The business side of running a restaurant isn't what typically draws most chefs into the profession, especially because, in the beginning there isn't much money to be made. But eventually, with success, Dufresne said, "you have to realize that yeah it's much more than -- I'm not responsible for this little cutting board anymore and my mise en place and making sure I'm set up for service. I'm responsible for, at this point, upwards of 30 people's lives, livelihoods. And I have to make sure that I meet the demands of all of those things."
Eggs are Dufresne's favorite food, so most of his earliest food memories revolve around omelets, scrambled eggs and brunch.
CLICK HERE for Dufresne's imaginative take on three common egg dishes.
"Well eggs are delicious, aren't they? I don't need to explain that. I mean eggs are fantastic. That's -- to me it's implicit," he said. "I know there are a lot of people that find them weird and creepy and smelly and texturally unpleasant. But I love eggs."
Aside from the taste, Dufresne is drawn to the egg's structure, and the numerous textural possibilities.
"Every now and then I find a new approach to working with eggs and it's just really exciting. But at the end of the day it's the taste, and I just find them unbelievably delicious," he said. "From the standpoint of a chef I think that eggs are fascinating in terms of -- there's the classic French approach that there's a thousand ways to prepare an egg. Every pleat in a chef's taupe represents another technique that a chef is supposed to know about how to prepare an egg. They're just really, they're fascinating from a technical standpoint. The way an egg behaves and what you can do to an egg and the various textures you can get. The fact that there's two parts to it, basically the yolk and the white. It gives you an incredible repertoire of things to work with."
So when Dufresne is at home, he has eggs. Every Sunday he and his wife, who is expecting a baby daughter, eat at a diner near their home where he has an omelet (American cheese is his "vice") and she orders poached eggs.
Dufresne's ability to find complexity in what appears to be the simplest of foods developed into a love of molecular gastronomy, a term that he admits he doesn't necessarily like because it "doesn't sound very delicious," but allows for innovative experimentation and creativity in the kitchen.
Dufresne's food has often been recognized for its "wow factor," something that challenges him to keep thinking up new, fresh ideas, not only for his staff and his customers, but for himself.
"While I love and I appreciate and I come from a school where it's all about repetition and doing something over and over again until it becomes rote -- and I do think that's an important foundation to establish -- I enjoy the creative aspect of my job at this point," he said.
"That creativity is probably the best aspect of my job. I mean aside from the people I do it with and the place I do it in which I feel very fortunate about. But the fact that it's always changing is really fun," he said.
Dufresne's strategy requires learning as much as he possibly can about each of his ingredients before manipulating them.