More than twenty-four years ago, when Chef Daniel Bruce was one of the country’s most promising young culinary talents, he was enticed by the kitchens of Boston’s landmark waterfront hotel, the five star Boston Harbor Hotel at Rowes Wharf.
Almost immediately upon taking the reins, his passion for pairing the flavors in food and wine launched the hotel’s most successful ongoing event, the Boston Wine Festival. More than twenty-three seasons later, the Festival has evolved into a world renowned series featuring winemakers from some of the world’s best wineries. Through two decades of developing the Festival, Daniel has created more than three thousand original dishes, each one designed to perfectly complement the special wine with which it is served.
Born and raised in northern New England, Daniel Bruce graduated with honors from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island and then traveled to Italy and France for more traditional training. Upon his return to the United States, he began working in New York City at age 21. Daniel’s dream, however, was to return home to New England and find a place where he could fully develop the many dimensions of his talent and culinary interests.
Now in his third decade at the Boston Harbor Hotel, Daniel has never allowed his time at the hotel to become routine, always finding creative ways to broaden the culinary experience of his restaurant’s patrons and guests of the hotel. Internationally-renowned, Daniel Bruce has been awarded the title of Vice Consellier Culiniaire, Bailliage de Boston, and he has been honored twice as one of the "Best Hotel Chefs in America" at the James Beard House. In 2009, Daniel was the featured chef at the Celebrity Chef and Winemaker Auction Dinner at the Nantucket Wine Festival, as tribute to two decades of dedication to wine and food education. Additionally, Daniel is an honorary member of Chevalier du Tastevin and has been recognized by Boston Magazine as the city's Best Hotel Chef.
When collaborating with Chef de Cuisine David Verdo on the menu for Chopp's, they wanted to combine the nuance of flavor found in the finest restaurants with a simple approach to cooking that incorporates the region's bounty to create exciting dishes to be enjoyed over and over. The menu features a variety of all natural organic steaks, fresh local seafood, and regional specialties that is meant to appeal to local residents, neighboring businesses and hotel guests alike. The interior features were also carefully thought out, including the warm woods, leather upholstery, contemporary brass finishes and the natural light filtered in through floor to ceiling windows. The elevated chef's table across from the open kitchen, the large U-shaped bar and the private dining areas are also major highlights incorporated in the restaurant.
Daniel has made numerous live television appearances on national programs such as NBC's Today Show and Live with Regis and Kelly. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater; Johnson & Wales University in 1996 and in 2013 Daniel was awarded Chef of the Year by the Massachusetts Restaurant Association.
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 American Bar and Grill.
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 young sons.