Mastermind Chef at The WineSellar & Brasserie

Kurobato Pork “Two Ways” with Tomatillo, Date, Orange and Cocoa

Gary Parker’s The WineSellar & Brasserie never ceases to amaze me! Their new executive chef Luke Johnson is a mastermind who orchestrates a clever play with his intensely creative menu. Johnson took a break from his hard work in the kitchen to dish on the latest happenings at the restaurant as well as his move back to San Diego.

Hamachi Tataki With Meyer Lemon Puree, Parsley, Radish and Togarashi

Johnson received his formal training from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Foodservice Management and an AS in Culinary Arts. His true hands-on training took place at various highly respected restaurants including Laurel Restaurant (San Diego), Spiaggia (Chicago), Alinea (Chicago), Moto (Chicago), and Melisse (Santa Monica), where he says he truly learned to cook.

Colorado Lamb Loin With Summer Squash, Eggplant, Blackberry and Lamb Jus

“I’ve learned so much at every stop along the way, including how to make risotto at my first job at Isabella Restaurant in Massachusetts,” explains Johnson. “I learned the art of making pasta at Spiaggia, to think outside the box at Alinea, and the art of Sous-vide at Melisse (which only excelled at Moto Restaurant).”

Johnson’s motivation for moving back to San Diego was his family.  “My wife and I started a family in Chicago, and quickly realized that we would be raising our child inside for the majority of time.  We had originally met in San Diego, and decided that moving back to the West Coast would provide the outdoor balance we wanted.”


Johnson’s style of cooking lends itself to seasonal produce. He’s a big fan of using vegetables at their peak, while constructing dishes and menus around local availability. He strives to keep the flavors in all of his dishes fresh, clean, and approachable, providing guests a superb wine and dining experience. Savor tried and true food selections that have been on the menu for the last twenty-eight years, or opt for new dishes that include modern takes on California and French cuisine.

©Written By Maria Desiderata Montana

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