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.
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."
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
Send your story tips to Hot Dish.