Eat Drink Local Week Profile #13: Chef Bill Telepan

Bill slicing up a nice stack of focaccia at Telepan; courtesy of

The Restaurateur:

Bill Telepan, chef and owner of the eponymously named Telepan.

What He Does:

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Bill Telepan spent the ’90s in some of the most high-profile restaurants in the city at the time: Le Cirque, Le Bernardin, Gotham Bar & Grill. Today, he owns and operates his hyper seasonally-driven restaurant, Telepan, home of harvest dinners, a “Wine Extravanganza” — 50% off wines over $200 till September 5th! — and a take-out, picnic menu for nearby Lincoln Center and Central Park with choices like mushroom-fontina focaccia and blueberry pie. And when he’s not busy doing that — ! — he’s helping change the food in city school cafeterias from the outside in.

Why We Love Him:

We of course love his nudge of Greenmarket goods into every line of his elegantly executed menu, so that you end up with lovely things like house-made pickles, heirloom-tomato gazpacho salad, and heritage pork with organic grits and black kale at one of the best white tablecloth joints in town (Best newcomer in the city by Zagat a few years back, in fact.) But like most of our Eat Drink Local Week profiles, Bill’s contributions don’t stop in his the kitchen. He’s a tireless worker for local farms — check his contributions at the amazing third annual Taste of Greenmarket October 6 — and has a very serious second career working to help get fresh, real food into the city public school system, a movement we covered in Edible Manhattan last fall. To that end he also hosts a weekly series on Martha Stewart Living Radio called Feeding Our Future, which welcomes guests like White House chef Sam Kass, Alice Waters, and even Bill’s own 8-year-old daughter.

Where To Find Him:

You can find Bill at Telepan, 72 West 69th St in Manhattan, where you can enjoy a fancifully locavore-friendly brunch, lunch, dinner, tasting menu or picnic to-go. Restaurant Week continues here for lunch (three-courses at $24.07) Wednesdays through Fridays till September 3rd. And be sure to catch him, as well as dozens of the city’s best and most forward-thinking chefs, at Taste of Greenmarket on October 6th — more on the event right here — and of course, here’s our September ’09 story on the volunteer gig that launched his initiative to get better food into our public schools.

From September 26th to October 6th Edible Manhattan, Edible East End and Edible Brooklyn — in conjunction with Edibles statewide and GrowNYC — present Eat Drink Local week, our celebration of the local food chain through heirloom vegetable auctions, wine tastings, DIY challenges, lectures, garden tours, farm to table dinners and countless other events. Over the next few weeks we’re highlighting a few of the restaurants, wine shops and wineries, breweries and beer bars, farms and food artisans and cultural institutions that the week is meant to celebrate.

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