ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets here is marketing a line of ready-to-heat entrees and side dishes created exclusively for the company by four-star New York chef David Bouley.
Bouley, who recently opened Bouley Bakery, the first in a number of proposed ventures to open in Manhattan, has developed for Wegmans such high-profile culinary dishes as fricasse of wild mushrooms and corn, red skin potatoes with red and yellow peppers, sauteed spinach with pignoli nuts and golden raisins, and orange roughy with wild mushrooms. The items are currently being sold in at least one store in a small refrigerated case devoted exclusively to his products.
A Wegmans official wouldn't comment on the program. Bouley could not be reached for comment.
At the unit in DeWitt, a suburb of Syracuse, N.Y., Wegmans has placed the reach-in refrigerated case stocked with Bouley-made items at the back of the store across from the seafood department. A photo of Bouley and a sign inviting customers to let him prepare their meals was the only indication that the items were special. Other than a street sign indicating the location was the crossing of "Wegman Road" and "Bouley Lane," there was no informational signage, and no brochures about the items or the chef were available, unusual in a store where brochures about cooking, nutrition, ingredients and meals are abundant and ubiquitous.
The same day SN visited the store, Bouley was profiled in a New York Times Magazine cover story that noted his interest in stretching from haute cuisine into other ventures, including opening bakeries and selling meals through overnight delivery services.
Bouley closed the restaurant where his reputation was secured and which bore his name two years ago, and has since entered into business arrangements with, among others, New York's Tavern on the Green owner Warner Le Roy.