Growing up in a family of chefs and butchers, Jason Starnes knew from an early age that he was predestined for a culinary career. At the Sun Dial, he brings more than 18 years of experience, including seven years in Atlanta as the executive chef of a fine-dining catering company. In each dish at the Sun Dial, Starnes pairs his classical training with playfully prepared fresh ingredients to bring something unique to the Atlanta dining scene.
Wine Auction Live Lots Sneak Peek March 5, 2014
We are pleased to announce these outstanding live auction lots, including a decorated 9L bottle of Champagne, a party weekend in New Orleans, a ride along with John T. Edge for an undercover review of two Atlanta restaurants, and an intimate lunch for 10 at the ZD Wines private residence in Carneros.
2014 Wine Auction Participants – James Beard Foundation Semifinalists February 25, 2014
Congratulations to our 2014 Wine Auction Participants on being selected as James Beard Foundation Semifinalists! We have featured some of their Live Auction lots.
Chef Spotlight: Chef John Barrett, Table 1280 February 22, 2014
Chef John Barrett is a native of Atlanta. His love of the industry really started to flourish when he attended the Art Institute of Atlanta, where he majored in Visual Communications. He worked under Chef Phillip Scott during this time to supplement his income through school and realized where his new found passion was discovered. His vast experience includes working with other top chefs in Atlanta to prepare dishes for foreign diplomats and other officials during the 1996 Olympics. In 1998, he left Atlanta and worked as a chef under Chef Hubert Kampner at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Tahoe, California. Alongside Chef Gary Bruskie, Barrett enjoyed being a celebrity chef throughout Hollywood and Malibu before coming back to Atlanta in 2008 to work for Levy Restaurants under Chef Frank Abanotti at the Georgia World Congress Center, Phillips Arena and Olympic Park.
Chef Frank Stitt’s culinary journey began to take shape when he moved to San Francisco and, as a philosophy student, noticed that beloved cookbooks were taking precedence over the works of Plato and Kierkegaard. He honed his kitchen skills at various Bay Area restaurants, including the kitchen of Alice Waters at her now legendary restaurant, Chez Panisse. Waters introduced him to Richard Olney, who at the time was working on the Good Cook series for Time-Life Books and needed an assistant. His professional path further evolved as he worked alongside Jeremiah Tower, Stephen Spurrier and Simca Beck.
With extensive experience in the restaurant industry, chef and owner Marc Taft brings a wealth of knowledge to his restaurant, Chicken and the Egg. At Chicken and the Egg, he makes the restaurant a prominent destination for the West Cobb community. “I want to provide our guests with a familiar face and a warm welcome every time they visit us,” he says. “They are important to us, and they should feel that way.”
At the dawn of Chef Todd Stein’s culinary career, a pivotal visit to Bologna, Italy, set the course that left him forever influenced by the country’s wealth of ingredients. If foreign travel wasn’t a sign, than certainly an earlier childhood moment sealed Stein’s fate. Only a fifth grader at the time, Stein had the opportunity to participate in a day-long internship of his choice. Having enjoyed dining out with his family in Highwood, Illinois, Stein developed a love for food and knew immediately where he wanted to work.
An Indiana native, Zeb Stevenson cooks with a balance of cerebral curiosity and blue-collar work ethic. Focused on innovation with a solid grounding in the classics, Stevenson straddles the line between good taste and a playful push on boundaries. Zeb started his career not in a classroom but rather in the dish room of a diner. It was there that he fell in love with the sense of adventure and camaraderie that comes in the professional kitchen.
A recipient of the StarChefs Atlanta “Rising Star Hotel Chef” award, Oltarsh is known for contemporizing classic American dishes with innovative and artistic presentations. With a Culinary Institute of America degree in hand, Oltarsh launched his impressive career in 1992 and trained with some of the finest chefs in America. He has worked in some of his native city’s most renowned restaurants including Eleven Madison Park in New York where he served as sous chef from 1998 to 2001 and Gramercy Tavern where he held the title of Tavern Chef.
Inspired first in his family’s kitchen in Mexico and later educated at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, Adrian Villarreal brings years of international experience and classic training to The Spence, a classic eatery that serves accessible, ingredient-driven food to its surrounding community and beyond. Villarreal’s love of food and his diverse culinary background add a crucial dimension to the exciting and unique dishes offered on The Spence menu.