Food & Wine
The South’s best restaurants and world-class wineries support the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction.
Meet our 2019 Special Guests!
Special Guest of Honor
Rajat is a three-time James Beard Award winner and regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on wine.
Rajat grew up in Calcutta, India, before journeying to the United States where he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park. It was at the CIA where his interest in wine took hold. After graduation, Rajat chose to pursue the cellar instead of the kitchen, beginning his career in San Francisco where he joined such renowned restaurants as Rubicon and Michael Mina’s award-winning restaurant group. His wine knowledge and tasting skills were constantly developing and he became acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost sommeliers.
Fascinated not just with the taste of wine, but the question of why it tastes the way it does, Rajat frequently traveled through the European and California wine regions and was inspired to begin bottling his own wines. At first these were blends selected from wines produced by others, but soon Raj became more deeply involved—calling picking times, overseeing fermentations, etc. As vineyards and winemaking became ever more an obsession, Raj made the transition from sommelier to producer.
During this period, he and Santa Barbara County winemaker Sashi Moorman found a mutual interest in pushing the boundaries of California wine, seeking to achieve more balanced alcohols, racier acidity and purer flavors. In 2011, Rajat and Sashi launched Sandhi, producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from select vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills. In 2013, they released wines from the new estate vineyard, Domaine de la Côte, located on the westernmost edge of the Sta. Rita Hills. Most recently, in early 2014, Rajat and Sashi took over the historic and acclaimed Seven Springs Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills of Oregon.
Beyond his wineries, Raj has also co-authored with Jordan Mckay the James-Beard-Award winning book Secrets of the Sommeliers, and is now working on a new book, The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe. He also co-founded the trend-setting California non-profit wine group, In Pursuit of Balance. He lives in Santa Barbara, though he can still be found frequently traveling the world speaking, educating, tasting, and always learning.
Special Guest of Honor
Jordan Mackay is a James-Beard-award winning writer on wine, spirits and food. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Texas Monthly, Decanter, The Art of Eating, Wine and Spirits, Food & Wine, Gourmet and many other publications.
His first book, Passion for Pinot, was published in 2009. His second, Secrets of the Sommeliers, co-authored with two-time James Beard Award-winner Rajat Parr, won a James Beard award in 2011. Two in the Kitchen, written with his wife Christie Dufault, was published in 2012. His book, Franklin Barbecue co-written with James Beard Best Chef Southwest Award-winner Aaron Franklin, was released in April, 2015 and spent its first 5 weeks in print on the New York Times Best Sellers List. Knife, written with chef John Tesar, was released in May of 2017. His new book, The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe, co-authored with Rajat Parr will be released in Fall, 2018.
Jordan lives in St. Helena, CA and travels extensively, speaking about wine, spirits and food.
Special Guest Chef
Chef Todd Richards is an award-winning chef known for his contemporary cooking style rooted in Soul and Southern cuisine. A native of Chicago and based in Atlanta since the early 1990s, Richards is a self-taught chef and two-time semifinalist for James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Southeast.
Richards is the Culinary Director of Jackmont Hospitality, overseeing One Flew South and Chicken + Beer, both located in the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. One Flew South is a two-time James Beard-nominated fine dining restaurant specializing in Southern-inspired global cuisine. Chicken + Beer, owned by hip-hop icon Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, is located on Concourse D and specializes in Southern food. Chef Todd is the chef/owner of Richards’ Southern Fried and has previously helmed the kitchens of prestigious hotels and restaurants including The Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, The Ritz-Carlton (Atlanta, Buckhead and West Palm Beach), Villa Christina and the Oakroom at the Seelbach Hotel, which garnered the prestigious AAA 5 Diamond Award for restaurant excellence under his tenure. Additionally, he served as chef/owner of The Shed at Glenwood, The Pig & The Pearl, Rolling Bones Barbecue, and White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails.
Chef Richards’ debut cookbook, SOUL: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes(TIME Inc., Meredith Corporation), was released to rave reviews on May 22, 2018. The book has been hailed as one of Garden & Gun’s Best Books of 2018 (so far) as well as Amazon’s Best Cookbook of 2018 (so far). He has been featured in The New York Times, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, People, Esquire, CBS This Morning and more.
Todd is an active Board Member of Wholesome Wave Georgia, a member and supporter of the Southern Foodways Alliance, and is a founding council member of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.
Our 2019 restaurant partners bring us talented chefs and delicious food that are sure to keep you coming back for more! Click below to visit their websites.
We are so excited to welcome these world class wineries to Atlanta in March, 2019! Click below to find out more about them.