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 Café Annie two years earlier. They needed a chef. Robert began experimenting in the kitchen and soon thereafter, became the Executive Chef and partner.
In 1986, Great Chefs were in Houston and taped Robert at Café 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.
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.
In May of 2009, Café 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 Café Express and Taco Milagro. Still, he finds time to play in his band “The Barbwires” with Dallas Great Chef Dean Fearing.
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”.