Where Do Local Chefs Eat Out? Michel Nischan of Wholesome Wave

Jessica Ryan

I am honored that Chef Michel Nischan agreed to play along with us for our latest installment of Where do Chefs Eat Out?  The chef and co-founder of The Dressing Room - one of the first farm to table restaurants in the state - shifted gears in 2014 to focus on Wholesome Wave, a not for profit he founded that provides healthy food choices to underserved consumers by increasing affordable access to fresh, local, and healthy items. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to talk with him about this incredible project. What began as a dream in our own backyard is now thriving in 48 states. 

Wholesome Wave empowers under-served consumers to make better food choices by increasing affordable access to healthy produce. 

They make fruits and vegetables affordable by doubling the value of Food Stamps when spent on fruits and vegetables and by working with doctors to literally prescribe produce.  Their desire is to provide everyone, regardless of income or circumstances, with the opportunity to put fresh fruits and vegetables on the table for their families. For more on Wholesome Wave and how to help visit their website here

On the rare day or night you’re off from the restaurant (or Wholesome Wave!) where do you prefer to have dinner?( If home what is your meal or food of choice)?

I am always off from the restaurant how that I am devoting my time to Wholesome Wave! Our favorite meal is a butterflied whole farm chicken roasted on top of Westport Famers Market vegetables, as well as veg and fresh herbs from our garden.  The pan juices are amazing. 

When dining out what is your favorite (you can name more than 1) local restaurant? Why? Favorite dish? 

I do travel ~30 weeks per year, but when I am home, we have our go-to places. I have to name more than one. Here goes: Kawa Ni (Westport - Karate Don), The Chelsea (Fairfield - Tuna Crudo), and Nom Eez (Bridgeport - Pho Ramen with extra vegetables). 

Do you have a favorite local bar or watering hole?

Old Post Tavern, especially when Johnny O is bar tending!! There are so many staffers from our former Dressing Room there that it feels like home.

How about a secret hole in the wall or as of yet undiscovered (by us) gem?

The Horse Shoe in Southport — especially Monday nights with Open-Mic night. Great fun with great local musicians and some real stand-outs, like Crispin Cioe, Michael Mugrage and Canyon Sharits

What’s your favorite restaurant in the tristate area, excluding Connecticut?

Gramercy Tavern just keeps getting better and better and better —  and it’s always been fantastic! Delicious food — super well prepared — and some of the best service in a relaxed setting. Solid!