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Food & Wine

The South’s best restaurants and world-class wineries support the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction.

Special Guests

Meet our 2019 Special Guests!

Special Guest of Honor

Raj Parr

Partner/Propieter, Sandhi Wines

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


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

Todd Richards

Jackmont Hospitality , Chicken + Beer , One Flew South
Atlanta, GA

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.


Check out the fantastic team Chef Richards has hand selected to join us for the Friday Fête!

Benjamin "BJ" Dennis

Personal Chef and Caterer
Charleston, SC

Chef Benjamin “BJ” Dennis is a Lowcountry original.Born and raised in Charleston, SC, personal chef and caterer Benjamin “BJ” Dennis infuses the flavors and culture of the Lowcountry into his Gullah Geechee cuisine, bringing a new taste to ever expanding culinary palate of the south.

What differentiates Chef BJ’s food from his contemporaries in “southern” cooking is the homage he pays to the Gullah Geechee culture, brought to the Americas by West Africans, and disseminated along the West Indies and the American South. Dennis infuses the techniques of his ancestors, learned from four years of study in St. Thomas, as well as the lessons of his grandparents about eating from the land, to create fresh interpretations of local dishes focusing on in-season, locally sourced vegetables and seafood.

Chef BJ has an associate’s degree in hospitality / tourism management and the culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of Charleston and has worked in a number of award winning southern dining establishments including Carolinas, Anson’s, Oak Steakhouse, Hank’s Seafood, and 82 Queen. His cuisine has been featured in local, national and international events including the BB&T Wine+Food Festival, Cook It Raw, Meatopia, and The Food film fest. His “pop-up” dinners, at local establishments such as Butcher & Bee, Elliottborough MiniBar, Republic Reign, Le Creuset, Roadside Seafood and Proof, are sought after culinary adventures on the underground dinner circuit. His pop up at Labo Culinaire Foodlab in Montreal, Quebec in May 2015 took the Gullah food and culture to an international arena. Also a chef participant at the Terrior food symposium in Toronto May 2015, Canada’s biggest food conference.

Recent appearances on P.B.S ‘Moveable Feast’ and Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’ has taken him and Gullah Cuisine to a national television audience.

When you taste BJ’s cooking, you can’t help but re-think your idea of soul food.

Carla Hall

Chef, TV Personality, and Author
Washington D.C

Carla is best known as a former co-host of ABC’s Emmy award winning, popular lifestyle series “The Chew.” She currently appears on ABC’s GMA DAY. She won over audiences when she competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and “Top Chef: All Stars” and shared her philosophy to always cook with love. Carla believes food connects us all, and she strives to communicate this through her work, her cooking, and in her daily interactions with others.

Born in Nashville, TN, Carla Hall grew up surrounded by Soul Food. When the time came for her to select her career path, she first opted for a business route – she graduated from Howard University’s Business School and worked as an accountant for two years – before deciding to switch gears to work as a runway model. It was during that time, as she traveled (and ate) her way through Europe for a few years, that she truly realized her deep-rooted passion for food could be her career path. Today, she is a trained chef who has worked in several professional restaurant kitchens in and around the Washington, D.C. area and is an accomplished television personality and author.

On the literary front, Carla has combined her loves of food, people, and culture to write several cookbooks. Her latest cookbook is Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration. She has two previous cookbooks – Carla’s Comfort Food: Favorite Dishes from Around the World and Cooking with Love: Comfort Food That Hugs You.

Carla is very active with a number of charities and not-for-profit organizations that reflect her passion for causes close to her heart. Such organizations include Helen Keller International, an organization that works to improve the lives of those with blindness, and to prevent the causes and consequences of blindness, poor health, and malnutrition. She is also the Culinary Ambassador for Sweet Home Cafe at the Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. where she works to bring attention to and connects the experience of moving through the museum with the stories and history that inspires the food in the cafe.

Carla lives in D.C. with her husband, Matthew Lyons.

Enrika Williams

Owner and Executive Chef at Fauna Foodworks
Jackson, MS

Chef Enrika Williams began her adoration for food at an early age in West Point, MS.She grew up intrigued by PBS cooking shows, her granddaddy’s garden, her grandmother’s knack for entertaining in the truest of “southern lady” charm and along with the whimsy and neon hued era of the 1980’s, fueled a fascination for the creative and for wanderlust- both in terrain and imagination. To fuel this fascination, Enrika attended the Art Institute of Atlanta and graduated in 2004. She worked in Atlanta for the next six years, honing her craft and working under the tutelage of master chefs including: Emeril Lagasse, Mel Toldedo, Vince Hernandez and Richard Blais. The opportunities to learn and intern took her to McCready’s in Charleston with Sean Brock, as well as the Historic Greenbriar in White Sulphur Springs, WV.

Enrika returned to Mississippi in 2010 to join Craig Noone and his handpicked team as a sous chef in the opening of the acclaimed Parlor Market in downtown Jackson. During her tenure there, she was offered an internship with Chef Joel Harrington at Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant, Red Rooster in Harlem, NYC. During this time as well, Enrika created and began her own company-newleaf catering, which focuses on unique and innovative ways to entertain and reach through supper clubs, “pop-up”restaurants, private chef services as well as consulting, food writing and social food justice. Enrika was a featured chef on FOX network’s television show Hotel Hell with Gordon Ramsay as an executive chef/consultant for the Historic Hotel Chester in Starkville, MS. Her culinary travels have taken her to: Houston and Austin, TX; Lacrosse, WI; New York as well as abroad to: Rome, Orvieto, Florence and Venice, Italy, where she has embarked in chef residencies, independent study abroad as well as culinary ventures through the country.

Currently Enrika is continuing her branding and branching out her culinary stamp. Her latest endeavors included joining celebrity chef Carla Hall at the illustrious James Beard house in November where they partnered for a dinner featuring recipes from Chef Halls latest cookbook, which also features Chef Enrika as well as some local gems from around the city of Jackson. Enrika is absorbing and sharing all of her culinary experiences as they come and welcomes the things that lie ahead.


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.