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Rammy 2010 Winners Announced.

RAMW President Lynn Breaux with Scott Drewno and Barbara Fairchild. Photo by Michael Birchenall.

Last night, Sunday, June 6, 2010, over 1,500 restaurant industry members and guests celebrated the announcement of the 20th annual Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) awards, or “Rammy’s” at the Marriott Wardman in Woodley Park, Washington, DC. Attendees were dressed to impress wearing 1940’s glam to fit the Casablanca theme of “We’ll Always Have… Restaurants” at last night’s RAMMY Awards gala. The 2010 Rammy’s gala was particularly special this year due to several changes including the new format. After 28 years, this year, in lieu of presenting awards during a seated dinner, awards were presented during a theatre-style seated ceremony. A celebration with dinner and dancing following in the Salon ballroom.

The new format came after many 2009 Rammy attendees complained that the awards presentation was too loud, hot, and lacked sufficient quality of food considering the audience of the attendees. Tim Carman of the City Paper commented that last year’s Rammy’s were like, “a sauna in the Sahara on Sunday night” and that most Chefs attending the dinner wouldn’t dare serve the food provided in their restaurants, “no chef in the ballroom would have allowed out of his own kitchen, under any circumstance.” 

Luckily, the food offered this year was fresher, more flavorful, and there was a greater variety offered. The carving food stations allowed attendees to watch as the carver sliced the chicken or beef right in front of them before placing it on plates while another culinary worker quickly drizzled it with sauce, dressed it with greens, and placed accompaniments on each plate.

Scott Drewno, Executive Chef of The Source by Wolfgang Puck in Washington, DC took home the highly coveted Chef of the Year award and 2941 in Falls Church, VA was named the Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year.

Birch and Barley team accepts New Restaurant Rammy. Photo by Michael Birchenall.

Also honored was Nicolas Stefanelli, Executive Chef at Bibiana as Rising Culinary Star; Alexandria’s Vermilion won Upscale Casual Restaurant; DC’s BLT Steak captured the title of Power Spot and Best Wine Program went to Proof. The publicly voted Your Favorite Restaurant award went to Co Co. Sala, last year’s Hottest Bar Scene winner. Birch & Barley won as Best New Restaurant and PS7’s as the first-time Beverage/Mixology Program of the Year category winner.

Michael Birchenall, Foodservice Monthly said, “The Restaurant Association celebrated the industry in a spectacle of hospitality and camaraderie that showed off DC as a culinary powerhouse. You could see from the acceptance speeches (that you could actually hear) that we still have that human, down home element that makes us different from some of the other major markets. We had three top winners (Birch & Barley, The Source and 2941) where the chefs left New York to make a lifestyle as well as professional change in their lives … they are now part of our community and we are all better for it. A splendid evening on every level.”

Mistress of Ceremonies Sue Palka, was stunning as always in her 40’s hair and gown. She concluded the awards with, famous Casablanca line, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

2010 RAMMY Award Winners:

Chef of the YearScott Drewno -The Source by Wolfgang Puck, Washington DC

Fine Dining Restaurant
2941, Falls Church VA

Rising Culinary Star
Nicolas Stefanelli – Bibiana, Washington DC

Best New Restaurant
Birch & Barley, Washington DC

Power Spot
BLT Steak, Washington DC

Neighborhood Gathering Place
Cork Wine Bar, Washington DC

Upscale Casual
Vermilion, Alexandria VA

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene
Birch & Barley/Churchkey, Washington DC

Pastry Chef
Anthony Chavez – 2941, Falls Church VA

Joan Hisaoka Associate Member
ProChile/Wines of Chile

Beverage/Mixology Program
PS7’s, Washington DC

Wine Program
Proof, Washington DC

Restaurant Employee
Adolfo Cajchon – Seasons, Washington DC

Restaurant Manager
Mark Politzer – Bourbon Steak, Washington DC

Your Favorite Restaurant (voted by online/newspaper ballot)
CoCo. Sala, Washington, DC

Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award
Bob Madigan

WHERE MAGAZINE Visitors’ Choice Award
The Capital Grille

2009 RAMMY Honorary Award
The Monocle on Capitol Hill

Rammy nominations announced!

RISING STAR CHEFS ... Liam LaCivita, The Liberty Tavern; Jon Mathieson – Inox, Mike Isabella Zaytinya; Nicholas Stefanelli – Bibiana; Shannon Overmiller – Majestic Café. Photo by Michael Birchenall http://bit.ly/d6XeMU

On Tuesday, March 23, 2010, restaurateurs, celebrity chefs and key restaurant industry players flocked to The Ritz-Carlton in Washington, DC for a celebration as the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington announced the 2010 RAMMY Award Nominees. Hosted by emcees Nycci and David Nellis, hosts of Dishing it Out on Federal News Radio, Washington, DC’s only food and beverage centric radio show.

The nominees for the DC’s “Oscars” annual restaurant awards, aka the Rammys Winners from the following categories will be chosen by a panel of judges, and announced June 6. The following nominees are chosen by an anonymous panel judges comprised of  esteemed food/restaurant writers and critics:

Fine Dining: The nominee is a member restaurant that demonstrates an unwavering standard of dining excellence in food, service and ambiance.  The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 1, 2009. 

Fine Dining Finalists: 2941, Michel Richard Citronelle, Minibar by José Andrés, The Oval Room, The Source by Wolfgang Puck

Upscale Casual: The nominee is a member restaurant that demonstrates a commitment to dining excellence in food, service and ambiance. The dining experience may be more casual than Fine Dining, the price point lower, but the commitment to excellence is paramount. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 1, 2009.  

Upscale Casual Finalists: Central Michel Richard, The Liberty Tavern, Proof, Vermilion, Zaytinya

New Restaurant: A restaurant that must have been opened between December 1, 2008 and November 30, 2009 and already distinguishes itself as a pacesetter in food, beverage and service.

New Restaurant Finalists: Bibiana, Birch & Barley, Bourbon Steak, Eventide, Inox

Chef: The nominee is an executive chef or chef de cuisine who demonstrates consistent standards of excellence and serves as an inspiration to other food professionals.  The nominee displays a dedication to the artistry of food, exhibits an ongoing commitment to the community and may be from any type of establishment.  The nominee must have been a chef for the past five years with a minimum of two years based in the Metropolitan Washington area.

Chef Finalists: Bertrand Chemel of 2941, Scott Drewno of The Source, Daniel Giusti of 1789, Vikram Sunderam of Rasika, Haidar Karoum of Proof

Rising Culinary Star: The nominee is an “up and coming” chef who demonstrates exemplary talent, shows leadership and promise for the future.  The nominee must have been based in the Metropolitan Washington area for a minimum of two years.

Rising Culinary Star Finalists: Michael Isabella of Zaytinya, Liam LaCivita of The Liberty Tavern, Shannon Overmiller of The Majestic, Nicholas Stefanelli of Bibiana, Jon Mathieson of Inox

Pastry Chef: The nominee is a restaurant pastry chef who prepares desserts and pastries and demonstrates a high standard of excellence and culinary artistry.  The nominee serves as an inspiration to other food professionals.  The nominee must have been a pastry chef for the past five years with a minimum of two years based in the Metropolitan Washington area.

Pastry Chef Finalists: Anthony Chavez of 2941, Amanda Cook of CityZen, Josh Short of Neighborhood Restaurant Group, Fabrice Bendano of Adour, Travis Olson of 1789

Wine Program: The member restaurant is distinguished by the quality, diversity, clarity and value of its wine program.  The nominee’s wine program best suits the cuisine and style of the restaurant while enhancing the dining experience.  The nominated restaurant must have been in operation for a minimum of two years by December 1, 2009.

Wine Program: 2941, Michel Richard Citronelle, Dino, 701/Ardeo/Bardeo/Bibiana/Bombay Club/The Oval Room/Rasika, Proof

Beverage/Mixology Program: New for 2010! The member restaurant is distinguished by the quality, diversity, creativity, clarity and value of its beverage program.  The nominee’s beverage program best suits the cuisine and style of the restaurant while enhancing the restaurant experience.  The nominated restaurant must have been in operation for a minimum of two years by December 1, 2009

Beverage/Mixology Program Finalists: Brasserie Beck, EatGoodFoodGroup (Eve, PX), Founding Farmers, PS 7’s, Tabard Inn

Manager: The nominee is a manager or general manager in the food service industry who displays the highest level of professionalism and leadership with a member business. This person must be an inspiration and mentor to all his/her co-workers displaying outstanding service, an excellent work ethic and a positive image.

Manager Finalists: Souheil Moussadik of CoCo. Sala, Ryan McCarthy of Passion Food Hospitality, Ashley Williams of Mie N Yu, Mark Politzer of Bourbon Steak, Fernando Contreras of KAZ Sushi Bistro

Employee: The nominee is a non-managerial employee of a member business who serves as a model employee by displaying outstanding service, an excellent work ethic and a positive image.  This nominee must have been working in the food service industry for a minimum of three years by December 1, 2009.

Employee: Corina August of Mie N Yu, Joe Bolam of Urbana, Adolfo Cajchon of Seasons, Marco Guzman of Café Atlantico, Jose Orantes of Dino

The public at large will have the esteemed opportunity to weigh in and choose the winners in the following category with a special ballot appearing in The Washington City Paper April 29 or online at www.ramw.org:

Neighborhood Gathering Place: This nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of quality and congeniality rooted in its neighborhood.

Neighborhood Gathering Place: Bar Pilar, Belga Café, Cork, EatBar, Kemble Park Tavern

Restaurant Power Spot: This nominee is a top choice member restaurant, a spot to “see and be seen” with the movers and shakers on the national and local political and business scene.  It best exemplifies “how Metropolitan Washington works.”

Restaurant Power Spot: Art & Soul, BLT Steak, Bombay Club, The Source, Teatro Goldoni

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene: This nominee is a member restaurant or hotel bar that is innovative with an energetic scene (atmosphere, drink menu, etc.) with a hip and eclectic crowd and is a great people watching and meeting place.

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene: Birch & Barley and ChurchKey, Bourbon Steak, Masa 14, Posto, POV

The 2010 RAMMY Award winners will be announced at the RAMMY gala on June 6, 2010 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. The theme of the 2010 RAMMY Awards is “We’ll Always Have… Restaurants,” and is a play on a famous line from the 1940’s movie Casablanca. 1940’s era glamour will influence the décor and attire and infuse the evening with an air of intrigue. Tickets to the RAMMYS may be purchased by calling 202.331.5990 or by email at rammys@ramw.org.
 
A portion of the proceeds from the gala will benefit the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Association Education Foundation to fund scholarships for culinary education students, enabling them to develop and expand their career opportunities in the restaurant industry.