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Executive Chef/Partner, RDG & Bar Annie
President & COO, Schiller Del Grande Restaurant Group
For the better part of three decades, Robert Del Grande served as executive chef and partner of Houston’s nationally acclaimed Cafe Annie, widely regarded as the city’s premier fine dining establishment. In July 2009, Del Grande closed Cafe Annie and opened his new signature restaurant, RDG + Bar Annie. Self taught in his profession, Del Grande received his B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from the University of San Francisco and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Riverside.
In 1981, while courting Mimi Kinsman (now Mimi Del Grande), Del Grande ventured to Houston and took a summer position in the kitchen at the newly opened Cafe Annie, a restaurant owned by Candice (Mimi’s sister) and Lonnie Schiller. Initially planned as hiatus until finding a more permanent biochemistry job, the position grew into a long-term partnership and, ultimately, a family operation that included Mimi Del Grande joining the restaurant as General Manager.
During the ensuing years, Cafe Annie rose to the forefront of fine cooking in the Southwest, garnering many top honors and awards. Del Grande’s experimentation in the kitchen has made him a prominent figure in the historical revision of American cooking, indelibly changing the culinary landscape with his expertise in tastes and flavors indigenous to the region. After nearly thirty years, Del Grande has remained devoted to regional cooking in Texas and to the importance of the resonant pairing of wine and food.
With the launch of his new flagship restaurant, RDG + Bar Annie, Del Grande is once again defining the standards for dining and socializing in Houston. Featuring three distinct experiences – BLVD Lounge, Bar Annie, and the RDG Grill Room – under a single roof, Del Grande has created a high style dining Mecca for the iPhone generation. The first floor BLVD Lounge is a clubby gathering space for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Bar Annie – the trendy bar/restaurant hybrid carried over from Cafe Annie – and the RDG Grill Room, featuring a selection of prime steaks and seafood, share the second floor. Del Grande has designed menus to fit each venue-within-a-venue with options ranging from community plates perfect for sharing to Del Grande’s signature wood grilled creations.
Robert and Mimi Del Grande and Candice and Lonnie Schiller are also the founders and partners in several other successful ventures - under the umbrella of Schiller-Del Grande Restaurant Group - including Bar Annie, Houston’s first restaurant-within-a-restaurant at a fine dining establishment; Rio Ranch, a warm and welcoming venue for rustic Texas cowboy cuisine; Taco Milagro, where fresh, hand-made Mexican food is enjoyed in a tropical and festive setting; and the sporty, yet sophisticated, Cafe Express, an early pioneer of fast casual dining.
Del Grande has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, Entertainment Weekly, Food & Wine, Gourmet, The New York Times, PaperCity, Playboy, Southern Living, The Today Show, W and Wine Spectator, and has also hosted a regular cooking segment “In the Kitchen with Robert Del Grande” on the local FOX-TV affiliate KRIV.
Highlights of the culinary awards and honors Del Grande has been bestowed include:
Guest Chefs James Beard Awards Reception, 2003
Chef of the Year, 1998 Culinary Award
America’s Best Chef, Southwest, The James Beard Foundation, 1992
PBS production “Cooking with Master Chefs” featuring Julia Child, 1994
PBS Great Chefs series with Pierre Franey, 1992
Who’s Who of Cooking in Texas
Honor Roll of American Chefs, Food & Wine