"As for the future of fine dining, the veteran McKenzie takes the long view. 'It's just like somebody that always has a blue blazer in their wardrobe,' she says. 'They always have it and it's always going to be there. Fine dining will always be there.' She also summons up something James Beard once told her. 'He said, 'You can't hide a good restaurant, no matter what the economy, no matter what the weather,' and I've never forgotten it.'"
"The Union League Cafe, a French brasserie in New Haven, has recovered from an unusual catastrophe to befall a restaurant and has reopened with a new kitchen and a refurbished dining room. The restaurant was the victim last Nov. 1 of a collapse of the roof of the historic Hyperion Theater, which crashed down on the back of the cafe, situated in the adjacent Roger Sherman building."
"Vuillermet married his wife, Robin, in 1990 with just five people in attendance. He bought an aquamarine ring, her birthstone, and proposed almost casually while Robin was visiting him in France. 'Then I came back here and Robin's mother (the late restauranteur Jo Mackenzie) asked me to stay here and work for here,' Vuillermet recalled. 'We got married quickly because of the visa situation, so I got married for the green card.'"
"Jean Pierre Vuillermet, the 36-year-old owner and head chef, said he has tried to make the restaurant and the new menu of French food different from its predecessor. The new light pink paint and a large but simple chandelier in the middle of the main dining room have brightened the restaurant, which was formerly known for its serious ambiance and expensive prices. A small, lighted box with a menu should be in place outside the restaurant's front door by tonight, he said, and a small neon sigh is already aglow on Chapel Street."
"Mama Jo McKenzie knows pretty much everything that goes on around the Capitol. She's been in politics ever since she was old enough to slip a pamphlet in a mail slot. She has achieved the highest ranks of Connecticut Republicans, being the first woman elected chairman of the state Republican Party. At 70, she shows no sign of slowing down and vows never to retire."
"A painting of a pheasant hangs above the coat closet. The molded ceiling, large glass windows and red-veined marble exemplify traditional refinement. Even the structure of the Union League Cafe reinforces the aura of tradition that defines the New Haven landmark. Carved above the fireplace is an inscription reading, 'This club house stands on the… Continue reading ‘Tradition’ lives on at Union League, by Rachel Engler
"I first recall being introduced to Jacques Pépin in late 1992. He came for dinner at the elegant Robert Henry’s restaurant in New Haven, where I was maître d’. Robert Henry’s was from a bygone era, owned by the matriarch Jo McKenzie; a white glove establishment with porcelain-dome service and very haute French cuisine that… Continue reading The creative genius of Jacques Pépin, by Robert Rabine
"She has been in the thick of it for years. Her battle scars, which she wears very well, were collected in the rabbit-punch, scrape-for-contribution wars of Connecticut Republican politics. She was the party's first woman state chairman, its first woman finance chairman. And now, even as she sits resplendent in her fine black suit and… Continue reading Jo McKenzie, Restaurateur, by David Fink