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Meet

Robert Del Grande

Executive chef and owner

Chef Biography

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Chef Robert Del Grande was born in 1954. He received his BS in Chemistry and Biology from the University of San Francisco in 1976 and his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California at Riverside in 1980. In 1981, while courting his future wife Mimi, Chef ventured to Houston where Mimi was visiting her sister and brother-in-law, who had opened Cafe Annie two years earlier. They needed a chef. Robert began experimenting in the kitchen and soon thereafter, became the Executive Chef and partner.
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In 1986, Great Chefs were in Houston and taped Robert at Cafe Annie for their Great Chefs of the West series. It was the epicenter when Southwestern cuisine shook up the American dining scene. He prepared three dishes, an appetizer Cream of Cilantro Soup with Mussels, an entrée of Grilled Squab (that almost burned the restaurant down), and a Chocolate Cake dessert.
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In 1996, Great Chefs returned to Houston where Chef Del Grande had opened a second restaurant, Rio Ranch. This time he prepared an appetizer Spicy Shrimp with Avocado Salsa and Fried Tortilla Chips and two entrées, Country Style Pork Ribs and Cinnamon Roasted Chicken.
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In May of 2009, Cafe Annie closed and two months later in July “Restaurant RDG” (initials of the chef) opened a few blocks away. Chef Robert and his brother-in-law, Lonnie Schiller, have been founders and partners in other ventures, like Cafe Express and Taco Milagro. Still, he finds time to play in his band “The Barbwires” with Dallas Great Chef Dean Fearing.
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And the awards keep coming at him, one of the latest was that he was named in 2013 as “One of the Coolest People in Food”.

Robert Del Grande Music

Dean Fearing and Robert Del Grande met in the early 1980s, when as young renegades they turned the culinary world upside down. Along with chef Stephan Pyles, the three Texans — each with his own unique culinary style — created what is now known throughout the world as Southwestern cuisine. Double lightning struck when Fearing and Del Grande discovered they both played Martin guitars.

They immediately started writing songs together and played their first show as the Barbwires at a fundraiser for the prestigious James Beard Foundation in 1985. Never letting their skyrocketing culinary careers get in the way, they've been playing together ever since at parties and food festivals throughout the country; the band has even appeared on television.