Before Chefs became “Top” or “Iron” - before cooking became a trendy vocation – Rob Granado knew it was the life he wanted. It was his undeniable calling.
“I was secretly a food geek,” recalled Rob. “My grandmother gave me my first cook book when I was eleven, and Mom always had me help out in her kitchen. I mean, really, what kid watches PBS reruns of Julia Child and Jaques Pepin on a Sunday afternoon?”
This love of food and cooking, along with a large family of boisterous characters who all enjoyed a good meal together, crystallized a young Rob Granado’s future. He has fond childhood memories of family gatherings and holidays that ingrained in him the idea of a meal being a joyous event. Meals were times when loved ones could catch up, goof off, and just plain enjoy life. A fine meal with a chocolaty dessert at its end was a treasured expression of love.
In 2001, Rob met the new owners of JIMMIE’S Chocolates, Florida’s Oldest Chocolatier. His life would not be the same.
Rodney Harrison (an interior designer) and Ken Smith (a corporate leader) purchased the business in 1997, and are the two people Rob feels he owes his greatest professional success to. “They’ve made my wonderful life possible,” Rob recounts. Rob found kindred spirits in these two partners who share the same love of good design, creativity, and sumptuous food. Equally important, the three share a desire to set a positive example for the local business community by always striving to be the best in their field. After almost ten years running the North American territory for a United Kingdom based candy company, and then establishing himself as a sought-after caterer, Rob joined Harrison and Smith in their quest to revive the Florida landmark chocolate business. These qualities, coupled with an unwavering attention to detail, are central to their business philosophy.
Rob also admits that the level of service he expects a guest to receive at a JIMMIE’S Chocolate Shoppe or at the Café is set to a very high standard. He feels that impeccable service and incomparable products are what makes JIMMIE’S Chocolates a leader in the chocolate industry. “I’ve no desire to be ‘one of the best,” he once remarked. “I want to be the platinum standard and that’s what we work towards each day.” It shows – their sweets are divine, their food simple yet unique, and their service personable and professional.
Rob has built his career based on a passion for great food, fine chocolates, and entertaining, but he’ll tell you that his motivation in business comes from somewhere else. He simply wants to put something good into the world. He’s driven to create a quality product that’s delivered with a style of service that, in his opinion, has become rare in modern American retail.
Equally, Rob strives to create a quality atmosphere for people to work in; a place where his staff feels empowered to be “part of the process.” Rob is quick to point out how strongly he feels that any success he’s had is because of someone who made an investment in him, or a crew member who has worked hard to implement his vision. “I’m blessed to do what I really love for a living. Not many people get to say that,” he continued. “I owe a big debt to my mentors and my staff.”
Rob’s appreciation of great design and his need to have creative outlets led him to hobbies in photography and creative writing. Both hobbies definitely enhance his work in the kitchen. “We eat first with our eyes,” he notes, and Rob’s staff enjoys reading his mouthwatering descriptions of new items on the menu.
He’s curious about what his legacy to the next generation will be. “I dig the idea of leaving something beautiful behind in my wake – the idea that I can make a positive mark that could last long after I’m gone,” he’s said. Being a part of the legacy of JIMMIE’S sixty-two year chocolate tradition has been the realization of Rob’s personal and professional goals.
Once you meet Rob Granado, you immediately understand that this fun loving, affable Chef and Chocolatier, and self proclaimed “big kid” is serious and focused about the subject of the JIMMIE’S brand. “Its about always striving for excellence,” he once noted. “It’s about people knowing that they are getting the very best. Nothing else is acceptable.”
Rob feels he is at the “top of his game” only because, in his own words, he’s relentless. Working with passion and purpose has created a brand of chocolate and an eatery that is considered second to none. He plans on keeping it that way. Bon appétit.
Chef Rob Granado
148 N Federal Hwy.
Dania Beach, FL 33004