February 6, 2009
My name is Joe Decker. I am Chef - Proprietor of the Wildfire restaurants. Over the 23 years I've been with Lettuce Entertain You, you may have tasted my food at the following spots of which either I was the Chef or a contributor to the restaurant: Avanzare, Scoozi, Tucci Milan, Tucci Benuuch, Foodlife, Ben Pao, Corner Bakery Pizzaah, Joe's Seafood Prime Steak & Stone Crab, and of course Wildfire since the beginning. Prior to that, I went to cooking school at Washburne Trade School's Chef program and then worked for seven years in the business with some Chicago area restaurant legends - Yoshi Katsumaura ( then Jimmy's Place, now Yoshi's Cafe), Don Roth, and finally, Leslee Reis from Cafe Provencal in Evanston. Leslee mentored me and gave me a solid basis in the area of classic, rustic country French cuisine that helped me develop my taste over the years to cook with great ingredients, but most importantly to "keep it simple."
Twice a month, I will share with you the trials and tribulations of what's going on in our kitchens, seasonality of ingredients, or any topic relating to food.This is a great opportunity for me to share my thoughts with you about this subject of which I have great passion for. I hope you will enjoy reading these entries as much as I will enjoy writing them.
From the woodburning oven, Joe Decker