After graduating from the University of San Francisco with a B.S. in chemistry and receiving his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Robert Del Grande came to Houston where he was courting Mimi Kinsman. Robert began experimenting in the kitchen of Mimi’s sister and brother-in-law, Candice and Lonnie Schiller at their then new restaurant, Café Annie. Robert never left that kitchen, becoming Executive Chef of Café Annie and using his creative chemistry to indelibly change the Houston culinary landscape with his interpretation of Southwest cuisine.
Robert never left Mimi either, and soon they were Mr. and Mrs. Del Grande, living in Houston and becoming founders and partners with the Schillers in a string of amazingly successful restaurants. These ventures include Café Express, a sporty but sophisticated café featuring “good fast food,” and Taco Milagro, offering Robert’s vision of Mexican cuisine.
The four original partners in the company all took specific roles: Robert is responsible for the food that has made him one of the most celebrated chefs in the country. Candice Schiller makes the restaurants look good. Mimi hires the employees and restaurant professionals, and very often it is her beautiful face that guests first see as they enter Café Annie. Lonnie Schiller finds the sites and the financing.
Ever grateful to Houston and Houstonians for their successes, Mimi and Robert enjoy showing their appreciation by supporting numerous charitable organizations, giving of their time, energy, creativity and resources. Known for their generosity of spirit, some of the causes that are closest to their hearts include DaCamera of Houston, the End Hunger Network, Meals on Wheels, Nature Conservancy, SOS (Share our Strength,) American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society, to name a few.
Recently, Mimi and Robert have been focused on their newest restaurants, The Grove and The Boathouse, in Downtown’s Discovery Green.
And, always, their top priority is their daughter, Tessa.