Growing up in Asheville, N.C., Pettry’s childhood was steeped in influential food experiences including growing vegetables, foraging for mushrooms, trout fishing, and countless hours in the kitchen learning from her parents’ global cooking style. After earning a grand diploma in culinary arts from the International Culinary Center in New York City, she worked alongside numerous renowned chefs, including Craig Koketsu (Quality Meats, New York City), Elliott Moss (The Admiral, Asheville, N.C.), and Loretta Keller (Moss Room, San Francisco, Calif.), before moving to Louisville to become chef and owner of Decca.
Today, Pettry is known for her vegetable-forward dishes, Appalachian techniques and wood-fired cooking on a grill she’s named “Big Red.” All of her wood is Kentucky hardwood, hand split, cured naturally outdoors for three to four months and foraged from Louisville local, “Dave the Mountain Man.” Pettry also has a penchant for accenting dishes with her own spice blends using Middle Eastern ingredients. Her dukkah, za’atar, chermoula and harissa are not to be missed.
Pettry’s work inside the kitchen throughout the years has not gone unnoticed. A Top Chef season 14 contestant and two-time Food & Wine “People’s Best New Chef” nominee, she was the 2018 Louisville local all-star chef for James Beard Foundation’s Taste America, one of Restaurant Hospitality’s “15 To Watch in 2015,” a 2014 Star Chefs Rising Star, and the winner of the 2013 Louisville Cochon 555 Heritage BBQ competition. Pettry’s cuisine has been featured by several national food magazines including Food & Wine, SAVEUR, Bon Appetit and more. Her restaurant was also given a four-star review by the Courier Journal.
Pettry often steps out of the kitchen to work with charities related to her passions for food and cooking, including No Kid Hungry and The Food Literacy Project. She is also an alumna of the James Beard Foundation’s Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, as well as a leader in the foundation’s national Smart Catch program, which aims to promote responsibly and sustainably sourced seafood.