Ashok Bajaj, Blue Duck Tavern and a restaurant worth the trip to Paris (Virginia) were among those honored last night when the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington announced the 2013 Rammy Award Nominations.
The nominees were announced at an event packed with industry members in The Hamilton's basement music venue. The nominees for Best New Restaurant were dishing out croquetas and tuna tacos, while the year's beverage and mixology nominees poured cocktails and beer. Tommy McFly and Kelly Collis from 94.7 Fresh FM hosted the event. McFly worked the room by jokingly apologizing to the industry for Collis's "tendency" to walk into places and announce, "Don't you know who the hell I am?" — he also kept referring to the Rising Culinary Star of the Year category as the "Justin Bieber" award.
Mintwood Place, Blue Duck Tavern, Estadio, Fiola, Ripple and The Ashby Inn were among those restaurants to snag multiple nominations in categories recognizing excellence in wine programs, pastry work, mixology and more.
There are some restrictions surrounding the awards. Restaurants must be members of the association to be nominated, and certain categories require restaurants to be open for a specific number of years. For categories like "Best New Restaurant", for example, nominees must have opened between December 1, 2011 and November 30, 2012. Some categories, such as Power Spot, will be voted on by the public (starting April 4), and all winners will be revealed at a gala event June 23.
Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year
The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of excellence in food, service and atmosphere and shows dedication to sophisticated culinary techniques in a fine dining environment. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 1, 2012.
The Ashby Inn & Restaurant
Blue Duck Tavern
The Bombay Club
Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year
The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of dining excellence and service in an upscale casual environment. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 1, 2012.
Birch and Barley
Cork Wine Bar
Jaleo – Penn Quarter
KAZ Sushi Bistro
Casual Restaurant of the Year
The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a dedication to dining excellence, service and value in a casual environment. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 1, 2012.
C. F. Folks
Pete's New Haven Style Apizza
Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year
This nominee is a restaurant that has established itself as a "Great Good Place" with a congenial atmosphere rooted in its neighborhood. The nominee must have been open for at least 5 years prior to December 1, 2012.
Ardeo + Bardeo
Evening Star Café
Nellie's Sports Bar
New Restaurant of the Year
A restaurant that must have been opened between December 1, 2011 and November 30, 2012 and already distinguishes itself as a pacesetter in food, beverage and service.
Fuego Cocina y Tequileria
Rasika West End
Chef of the Year
The nominee is an executive chef or chef de cuisine who demonstrates consistent standards of culinary excellence. The nominee displays a dedication to the artistry of food 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.
Tony Conte – The Oval Room
Haidar Karoum – Estadio/Proof
Tarver King – The Ashby Inn and Restaurant
Cedric Maupillier – Mintwood Place
Fabio Trabocchi – Fiola
Rising Culinary Star of the Year
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.
Scot Harlan – Green Pig Bistro
Tim Ma – Maple Avenue Restaurant
Marjorie Meek-Bradley – Ripple
John Melfi – Blue Duck Tavern
Nathan Shapiro – The Ashby Inn and Restaurant
Pastry Chef of the Year
The nominee is a restaurant pastry chef who prepares desserts and baked goods 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.
Beverly Bates – Vidalia
Peter Brett – Blue Duck Tavern
Alison Reed – Ripple
Susan Wallace – BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant
Tom Wellings – Fiola
Wine Program of the Year
The member restaurant is distinguished by the quality, diversity, clarity and value of its wine program. The wine program best suits the cuisine and style of the restaurant while enhancing the dining experience and the nominee continues to break new ground in education of its staff. The nominee must have been in operation for a minimum of two years by December 1, 2012.
The Ashby Inn and Restaurant
Beverage/Mixology Program of the Year
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.
Birch & Barley/Churchkey
Power Spot of the Year
This nominee is frequented by movers and shakers and decision makers. It best exemplifies how the region and nation's capital works.
The Bombay Club
Johnny's Half Shell
P. J. Clarke's
The Source by Wolfgang Puck
Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene of the Year
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.
Fuego Cocina y Tequileria
Hank's Oyster Bar – Capitol Hill
Jack Rose Dining Saloon
Manager of the Year
The nominee is a non-owner manager or general manager in the food service industry who displays the highest level of professionalism and leadership. 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.
Joseph Cerione – Blue Duck Tavern
Justin Guthrie - Estadio
Alex Muñoz – Hill Country Barbecue Market
Michael Nevarez – Vidalia/Bistro Bis/Woodward Table
Tyes Zolman – Black Restaurant Group
Employee of the Year
The nominee is a non-managerial front or back of the house employee who serves as a model employee by displaying outstanding service, an excellent work ethic and a positive image.
Helene Jones – Poste Moderne Brasserie
Lauren Lowe – DC Coast
Luis Noriega – Zengo
Ali Schemeck – Chef Geoff's, New Mexico Ave.
Elizabeth Zelaya - Fiola
Restaurateur of the Year
The nominee must be a working restaurateur or restaurant group who sets high standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for a minimum of 5 years in the Metropolitan Washington area.
José Andrés & Rob Wilder - THINKFoodGROUP
Meshelle & Cathal Armstrong – EatGoodFood Group
Michael Babin - Neighborhood Restaurant Group
Ashok Bajaj – Knightsbridge Restaurant Group
Drew Kim, Mark Neal and Ty Neal – Matchbox Food Group
Associate Member of the Year
The RAMW Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year Award is given annually to an associate member who best exemplifies commitment to and support of RAMW.
Acme Paper & Supply Co.
SYSCO Food Services of Baltimore
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
· All Previous Rammy Awards Coverage