Ben “Wyatt” Dufresne
Former Corporate Executive Chef, PlumpJack Cafe
Ben “Wyatt” Dufresne began his career in the culinary arts as a teenager working at a fish market in his hometown of Scotia, New York. It was there that he first took note of the importance of local, fresh ingredients in cooking. Discovering his fascination in the natural sciences, he graduated from Bates College in Maine with a double degree in biology and environmental studies.
Admittedly following his love of skiing through each of these states, Dufresne found his niche when he moved to Lake Tahoe in 2002 and began his culinary career at PlumpJack Cafe under then-Executive Chefs Jeffery Powell and Larry Dunning. Chef Powell was known to use nicknames for each of the members of his kitchen staff. When Powell met Ben Dufresne, he took note of his Wyatt Earp-like mustache and immediately gave him the nickname “Wyatt.” The name stuck and Ben quickly became known as “Wyatt” all over Lake Tahoe.
Dufresne worked his way up the PlumpJack chain of command in Squaw Valley from Pantry Cook to Executive Chef where he remained for 5 years. When he moved to Sacramento with his wife, PlumpJack asked him to take over the culinary direction for the entire company as Corporate Executive Chef overseeing 9 different locations.
Recently he decided that traveling away from home was not for him and is currently working on starting a Private Chef business in Sacramento.
Dufresne’s cuisine draws off his love for sustainable, organic, and seasonal ingredients as well as his educational background in science. His knowledge of how things grow, the anatomy of animals and fish, and the environmental impact of sourcing sustainable products has great influence on his menu selections. His love for science and nature helps balance his cooking techniques between cutting edge styles to classic favorites with keen attention to local organic produce.