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Charlie Awards 2014: Winners, a Kitchen Band, and Bad Yelp Reviews

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For the restaurant patrons and peers attending the 4th annual Charlie Awards at the Pantages Theatre, where over a dozen outstanding food industry professionals were honored, the most-heard mantras from award recipients were:

"Holy shit!" and some variation of "Don't thank me, thank my wife/girlfriend/significant other," ostensibly for putting up with the long hours and absenteeism inherent to dedication to the craft.

Highlights included Salty Tart's Michelle Gayer as co-hostess, as well as the Taste Buds (a Steven Brown-assembled crew of restaurant folk banging on pots and pans in lieu of musical instruments; Brown was disappointingly absent) and a big-screening of pro actors reading hilarious Yelp reviews.

See also: Our Predictions for the Oscars of Local Dining: The 4th Annual Charlie Awards

It was an otherwise tough room to work considering the audience -- folks who prefer to stay behind the curtain -- and most seemed relieved when the relatively short 90-minute program spilled out to the IDS Crystal Court for culinary school-inspired and -created cocktail nibbles. Later, some were treated to a chef's dinner by 2013 award winners Sameh Wadi, Lucia Watson, Jack Reibel, and Khan Tran.

Corner Table got the closest thing to a sweep with two awards -- outstanding service and emerging food professional. They also brought down the house each time their name was mentioned. As he collected his awards, chef Thomas Boemer summed up the restaurateur's objective nicely: "With all the mistakes that we can make, in the end we just want to make people happy."

The winners:

Outstanding design: Coup d'Etat

Outstanding pastry chef: Jon Kraus, Patisserie 46

Outstanding service: Corner Table

Community hero: Vincent Francoual, Vincent

Outstanding beverage program: Butcher & the Boar

Outstanding food truck: Moral Omnivore

Outstanding local brew: Westside IPA, Harriet Brewery

Outstanding bartender: Jesse Held, Parlour, Coup d'Etat

Outstanding menu item: "The Grill Charlie's," two tenderloin sliders with bearnaise from the St. Paul Grill

Outstanding restaurant: Brasserie Zentral

Outstanding food professional: Thomas Boemer, Corner Table

Outstanding chef: Alex Roberts

Lifetime achievement: Kim Bartmann

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