Chef Biography

Marcel Desaulniers was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island in 1945, and graduated from the CIA in 1965 before going into the Marines to serve in Vietnam.  After service, he worked at the Hotel Pierre in New York City from 1968 to 1970 as saucier.  In 1970, he moved to Williamsburg, Virginia to work for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, working his way up to food production and quality control.  From 1975 to 1980, he co-owned Williamsburg Food Brokers.

In 1980, he opened The Trellis Café Restaurant & Grill in Williamsburg.  Six years later, he hired John Twitchell from Elkhart, Indiana, who had just graduated from the CIA.  Within two years, by 1988, John had worked his way up to pastry chef at age 22.  In 1992, the Great Chefs television crew showed up at The Trellis to tape both Chefs Marcel Desaulniers and John Twitchell for the Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs of the East television series (episode # 23).

Chef Twitchell went on to work for Great Chef Emeril Lagasse at his NOLA Restaurant in New Orleans, and then Trilogy Restaurant and Bread & Co., both in Nashville, Tennessee. Chef Desaulniers, after writing many books and appearing on many television shows, sold Trellis Café in 2009.  In 2012, he and his wife opened “Mad About Chocolate” in Williansburg, Virginia, where they remain today in 2016.


Potato, Leek, and Watercress Soup with Grilled Smoked Duck

Serving: 6 Print Potato, Leek, and Watercress Soup with Grilled Smoked Duck By Great Chefs November 10, 2015 The addition of the peppery watercress and succulent smoked duck creates a far more interesting dish than the classic vichyssoise on which this soup is based. The time-consuming aspect of the recipe is the smoked duck, which […]

Chocolate-Lover’s Cake

Serving: Makes one 9-inch layer cake Print Chocolate-Lover’s Cake By Great Chefs November 10, 2015 Marcel Desaulniers is known for his “Death by Chocolate” cookbook and desserts, and this cake carries on his reputation. Three chocolate textures in one dessert, with hazelnuts thrown in for good measure, make this a dream cake for chocolate aficionados. […]

Restaurant Information

Address: 204 Armistead Ave, Williamsburg, VA 23185

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