As we go to print on this article, chef, CEO and humanitarian Michel Nischan is in Chicago receiving another James Beard Award, as Humanitarian of the Year. This honor has been bestowed on few, including Art Smith, Emeril Lagasse and the late Charlie Trotter. The award signifies Michel’s commitment to making a difference in how and where we buy food, food education, and Wholesome Wave programs that offer affordable access to all consumers, especially the food insecure.
As a longtime Westport resident, I have fond memories of The Dressing Room next to the Westport Country Playhouse. The buzz surrounding the restaurant when it opened in 2006 was driven by the friendship and collaboration between the co-owners, Paul Newman and chef Michel Nischan and their shared beliefs about food. Together they contributed to Connecticut’s nascent farm-to-table movement, not only sourcing from local farms and purveyors, but also listing their products as part of the menu. Paul could be found there many evenings with his wife Joanne, and family and “sightings” were always a treat to patrons.