Meet the Chef: Robert Pesch

Ever wonder about the “kitchen” part of Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen? Who’s the brains behind our menu? Who’s working tirelessly to bring you the highest quality, made-from-scratch food? Well, let us introduce you to the brains behind the flavor.

Meet Robert Pesch, our VP of Culinary Research & Development.

Chef Robert is special because he has truly worked his way up the culinary ladder to get to where he is now. At just 12 years old, Robert got his first taste of the restaurant business when he started scrubbing dishes at a restaurant in his hometown of Minneapolis. By the time he graduated high school, he had left his dish sponge behind and worked his way to the top as head line cook.

Chef Robert’s passion for food led him to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. In 2004, he earned an associate degree in culinary arts and continued to finish his bachelor’s degree in hospitality management. After earning his diploma, Robert picked up his things and moved across the country to work in Los Angeles. He moved back to Dallas to pursue a different opportunity, where he earned the title of Executive Chef in 2011.

Sure, Chef Robert has the education to back up his expertise, but he also understands the passion behind the food – the human element of food. When it comes down to it, people just want food that looks great and tastes even better. Recognizing that, Chef Robert flipped the menu and made changes to a third of the food offerings.

Additionally, Chef Robert helped develop the “Lighter Side” menu, which is more proof that Chef Robert is on the ball when it comes to what people want to eat. And if you’re wondering who’s responsible for our BBQ chicken salad, jalapeño burger, croissant bread pudding and the Strawberry Cheesecake mini, Chef Robert is the guilty party — guilty of providing goodness, of course.

On the weekends, Chef Robert spends his family date nights at Whole Foods. At the same time he and his wife are enjoying a glass of wine, his kids are enjoying a delicious dinner. Everyone’s happy.

With such an excellent track record, Robert was promoted to Vice President of Culinary R&D in 2014 after just two years of being at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen. We’re honored to have him as a part of the family, and we’re excited for you to get to know him through his blogs. Robert will be serving up special tips and tricks about cooking and all things Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, so be on the lookout for his culinary wisdom coming soon.

You can find all of Robert’s blog posts here. 

Q&A with Robert Pesch

Q: What’s your favorite method of cooking?
A: I love “one pot” cooking. It’s so simple: everything has to go in one pot. It sort of drives my wife crazy, but the blend of flavors that one-pot cooking creates is incredibly satisfying.

I also really love Asian flavors and Asian-inspired dishes, so I experiment with that a lot at home as well.

Q: What kind of food did you grow up eating?
A: Midwest-Northwest traditional food, I’d say. It’s what my grandmother always made. Beef stews – that sort of thing.

Q: What’s the best dish you cook for your kids?
A: My kids love it when I make braised short ribs. They also love butternut squash and black beans. I’m always trying to introduce them to new foods because they never know what they’re going to like until they try it.

On top of that, I try and include my kids in meal prep. Food is a family affair, so getting everyone involved in all of the aspects of eating is something I strive for at home.


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