Chef Damarr STL 2024


October 17 – October 20

With a wealth of accolades, including Top Chef Season 19 final four, Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef in America 2022, and the 2023 James Beard Award for Emerging Chef, Chef Damarr Brown has made a name for himself in the Chicago culinary scene. Bringing Southern traditions and the cuisines of the African diaspora to the table at his co-owned restaurant, Chef Brown believes that food has the power to connect people from a variety of backgrounds, fostering inclusivity and a culture of equity.

Although Chef Brown leads a renown culinary program in Chicago, his beginnings started off much smaller — in his family’s kitchen. Raised by his mother, aunt and grandmother, Chef Brown’s first examples of hospitality were his matriarchs, each amazing cooks.

“During Shifting the Lens, I want to highlight where I come from…the foodways handed down by those before me…the journey. I’ve been blessed to take the techniques I saw at home and utilize them on a grand stage, and they haven’t failed me yet.”

Throughout Shifting the Lens, Chef Brown hopes to honor the women who raised him and share their stories through every dish. By creating food inspired by his history, he also hopes to connect with guests on a deeper level during Shifting the Lens. “I hope guests will feel like they know me…I’ve always felt like I communicate better through plates than with words.”

Our Shifting the Lens Chef, Chef Damarr, has been recognized by Food and Wine

Chef Rashida Holmes is a 2023 James Beard Awards nominee and a 2024 Shifting the Lens featured Chef

J Vineyards and winery is so proud to share Chef Damarr has a featured residency this summer in our Shifting the Lens Series

  ©FOOD & WINE is a registered trademark and property of Food & Wine and is not affiliated with J Vineyards & Winery.
©JAMES BEARD AWARDS is a registered trademark and property of the James Beard Foundation and is not affiliated with J Vineyards & Winery.
©TOP CHEF is a registered trademark and property of Top Chef and is not affiliated with J Vineyards & Winery.

I chose to do the Shifting the Lens residency because I felt like my ideals aligned with J’s regarding inclusivity and providing equitable space.
– Chef Damarr Brown

*Bookings available for Club J – May 2nd

*Bookings available for general public – May 13th

Reserve Your Experience

October 17 – October 20


Daytime Experience

(approx. 2.5 hours)

Thursday and Friday | 12pm and 3pm

Saturday and Sunday | 12pm

Chef Brown brings his personal take on Southern traditions and African diaspora cuisine inspired by his own cultural and experiential journey to the Bubble Room, presenting a fully curated five-course tasting menu paired with small-lot sparkling and still wines created by Winemaker Nicole Hitchcock. During both seating times, Chef Brown will join diners in person to discuss his vision and inspiration for each dish.

Signature and Experience members $175 | General public $200

Luxe and Elegance members can use the Bubble Room tickets included
in their memberships for the Daytime Shifting the Lens Experience.

Dinner & Dialogue

(approx. 3 hours)

Saturday and Sunday | 5pm

Prepare to expand your idea of what a food and wine pairing can be at this ultra-exclusive dinner with Chef Brown. Your evening starts with a wine reception and passed hors d’oeuvres as you get the chance to mingle with Chef Brown, Winemaker Nicole Hitchcock and J’s culinary team. For dinner, you’ll enjoy a five-course tasting menu — paired exquisitely with small-lot wines from Nicole Hitchcock — and you’ll be joined by Chef Brown during every course as he explains more about his story, process and inspiration for every dish.

Signature and Experience members $225 | General public $250

Luxe members can use the two tickets included in their membership for Dinner & Dialogue.


why did you choose to do a shifting the lens residency with j vineyards & winery?

I chose to do a Shifting the Lens residency with J Vineyards & Winery because I felt like our ideals aligned in inclusivity and providing equitable space. I’ve had friends who previously did the residency, and they told me that it was a beautiful experience, and that the J winery team was amazing to work with which made it seem like a no-brainer.

when did you know you wanted to become a chef? 

When I was a kid, I used to watch Emeril Lagasse on Emeril Live. Emeril would be butchering a chicken one minute and playing the drums the next, he always seemed to be having so much fun that when I saw him, I said to myself that’s what I want to do.

of the wines you tasted, which ones spoke to you and why? 

I really enjoyed the Estate Pinot Gris, it screamed stone fruit and was delicious.

have you formed any early ideas about your menu, pairings and overall experience? 

I wrote my menu while sitting in the Bubble Room after tasting Chef Forest’s menu with Nicole and team. I’m sure some things will change but it was hard not to get inspired.

how do you hope your guests will feel after their shifting the lens experience? 

I hope that they will feel like they know me. I’ve always felt like I communicated better through plates than words.


Now in its third year, Shifting the Lens has made its mark on the wine culinary industry by spotlighting award-winning guest chefs, delivering unforgettable pairing experiences and amplifying the conversation around representation in wine and food space. Click below to take a look back at our previous years and learn more about this year’s program.

Shifting the Lens returns to the Bubble Room at J Vineyards and Winery


There’s so much more to taste, see and experience at J.

J Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg, CA
Back to Top