Raised in Clearwater, Florida, Greg Baker graduated from high school and promptly moved to Portland, Oregon to immerse himself the city’s diverse farmland, adventurous eating scene, and punk rock culture. Upon arrival, Baker enrolled in the Western Culinary Institute where he discovered his love and cemented his respect for the elegance of “poor man food.”
Baker spent the next two decades forging partnerships with local farmers and honing his skills in kitchens across the country. But home soon beckoned and in 2010, Greg took these lessons back home to Tampa Bay and opened The Refinery with his wife, Michelle, in the historic neighborhood of Seminole Heights. Greg took every opportunity to cultivate a new food climate in an area known for having very little culinary creativity. He began putting faces to farmers and utilizing whole animal butchery. His ever-changing menus incorporate flavors from across the globe and classical French technique, while keeping in mind Florida’s rich history, and has a commitment to resurrecting nearly lost Florida ingredients and cooking techniques.
Zagat named The Refinery ‘Best Restaurant’ in 2012 and 2013. The Refinery was a James Beard semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant in 2011, and Greg was a James Beard semi-finalist for Best Chef: South in 2012 and 2013.
When he’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find Greg white water rafting, drinking craft beers, sipping on bourbons and spending time with his pit bull Ricky Bobby and wife, Michelle.