With a culinary career spanning over forty years, Terrance Brennan is a highly-accomplished chef, restaurateur, consultant and entrepreneur. Even at an early age, he knew that he wanted to be a chef and, at the age of thirteen, began cooking in his family’s restaurant in Virginia. Throughout his career, Chef Brennan has won multiple awards and accolades and is one of America’s most renowned and imaginative chefs and restaurateurs. Terrance is the Chef/CEO of Brennan Group Consulting and Brennan Group Hospitality, which has launched numerous critically acclaimed restaurants and products.
After working a multitude of positions in several restaurants and hotels in Virginia and Washington, DC, Terrance moved to New York to work at the legendary Le Cirque restaurant. During his two and half years there, he worked every station, eventually earning a promotion to Sous Chef. “It was very intense,” Terrance recalls. “I lovingly refer to my time at Le Cirque as ‘Haute Cuisine Boot Camp.’” Terrance then continued to hone his skills and talents by moving to Europe to work in some of the greatest Michelin-starred kitchens, including: Taillevent, La Tour d’ Argent, Les Crayeres, La Grovoche, Gualtiero Marchesi and Locanda dell’ Anglelo. His training in Europe was a “self-imposed apprenticeship,” and Terrance still considers it his “finishing school.” A defining moment for Terrance came while working under Chef Roger Verge at Le Moulin de Mougins in the south of France, where he was inspired by the region’s “cuisine of the sun.” Here, his personal, unique culinary style began to emerge.
Chef Terrance Brennan took his craft back to the states where he became executive chef of several critically acclaimed restaurants. In 1993, he opened his first restaurant, Picholine. Named after the petite green olives indigenous to the Mediterranean, Picholine’s inspiring menu featured seasonal French-Mediterranean cuisine. Picholine’s renowned cheese cart displayed more than forty of he world’s finest artisanal cheeses. The restaurant quickly became a premier dining destination, earning three stars from The New York Times, four stars from New York Magazine, as well as two stars in the Michelin Guide, as well as earning a James Beard nomination for Outstanding Restaurant. In 1995 Chef Brennan was awarded “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine Magazine. Picholine was open for nearly a quarter century, an accomplishment few American restaurants have achieved.
Terrance’s strong passion for artisanal cheeses prompted him to use Picholine as a launching pad for the presentation of the traditional European cheese course. Terrance extended his groundbreaking cheese service in 2001 with the opening of Artisanal, a bistro-fromagerie-wine bar that gained immediate prominence as a shrine to the pleasures of fine cheeses and French Bistro fair. Artisanal was the first restaurant in the United States to feature a cheese shop and cheese aging “caves” within the restaurant.
In 2003 Terrance paid the ultimate “homage to fromage” when he opened up 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. Another first of its kind, The Artisanal Premium Cheese Center sold cheeses to the finest hotels and restaurants across the country, consumers through it’s website and notable companies such as William Sonoma, Neiman Marcus, Starbucks, and Air France. The Center also taught classes on cheese and wine to the public and industry professionals. In 2006 Terrance developed a cheesecake for retail that won the overall award for “Outstanding New Product by the National Association of Specialty Foods” at the New York Fancy Food Show.
In 2013, Terrance launched Brennan Group Consulting, followed by Brennan Group Hospitality in 2015. Both companies offer a wide range of services from ideation to turn-key, with an emphasis on restaurants, food and beverage and the hospitality industry. Brennan’s most recent project is operating The Roundhouse by Terrance Brennan in Beacon, NY, a farm-inspired, nose to tail American restaurant. The Roundhouse is committed to supporting local farms, artisans, wineries, distilleries and cideries in the Hudson Valley.
A popular celebrity guest chef, Terrance has appeared on the NBC Today Show, PBS, The Food Network, Martha Stewart Living Television, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Beat Bobby Flay, CBS Morning News, CBS The Early Show and Live with Regis and Kelly. In addition, Terrance is the author of Artisanal Cooking: A Chef Shares His Passion for Handcrafting Great Meals at Home (Wiley, 2005).
Terrance is also the proud holder of the Guinness World Record for the “World's Largest Fondue.” Created on the Today Show, the one-ton creation helped serve 5,000 meals for the local charity City Harvest.
Terrance believes in giving back and supports numerous charities, including Share Our Strength, City Harvest, Meals on Wheels and he is a board member of Common Ground Farm a non-for profit farm that serves the community as a model for food justice and education for people of all ages and incomes.