Meditations

Vancouver Magazine’s 2010 Restaurant Awards


(This post is guest written by Cliff Hammerschmidt.)

The Vancouver Magazine 2010 Restaurant Awards were held on the afternoon of May 18 at the Sheraton Wall Centre. This is the 21st year of the awards, and my first time attending. Brenda  and I have been dining around the city and following the awards for about a decade so it was really interesting to experience the ceremony in person.

presentation

But let’s cut to the chase: Blue Water won Restaurant of the Year. You probably already knew that since it’s been tweeted, buzzed, facebooked, blogged, and every other kind of social-networked repeatedly since it was announced. Many other winners have been mentioned as well; the full details are over at Vancouver Magazine. (If you don’t want to click through each of the categories on Vancouver Magazine, there’s a nice summary listing of all the winners over at Scout Magazine.)

So what can I tell you that you don’t already know? VanMag throws pretty good events. Before the actual ceremony starts, they stuff you with food and drink. The food was top notch, with canapés from Sidecut, Two Rivers, Xoxolat, and several of the nominees. There was tons of wine flowing, with Sandhill and many other VanMag wine award winners present to refill your glass. Here’s a sampling of some of the food station goodies.

parfaits
bundles
meatballs

The purple lighting made taking pictures a challenge…

awards room

After two hours of grazing the doors open and the main event starts.

The awards ceremony itself was quite funny. Michael Eckford, co-host of Urban Rush and of the awards, …

michael eckford

… should hence forth be know as “fluffer nutter” (they got a lot of mileage out of him spilling one on his shirt earlier). He and “foxy” Fiona Forbes kept the show moving and the audience laughing. If we’re lucky, VanMag will put the videos Mark Philps produced on their website for all to enjoy. This included one video on how awful 2009 was and another giving some of Vancouver’s top food critics a taste of their own medicine (they each had to prepare a sablefish dish in 30 minutes and then be judged by chefs). Both had the audience laughing out loud.

The Oscars could learn a thing about acceptance speeches from the winners, as most took about eight seconds to say “thank you” and quickly got off the stage.

The most notable exception was the Kingyo representative (Best Casual Japanese) …

kingyo award

… who did a quick costume change on stage …

kingyo award 2

 

kingyo award 3

… much to the crowd’s delight.

Kurtis Kolt’s reception as “Sommelier of the Year” really got the crowd going…

kurtis kolt

… the women in the crowd were especially enthusiastic.

My favorite source of tasty tasty meat …

sloping hills

… Sloping Hills Farm won for Producer/Supplier of the Year, which isn’t really a surprise when you consider the number of restaurants serving his product.

Phnom Penh finally got a chance to say their thank yous for the Best Vietnamese award. In past years they’d received them off stage. (I absolutely love their deep fried crispy squid dish.)

lifetime achievement award

Everyone got to their feet for the Lifetime Achievement Winner …

sinclair philip


… Sinclair Philip of the Sooke Harbour House, who shared the award with his wife Frederique. Having met Sinclair several times before, I’d have to say he is one of the most passionate people I’ve met with a real love of food and he truly deserves this award.

Overall the awards were a lot of fun, with lots of humor and appreciation for the efforts of all of the people in the restaurant industry. There were no big egos or grand standing; just people that truly love food and who appreciate how lucky they are to be a part of Vancouver’s top restaurants.

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