Many of you (if not all of you) will not recognize this place. It is not a famous home, being located in not Newport but nearby Middletown RI. The home, known as Villa Chez Nous, is located directly across from 'Vinland', where the owner of this house worked for nearly 40 years as chef-de-cuisine. His name was Joseph Donon.
French Chef Joseph Donon In The KItchen of The Twombly Estate 'Florham"
He previously worked for the Henry Clay Fricks, and was about to go with them onto the Titanic, but Mrs Frick broke her ankle and they didn't go. He was lured away from them by Florence Twombly, who wanted him to cook for her at her three homes.
'Vinland', The Twombly Cottage In Newport RI, Across From Villa Chez Nous
After Florence Twombly's death in 1954, and after a year of waiting for his replacement, Joseph decided it was time to retire. Mrs Twombly had left him nearly $100,000 in her will, though he only received about $5,000 due to the massive inheritance taxes on her estate. In addition, he had been paid very well by the Twomblys and he also received a stipend for his services in the French Regiment. He retired to Villa Chez Nous, where he actively participated in fishing and cooking as a hobby. He made a guest appearance at 'Marble House' for a special event held by the Preservation Society and served as Head Chef. He died in 1982 and the home is currently in heirs hands.
Photos Courtesy of Robert Bruce.