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TEDxPennQuarter 2011 Rob Wilder Reinventing A Mission

Rob Wilder is the CEO and co-founder of ThinkFoodGroup (TFG), the management company responsible for the daily operations of Washington's landmark restaurants Caf? Atl?ntico, minibar by jos? andr?s, Zaytinya, Oyamel and Jaleo. In addition, the company oversees Los Angeles' four star dining destination the Bazaar by Jos? Andr?s as well as three new restaurants at the recently opened The Cosmopolitan at Las Vegas: China Poblano, Jaleo and ? by Jos? Andr?s. TFG also handles Jos? Andr?s' additional creative endeavors encompassing cookbooks, television programming, concept consulting, and new restaurant projects. In 1993, Wilder joined forces with Washington-based restaurateur Roberto Alvarez and Chef Jos? Andr?s to launch and operate the first Jaleo, Washington's fun-spirited Spanish tapas restaurant located downtown in Penn Quarter. In 2001, came the opening of the second Jaleo in Bethesda, Maryland, and then the Mediterranean-inspired, Zaytinya in October 2002. In 2003, Zaytinya captured the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington's New Restaurant of the Year and was nominated for Best New Restaurant in the US by the James Beard Foundation. Conde Nast Traveler included Zaytinya on its list of "Hottest" restaurants in the world, and Washingtonian named Zaytinya the "Best New Restaurant" in Washington. Wilder and his partners next opened the critically acclaimed minibar by jos? andr?s, a six-seat restaurant within a restaurant, Caf? Atlantico. A third Jaleo and a small plates Mexican concept restaurant, Oyamel, soon followed in Crystal City in 2004. In 2006, the award-winning restaurant group was rechristened ThinkFoodGroup. In the fall of 2008, ThinkFoodGroup partnered with sbe and designer Philippe Starck opened the SLS at Beverly Hills opened in the fall of 2008 and is home to the four star The Bazaar by Jos? Andr?s. Esquire magazine named The Bazaar the "Best New Restaurant of 2009" and GQ magazine chose it as a top ten for 2009. SLS recently announced their next location in Miami. SLS South Beach is scheduled to open in 2012. In 2009 TFG partnered with one of DC's premiere caterers to create Jos? Andr?s Catering with Ridgewells and in the fall of 2010 were awarded the contract to manage food service at Arena Stage in Washington. Rob and Jos? were also awarded the Richard Melman Award from Restaurant Hospitality in recognition their exciting and relevant restaurant concepts. An honors graduate from both Yale University and The New York Restaurant School, Wilder began his career in the restaurant industry over 20 years ago when he co-founded Amy's Ice Creams, Inc., a chain of retail ice cream stores based in Austin, Texas. He then went on to create the original Austin Grill restaurant in 1988, and expanded the company to include seven restaurant locations around the Washington/Baltimore area. Additionally, Rob Wilder serves as President of the Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association, Director of RAMW and the Downtown DC Business Improvement District and has served as Board Member of DC Central Kitchen, Beauvoir School and as Chapter Chair of the US Capital Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). Rob lives in Bethesda with his wife and two children. About TEDx: In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
Length: 15:47


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