THE COTTAGE, is a warm and welcoming new restaurant by Chef Brian Lewis, which embraces the local community and is greatly influenced by the artisan farmers and growers in our region. Chef Brian's creative take on American cooking offers an exciting menu of hand-crafted dishes, inspired by techniques and cultures from various regions around the globe. Our food, wine and signature cocktails are paired with gracious hospitality in a warm and cozy setting. We are deeply rooted in seasonality, focused on sourcing exceptional ingredients and creating a memorable experience for our guests.
Brian Lewis is one of Connecticut’s most celebrated chefs, lauded for his commitment to quality and seasonally driven American cuisine featured at his restaurant, The Cottage, as well as his love for Japanese cuisine at his newest venture, OKO. The Cottage, based in Westport, Connecticut, was recognized with an “Excellent” review in the New York Times, after only being open for four months, commending Lewis’ sophisticated menu in a cozy setting.
Lewis was also honored in 2018 as a semi-finalist for the James Beard Awards’ Best Chef: Northeast in the 2018.
He first received national recognition as the opening Executive Chef of actor Richard Gere’s The Bedford Post Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property that featured two destination restaurants, The Barn and The Farmhouse. There, he acquired national acclaim including Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant” list in 2009, and an “Excellent” review in the New York Times for his thoughtful and consciously sourced cuisine. He launched his first solo venture in March 2012 with elm, where he was once again named to Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant” list, this time in 2012, before leaving to focus on launching The Cottage in Connecticut’s Westport neighborhood. Lewis has also had the honor of being invited to cook three dinners at the historic James Beard House in New York City, most recently in January 2017 on behalf of The Cottage.
Raised in Westchester, New York, Lewis discovered his love for cooking at a very early age. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America with honors and went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree in business Management from Johnson and Wales University. Early experiences working under the guidance of legendary chefs like Jean Louis Palladin and Marco Pierre White strongly shaped Lewis’ culinary style to what it is today.
Christian Wilki serves as the Chef de Cuisine at The Cottage and OKO in Westport, Connecticut.
Born and raised in Denmark, Wilki served as Head Chef at Brasseriet Kiltgaard, developing the menus, which featured traditional Danish dishes, and overseeing the day-to-day operations in the kitchen. After moving to the United States in 2010, he was Head Chef at Chocopologie, and later spent time at the award-winning Community Table in Washington, Connecticut and Roia Restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut.
Wilki attended Kold College in Odense, Denmark, where he qualified as a chef with bronze distinction.
Charlie Gilhuly serves as the General Manager of OKO and The Cottage in Westport, Connecticut, overseeing operations and hospitality while working closely with Chef/Owner Brian Lewis.
Gilhuly has more than five years of experience in the hospitality industry, working throughout Fairfield County in management positions planning events, training staff and overseeing budgets.
Prior to joining The Cottage, he co-founded Grateful Food Company with his now wife, booking, planning and executing events for health-conscious clientele.
Raised in Fairfield, Charlie resides in Bridgeport with his wife and daughter
Ralph León is the Bar Manager at OKO and The Cottage in Westport, Connecticut, overseeing the beverage program at both establishments.
With over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, León most recently served as General Manager/Beverage Director at Harvest on Hudson in Westchester, New York, overseeing operations, service and guest interactions for the 300+ seat restaurant.
He is a certified sommelier through the American Sommelier Association and Sommelier Society of America. He holds additional certifications in spirits and wine through the Wine & Spirits Education Trust/International Wine Center.