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Café to Café


Dinner a year in the making

Chris Upchurch and Jason Wilson partner on an amazing auction dinner

At the Auction of Washington Wines this year, one of the auction items was a culinary and wine extravaganza for 18 people to be created by Winemaker Chris Upchurch and Chef Jason Wilson. It will take place at The Grand Chef's Table in Jason Wilson's new Lakehouse Restaurant in Lincoln Square South on April 27, 2018.

Chris and Jason are excited to create an experience nearly a year in the making. Jason is thinking about what spring brings: wild salmon, halibut, mushrooms. Chris has two new wines, Counterpart and a Sauvignon Blanc, that will be paired with his and Jason's dishes. Chris will cook with Jason, which is a unique experience. In fact, Chris once created a Black Duck dish using dried black mushroom "soil/dirt" on the bottom of the plate, a sous vide duck breast with black pepper and black garlic sauce that Jason put on the menu at Crush for six months. But why and how is this dinner a year in the making?

"Jason and I have done millions of winemaker's dinners, both together and with others," explains Chris. "In a few hours, we could certainly create an excellent menu that we know would succeed with the wines. However, taking time allows us to create, experiment, fine tune the wines, and receive feedback from each other."

Both men are incredibly busy, but with enough time feel they can go through the process for each course. "We started off with the amuse bouche. After discussion, we settled on four of the Lakehouse potato chips with different items on each chip. We're calling it 'bet you can't eat just one.' Jason took two and I took two. I'm not going to spoil the surprise, but I can tell you that I wanted to make one with chorizo mayonnaise and caviar. After three tries, I got my chorizo mayo where I wanted it, then paired it with many caviars. The American caviar was much more assertive and worked better with Sauvignon Blanc. And, of course, Jason's comments made it even better. You can see that this will take time…"

Not only is this great fun for them and an amazing experience for the 18 lucky guests, but the auction item benefits Seattle Children's uncompensated care, along with Washington State University's wine program, a new building, and scholarships.

We'll check in with Jason and Chris again in January to see how planning is coming along. Then in March, we'll have then on the Seattle DINING! show, before the big event in April.

Connie Adams/November 2017

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