Kabana Rooftop, a stylish rooftop destination in the heart of Richmond, Virginia, announced the appointment of Mike Ledesma as Executive Chef. Ledesma brings 16 years of culinary experience to his new position, most recently working as the corporate executive chef for the Richmond Restaurant Group. In his new role, Ledesma will oversee and develop the new menu concept and culinary offerings for the renowned rooftop restaurant and lounge, the highest in Richmond, which features sweeping views of the city and James River from 20 stories above.
"We are thrilled to have Chef Mike Ledesma join our team at Kabana Rooftop and help drive our new menu concept for our relaunch,” says Kabana Managing Partner Kunal Shah. “Mike is an extremely talented chef and will bring a great deal of creativity, passion and culinary expertise to Kabana. Well-known on the Richmond restaurant scene, we are confident Mike will help elevate our dining offerings and we look forward to introducing both travelers and local Richmond residents to a taste of his new culinary offerings.”
From former stock broker to chef, Mike Ledesma worked for Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch before deciding to change careers. In 2000 he moved to Hawaii and enrolled in culinary school, quickly picking up basic cooking techniques and discovering that cooking was his true passion. Graduating valedictorian of his class, he moved to White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia for a culinary apprenticeship at the iconic Greenbrier resort before moving to Richmond, Virginia in 2011 to open The Hard Shell seafood restaurant, part of the Richmond Restaurant Group. Two years later, Ledesma opened Max’s On Broad which focused on French and Belgian gastropub fare. After receiving a great deal of exposure and acclaim for these two restaurants, Ledesma led the relaunch of Patina Restaurant and Bar in 2014, where he earned the restaurant a coveted spot in the top 10 Richmond restaurants by Richmond Magazine. In 2015 he returned to Richmond Restaurant Group as Corporate Executive Chef where he oversaw the menu development and operations for all six restaurants including The Daily, East Coast Provisions, Pearl Raw Bar, The Hill Café and two Hard Shell locations.
At Kabana Rooftop, Chef Ledesma will add his own signature cooking style to the new menu, focusing on creative presentations and balancing new flavors with traditional ingredients. Utilizing a combination of his own cooking philosophy and Kabana’s new American with strong Virginia influence cuisine, Ledesma will add a variety of unique dishes to the menu.
In his spare time, Chef Ledesma volunteers as a culinary school mentor and raises money for charities including FeedMore, March of Dimes and Doctors Without Borders.
“I’m excited to be a part of the Kabana Rooftop team and help drive their relaunch, working amongst the most incredible views of Richmond,” says Chef Ledesma. “My experience in opening new restaurants along with my attention to detail, passion for cooking and technical expertise, will help take the menu and the rooftop to new heights. I hope my loyal customers from the past Richmond restaurants I have worked at will continue to support me here and I cannot wait to introduce new diners to what I have cooking here at Kabana.”
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