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.