What to expect:
Winemaker Dinners at St. Jack are always a hot commodity. Chef Aaron Barnett shares his flair for French cuisine, with wines paired by Johan Vineyards - an acclaimed Oregon certified-biodynamic estate winery. Get your seats quick for this one!
Seating - Semi-private room for 15 guests.
1610 NW 23rd Ave, Portland
The product of a lifetime of study and passion, St. Jack is an ode to the bouchons, or esteemed cafés of Lyon, France, and to Chef Aaron Barnett’s take on the humble excellence of rustic French cuisine.
Chef Aaron Barnett
Aaron Barnett grew up in Canada in a household of foodies—he ate frog’s legs for the first time at the age of eight. Barnett’s family moved to the United States when he was a teenager, where he eventually enrolled in the California School of Culinary Arts’ Cordon Bleu program to pursue his longtime goal of becoming a chef. Barnett externed in his native Canada at Lumière in Vancouver, British Columbia, and was immediately taken with the flavors and produce available in the Pacific Northwest. Diving headfirst into the vast array of available ingredients, he began to put together the building blocks that would become his signature style. During this exciting time, he also became an assistant to Chef Rob Feenie on the television show, “New Classics, with Rob Feenie” on Food Network Canada.
Barnett moved to San Francisco to work under Gary Danko, and he soon took a sous chef position at up-and-coming Myth in San Francisco under Chef Sean O’Brien. In little under a year, Barnett was made executive chef at the Desert Sage in La Quinta, California. After a move and an executive chef role at Olea in Portland, Oregon, Barnett was wooed to the highly regarded 23Hoyt, where he was fortunate enough to participate in a James Beard dinner. After he was introduced to restaurateur Kurt Huffman of Chefstable, the two teamed in 2010 up to open St. Jack—a modern take on a traditional Lyonnaise bouchon. It’s here that Barnett puts the sophistication learned at Gary Danko to work, breathing new life into French bistro staples.
At Johan Vineyards we work to integrate our experience into the vineyard and winery to achieve harmony. Our method of work is largely philosophically based. Our decisions are guided by both instinct and observation. We believe that diversity in the biological ecosystem of the vineyard and winery is essential to achieve a true expression of terroir in wine. Rather than striving for stylistic preference, we seek balance and energy in our wines. Our observations lead us to believe this energy exists in wines that are made from organic fruit sources combined with wild fermentations and minimal intervention. For this reason, we farm our vineyard and craft our wines using organic and Biodynamic methods. Our facility has never seen a cultivated yeast strain. We feel that in order to achieve the full expression of site, it is imperative to allow the native yeast from the vineyard to guide our wines through both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. We use gentle production methods, employing light punchdowns by foot in order to ensure lower extraction levels. Our aging approach for each wine depends on the vintage, with no set formula for any one wine. We often over-vintage both our red and white wines, allowing the wines time hit their fullest potential before capturing this expression in bottle.
Winemaker Morgan Beck