We’ve got mixed feelings about Charlie Awards, the ceremony designed to honor chefs and food pros for their hard work.
On the one hand, you must converge on the Pantages Theatre on a Sunday afternoon to sweat through presentations by individuals who, by their very nature, prefer to stay out of the spotlight. Bakers and pastry chefs joked about usually only having themselves to talk to, thanks to their strange hours and solo work. Taking a stage in front of hundreds is, for them, a stretch to say the least.
Then, they (and we) have to unearth our one pair of theatre-worthy shoes, stuff our bunions into them, and wait in the serpentine bar line for a crack at a $11.80 vodka soda. Pro tip: pack a flask.
But then, there’s the other side to the Charlies. The one where some of our fave chefs (and cooks, bartenders, and bakers) humbly accept the accolades their peers have bestowed on them, sometimes in very heartrending fashion.
And it is true. Our food community probably doesn’t hear enough about what they do right. The ever-looming hive mind of Yelp is always poised and ready to pounce on what’s gone wrong. If we love to dine (and do we ever) we’ve got to remember what goes right, too.
The Charlies helps us do that.
Highlights of the 2016 Charlie Awards included the surprisingly Axl Rose-esque vocal stylings by J.D. Fratzke (of Saint Dinette and Strip Club Meat and Fish) during the annual musical performance by culinary staff with hidden musical talents. Fratzke also accepted the award for Outstanding Chef.
All-around media maven and national food celebrity Lynn Rosetto Kasper was in the house to receive a Lifetime Achievement award, and listening to her dulcet voice was a big treat for everyone as she accepted.
Rosetto Kasper had the line of the night when she said that no other industry is so adept at “banishing the other” than the food world. In other words, when the (splendid) table is set, all are invited.
We also loved an adorable and dapper Eddie Wu of Cook St. Paul and his equally adorable brood of kids accepting the award for Emerging Food Pro. He’s one of the most community-involved restaurant owners that we know of, and he deserves a resounding pat on the back (and a plate trophy with his name inscribed on it).
Congrats to all of the other winners, listed here:
Outstanding Bakery: Patisserie 46
Outstanding Distillery: Tattersall
Community Hero: Fernando Silva, of Harriet Brasserie who saved a girl with a bone marrow transplant early this year
Outstanding Food Truck: Midnord Empanada
Outstanding Bartender: Nathaniel Smith of Spoon & Stable
Outstanding Restaurant: Joan’s in the Park