The Dressing Room Changes Toques & Introduces American Tapas Menu

For Immediate Release

CONTACT:      Diane Stefani                                                Alison Goldstein

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Dressing Room: A Homegrown Restaurant Taps Jon Vaast as New Head Chef and Unveils American Tapas Menu

— Award-winning Chef and Owner Michel Nischan Ramps Up Efforts of Wholesome Wave —

Westport, CT. (May 21,  2010)Dressing Room: A Homegrown Restaurant, a Westport, Connecticut restaurant committed to serving local, natural and organic American food, today announced the promotion of Jon Vaast to head chef.

This move comes as Michel Nischan, James Beard Award-winning chef, cookbook author and sustainable food leader, shifts roles from chef to restaurateur and to nonprofit President and CEO. Wholesome Wave, the nonprofit he founded in 2007, is dedicated to increasing production of and access to fresh and affordable locally grown food in historically excluded neighborhoods throughout the country. “I’ve always yearned for the reality of a sustainable food system that moves beyond the white table cloth realm. Being a restaurateur, while at the helm of Wholesome Wave, allows me to expand the founding principles of Dressing Room to new horizons,” said Nischan.

Dressing Room opened in 2006 when Nischan teamed up with the late Paul Newman to open a restaurant that reflected their shared commitment to neighborly hospitality, sustainable ingredients and regional American heirloom food.  “An original employee since the opening of Dressing Room, Jon has a clear understanding of the Dressing Room vision and the homegrown foundation upon which the restaurant was built,” said Nischan. “We are eager to witness Dressing Room’s evolution under Jon, our young whipper-snapper.” Vaast will steward valued relationships with local producers while taking the helm of Dressing Room’s new small plates menu, which offers diners Dressing Room’s homegrown tastes in a more affordable format.

As Vaast, 24, takes over day-to-day operations at Dressing Room, Nischan will focus on growing Wholesome Wave’s lynchpin initiative, the Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP).  The program harnesses relationships between government agencies, community-based organizations, educational institutions and residents of communities, to double the value of benefits provided by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) via Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Food Stamps.   The DVCP serves over 150 farmers’ markets in more than 15 states with over 25 participating partners, and was recently cited in the White House Childhood Obesity Task Forces Report as one of 70 policy recommendations. “We believe our programs can make it possible for under-served communities to be the underdog heroes of a changed food system,” says Nischan.

About Dressing Room:

Located adjacent to the legendary Westport Country Playhouse, Dressing Room is a reflection of founders Paul Newman and Michel Nischan’s mutual commitment to neighborly hospitality, local, natural and organic ingredients and regional American heirloom food.  Dressing Room’s meats are pasture-raised by family farmers practicing humane animal husbandry. Their fish comes from sustainable, well-managed wild sources or aquaculture systems. All fruits and vegetables are sourced from local or regional producers. Located just an hour from New York City, Dressing Room is constantly researching new sources for organic and biodynamic foods and beverages. Dressing Room was named “Best Lunch: by County” and “Best Lunch: Statewide Runner-Up” by Connecticut magazine readers in 2010. For more information, please visit

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