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Sipping with the Sommeliers – Scott and Katie Stephens

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This month, the Scottsdale Wine Examiner is running a very special series of “Sipping with the Sommelier” profiles – all focused on the fabulous Arizona Restaurant Week, which will take place May 17-26 throughout greater-Scottsdale and beyond.

Click here for a full list of participating restaurants, and please welcome Scott and Katie Stephens, owners and sommeliers from Beckett’s Table in Arcadia as today’s special guests.

Scott and Katie – tell us a little about you and your start in the business:

We have always had a passion for food & wine as part of the service industry for as long as we can remember. All facets of back of house and front of house operations have been an interest. We met when we opened Tarbell's in 1994. Mark was a pioneer back then, instilling a proactive approach to wine as a food component; not just a beverage. For us it simply clicked; we were captivated by cultures, countries, and flavors.

How does the menu at your restaurant pair its wines – what is your preference and process?

We look at our Beckett's Table wine list as sort of a spice cabinet; it’s about the access to multiple varieties and regions. What greater way to explore the nuances of a growing area than through wine. It defines the life of the people, their passion that is put into their craft.

What is your personal favorite food/wine pairing at the restaurant?

At Beckett's Table, we have never focused on a particular pairing but rather stretch the comfort zone of many guests. Why not explore a semi-dry Riesling with our Green Chile Pork Stew...a great pairing indeed.

Tell us about any favorite wine events here in town:

We both are Arizona wine advocates and proponents. We would both agree that the AZ Wine Festival every fall at The Farm in south Phoenix is close to our heart. We are in the exciting infancy of the Arizona wine movement and it is a powerful time. We believe that Arizona will be a formidable force in wine production within the next decade. Hold tight because there is a rush for Arizona vineyard land.

Tell us about any wine events you have at your venue – either regularly, seasonally or special events:

We have taken great care in promoting wine at Beckett's Table. We have maintained a strong directive in hosting the winery owner or winemaker for our seasonal wine dinners. While we may only host a handful a year, they are very special evenings.

Tell us about your favorite winery experience – in Arizona or not:

We can never name one. We have travelled throughout most wine regions in the United States, Europe, and of course Arizona. Our belief is to explore, learn, and taste. We should all raise a glass to the passion in the bottle.

What will Beckett's Table be serving for Arizona Restaurant Week and how can folks make reservations?

Chef Justin Becket has prepared a wonderful 3-course menu for Arizona Restaurant Week that guests can enjoy with a nice glass of house wine or draught beer for just $30 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Selections include:

1st choice of

· gina's homemade fresh mozzarella, tomato agrodolcé, toast, herbs (GF, V)

· mcclendon farms market salad, seasonal vegetable gems, fruits & lettuces (GF,V)

· grilled sea scallops, apple salsa verde, green papaya relish (GF)

2nd choice of

· giant meatballs, chunky sauce brava, broccoli rabe, fregula

· house smoked chicken & andouille gumbo, okra, steamed rice (a sneak peek at the Southern Rail menu)

· herb onion potato crusted market fish, sweet corn & roasted bell puree, edamame, spinach (GF)

· vegetarian & vegan options created daily (GF, V)

3rd choice of

· strawberry shortcake whoopie pie, pecan praline, dehydrated strawberries

· chocolate mousse, chocolate cookie crumble (GF)

· vegan chocolate mousse (V)

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