With a theme focusing on Carnivale, the 2011 RAMMYS Restaurant Awards Gala brought together restaurateurs, chefs and foodies alike to celebrate D.C.'s culinary traditions at the Marriott Wardman Park Sunday night.
RAMW (the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington) hosts the annual event to celebrate the hard work and dedication of those individuals who make the Washington, D.C. region "a major global gastronomic destination," as the evening's program stated.
Among the amazing food and drinks highlighting the culinary traditions of the Australia, Chile, Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), Mexico and the U.S. Southern states, a greater theme was echoed throughout the night.
In her opening remarks, RAMW President Lynne Breaux hailed Washington for maintaining an exciting and progressive international culinary tradition, despite the economic downturn.
Chef José Andrés dedicated the Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award to the city of Washington. Andrés is a critically acclaimed and renowned chef, the recipient of the 2006 RAMMY Chef of the Year award and the 2011 James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef Award, the highest honor a chef in America can receive.
He spoke of the dedication to excellence within the greater community of Washington.
“If I don’t please myself, it’s impossible for me to please you,” Andrés said in his acceptance speech.
Speakers highlighted the collaboration between local restaurants and organizations whose goals are to improve the lives of people in the District. Restaurants coordinate with D.C. Central Kitchen to fight hunger while others have embraced anti-obesity programs and healthy eating initiatives.
Both Breaux and Andrés, as well as many of the other award winners, credited the community nature of Washington as a critical ingredient in the recipe for success of restaurants in Washington.
Awards and Winners
Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year - Ritz-Carlton Washington, D.C.
Neighborhood Gathering Place - Ted's Bulletin
Power Spot - Carmine's Penn Quarter
Hottest Bar Scene - Chef Geoff's Tysons Corner
Voter's Choice Favorite Restaurant - Carmine's Penn Quarter
Where Magazine Visitor's Choice Award - Old Ebbitt Grill
Restaurant Employee of the Year - Ryme Lansari, server Café Atlántico/Minibar
Restaurant Manager of the Year - Hans Olson, manager Clyde's Reston, VA
Pastry Chef of the Year - Chef Tiffany MacIsaac, Neighborhood Restaurant Group
Upscale Casual Restaurant - Tabard Inn
Rising Culinary Star of the Year - Chef Kyle Bailey, Birch and Barley
New Restaurant - Estadio
Wine Program - Taberna Del Alabardero
Beverage/Mixology Program - Founding Farmers
Fine Dining Restaurant - The Source by Wolfgang Puck
Chef of the Year - Chef Todd Gray, Equinox
Click here for a complete list of nominees for each category.