My Tampa Bay
Greg Baker The award-winning chef tells us about his area favorites and his perfect day in Tampa Bay.
Baker launched The Refinery in 2010 and Zagat named it “Best Restaurant” in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Refinery was a James Beard semifinalist for Best New Restaurant in 2011, and Baker was a James Beard semi finalist for Best Chef: South in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Fodder & Shine opened its doors in December 2014 to much acclaim.
What do you want visitors to Tampa Bay to know about the area? While it’s fun to claim that we live on the Swamp Planet, the entire area is paradise for nine months of the year. We have the old culture and history of Ybor City, white sand beaches that are consistently rated as the best in America, clear springs that pump millions of gallons of 72-degree water year-round (awesome kayaking and swimming), and yeah, we’re only an hour away from Disney World.
What in the Tampa Bay area inspires you when it comes to creating menus for The Refinery and Fodder & Shine? We’re very fortunate in the fact that our climate allows us three differ-
ent harvests a year. The fresh, local produce, ranging from the usual suspects to semitropical fruits, is inspiration in and of itself, but add to that the abundance and easy access to local seafood and it becomes quite easy to present food that not only tastes good, but creates a real sense of place.
How do you see the dining scene evolving in Tampa Bay? We’ve long been a testing ground for new chain concepts from the likes of Darden and OSI (Outback), but the last five years have really seen a growth in the chef-driven restaurant, further proof that Tampa is coming into its own as a modern city that anyone visiting can enjoy.