meez podcast

Wylie Dufresne on Innovation, and Talking #%$& to the Chef

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About this episode

In Episode 1 of The meez Podcast, Chef Wylie Dufresne of Stretch Pizza joins host Josh Sharkey for a fireside chat at the Tarrytown Estates outside New York City for the annual meez team summit.

Chef Dufresne is a true pioneer and craftsman in the culinary world, having won James Beard Awards and Michelin stars, and his restaurant, wd~50, which was voted one of the 50 best in the world.

In this interview, Chef Wylie discusses his struggles with balancing art and commerce. He reflects that he did not regret choosing art over commerce but wishes he had worked more thoughtfully at finding a better balance.

As the conversation continues, Chef Wylie touches on the importance of timing in business. He discusses how he created a new paradigm of cooking when he opened wd~50 and how he developed a culture of creativity there, emphasizing how creativity cannot be taught, but it can be planned for and hunted for.

Dufresne's goal for wd~50 was to create a place where anyone interested in learning about cooking could continue to do so. With this philosophy, Dufresne created a restaurant that not only pushed culinary boundaries but also fostered a culture of learning and curiosity.

Where to find Chef Wylie Dufresne:

Where to find host Josh Sharkey:

What We Cover

(02:06) Chef Wylie’s background

(12:12) The intersection between art and commerce

(15:14) The importance of timing in business

(19:28) How to create a culture of creativity

(23:29) The origins of innovation

(26:02) When to filter ideas and establish boundaries

(28:18) The iconic wd~50 eggs benedict 

(29:39) When to stop iterating

(32:11) How to empower staff to speak up

(35:13) Why some techniques are too hard to execute

(37:40) M&Ms filled with …?

(39:29) Baker’s percent versus standard percent

(44:23) Learning when to not buck and system

(49:35) How to maintain high standards among your team

(51:36) Strengthening camaraderie with staff

(55:06) Picking the right people


Josh Sharkey [0:00]:
Welcome to the meez podcast. I'm your host, Josh Sharkey, the founder and CEO of meez, the culinary operating system for food professionals. On the show, I'll be interviewing world class entrepreneurs in the food space that are shifting the paradigm of how we innovate and operate in our industry. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the show.

This is part one of a special live recording with my friend, a chef who needs no introduction. A true pioneer in craftsman in the culinary world - Chef Wylie Dufresne. This was a fireside chat I had the pleasure of hosting at Tarrytown Estates, just outside of New York City, for our annual meez team summit.

The team flew in from all over the world to connect and set goals for 2023, and Chef Wylie was gracious enough to spend some time with us as we discussed everything from creativity, the process of iteration and innovation team culture, why American cheese is so delicious and much, much more. I hope you enjoy it.

This podcast is brought to you by meez, the culinary operating system for food professionals. As a chef and restaurant owner for the past 20 years, I was frustrated that the only technology that we had in the kitchen was financial or inventory software. Those are important, but they don't address the actual process of cooking, training, collaboration, and consistent execution.

So I decided if it didn't exist, I'd do my best to get it built. So the current and next generation of culinary pros have a digital tool dedicated to their craft. If you're a chef, mixologist operator, or generally if you manage recipes intended for professional kitchens, meez is built just for you.

Organize, share, prep, and scale your recipes like never before, and get laser accurate food costs and nutrition analysis faster than you could imagine. Learn more at

Okay, everybody. I'm really excited. Is everybody else? We have a living legend with us today. I can safely say the culinary world would not be where it is today without the chef sitting right here. He has won James Beard Awards, Michelin Stars. His restaurant has been voted one of the 50 best in the world.

He's judged on Top Chef and Master Chef. You might have seen him on shows like Treme and Billions. He's probably the only chef that has his own character on the Simpsons. He's worked for a bunch of incredible shops and opened a restaurant called 71 Clinton on the Lower East Side before there was anything like that on the Lower East Side.

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