Bill Telepan has been the Executive Chef of Wellness in the Schools since 2008. As the first chef to join the team, Bill has served as a leader of the WITS Cook for Kids program by developing nutritious school menus, training WITS Chefs and cafeteria staff, teaching culinary and nutrition concepts to students, parents and teachers, and engaging professional chefs across the country.
Bill believes that every child deserves access to healthy, sustainably raised, and delicious food. Through his work with WITS, Bill has led lobbying initiatives from Capitol Hill to NYC’s City Hall and was a participant in the 2015 James Beard Foundation’s Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change. He has spoken at the James Beard Foundation’s Food Conference, the Sustainable Cities Conference at The New School, and Food Tank’s Washington DC Summit. He was the commencement speaker at the Culinary Institute of America in 2014.
In 2009, Bill was selected by First Lady Michelle Obama to join the Chefs Move! to Schools task force and participate in the organization’s conferences. He was also named a Food Revolution Hero by chef-food activist Jamie Oliver, a FEED50 2016 Hero by Lauren Bush Lauren, and a community hero by TD Bank’s “Rooted In NYC” campaign.
Bill is currently the Culinary Director at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Before that, he held the title of Executive Chef at Oceana in Midtown Manhattan. One of New York’s first and most acclaimed devotees of Greenmarket cooking, Bill insists on understanding where his ingredients come from, how the ingredients have been cared for, and using the best of what is available. Bill’s chef career began when he started cooking at local restaurants in his New Jersey hometown, before enrolling at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Upon graduation from the CIA, Bill schooled at some of the world’s top kitchens and apprenticed with the legendary Alain Chapel at his eponymous Three-Star Michelin restaurant outside Lyons, France. Under Chapel, he honed his culinary skills and learned the importance of retaining the integrity of fresh ingredients.
Upon his return to New York, Bill trained with Daniel Boulud at Le Cirque and Gilbert Le Coze at Le Bernardin. Alfred Portale then hired him at Gotham Bar & Grill, where he was Executive Sous Chef for four years. He moved on to become the Executive Chef at Ansonia, where he developed his menu and further refined his craft. In 1998, Bill joined JUdson Grill as the restaurant’s Executive Chef, creating dishes guided by his personal history coupled with contemporary influences. His cuisine helped earn the restaurant a Three-Star review from The New York Times. He remained at Judson until 2004. That same year in November, his cookbook, Inspired by Ingredients was published by Simon & Schuster.
In 2005, Bill opened Telepan restaurant on the Upper West Side. The restaurant allowed Bill to showcase his simple and balanced approach to cooking. Telepan earned him a loyal following and many accolades including a Michelin Star, a glowing two-star review from The New York Times, and the title of “Best Newcomer” in the 2007 Zagat survey as well as #22 in Zagat’s Top 100 Restaurants in NYC 2016.
Bill has been a repeat semifinalist for the James Beard Award as Best Chef: New York City and was the recipient of the Snailblazer Award in 2013 by Slow Food NYC. He has appeared on The Today Show, Martha Stewart, CBS This Morning, the Leonard Lopate show, Live! with Kelly and Michael, FOX5, Rachael Ray, and The Chew.