Chef Luke Johnson
Standing nearly six-foot-four, Chef Luke Johnson cuts an imposing figure in the kitchen, even when he isn’t holding a knife. A native of Massachusetts, Luke began his culinary migration westward in search of milder winters, stopping in Providence, Chicago, and Santa Monica along the way.
Luke first discovered his love of cooking in middle school after completing a class project describing why he wanted to be a Chef. Initially, he had wanted to write about becoming a famous athlete, but “Chef” was the only remaining topic. His research led him to discover the wide world of cooking shows. Soon, Luke began abandoning afterschool cartoons, choosing instead to spend hours in the kitchen alongside his grandmother, following along to recipes from Julia Child and Martin Yan.
After graduating from Rhode Island’s Johnson & Wales University, Chef Luke fled the east coast for America’s Finest City & set up shop at the original Laurel Restaurant. After a year in San Diego, Luke was presented the opportunity to work at the double Michelin-starred Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica. It was at Melisse that Luke started to become aware of just how good food could be. Luke credits Chef/Owner Josiah Citrin for allowing him to grow and advance the skills that have made him the chef he is today.
After three-and-a-half years at Melisse, Luke headed east to Chicago with his wife. There, Luke accepted a position at the renowned (and triple Michelin-Starred) Alinea, working under Chef Grant Achatz. It was at Alinea that Luke learned of the importance of working in synergy with all the moving parts of a restaurant in order to create a flawless dining experience. Just as Luke credits Chef Citrin for his growth in the kitchen, Luke credits Chef Achatz for expanding his knowledge beyond the service line on all things related to the success of a fine dining establishment.
After adding his first child to the family, Luke & his wife decided to head back west to lay down their family roots. Once again San Diego became home. After several turns heading the culinary teams at the Sky Room at the La Valencia Hotel and Red Velvet Wine Bar in Little Italy, Luke joined The WineSellar & Brasserie team in May of 2016.
Luke draws his culinary inspiration first and foremost from the seasonality of the ingredients he uses. If it’s not in season, it won’t appear on his menu. Praised for his multi-course tasting menus, Luke has amassed a loyal following of dedicated fans devoted to his innate sense of flavor profiles, outside-the-box creativity, and extreme attention to detail.
Owners Gary and Lori Parker are thrilled to welcome Chef Luke Johnson to helm the dynamic culinary team at The WineSellar & Brasserie. Luke’s passion and artistry shine through on every plate sent from the kitchen. Call (858) 450-9557 today to schedule a reservation and see for yourself why Chef Luke’s cuisine is truly to dine for.