Robbie Lewis moved to San Francisco from Arkansas in 1992 to attend The California Culinary Academy. While still in school he met Traci Des Jardins at a wine auction. They became friends and she offered him a job at Rubicon, where she was then opening chef. He accepted and began a Bay Area culinary career that also took him to Boulevard, 42 Degrees, The Village Pub, and Jardinière – all as part of the opening team - and short but informative stints at Chez Panisse and Stars.
During this period Lewis took breaks from Bay Area kitchens by traveling extensively in Europe where he cooked in Italy and France and spent a year as chef at an agriturismo villa in Tuscany.
In December, 2002, Lewis returned to Jardini è re, where he had been opening sous chef. This time, he entered the kitchen as Executive Chef. In sync with Des Jardins’ commitment to using local sustainable products as much as possible, Lewis has maintained Jardini è re’s reputation for delicious, beautifully executed food, as reflected in his recent 3 ½ star review by Michael Bauer in the San Francisco Chronicle. While continuing Des Jardins’ French Californian classics, he has added dishes informed by Italy including handmade charcuterie and pastas. As in the menus of many of the Bay Area’s finest restaurants, France and Italy happily co-exist and sometimes marry.