Chef Robert del Grande of RDG + Bar Annie - Biography

Houston, TX

September 2010

Robert Del Grande, one of the celebrated chefs of America, is the executive chef and partner of the renowned Cafe Annie in Houston, Texas. He has since figured prominently in the historical revision of American cooking, indelibly changing the culinary landscape with his use of the tastes and flavors of the Southwest.

Del Grande was born in 1954. He 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 1980. In 1981, while courting Mimi Kinsman (now Mimi Del Grande), Robert ventured to Houston where Mimi was visiting her sister and brother-in-law, Candice and Lonnie Schiller. There, he began experimenting in the kitchen of the Schiller’s restaurant, Cafe Annie. Del Grande remained in Houston and soon became the Executive Chef of Cafe Annie.

Since then Robert and Mimi Del Grande along with Candice and Lonnie Schiller have been founders and partners in several other ventures. Cafe Express is a sporty yet sophisticated cafe offering "Good Food Fast" as an antidote to the fast food culture. Cafe Express now has six locations in Houston, three in Dallas, and plans for more throughout the country. Nation's Restaurant News recently named Cafe Express one of the 12 "Hottest Concepts" in the United States. Taco Milagro is the newest concept and offers Del Grande’s vision of Mexican cuisine in Texas.

Del Grande and his restaurants have received numerous culinary awards and honors for the revelatory southern cuisine for which they are known. Café Annie was named Best Restaurant in Houston in 1999 by Food & Wine Magazine, it was awarded one of “America’s Top Tables” by Gourmet Magazine in 1997, 1998, and 1999. Robert received The James Beard Award in 1992, mention in Who’s Who of Cooking in Texas, and Honor Roll of American Chefs in Food & Wine Magazine.

His most recent projects, RDG + Bar Annie and The Grove have made quite an impression on Houston diners. RDG + Bar Annie is the next evolution of the legendary Café Annie. Housed in a spectacular new building on Post Oak Boulevard, the new restaurant has captured all the qualities of the past in a stunning and dramatic new look. And The Grove has fast become one of the most popular event spaces in the city. Whether at RDG + Bar Annie or The Grove Robert and Mimi Del Grande are always at the helm; much is new and the best remains the same.