Debra Ponzek has received accolades for her innovative Provencal-inspired cuisine, her bold seasoning with herbs and her exquisitely light sauces. One of the top chefs cooking in America today, her food combines French tradition with an American perspective.
Debra graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1984. After cooking in top New Jersey restaurants, Debra was hired by Drew Nieporent as sous-chef at the then fledgling Montrachet. Ten months later, Debra was promoted to chef, a position she held for seven years and where she earned three consecutive three-star reviews from the New York Times.
Debra''s cooking quickly received wide acclaim in culinary circles. At the age of 28, she was selected one of the ''Ten Best New American Chefs'' by Food & Wine magazine. In 1990, Debra was named ''Chef of the Year'' by the Chefs of America Association, and a year later was the recipient of the coveted ''Rising Chef of the Year'' award by the James Beard Foundation. Debra was also the first American to receive the prestigious ''Moreau Award'' for culinary excellence from the Frederick Wildman and Sons Company.
In describing her culinary style, Debra uses two phrases—classic technique and flexibility. ''The CIA gave me excellent training in classic French cooking and that has been the foundation of everything I cook today. But I have my own approach and I like to keep things simple, never fussy. There is a Mediterranean touch to my cooking as well. Whatever I prepare, I start with a bouquet of fresh herbs and vegetables. They inspire my colorful, aromatic combinations.''
Debra left Montrachet in June 1994 to move to Connecticut with her husband and open Aux Délices, a gourmet prepared food shop, café and catering business in Greenwich, Connecticut. Aux Délices Events, a full-service catering and event plannin