ARNETTE’S CHOP SHOP TRANSFORMS INTO A CULINARY CANVAS
Written by Jennifer Bradley Franklin
Photographed by John Haigwood, Haigwood Studio
On a crisp spring evening, culinary artists and winemakers gathered to produce an unforgettable meal to support the High Museum of Art. Arnette’s Chop Shop Executive Chef Stephen Herman hosted winemaker Scott Shirley, of Justin Vineyards and Winery, for a five-course dinner to support the museum’s largest fundraiser of the year, the 27th annual High Museum of Art Wine Auction.
Tucked on a once-industrial Brookhaven side street, the two-story steakhouse’s upstairs lanai and adjacent bar hosted a meet and greet for patrons, the winemaker and other attendees. Nibbling on bite-size tuna crudo and Sturia French caviar set atop delicate blinis, they sipped Justin Sauvignon Blanc Central Coast 2017. The crisp wine, with its herbal and citrus notes, was a refreshing start to the evening.
The evening’s hosts, including restaurateur Michel Arnette (also the proprietor of nearby restaurants Haven, Valenza and Vero), welcomed guests to settle into the main dining room downstairs. Though it was the restaurant’s first wine dinner since it opened less than a year ago, the staff handled the more than 40 guests with aplomb. The chef and winemaker greeted the crowd and shared their vision for the menu and the accompanying wines. “I focused on pairing the food appropriately with the wine while staying in the steakhouse frame of mind,” Herman explained, while Shirley promised to stop by each table, inviting guests to “ask any hard-hitting questions” they may have about the wines. While the chef dashed back to the adjacent open kitchen to put the finishing touches on the first course, Shirley, who has had seven harvests as winemaker at Justin, shared a bit of the California winery’s history.
Excerpt is from an article featured in the SUMMER issue of Flavors Magazine, subscribe today and don't miss a single issue!