photo courtesy of Leslie Jennings

AOS Graduation Speaker 

January 20, 2017

Terrance Brennan 

Chef, Restaurateur, Consultant, Entrepreneur

by Shelly Loveland, Staff Contributor

The son of Annandale, VA restaurateurs, Terrance Brennan has risen steadily to become one of America’s most highly regarded chefs and restaurateurs. Chef Brennan cites several key experiences that have elevated him to prominence in the food world. One of the most notable was his work at the famed Le Cirque restaurant in New York City. He also honed his talents and skills in many of Europe’s finest Michelin-starred restaurants. A defining moment for him came while he was working under Chef Roger Vergé at Le Moulin de Mougins in the south of France, where he was inspired by the region’s “cuisine of the sun.” There, his signature style began to emerge.

Chef Brennan took his craft back to the U.S., where he specialized in Mediterranean-inspired American cuisine. In 1993, he opened his first restaurant, Picholine, which he named after the petite green olives indigenous to the Mediterranean. The restaurant quickly became a premier dining destination, earning three stars from The New York Times, four stars from New York magazine, and two stars in the Michelin Guide. Such recognition catapulted Chef Brennan’s career, and in 1995 he was awarded Best New Chef honors in Food & Wine magazine. 

His strong passion for artisanal cheeses prompted Chef Brennan to use Picholine as a launching pad for the presentation of the traditional European cheese course. He then extended his groundbreaking cheese service in 2001 with Artisanal, a bistro-fromagerie-wine bar that gained immediate prominence as a shrine to the pleasures of fine cheeses. In 2003, he paid the ultimate “homage to the fromage” when he launched the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center, a 10,000-square-foot facility dedicated to the selection, maturation, and distribution of the world’s finest artisanal cheeses. In October 2016, Chef Brennan opened The Roundhouse by Terrance Brennan, a farm-inspired restaurant in Beacon, NY. 

Striving for excellence every day, Chef Brennan brings passion, creativity, and enthusiasm to each project. As a successful industry consultant, he has shared his vast knowledge with such notable companies as Fresh Direct, Starbucks, Williams Sonoma, Neiman Marcus, Sherry-Lehmann, British Airways, and Air France.

A frequent guest on the Today show, Chef Brennan has also appeared on PBS, the Food Network, Martha Stewart Living Television, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, the CBS Morning News, The Early Show, and Live with Regis and Kelly. He is the author of Artisanal Cooking: A Chef Shares His Passion for Handcrafting Great Meals at Home. Chef Brennan is also the proud holder of the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Fondue. Created on the Today show, the one-ton fondue helped serve 5,000 meals for local charity City Harvest.

In 2016, Chef Brennan joined CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan ’77 as host of Chefs for Clearwater. Held at the college, the event brought together leading Hudson Valley chefs with the CIA and the Clearwater organization to raise awareness of critical issues involving sustainability and food ethics and how they relate to the Hudson Valley watershed.



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