Born and raised in Waimea, Hawaii, Chef David Robbins (36) grew up working on his family’s flower and lei business – Kauai Pikake – and on their all natural produce farm. There he developed a strong passion for local ecology and a deep understanding of where food comes from, which eventually led to him joining the culinary world as a chef.
Robbins moved to Florida as a teenager, and went on to pursue his degree at Florida Coast University in Cultural Ecology. He then began to hone his skills in the kitchen with The Bonita Bay Group and Fiddlesticks Country Club before taking on a leadership role at the Naples Grande Resort – Waldorf Astoria Collection in 2006. As sous chef at the AAA Four Diamond resort, Robbins came into his stride as a chef while working in a world-class level environment serving a high volume of guests on a daily basis with top quality and consistency.
After shaping his culinary style at the Naples Grande, Robbins spent 7 years at Fiddler’s Creek Club and Spa, Naples, FL. He joined the team at Fiddler’s in 2007 as executive sous chef, and eventually took over the helm as executive chef. There he took a key role helping the club in receiving a 2013 International Gold Level Designation by Board Room Magazine – an honor given to only a very select group of private clubs world-wide, as well as Florida Sand Dollar Award 2012 and 2013 Private Community of the Year. Going back to his roots, in 2014 Chef Robbins participated in a two-week rotation under award winning chef & author Dan Barber at Blue Hill Stone Barn Farms. The operation located in Pocantico Hills, New York was most recently recipient of the James Beard Award Outstanding Restaurant 2014 and San Pellegrino #11 in the World 2017. Other stages include: Malabar ((#7 Latin America) & amaZ – Chef Pedro Miguel Schiffiano – Lima, Peru.
In 2014, Chef Robbins launched FoodSense – a culinary consulting and concierge business motivated by his sense of creativity and passion for gastronomy and fresh local ingredients. FoodSense is inspired by his philosophy that food should simply make sense. He states “If you start with super FRESH, LOCAL, SEASONAL, high quality ingredients you’ll have a sure fire recipe for amazingly good eats!” Among his achievements as a consultant, he helped Mereday’s Fine Dining achieve the accolade of #1 New Restaurant in Naples from Gulf Shore Life and helped lead the opening team at Mereday’s Brasserie Coconut Point in Estero, Florida.
While continuing to push himself professionally, in 2015 Chef Robbins accepted a position at The W Hotel & Residences, South Beach and The Dutch Miami – the AAA Four Diamond resort is home to the South Florida outpost of acclaimed Chef Andrew Carmellini’s NYC modern American restaurant. Robbins, brought with him over 15 years of professional experience in culinary arts and dining room services to the team. While at The W he collaborated with Executive Chef de Cuisine Adonay Tafur in managing all resort food and beverage operations including banquet functions, in-room dining and overall food and beverage operations for the resort’s venues: WET Deck, Beach Cabanas & Food Truck, Living Room, The Wall, The Grove, and The Dutch Miami.
Chef Robbins returned to Naples at the end beginning of 2016 to pursue new opportunities and to have more time with his sons Micah & Aiden – and wife Arianna. Since, he has privately consulted on a range of projects including working with private Country Clubs / Yacht Clubs & multiple restaurant openings.
Robbins is honored being part of the tight knit culinary community of Southwest Florida and being closer again to friends, family, and beautiful Naples beach sunsets. He tells us that “Naples is such a warm, friendly, and hospitable community. A part of Miami will now always be with me, but I’m glad to be back, I’m excited to play a role in the growing Naples food scene. SWFL is ripe with potential. It’s awesome, humbling, and inspiring to be part of the new fabric of Naples’ culinary culture.”