From Athens to Atwood, it's been a long culinary journey for Executive Chef Derek Simcik.
Born in Greece to American parents, Chef Simcik initially pursued fine arts after high school, but is drawn into the world of food through his family's deep culinary ties. His grandfather, a Czech immigrant and a butcher, often kept whole sides of beef in the freezer and prepared them for the family. His mother was a gifted cook from Louisiana, whose biscuits, dirty rice and smothered okra inspired his love of Southern food.
Chef Simcik's Culinary Influences
An avid traveler who has visited five continents, Chef Simcik often looked to cuisine as a window into culture. His experiences living in such diverse locales as Tunisia, Japan, and Germany have brought him into contact with a tremendous variety of ingredients and techniques.
Chef Simcik, a graduate of the Art Institute of Washington, was captivated by the precision and attention to detail of pastry chefs. He was grateful for his experience in a European kitchen, and trained at Der Haussen in Vienna, Austria before returning to the United States to pursue a full-time career in food. After stints as Sous Chef and Pastry Chef at Washington DC's noted dining hotspots Café Milano and The Grille at Morrison House, Chef Simcik eventually joined the team at Jackson 20 as Executive Pastry Chef, before being promoted to Chef de Cuisine in early 2009.
From Athens to Atwood
Arriving at Atwood Café in the early spring of 2010, he brings his extraordinary depth of experience and commitment to the finest ingredients, which work well with his artful touch and authentic Southern sensibility.
Simcik enjoys traveling and immersing himself in the cuisines of other cultures. An avid environmentalist, Simcik hopes to retire and cook in his favorite part of the world, the Caribbean.