, Bonnaudet enjoys experimenting with different recipes and flavors. "For the savory crêpes, you have to know how to make the crêpe and test the different batters and fillings - a lot of that comes from just being from that part of the world" she says. "It's entrenched in the culture - he was raised with that." 

When the couple had two daughters and moved to Ridgefield in 2010, Chef Bonnaudet made the difficult decision to step out of the kitchen and care for them. Now that they are in school, he has returned to the kitchen preparing dishes with passion and precision from delectable fresh ingredients. Sucré Salé (sweet and salty) is a classic French bistro that offers both sweet and savory crepes, other traditional French foods, and Frank's own flavorful creations, including the trademarked “The Cochran,” a croissant with quiche filling.

Frank Bonnaudet

BERNARD BOUISSOU

Bernard’s of Ridgefield

Bernard Bouïssou was raised in the St Etienne de Tulmont, France where his culinary apprenticeship began at the age of 13 in the tradition of many great European chefs.  In 1984, he began his remarkable career in New York City working under Chef Daniel Boulud at Le Plaza Athenee and Le Cirque restaurants. Bernard went on to become sous chef at Le Cygne and then banquet chef at Tavern on the Green, after which he worked as executive chef at La Panetiere in Rye, New York.  Bernard and his wife, Sarah opened Bernard’s in March of 2000.

At Bernard’s, Sarah runs the front of the house while Bernard continues to wow people with his culinary brilliance. The family continues to love living, working and being in Ridgefield.  Bernard and Sarah play an active role in the community donating time and food to many local philanthropic organizations.

Chef Beck Bolender

SARAH BOUISSOU

Sarah's Wine Bar

Sarah’s cooking career began at Claude's Hohokus Inn in New Jersey. In 1985, she completed a three month stage in Vichy, France at the two-star Michelin rated restaurant, Le Violon d’Ingres.  After she returned to the US she worked at Le Cirque Restaurant. Sarah was the first female chef ever hired there to work on the line where she, as the entre métier, met Bernard, the poissonier.  They fell in love on the line and have been cooking together ever since.  They were married in France on Bastille Day, 1990.  Sarah has also worked at Rakel’s, under Chef Thomas Keller in New York.  In 1991, she opened a high-end catering business in New York City, Sarah Bouissou Catering, which is still flourishing in the metropolitan tri-state area.

Chef Beck Bolender

JEHAN S. DE NOÜE

JSN Catering/Albano Appliances (formerly of Chez Noüe)

Born and raised in France, Chef Jehan S. de Noüe realized his passion for cooking at a very young age. When he moved to the U.S. as a teenager he honed his culinary, as well as managerial skills, at some of the finest restaurants in New York and Connecticut. In 1995 he opened his own restaurant, Chez Noüe, in Ridgefield. The restaurant received rave reviews from acclaimed food critics such as Patricia Brooks of the New York Times who gave Chez Noüe a "Very Good" not once but twice (1996 and 2000), stating "The Very Good rating for this charming hideaway is as enthusiastically deserved now as it was in 1996." Much to the dismay of his loyal customers, Chef Jehan sold the restaurant in 2001 but he continued his passion for the business first as General Manager of Terra Restaurant in Greenwich, Conn.,  and then as Executive Chef and General Manager of Spy Rock Grille (now North Star Restaurant) in Pound Ridge, NY. 

In 2003, Chef Jehan took the position of Resident Chef at Albano Appliance in Pound Ridge where he shares his passion for cooking through appliance demonstrations, classes and corporate team-building events. He created JSN Catering in response to customer-demand for his culinary skills at their private parties and events.

Chef Beck Bolender

ART MICHAELSEN JR.

Bartolo

Art Michaelsen Jr. is chef/owner of the Italian restaurant, Bartolo in Ridgefield. Michaelsen’s wife Julia is co-owner. They are the previous owners of many memorable restaurants including The Catch in Ridgefield which received numerous accolades including Fairfield County’s Best Seafood Restaurant, 2007.  Putting a modern twist on Italian dining, Art opened the bistro/enoteca Cucina 51 in 2003. It received a “Very Good” 3-star rating from Patricia Brooks of The New York Times.  Long-time area residents may fondly recall a few of his other ventures: 33 1/3 Restaurant and Heibeck’s Ice Cream and Sizzling Creations Catering.

 

 

SAL BAGLIAVIO

                           Bailey's Backyard

Owner Sal Bagliavio opened Bailey’s Backyard in October of 1999 and continues to make his culinary mark on the town of Ridgefield, CT. Sal, a former pizzeria owner from Babylon, Long Island, raised in an Italian-American household, gravitated to the restaurant biz at an early age.   A scenic drive through Ridgefield lured the young restaurateur into opening his own eatery here and Bailey’s Backyard quickly became a neighborhood hot spot, offering locals a new dining experience. 

JUDGES

Ron DeSantis and Battle of the Chefs

Amy Kundrat

Amy Kundrat is a partner and executive editor of the award-winning regional food blog CTbites. Her career leading communications and new media teams began in the art world, where she spent nearly a decade working for museums such as The Aldrich Museum, to media start-ups, and academic institutions until starting her own firm, ARK Projects. She works at Yale University directing new media projects, where she often indulges in New Haven’s famous pizza scene. In her spare time she attempts to elevate her homemade pizza game, almost always paired with a Negroni. She is the author of the cookbook, Fairfield County Chefs Table.

 

Ron DeSantis and Battle of the Chefs

Brendan Walsh

As dean of culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America, Brendan oversees curriculum development and management of culinary arts education at the college and is responsible for the quality of academic programming, services, and staffing of culinary arts courses. He assumed his current job in 2012 after serving four years as a faculty member and associate dean at the CIA. Before that, he was the owner and executive chef of Elms Restaurant & Tavern in Ridgefield, CT; North Street Grill in Great Neck, NY; and Coyote Grill in Island Park, NY; as well as the founder and president of Chef Brendan Walsh Services/FWF Consulting.

Earlier in his career, Chef Walsh held various chef positions at highly regarded restaurants around the country, including executive chef of Arizona 206 in New York City, Water’s Edge in Long Island City, NY, and Ancient Mariner in Florida, New York, and Connecticut; chef of Gotham Bar & Grill in New York City; and sous chef at Stars in San Francisco. A member of the James Beard Foundation, Brendan is one of four CIA faculty and staff members to have been inducted into that organization’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, receiving the honor in 1987.

Ron DeSantis and Battle of the Chefs

Erick Ofgang

The senior writer and a restaurant reviewer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik Ofgang is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed: Where to find the Best Craft Beverages in New England” and “Gillette Castle: A History.” He is also an adjunct professor at Western Connecticut State University's MFA writing program and Quinnipiac University. 

 

 

HOST

JONATHAN HYPPOLITE

In 2011, after graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a Masters in Professional Communication, J-Hype partnered with of the Wrinkleman Gallery, Exit Art and El Museo Del Barrio in New York City, as a producer and videographer. In 2012, after graduating from level one’s improv class at The People’s Improv Theater, J-Hype was nominated with The PIT NBCU Diversity Scholarship. In January 2014, his impromptu stand-up routine as a warm-up entertainer for the Trisha Goddard Show turned permanent, later sneaking sets to The Maury, Jerry Springer, Crazy Talk, Comedy Knockout and now Steve Wilkos Show as a digital show host. J-Hype’s recent merge with music entertainment groups, Kunjan Collective and More Than Music, only establishes his road as a “Host/Entertainer”, event hosting trivia nights all throughout Connecticut as well as the summer annual outdoor concert series, Alive @ 5, in Stamford, Connecticut and New York’s Summer Streets.