Topic: Profiles

Michel Nischan — Westport, CT

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Michel Nischan

Michel Nischan

All photos/art by Matt Kalinowski

Dressing Room
Westport, Connecticut

Chef Michel Nischan spends much of his time promoting local food systems and preparing heritage recipes at his restaurant. He gets twitchy when wintered-over parsnips arrive. “It’s a perennial root in northern regions,” says Michel, “and when properly tended, survives the winter, so that you can dig it up in the spring when fresh greens begin to appear on the tops. This root benefits from blanching and then roasting to bring out its sweetness. When it’s pureed, the texture is similar to very smooth apple butter.” Paired with chervil (a mild herb with hints of licorice) and nutty sea scallops, the flavors are a perfect match of earth and water, as well as a sublime restorative meal.


  • When I was growing up we made parsnip stew –cooked and slightly mashed, served seasoned with salt and pepper in a buttery based creamy sauce. In an aside , most of our vegetables got served with cream. A way with veggies I did not appreciate until years later.Also, we had sliced parsnips, fried in butter. My mother cooked to please my father. I remember the talk of going out to dig a pail of parsnips from behind the barn. Spring was truly in the air in an area where many feet of snow had lay on the ground–in the lower Adirondacks. I never thought of roasting parsnips altho I know overgrown beets become as sweet as young tender ones when baked. Thanks for the idea.


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