all photos: Stephanie Breijo, all words: Svetlana
As we all know, if there is one thing (ok, two things) BYT loves more than most other things then those things are: fine food, fine drink and pageantry (ok, three things). So, needless to say, we never ever miss the opportunity to cover RAMW’s annual RAMMY Awards, which is THE food party of the year in DC.
And because The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington loves a pageant as much as we do, they do throw a great party with a dress up theme to boot and this year they went with “HATS OFF (to Restaurants),” which means that the Marriott Wardman Hotel was jam-packed with all those people who make our dining time amazing, and most of them were wearing fancy headwear. If you are a photographer covering this event, this is the equivalent of heaven.
How the evening flows is like this: 6-7pm, a cocktail hour. This, being still during daytime and all, is the cordial part of the evening – dresses and hats are shown off, lots of hugs and congratulations to finalists (all of whom are given big, fat, pink ribbons to roll around with) and such. It is a pretty good time.
Then 7-8pm are the awards. RAMW keeps this portion light and snappy, which is always appreciated with an awards ceremony, and on top of the winners voted for by an anonymous judging panel and the people of DC/MD/VA a few special awards are given out, like the Honorary Milestone Rammy which went to The Tune Inn this year and was met with a roomful of applause and love for the Capitol Hill institution.
The big winner of the evening were Jeff & Barbara Black who won the inaugural Restaurateur of the Year Award as well as the Upscale Casual Restaurant (for BlackSalt) and Hottest Bar Scene (for Black Jack) as well as stirred the one notable contr0versy in an otherwise blissfully contr0versialless evening: during his acceptance speech Black several times took a few jabs at the DC food blogging community, causing a relative stir among the 100+ press members in the audience. Oh well. DCist and City Paper (which has, somewhat expectedly, screen shots of blogger reactions to this speech to boot) have written about this too.
Otherwise it was a joyous and cheer heavy evening. Oh, and here is the full list of winners (to be discussed in the comments and/or penciled in for future dining choice reference). CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU FROM US AT BYT:
- Chef of the Year: Vikram Sunderam – Rasika
- Rising Culinary Star: Ed Witt – 701 Restaurant
- Pastry Chef of the Year: Fabrice Bendano – Adour
- Restaurateur of the Year: Jeff & Barbara Black – Black Restaurant Group
- Fine Dining Restaurant: Bourbon Steak
- Upscale Casual Restaurant: BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant
- Casual Restaurant: Mitsitam Native Foods Café (National Museum of the American Indian)
- Wine Program: Cork Wine Bar
- Beverage/Mixology Program: Estadio
- Neighborhood Gathering Place: Café Saint-Ex
- Power Spot: Founding Farmers
- Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene: Black Jack
After the ceremony is what everyone looks forward to: the party. As we have learned time and over again, no one parties quite like the food industry folk and when 1,600 of them descend into a ballroom filled with limitless food (stations included Virginia, Chile, Spain, Australia and Cuisine Solutions), cocktails (courtesy of the teams nominated for Best Mixology Program: Room 11, Estadio, Bourbon Steak, etc.) and a big band–the results are bound to be photo gold.
…Which is exactly what we’re going to do here, leave you with the snaps. Hats off DC restaurants, you work hard and you party (possibly even) harder. See you all around all the time, we’re sure.