Robert Helstrom began his restaurant career at age 15 washing dishes in his hometown of Fort Wayne Indiana. After a quick promotion to a cook’s position he quickly realized that cooking was a passion that he would pursue for the rest of his life. Throughout high school, he worked weekends and summers apprenticing in a variety of hotels, restaurants and country clubs to achieve his training. Robert was offered his first Chef position in a local hotel at age 18 where he gained valuable experience in Kitchen management. While attending Indiana University, he continued his training in the kitchen in his spare time and ultimately made the decision to pursue a culinary path as a permanent career.
Robert left his hometown in 1981 to relocate in Southern California where he was offered a Sous Chef position at the Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach. Robert went on to take helm as Executive Chef in such restaurant as Remick’s, The Park, Tavern by the Sea and The Monarch Bay Club.
In 1986, Robert was offered a position with the Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group as the Executive Chef of the Corona Bar and Grill in San Francisco. A year later, he was offered the position of Executive Chef at Kuleto’s Italian Restaurant. While performing his duties at Kuleto’s, Robert began helping out on the opening on multiple new restaurants under development by the Kimpton Group. In 2001, Robert was promoted to the position of Corporate Chef to enable him to engage the openings on a full time basis. This position evolved into a new role as Director of Concept Development where he opened an array of high profile restaurants in many metropolitan areas across the country, including San Francisco, Boston, Washington DC, Miami, New York, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Portland and San Diego.
After 5 years of traveling across the country, developing concepts and managing the openings, Robert realized that his passion for cooking was not being fulfilled and resumed his role as Executive Chef of Kuleto’s Italian Restaurant in San Francisco, where he currently presides over operations.