Chef Robert Wiedmaier attended culinary school in the Netherlands. His apprenticeship at the Thermidor, a Michelin 2-star restaurant in Holland, led him to Brussels to work with chef Eddie van Maele.
In 1986, he came to Old Town Alexandria as saucier at Le Chardon d’Or at The Morrison House; two years later he joined the team at Le Pavillion, helping to create the finest nouvelle cuisine in Washington; and the following year he accepted a position in city’s most prominent hotel, The Four Seasons, as sous chef at Aux Beaux Champs under the tutorial direction of chef Douglass McNeill.
For over seven years, Wiedmaier’s European experience contributed to the upscale French cuisine of this prestigious restaurant as well as the hotel’s catered events. In 1994, Wiedmaier opened Café on M at The Grand Hotel, where he established his signature style of French cuisine with a Flemish flair. In 1996, he was asked to take over culinary operations at the Watergate Hotel, replacing another key mentor, Jean-Louis Palladin.
In 1999, Wiedmaier opened Marcel’s, an elegant restaurant that consistently wins top awards and ratings for fine dining in Washington; it is named for his first-born son, and is listed as the top restaurant for food in the prestigious Zagat’s 2011 Washington DC/Baltimore Restaurant Survey. Eight years after opening Marcel’s, he launched Brasserie Beck (named for his second son), an instantly popular more casual establishment modeled after a vintage Belgian railway station, serving mussels and hearty brasserie fare as well as the city’s most extensive list of Belgian beers.
In 2009, Wiedmaier forged a partnership with Kimpton Hotels, taking on all the food-and-beverage operations of its Alexandria, Virginia Lorien Hotel & Spa, and opening three distinctive adjacent establishments: Brabo, a 105-seat dining room; The Brabo Tasting Room; and The Butcher’s Block, a Market by RW, Alexandria’s first gourmet retail shop. In the summer of 2010, he launched a gastro-pub Mussel Bar, a tribute to traditional Brasserie-style casual Belgian dining in Bethesda, Maryland.