Chefs • Board & Advisors
Please select a name from the list below to learn more.
- Chef Cathal Armstrong Founder
Native Dubliner, Cathal Armstrong, Chef and Co-Owner of Restaurant Eve was born into a family with a passion for food. Unusual for families living in Dublin proper at the time, they had a fruit and vegetable garden, ate plenty of garlic and had their own travel business. Armstrong was exposed to the cuisine of other cultures by his father and developed an appreciation of gastronomy. According to Armstrong, “My father is a natural, a great cook.” Traveling regularly to neighboring European countries, Armstrong was introduced to the wealth of the food world, as well as being educated in the languages he speaks today: English, French, Spanish, and his native Irish.
This Irish chef still cherishes the memories of working alongside his father in the family garden, bonding time that firmed up not just his family ties, but also his affinity for the land. It was in France, at the tender age of seven, that Armstrong began his annual student exchange and his food curriculum for life. Each summer he lived with the same family, the Boudains’, returning to the truffle farms, peasant food and local vineyards. These influences instilled in Armstrong the importance of organic growing and sustainability before they were buzzwords.
Today he honors that tradition by demanding the highest-quality ingredients from a handpicked network of suppliers revered for their wholesome products. His guiding principal: “Nature is perfect. Extract the flavor. Enhance it. Don’t take away from it.”
This impassioned toque’s significant contribution to the local food movement garnered him accolades that extend beyond his cooking, including The National Restaurant Association ‘Neighborhood Community Award’, Edible Chesapeake Magazine- ‘Local Hero Award’ and The Washingtonian Magazine’s ‘Green Giant Award’ for those who work to protect and preserve our environment and teach the virtues of green living.
Armstrong is the board member of Fresh Farm Markets, which operates 8 farmers' markets in the Chesapeake Bay region. His devotion to the ideals of environmentalism, health, and conservation has led him to lecture abroad at the request of the US State Department. He was invited by the ambassador to the Bloom festival in Ireland to ‘recreate’ first Lady Michelle Obama’s Garden and demonstrated to school children and attendees the joys and benefits of ‘growing your own’. He moderated a discussion; The Green Restaurant Revolution with media mogul/restauranteur, Ted Turner and the National Restaurant Association. Recently he was a guest speaker at the * Fales Library’s “Critical Topics in Food Series”. * Home of one of the nation’s largest and prestigious archives in food studies.
The White House has taken notice of his four star intentions as well. As a father of two young children he has dedicated himself to educating children and families about healthy eating. He was one of the first chefs invited to the White House to brainstorm with chef Sam Kass on an initiative to improve school lunches.
Chef Armstrong is a Best Mid-Atlantic Chef nominee by the James Beard Foundation in 2009, selected as both Food & Wine magazine’s ‘10 Best New Chefs 2006’ and honored in Food & Wine magazine’s ‘50 Hall of Fame Best New Chefs and Best Chef Award Winner by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington DC in 2007.Four years after the opening of Restaurant Eve, Armstrong’s Tasting Room received a four-out of four star rating by Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema.
Rave reviews continue as Armstrong stretches out with complex, thoughtful cooking that knits together his Irish upbringing, his French training, and his grasp of the American culinary moment.
- Chef RJ Cooper Chef Advisory Council
As a ten year old growing up in Detroit, Michigan, RJ Cooper imagined himself a rock star chef playing in the kitchen with his mother and Sicilian grandmother who made ever ything f rom scratch. His first stint in the professional kitchen was as a high school student when he took an apprenticeship at a local bakery. Knowing right away that the culinary world was his calling, Cooper decided to further his education by attending The Culinary School at Kendall College in Illinois where he had the opportunity to work with chefs including Jean Joho, Tony Mantuano and Jean Banchet.
After graduation Cooper moved to Atlanta to work with Daniel Schaffhauser at The Ritz Carlton, Atlanta, Guenter Seeger at The Buckhead Ritz Carlton , and Gilbert LeCoze at Brasserie LeCoze. From here, Cooper went on to work with Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin. The time was invaluable for Cooper, teaching him how to get down and dirty with his staff in true Ripert style. During a three year move to Anchorage, Alaska, Cooper continued on his culinary development by taking the helm of the Crow’s Nest Restaurant in The Captain Cook Hotel. With the intent to bring the restaurant back to its former four star-four diamond quality, Cooper headed up the kitchen and revamped the menu, boosting staff morale and impressing locals. In the late 1990’s, Cooper moved to Washington D.C., working at New Heights and Toka Café before joining Vidalia in 2004 as chef de cuisine. Jeffrey Buben took on the role as mentor for Cooper, teaching him the fundamentals of running a business and keeping systems in place. Cooper’s Modern American philosophy shines through in dishes like Truffled Heirloom Potatoes with Garlic Cream, Crispy Pork Belly and Juniper-Infused Sea Salt, where Cooper uses a delicate hand to transform ordinary potatoes and pork belly into a composed and elegant dish. While keeping things fresh and modern with a flavored salt, it’s clear from the juniper-scented salt, reminiscent of a classic French cure, and the smooth-as-silk garlic cream, that Cooper’s schooling is grounded in the fundamentals of classic French cooking.
- Allison Erdle (Acting) Executive Director, Chefs as Parents
Allison Erdle, MBA, CFRE, is a resource development consultant with expertise in all areas of non-profit management. She holds an MBA in International Business/Spanish and is a Certified Fundraising Executive. Since 2006, Ms. Erdle has managed her own consulting business serving non-profit organizations in the areas of the arts, education, international development, healthcare, Hispanic communities, and schools and at-risk children. Her efforts involve strategic resource development and fundraising, business planning, non-profit management and other institutional advancement activities. Her clients have included Eat Good Food Group, Alexandria Country Day School, Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services, Hispanics Against Child Abuse Now(HACAN), the Lorton Arts Foundation, and the Alexandria Small Business Development Center, among others.
Ms. Erdle serves on the board of the Washington Forrest Foundation, a private foundation which makes grants annually to education, arts, human services and other needs in the Northern Virginia area, on the Community Investment Committee for the Alexandria Community Trust, is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and Founder and Chair of Give Back Alexandria, a volunteer networking group designed to educate and increase the number of philanthropists giving back to Alexandria non-profit organizations who are addressing the needs of at-risk children in the community. She is fluent in Spanish.
Ms. Erdle lives with her family in Alexandria, Virginia, where she is also a home chef who is always devising new ways to get her kids and husband to eat healthy delicious meals.
- Chef David Guas Chef Advisory Council
Sitting in a freezing goose blind at 5am with three or four buddies and a thermos of hot coffee is what David Guas calls fun. So is bass fishing, and long road trips on his highly customized Harley Davidson. He is, after all, a native of New Orleans, in the state that is nicknamed “Sportsman’s Paradise.”
In fact, in 2007, when Guas exchanged his ten-year tenure as a corporate pastry chef for an entrepreneurial path that includes private consultation, boutique catering, cookbook authoring, and a new retail bakery and eatery on the horizon, he was actual ly rever t ing to hi s own independent business sense that is rooted in these outdoor gear-intense passions. He grew up cutting grass after school and on weekends, sinking his earnings into his adolescent fishing habit: rods and reels, a huge tackle box filled with all sorts of jigs and poppers, and a little boat with two electric trolling motors. Now within easy reach of the Chesapeake, he’s always game to be first mate on a friend’s boat for a day of rockfishing.
Out on the Eastern Shore, he’s also rediscovered an early passion for hunting waterfowl, which had been a way of life growing up in Louisiana. The hunting and fishing seasons have reconnected him to the natural rhythms of the outdoors, much as he is innately aware of the growing seasons of the fruits and herbs he cooks with, and the lifecycles of the area honeybees. On his leisurely Sunday rides through the northern Virginia countryside on his Harley [“very subtle; the color of a Japanese eggplant,”] he is always on the lookout for new farm stands and other possible sources of natural honey, another longtime fascination.
A chef with any less experience, drive, and creative force would have a hard time finding room for anything outside the kitchen, let alone such fulfilling hobbies and a busy family with two young boys.
But Guas’ full life, hard work and particularly appealing dessert style, best described as ‘elegant comfort food,’ are clearly a successful combination. His first cookbook, DamGoodSweet - Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth New Orleans Style [Taunton Press, 2009] was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Dessert Cookbooks” of the year; is a finalist for the prestigious International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award in the American Category; and has been nominated for a James Beard Award in the Baking and Dessert Cookbook category.
He has earned accolades and recognition from such exalted sources as The Washington Post, The New York Times, Esquire, Pastry Arts and Design and Food Arts magazines. He was featured in Oprah Magazine as one of the country’s best pastry chefs in its May 2010 Tenth Anniversary issue. In 2004, he was named “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. In 2003, Bon Appétit featured him as one of eight “Dessert Stars” in the country. His comfortable, down home persona gets him regular invitations to appear on The Today Show and was a guest host on the PBS series, Chef ’s A Field. Guas also serves on the board of Best Buddies of Virginia and Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans; is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance; Slow Food USA; Share Our Strength; and is a founding member of District Hogs – that’s right: a group of local restaurant professionals who ride their motorcycles for fun, research, and charity.
Guas comes by his passion for good food naturally. It would be easy to say “It’s a New Orleans Thing,” but even in such a food-conscious town, the Guas family had the advantage of a Cuban grandfather, “Abuelo,” who was his grandson’s first culinary mentor, and “Granny” on the other side, a down-home cook from Amite, Louisiana, who taught her grandson to appreciate the bounty of Louisiana’s seasonal produce, berries and a little boudin thrown in the mix!
This reverence for good, nurturing food -- and the joy in preparing it -- propelled young Guas towards his career as a chef. When he began to investigate how to go about it, his Granny made a call to one of her kinfolk who was none other than Justin Wilson, the legendary Cajun cooking guru, cookbook author, and one of the first PBS personalities locally to host several of his own hows. He recommended a few specialized classes with his friend Frank Sclafani, a man that was like a good gumbo— a blend of Italian and Cajun heritage, who runs a small culinary school in New Orleans. And can he cook! Frank was most instrumental at teaching Guas the basic, classical preparations, as well as certain cutting-edge techniques needed to secure a job in a high-profile kitchen. As an associate pastry chef at the acclaimed Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans with renowned chef, Jeff Tunks, at the helm, Guas churned out thousands of desserts each week. Tunks took notice of this talented and driven young member of his staff and invited him to Washington, DC where he was opening a new restaurant. DC Coast was launched in 1998 to critical and popular acclaim, with David Guas in the pastry kitchen. As corporate pastry chef for Passion Food Hospitality, he went on to develop the dessert menus for each of Tunks’ subsequent four restaurants over the ensuing decade.
At this point in his life, Guas’ hunting-fishing-riding buddies aren’t just a random collection of friends; they’re all in the food industry: fellow chefs, restaurateurs, artisan producers, and the owner of a big seafood supply company. “Our excursions are escapes, sure, from what can be a very high-pressure industry,” admits Guas, “we’re not out to brainstorm the next big culinary thing. But as in any creative field, you can never plan when inspiration will strike. With this crowd, when it does, I can always bounce it around a few experts.”
- Jennie Kuperstein Advisory Council - Communications
- Beth Larson Advisory Council
For over thirty years, Beth Larson has been developing unique solutions for difficult Intelligence Community problems as a Senior Executive within the Central Intelligence Agency, a Professional Staff Member for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and as a Principal at Booz Allen Hamilton. She has managed multi-million dollar programs, developed coalitions across the government, and written national security policy. In her spare time, Beth is an avid cook and gardener.
- Simone Rathlé Advisory Council - Public Relations
With nearly a quarter century of experience as a public relations executive in the high-end hospitality industry, Simone Rathlé knows fine hotels and restaurants. Her Washington-based boutique consulting firm, simoneink, specializes in promoting a select collection of restaurants, small hotels, resorts, and spas from the Adirondack Mountains to heart of Texas, from her hometown of New Orleans to her home base in the nation’s capital.
Cal-A-Vie, the Vista, California luxury spa that Ms. Rathlé represented from 2003 to 2008, was named #2 in the world among Top Destination Spas by Travel + Leisure in October 2004. Two New Orleans hotel properties, International House and Loft 523, represented from 1998-2009, were featured in numerous national and international publications as well as coffee table books, Chic Hotel, and the internationally acclaimed interior design book, Hip Hotels. The Chanler at Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island, gained continuous recognition for being the most luxe hotel along the Northeast coastline. In its heyday, The Garrett Hotel Group was one of her most prominent hotel clients, representing from 2000-2010; The Point, in Saranac Lake, New York, a resort consistently listed as #1 in the country by the Zagat Guide to Top U.S. Resorts, was its flagship property; The Inn of he Five Graces in Santa Fe was named one of Andrew Harper’s Top 25 Global Hideaways for 2005, and Lake Placid Lodge, a Relais & Châteaux resort and a constant on the top travel destination lists, remains a gem in her portfolio. Long the nation’s foremost promoter of the Adirondack style and craftsmanship, Lake Placid Lodge has recently been named a finalist for the Travel + Leisure Global Vision Awards in the Preservation category. Ms. Rathlé is also happy to be representing The Inn at Dos Brisas, which in its young and laudable life has already recently garnered Mobil 5 Stars for its restaurant (of only 17 in the country with that accreditation) and the hotel with restaurants has been selected as a member of Relais & Châteaux. The Clifton Inn, also a Relais & Châteaux property, exudes quiet country charm with a Jeffersonian pedigree in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Among the fine restaurants Ms. Rathlé has represented was Seeger’s in Atlanta, the completely renovated showcase for the award-winning cuisine of world-renowned chef Guenter Seeger. Currently, simoneink represents John Besh and has secured his name in the public eye for the past ten years. Besh is the talented chef behind August in New Orleans, which has been listed in Gourmet magazine’s Guide to America’s Best Restaurants, and Besh Steak, La Provence, Lüke, Domenica, and American Sector. In 2006, Chef Besh received his second nomination for a James Beard Foundation Award and won as Best Chef of the Southeast. Besh competed and won against Mario Batali on Iron Chef America and one year later competed for the title of Iron Chef America. Besh was highlighted in the Sundance Iconoclast series as a superior citizen making a difference in his community. Four of the most highly acclaimed and popular restaurants in the nation’s capital, DC Coast, TenPenh, Ceiba, Acadiana and their sister restaurant Passion Fish, located in Reston, Virginia, also benefit from Ms. Rathlé’s expertise. Jeff Tunks, their chef and co-owner, was Washington’s Chef of the Year for 2003-2004 and was appointed a board member of the Southern Food&Beverage Museum in New Orleans. Three of Tunks’ restaurants have been honored as Best Restaurant in the United States by food critic John Mariani in Esquire Magazine. TenPenh was also included in Gourmet magazine’s Guide to America’s Best Restaurants.
Another acclaimed Washington chef now graces simoneink’s client list: Robert Wiedmaier, awardwinning chef-owner of Marcel’s, Brasserie Beck, Brabo, The Butcher’s Block, and Mussel Bar, is distinguished not only by his fine French and hearty Flemish cuisine, but also in his role as a fullcircle chef, to whom hunting and fishing are an integral part of the process in preparing good food.
A new division of media relations has unfolded at simoneink with two of her clients publishing cookbooks in the fall of 2009. Chef John Besh’s impressive first cookbook, My New Orleans (Andrew McNeel, October 2009,) was nominated for a James Beard Award and won a coveted IACP Award. A spectacular cookbook by David Guas[Washington’s Pastry Chef of the Year for 2004-2005[, Dam Good Sweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth New Orleans Style (Taunton Press, November 2009), was also nominated for a James Beard Award and was a finalist for an IACP Award. Upon completion of Guas’ cookbook, Ms. Rathlé helped him develop his vision of a place to enjoy New Orleans desserts in metropolitan D.C. into a reality: Bayou Bakery will be a homey deep southern café, a neighborhood gathering place with plenty of vintage Louisiana character.
Ms. Rathlé is equally at home in the growing industry of culinary television. In addition to placing her chefs on major broadcast television programs like CNN and NBC’s Today Show, she has secured a national television show on TLC, Inedible to Incredible for John Besh, and has successfully interested prime national networks in featuring her other chefs.
Prior to establishing her own firm, Ms. Rathlé directed media relations for some of the world’s most notable hotel corporations. For Orient-Express Hotels, she coordinated all PR for the Windsor Court Hotel, New Orleans, and The Lodge at Vail, Colorado, and was a liaison with the European properties for a period of over six years. Following her tenure in New Orleans and affiliations abroad, for four years she was Public Relations Director for Exclusive Hotels by Forte, whose properties include The Hotel Plaza Athénée, The Hotel Westbury, and The Watergate Hotel in the US, the King Edward in Toronto, The Plaza Athénée in Paris, and The Westbury in London. A position with The Wentworth Group placed her in charge of PR for The Westbury, New York and The Westbury and The Wentworth Club, London.
In her capacity as PR executive, Ms. Rathlé has worked extensively with corporate and media executives, dignitaries, and celebrities, including President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan; President George H.W. Bush; Prime Minister John Majors; Raul Granillo Ocampo, the Ambassador of Argentina; Prince and Princess Michael of Kent; Keith Richards; Julia Child; and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Ms. Rathlé has won two gold Addies, or American Advertising Awards. She is also an avid runner, and has competed extensively, completing a marathon and winning the New York City Turkey Trot for her age category. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier and the Southern Foodways Alliance. Currently, Ms. Rathlé is advisor to the St, Bernard Project, a non-profit organization assisting in wellness and building homes for displaced St. Bernard residents. In June 2010, after attending First Lady, Michelle Obama’s Chef’s Move at the White House, Ms. Rathlé joined the board of Chefs as Parents that will help rebuild children’s meal plan needs in the DC public school system. In recognition of her expertise in the industry, Leading Hotels of the World appointed Ms. Rathlé to its Media Advisory Board for 2004-2005. Ms. Rathlé also was appointed to the Media Advisory Board for the Louisiana Tourism and Cultural Development Committee under Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu on several occasions. In 2006, Ms. Rathlé was asked to lend her expertise and talents to the James Beard Foundation Awards. She was responsible for promoting the awards to television outlets.
Among Ms. Rathlé’s proudest accomplishments are her fundraising efforts. In 2005, “Po’ Boy Power!” – a fundraiser she developed for the benefit of Hurricane Katrina victims -- made national news. The first of the two “Po’ Boy Power!” events was held just 12 days after the devastating storm hit, and her efforts helped raise $27,000 within a two hour time span. She was also involved in raising funds for policemen and firemen in the city’s devastated communities over the course of the following year. In June 2010, she was tapped to help the St. Bernard Project raise funds via the Patrón Tequila Epicurean Express, to benefit fishermen of the Gulf Coast whose livelihoods had been destroyed by the oil spill. In Washington, the ‘station stop’ that she conducted, the two-day event raised nearly $20,000 and in New Orleans raising close to $30,000, a substantial contribution toward its $100,000 goal.
The success of simoneink comes from its personal approach to positioning its clients. All media contacts and hospitality industry officials work directly with the principal, Simone Rathlé. All conceptualization, execution, creative writing, marketing development, graphic design, art direction, branding, food styling, editorial placement, and maintaining extensive media relations is proactively directed by Ms. Rathlé. For her energetic, thoughtful, and savvy expertise, simoneink is continually recognized as one of the premier boutique agencies in the country.
- Bill Sanders Advisory Council
Bill is President, Partner of 400 Capital Management L.L.C. an alternative investment management firm specializing in fixed income credit strategies. He is responsible for risk management, capital formation and strategic business development. He serves as a senior member of the Investment and Operating Committees. Prior to 400CM, Bill was a Founding Partner, Board Member and Head of Trading for Amherst Holdings, L.L.C., a privately held financial services firm specializing in mortgage backed securities and structured products. As Head of Trading for Amherst, Bill oversaw capital allocation, risk management, VAR limits as well as treasury functions. In addition, Bill acted as Chief Operating Officer overseeing accounting, control and general administration. Bill retired from Amherst to pursue asset management ambitions in late 2008 but remains a Board Member. Bill has twenty four years of financial services experience and in addition to Amherst and Freddie Mac, has held senior trading and management positions at Bank of America, First Boston, and JPMorgan. Mr. Sanders earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in Business Administration & Economics from the University of Delaware in 1986.
Bill is the founding Chairman of The Wine Advocate Fund for Philanthropy. In 2005, together with wine critic Robert Parker and friends, he created a not-for-profit organization whose focus is to raise money for various types of cancer research. Beneficiaries to date include the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and Johns Hopkins Medicine in Maryland.
- Rebecca Sanders Advisory Council
Rebecca is President of Destin Realty, Inc., a resort real estate company she founded in 1983, located on the beautiful beaches of Destin, Florida. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, her family later relocated to Pensacola, Florida. She attended the University of Alabama where she earned a B.S. degree in Fashion Merchandising and Retailing.
In addition to her company, Rebecca worked in the securities field where she met her husband Bill. They reside in McLean, Virginia with their two children, Samantha (28) and Tyler (15). Rebecca also serves as a Board Trustee and Science Committee member for The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA. Bill and Rebecca's passion for food and wine combined with the generosity of friends and industry professionals who share this same passion, have given them the opportunity to use this platform for philanthropic endeavors.
- Todd Thrasher Treasurer
True to the slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers,” Todd Thrasher, a native Virginian, is a lover of many things —scuba diving, the island of Bonaire, playing golf and cooking. Most importantly, however, is his love for the creation of the perfect artisan cocktail and his knowledge of wine. Todd came to Restaurant Eve with a distinguished vintage palate, a keen eye for the freshest ingredients and the flavors they impart and a deep love of the hospitality industry.
Never one to handle any task in the requisite manner, Todd has done everything from hone his skills as a scuba diving instructor to breathe fire a la Gene Simmons, to expertly sabering a bottle of champagne. But it’s his expert wine lists and trend setting cocktails for Restaurant Eve, The Majestic and PX that have earned him acclaim and garnered him highly coveted awards. “I strive to do things differently. I want our guests to remember what they drank just as much as what they ate - I want them to experience it the way I do,” Thrasher explains. His passion is evident from the wine pairings he creates to accompany the Restaurant Eve tasting menus to his highly coveted Edenesque Cocktails. Created with exceptional and unique ingredients, many of the cocktails are house-made. Where else could you find house made bitters in 14 varieties? Known as one of the best mixologists in the nation, many, including Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema, have applauded his specialty cocktails and creations:
“Sipping "Peaches and Herb" through a thin metal straw, I'm reminded that sommelier Todd Thrasher is also one of the best mixologists anywhere.”
Thrasher is also partner in Eamonn’s A Dublin Chipper, the speakeasy lounge upstairs, PX, and The Majestic, all located in Old Town Alexandria. At PX, named for VIP patrons of Eve, Thrasher executes “bar magic” to guests with whimsical cocktails. Retro favorite Las Ramblas is created with house made cola, house made sweet vermouth and Barbancourt rum and the Hollyhocktail features a blend of hibiscus, coconut water, Cruzan rum and Canton ginger cognac. At The Majestic, a historic local institution serving Virginian fare, he offers classic cocktails with a nod to their derivations, such as a Mint Julep, also known as the Kentucky Derby cocktail. Made with Jim Beam Bourbon, mint and sugar on crushed ice, many do not know that this classic cocktail first appeared in print in 1803 described as a “dram of spirituous liquor that has mint in it, taken by Virginians in the morning.”
Thrasher’s Classic Egg Creams also appear on the restaurant’s menu. At Restaurant Eve, highlights include the Gin and ‘Tonic’ prepared with house made tonic and Citadelle gin and The Black Bass, a surprising and delicious concoction of fennel liqueur, fennel syrup, roasted oranges and olives.
Thrasher’s cocktails are not only merely terrific libations, but they also carry a unique back-story. When Chef Cathal Armstrong was trying to quit smoking, Todd’s answer was to create The Smoker’s Delight for PX, which uses Old Virginia Tobacco and Virginia-made honey. This cocktail both celebrated the 400th anniversary of Jamestown and aided his friend in forgoing his pack a day habit. Thrasher recently created the Plight of the Honey Bee, an elixir of honey liqueur, honey vinegar, honey syrup, and Jim Beam that sports the insect’s stripes and is designed to focus attention on the disappearance of these enormously beneficial creatures. Another new addition is the I Cuddah Binnah Contendah, made with Barbancourt ‘8 Year’ Rum, Domaine de Canton, pineapple and cilantro. This drink is a humorous nod to his disqualification at a recent Domaine de Canton Bartender Competition when one of his ice-cold cocktail vessels managed to shatter when hot liquid was unfortunately and accidentally poured into it.
What’s next for the multi-talented Thrasher? Coming in late 2011, the team behind Restaurant Eve will open Society Fair™, a European style butcher, bakery, wine and gourmet food shop. Thrasher, a partner in the project, will offer wine tastings and cocktails will take an ‘interactive’ approach with Private Bar Chef Classes.
- Chef Robert Wiedmaier Chef Advisory Council
Chef and Proprietor Wiedmaier developed a strong passion for the culinary arts at a young age while growing up in Germany. A family subscription to the French newspaper “Le Monde” provided him with key insights into the lives of famed chefs. Born to a father who is 100% Belgian and a mother who is Californian, Wiedmaier was given a chance to see and experience ingredient-based cuisine with the freshest produce, meat and dairy.
Wiedmaier attended the Culinary School of Horca in the Netherlands. His apprenticeship at the Thermidor Restaurant, a Michelin two-star establishment in Hulst, Holland, brought him to Brussels to work with famed Chef Eddie Van Maele. In 1986, he took the position as Saucier at Le Chardon D’Or in the Morrison House in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, bringing him to the United States for the first time in his culinary career.
In 1988, Wiedmaier joined the team at the renowned Le Pavillion as Chef Poissonnier, which featured the finest nouvelle French cuisine in the city. A year later, the Four Seasons Hotel, the most prominent hotel in Washington, D.C., offered Wiedmaier the Sous Chef position for their Aux Beaux Champs restaurant under the tutorial direction of Chef Douglass McNeill. For over seven years, Wiedmaier’s European experience contributed to the upscale French cuisine of this prestigious restaurant and the hotel’s catered events.
Chef Wiedmaier opened Café on M at The Grand Hotel in 1994. This restaurant gave Wiedmaier a personal venue for utilizing his culinary roots and is where he established his critically acclaimed French Cuisine flavored with a Flemish Flair.
In June of 1996, The Watergate Hotel asked Wiedmaier to oversee and manage the culinary operations for the hotel. He also undertook the re-design of the kitchen and opened their then-new restaurant, Aquarelle. Wiedmaier replaced Executive Chef Jean-Louis Palladin, whose tenure at the hotel had been immensely successful as well as having been a strategic mentor to Wiedmaier.
In March of 1999, Robert Wiedmaier opened Marcel’s restaurant, named after his first-born son who was born in December 1998. Wiedmaier’s fine dining establishment has received significant acclaim for his cuisine; the Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year award by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington in 2004 and in 2009, “Chef of Year”, annually maintains top ratings from Washingtonian magazine and The Washington Post dining guides and is rated in the Top Five Food category by Zagat. Wiedmaier along with his two sons, appeared in his own segment, “Rockfish Round-Up in the Chesapeake Bay” on PBS’s award-winning series, Chef’s a Field, Kids on the Farm, Season Three.
Eight years later, in April of 2007, Wiedmaier opened his second DC restaurant, the instantly successful Brasserie Beck, named after his younger son. Brasserie Beck boasts the region’s most comprehensive Belgian beer list that complements his classical, Belgian casual fare of Mussels & Frites, Carbonnade and Waterzooie in a contemporary, atmosphere. Esquire magazine named Beck’s as one of the Best New Restaurants in America, 2007.
In early 2009, Wiedmaier forged a partnership with San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and opened three distinctive food and wine experiences in Alexandria, Virginia. Designed by acclaimed Vicente Wolf, Brabo by Robert Wiedmaier features a 105-seat dining room, the Brabo Tasting Room with a wood-burning oven and Alexandria’s first gourmet retail shop named, The Butcher’s Block, a Market by RW. Wiedmaier also oversees the hotel’s entire food and beverage operations for meeting and banquet spaces at the adjacent Lorien Hotel & Spa, a Kimpton Hotel.
In July 2010, Wiedmaier will open his most casual eatery to date, the Mussel Bar in Bethesda, Maryland. Mussel Bar will feature the signature mussels and pared down beer list he serves at Brasserie Beck.
Wiedmaier characterizes himself as a “full circle chef”, in and out of the kitchen. An avid hunter and fisherman, Wiedmaier first-hand understands the life cycles and harvesting seasons of many animals and fish species, how to breakdown the entire animal/catch and use as many parts possible for cooking to minimize waste, and is dedicated to supporting sustainable farmers, fisheries and vendors that adhere to the same principles. One of Wiedmaier’s most entrusted vendors, and friend, is Joe Henderson of Chapel Hill Farm in Berryville, Virginia. Henderson raises Randall Lineback, America's rarest breed of cattle which is threatened with extinction, and he does this without using feedlots, antibiotics, and growth hormones. Wiedmaier is also a member of the Wild Alaska Seafood Congress of Conscious Chefs formed by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) to share with the public the benefits of wild and sustainable Alaska seafood from a culinary, health and environmental perspective.
In his free time, Wiedmaier enjoys trolling the Chesapeake Bay and hunting with his two sons and riding his Harley-Davidson. He and his wife Polly live in Kensington, MD with their two sons, Marcel (11) and Beck (7).