Chef Robert Wiedmaier rose from the ranks of dishwasher to earn
a Michelin star and own and operate 11 restaurants in Washington,
D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and Atlantic City.
He grew up in Brussels, Belgium, the son of a Holocaust survivor
who spent eight months of the war hiding in a butcher shop in the
south of France. A dyslexic, Wiedmaier gravitated to the kitchen at
an early age, beginning his working life at 14. He later attended
culinary school in The Netherlands, apprenticing at the Thermidor,
a two-star Michelin restaurant in Holland. It was not long after
that he found his way to the kitchen of the two-Michelin star Eddie
Van Maele in Brussels. The experience was a revelation for the
young chef, and gave him a clear vision for his future.
In 1986, chef Wiedmaier accepted the job of saucier at Le
Chardon d'Or at The Morrison House, in Alexandria, Va., before
joining the brigade at Le Pavillion, helping to create the finest
nouvelle cuisine in Washington, D.C. A year later he was named sous
chef at Aux Beaux Champs, in the Four Seasons, under the direction
of chef Douglass McNeill.
By 1994, chef Wiedmaier was ready to strike out on his own. He
opened Café on M at The Grand Hotel, where he established his
signature Franco-Flemish style, before taking over at the Watergate
Hotel, replacing the legendary Jean-Louis Palladin.
In 1999, Wiedmaier opened the contemporary, European, Marcel's.
Sumptous in its elegance, with a refined and exacting cuisine that
never goes out of fashion, the restaurant has not only become his
flagship, but is also consistently ranked among the city's best by
The Washington Post, The Washingtonian, and the readers of Open
Table. It has earned numerous awards from Wine Spectator and the
Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington RAMMY Awards, and
its service and wine program has also received multiple James Beard
Chef Wiedmaier waited seven years to open his second restaurant,
Brasserie Beck, also in Washington, D.C. Conceived as a relaxed and
casual restaurant where diners could go for mussels, stews, and
braises - along with one of the country's best Belgian beer lists -
the restaurant recently celebrated its 11th birthday.
In 2009, Wiedmaier partnered with Kimpton Hotels' Lorien Hotel
& Spa in Alexandria, Va., opening two adjacent establishments:
Brabo and The Brabo Tasting Room. It was a successful, eight year
run, full of honors and awards, after which the chef amicably moved
on to concentrate on other opportunities.
The next year saw the launch of Mussel Bar & Grille in
Bethesda, Md. The restaurant, a hearty celebration of pub grub,
Belgian-style, has since grown to include locations in Arlington,
Va., and Baltimore, Md.
In November 2012, chef Wiedmaier opened Wildwood Kitchen in
Bethesda, serving a light, spice-accented cuisine influenced by the
23 countries surrounding the Mediterranean.
A passionate lover of jazz, blues, and roots rock, the chef made
his first foray into the music business in 2015 with a club,
Villain & Saint in Bethesda. That same year saw the opening, as
well, of Lock 72 in Potomac, Md.
The chef's newest venture, Siren, which opened in the Fall of
2017 at The Darcy hotel near Logan Circle, has enjoyed a brilliant
debut. A seafood emporium with a dazzling fish bar, it received a
Michelin star in 2018, as well as rave reviews in The Washington
Post and The Washingtonian.
Chef Wiedmaier has been honored and awarded numerous times for
his talent and service. In 2009, he was named Washington's Chef of
the Year by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.
In 2012, the U.S. State Department and James Beard Foundation
tapped him for its Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative. That
same year he was also inducted into The Knighthood of the Brewers'
Mashstaff, a century old brewer's guild in Brussels. In 2014, he
was brought in as the chef of honor to cook for the U.S. Ambassador
to the U.K. at the new London embassy. He has even had a beer
brewed and named exclusively for him, the double blonde ale
Antigoon. He was featured on the James Beard Award-winning program,
Chefs A 'Field, on PBS, and is a proud member of the Wild Alaska
Seafood Congress of Conscious Chefs.
Last year he launched a consulting agency, Primal Cut
Consulting, a full-service operation whose mission is to think
boldly and fearlessly about the many complex issues facing the
Chef Wiemaier lives with his wife, Polly, in Kensington, with
his teenage son, Beck. His other son, Marcel, is away at