Chef Greg Lutes comes from humble beginnings, hailing from a town of 350 people in a farming community two hours from Chicago. Staying informed but not being limited by roots and lineage, his food and dining experiences are elegant yet rustic, juxtaposing humble ingredients offering plates that are approachable, comforting and nurturing for mind, body and soul. His mother knew from a very early age when he served her breakfast in bed on her birthday that he was going to use his talents to be of service. Chef Lutes got on a culinary fast track early on and would go in just eight quick months from cooking in a tavern in the town he grew up in to working on the line at Everest restaurant with chef Jean Joho one of the best French chefs in the world. At Everest he was exposed to a vast array of impeccable ingredients and culinary techniques that still guide him like a compass in the kitchen today. Chef Lutes went on from there to Seattle and worked with Gerard Parrat, one the most respected French chefs, at Gerard’s Relais D’ Lyon. In order to expand his culinary arsenal he came back to Chicago with a stint at Vivere, one of Food and Wine magazine’s top ten Italian restaurants in the country. Chef Lutes garnered accolades as executive chef at two highly regarded restaurants in the Chicago land, Courtright’s, a Michelin one star restaurant and Les Deux Autres, here chef Lutes helped LDA be recognized as one of the best new restaurants of the year by Chicago magazine and he also awarded 27 out of 30 for food by the Zagat guide. One to always build on his success he has done “graduate work”, putting time in the kitchens of Daniel in New York City and Crush in Seattle working alongside two of the top James Beard award winning chefs Daniel Boulud and Jason Wilson.
Coming with his sense of adventure to California in 2006 he took over the Cellar Door restaurant in the Groveland Hotel, at Yosemite national park. Here Greg took on a near ownership role as executive chef and general manager almost doubling revenue in the first year. Greg created a whole new dining experience developing a menu that focused on the bounty of small farmers and ranchers in the Sierra as well as using his skills to redesign the dining room allowing a synergy with the beauty that surrounds the hotel with that same ascetic that was being presented on the plates.
Moving to San Francisco Greg helmed the stoves of two waterfront restaurants most recently Skates on the Bay and the prior to that at The Waterfront in San Francisco where he focused his creativity on Pacific seafood. Currently Greg has developed a startup company, iculinaire, a food service and hospitality coaching and consulting company. Greg and Iculinaire are currently guiding the chef and owner Sabor of Spain in San Rafael to create a new menu and polishing up the food. Greg will also be making a Guest Chef appearance in Rockridge where he will be offering up plates of his elegant but rustic food for two weeks showcasing the ingredients from various local farms including Riverdog in Guinda CA. , Greg continues to develop his own restaurant and the manifestation of his next executive chef position. Chef Lutes resides in Berkeley where he is active in the community and counter acts the stress of the restaurant business with hiking, biking, yoga and meditation.