Chef Steve Zimei brings over twenty years of experience in top kitchens in Massachusetts and a lifelong passion for culinary excellence to his role at CHOPPS American Bar and Grill. Alongside his longtime mentor and CHOPPS consulting chef Daniel Bruce, Zimei marries his zest for working with local and sustainable farms with creative and comforting regional specialties to introduce a new interpretation of the modern American steakhouse at CHOPPS.
A Massachusetts native, Zimei graduated from Johnson & Wales University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in culinary arts and began his career immediately thereafter under the direction of chef Daniel Bruce at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Beginning as an intern, Zimei worked and trained under Chef Bruce for five years, ultimately earning the role of sous chef at the iconic property’s Rowes Wharf Sea Grille. Eager to broaden his horizons and grow, Zimei joined the opening teams for various independent restaurants in Boston, including Aquitaine, Harvard Square’s Harvest, and the esteemed XV Beacon Hotel for which he earned Bertolli Olive Oil’s award for Top Ten Sous Chefs in the U.S. before being promoted to Executive Chef. Zimei has continued to hone his craft as Executive Chef in well-respected establishments in the Boston area, including Gallia, Hotel MIT, The Worcester Restaurant Group (Via Italian Table, The Sole Proprietor, and One Eleven Chop House), the Papa Razzi Group, and most recently Trails End Café in Concord where he oversaw the expansion for the restaurant into a successful dinner and catering operation.
Zimei lives by the mantra “Work Hard, Play Hard” and is excited to lead the tight-knit and talented culinary team at CHOPPS. Alongside his mentor, Chef Daniel Bruce, Zimei introduces new flavors to rejuvenate the American chophouse, leveraging relationships with local farmers to offer guests a unique farm-to-table experience where quality and sustainability remain a top priority.
Outside of the kitchen, you can find Zimei – an avid runner and cyclist – racing for the local cycling team Optimum Performance and serving his community through various charitable organizations. Zimei currently resides in Leominster with his wife and three sons.