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Biography

Tobie began his career as part of a restaurant and tavern family in Chicago. Where at an early age he was helping out where he could. As a student of liberal arts at Kendall College he discovered his calling in the restaurant industry. Leaving school before graduation, he accepted an apprenticeship under Chef John Snowden at Dumas Pere L’Ecole de la Cuisine Francais.

The apprenticeship in classic French cuisine prepared him for his first kitchen at Tango in Chicago in 1973. His ambitious menu and unique approach to food caught the eye of Richard Melman. He began consulting with Richard at his wildly successful first restaurant R.J.Grunts. He stayed with Richard for four years helping develop concepts and menus for the then fledgling restaurant company, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. His crowning achievement with Lettuce was the Executive Chef position for the re-opening of the legendary Pump Room in 1977.

He left shortly after to embark on a successful consulting career where he used his creative talents working with restaurant owners in Chicago and all over the country. During this period he honed his skills of food styling with Cahners Publications and worked as a national spokesperson for Ore-Ida’s La Pizzeria Pizza. The consultation for Winfield Potter's brought him to the Twin Cities in 1980. He was enchanted by the opportunities in Minnesota and made the move north to work exclusively with Rick and David Webb. He was the Executive Chef for Rupert’s American Café and Coco Lezzone when they opened in 1984.

He returned to Chicago for a brief period to work with Carlucci Restaurants developing menus for Carlucci’s and their second concept Charlie’s Ale House. While in Chicago he maintained an active consultancy with clients in New Jersey, Missouri, Florida and Minnesota.

His desire to return to Minnesota became possible in 1990 when he accepted the position of General Manager for Rupert’s American Café. He opened the eponymous and short-lived Tobie‘s Tavern in 1993. Then, in 1997, accepted the position of Executive Chef for The Saint Paul Hotel. While at the hotel he had the opportunity to revamp the ailing menu for the renowned restaurant, returning it to its classic grill roots. He also wrote and implemented new menus for Banquets, off premise catering and a smaller venue in the hotel called The Café.

The past few years have been busy. Projects include the following;
• Ike’s Food and Cocktails - Minneapolis, MN
• The Bamboo Room – Schaumburg, IL
• The Sample Room – Minneapolis, MN.
• Piney Ridge Lodge – Jenkins, MN
• Copper Bleu – Lakeville, MN
• Jimmy’s Food and Cocktails – Minnetonka, MN
• Stone’s Restaurant and Lounge – Stillwater, MN
• Mcglynn’s Bakery – Minneapolis, MN
• Louie’s Habit – Wayzata, MN
• Redstone American Grill – Minnetonka, MN
• Monkey Dish Grill – Gurnee, Il.

His attention has also turned to writing and teaching. His sold-out classes can mostly be found at Kitchen Window. His writing appears in various local publications. He is working on a book called “The Improv Cook” that teaches how to cook without recipes that he hopes to finish soon