Chef Michel Nischan
Growing up on a farm instilled in Michel Nischan a deep appreciation for sustainable agriculture and those who work the land that has never left him. Today, as chef/owner of Dressing Room: A Homegrown Restaurant, a new restaurant located on the grounds of the Westport Country Playhouse, Nischan, a renowned chef and best-selling author, starts a new chapter in his ongoing story about the love of food and the people who produce it.
It was through his advocacy for a more healthful, organic, and sustainable food future that Michel came to know Paul Newman's daughter, Nell Newman, the driving force behind the creation of the organic division of Newman's Own products. Nell introduced Michel to Mr. Newman when she learned of her father's plans to become involved in a restaurant. Paul and Michel found their beliefs on food, family, and community to be remarkably aligned, and Dressing Room evolved as the place where their shared values could have a common home and expression.
In keeping with their altruistic natures, a portion of Dressing Room's proceeds will be used to support the adjacent Westport Country Playhouse, the establishment of culinary scholarships and apprentice programs for inner-city children, as well as a community-based edible schoolyard program. In addition, Newman and Nischan are the impetus for the Westport Farmers Market at the Westport Country Playhouse, which is the town's first greenmarket (open Thursdays, June through October). Newman and Nischan appeared on the Friday, November 24th broadcast of "ABC World News with Charles Gibson," named "Persons of the Week" for their community outreach efforts with Dressing Room and other planned activities.
Michel Nischan is credited with creating a cuisine of well-being, focused on a respect for pure, local, organic ingredients and their intense flavors – without the use of highly processed, overly indulgent ingredients. The inspiration to explore cooking for well-being came in 1994 when his five-year-old son Chris was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. "Chris's illness made me realize that floating on foie gras and bathing in butter might not be in my customers' best interest," says Michel.
Michel introduced his groundbreaking new cuisine at Heartbeat restaurant at the W Hotel, midtown Manhattan in 1997, and was immediately propelled to the forefront of New York's culinary scene. Since then, he has continued to raise the bar for delicious and healthful cooking and is continually lauded for his dedication to organics, sustainability, and cultural food preservation.
After years of focusing on healthy, sustainable, and culturally significant cooking causes, Michel decided to put his methods down on paper, writing the well-received cookbooks Taste Pure and Simple: Irresistible Recipes for Good Food and Good Health (Chronicle Books, 2003) and Homegrown Pure and Simple: Great Healthy Food from Garden to Table (Chronicle Books, 2005). Taste was listed as a bestseller in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and won a 2004 James Beard Foundation Cookbook Award (award winners are selected by industry peers, and more than 600 culinary professionals are involved in the voting process). In April of 2010, Nischan released Sustainably Delicious: Saving the World One Recipe at a Time to great acclaim.
Michel resides in Fairfield, Connecticut with his wife, Lori, and their five children. Nischan is the culinary face of dLifeTV, sharing delicious and healthy recipes each week on the first television show for people with diabetes.
Try Chef Nischan's recipes:
We all make choices every single day. Sometimes we make the right ones, sometimes we make the wrong ones. Hopefully, we weigh the consequences of the choices - hopefully we think of others even if the consequence for ourselves isn't all that bad. Hopefully, we measure our own selfish wants and desires and outcomes against the overall picture of the situation. Even if we think our actions are right, even if our actions might bring us happiness or good fortune, what will...