Greg Baker, The Refinery, Tampa, FL (Live from the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival)
Tomorrow is the last service of The Refinery, a Tampa, Fla. restaurant that has been pushing the boundaries since 2010. At the helm of it for its entirety has been Greg Baker, a chef also pushing the boundaries, who’s been nominated for five James Beard awards, whose retirement from his kitchen was announced in Food & Wine, but who’s also written extensively about the pitfalls of the industry, from its taxing affect on mental health to his piece called “A Pissed-Off Tampa Chef Explains The “Farm To Fable” Controversy.” It pissed a lot of people off, especially ones who use the names of farmers but don’t build relationships with them. Still, what I see in Greg is a passion for the language of food, so much so that there is often frustration when so many of us don’t get it, or worse, simply don’t care. This is a chef who trying to tell you something through cooking, and as he retires The Refinery this weekend, he’s readying for his next course.