Chef Gregory Leon was born in Oklahoma but grew up around the kitchen table in Venezuela. Building upon these childhood cooking lessons, Gregory spent subsequent years honing his culinary skills both domestically and abroad, maturing into a style of cooking that is uncomplicated but with depth, always seasonal and with a soul. Imbued with the flavors of Spain, Portugal, Venezuela and The Deep South, it is upon this global foundation that Amilinda is being built.
Gregory arrived in San Francisco in 1994 ready to begin his culinary career. In those 20 years he cooked his way up the line in some of the hottest kitchens in San Francisco, including Universal Cafe, Poesia, and Tapeo. Beyond his experience in the preparation of food and day-to-day operations of the kitchen, Gregory has assisted with the opening and rebranding of 6 restaurants located in San Francisco and Spain. Now, it’s time for him to open his own.
A combination of his parents names, Amilicar and Linda, as well as the name of one of his childhood homes in Venezuela, the name Amilinda is of great sentimental value to Gregory. It is customary in certain areas of Venezuela to name your home and Amilinda was Gregory's mothers favorite. Amilinda, in Spanish, roughly translates to "to my beautiful". Sadly, Gregory lost his mother shortly after the family moved back to the United States. Amilinda pays homage to both of his parents who instilled his love of cooking and provided a childhood filled with memories around the kitchen table.
With a seasonal rhythm dominating the menu, we will be able to only use ingredients that are at their peak, we will provide a meal that is satisfying, memorable, and at a fair market price. Amilinda draws from the culinary traditions of Spain, Portugal, Venezuela and the Deep American South. The wine and beer lists will focus on affordable growths and vintages as well as local micro brews.
Amilinda will be open for dinner service, Sunday brunch, and will serve as a cooking school during the day.
Front of house operations will be led by partner, Orry DeYoung, Amilinda's General Manager. Since moving to Milwaukee in 2006 he has worked in both the restaurant and event planning industries. His dining experience includes serving, tending bar, hosting, and managing front of house operations. He currently owns and operates a successful web/graphic design company.
Our cooking school focuses on the community, providing classes and outreach programs to Walkers Point and surrounding areas. We have developed a curriculum that focuses on local, fresh and healthy cooking, and eating. We will provide the education and resources to source fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers markets, which in turn, help the farmers directly. Amilinda wants to help put the focus back on putting healthy meals on the kitchen tables for the family to sit down and share.
Amilinda has begun to develop a relationship with local farmers and other community-based organizations such as Well Spring, Alice's Garden and the Victory Garden Initiative. Farmers’ products will be used both in the restaurant and cooking school. Most of these farmers can be found in our Partnering Farms Directory. Showing visitors of the cooking school how easy it is to obtain product from local farmers is just one of the many ways our school will help the local community.
Amilinda has already begun to create a following and demand for their culinary delights through Pop-Up dinners. Amilinda rents a space for one night and offers a pre-selected menu. Guests pay in advance and arrive at the space the night of the event to enjoy. Each pop-up dinner has managed to sell out within a week of announcing.
On July 14, 2013 Amilinda ran a campaign on Indiegogo raising a total of $800. The $800 was allocated towards incorporating and forming a legally operating business. On February 24th, we will be presenting to Fund Milwaukee, a Milwaukee-based group of investors, to help raise capital. Both the capital raised from Fund Milwaukee and this Indiegogo campaign will go towards securing a location, renovating a location if required, purchasing equipment and furnishings, as well as securing local licenses and permits required to operate.
For more information on current and past events Amilinda has been involved in and to stay up to date please visit : www.amilinda.com