Lauded as one of the top restaurants in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, The Birch & Vine at The Birchwood has a new executive chef, Luke Decker, who has been with the restaurant since its inception and knows the menu’s global-inspired and inventive dishes well. Chef Luke’s plates will feature seasonal influences, locally sourced meats, fish and vegetables with unique twists on favorite dishes.
Decker was only 24 when his brother Chef Anthony convinced Decker to leave his retail career and work at Bella Brava, siblings joined by a love of cooking.
After three years training under Chef Mario Maggi and his brother Chef Anthony Decker (now Chef de Cuisine at NYC’s Felidia), Decker started working under Executive Chef Jason Cline at The Birchwood when it opened in 2013.
The rest is magic. For the next four years, he honed his skills as a grill cook, sous chef and finally chef de cuisine. Chef Luke jokes that he was, “a late bloomer, ”but his work ethic, technical skills, drive and desire to be great at what he does while delivering memorable meals make him the perfect choice for Executive Chef at The Birchwood.
Chef Luke’s brother still inspires him, and he’s not afraid to experiment with new dishes and trends. Creativity is central to good cooking as is a well-trained staff that understands the ingredients and techniques used to prepare dishes.
At home with his wife and two sons, Chef Luke loves to cook steak or shrimp on the grill. At work, seafood is his passion as is using locally sourced ingredients. He also loves using port and sherry wine in his dishes and believes that a seasoned palate and a good chef’s knife is essential for preparing a great meal. PN
Article by By Nanette Wiser