GOODS: Top Table Rooms Shine At The 22nd Annual VanMag Restaurant Awards

Veteran Top Table restaurant staff have been recognised for their contributions to the Vancouver restaurant scene...

The GOODS from CinCin, Araxi, West, & Blue Water Café

Vancouver & Whistler, BC | In British Columbia’s culinary industry, nothing salutes the advent of spring quite like the annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. Unique in Canada, and now in its 22nd year, the awards were convened on Tuesday, April 12th at the Sheraton Wall Centre. A panel of 19 judges acknowledged industry excellence as Araxi, Blue Water Cafe, CinCin and West were honoured before a standing-room-only audience of leading restaurateurs, chefs and service professionals.

Lifetime Achievement Award, Jack Evrensel

A great honour for the entire Top Table Group saw our proprietor Jack Evrensel acknowledged for his leadership and excellence in the culinary arts during his lengthy career with the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to just one British Columbian each year.

In his acceptance speech, Jack simply stated, “I would like to thank all the judges and Vancouver magazine. I would also like to thank everyone at Top Table—this is truly your recognition. It is my privilege and pleasure to work in an industry where people care for others and give of themselves.”

Araxi Restaurant + Bar

Best Whistler, Gold
Silver Wine List Award, Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

For an unprecedented 11th year, Araxi was recognized once again with the Gold Award for Best Whistler restaurant, a testament to the hospitality of executive chef James Walt and restaurant director Neil Henderson.

“This splendid restaurant is one of the best things about Whistler,” one judge said of Araxi. “The commitment to local products and suppliers shines through the inventive dishes from chef James Walt’s kitchen.”

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar

Best Formal Restaurant, Gold
Best Seafood, Gold
Best Formal Japanese, Honourable Mention
Platinum Wine List Award, Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

Chef Frank Pabst, the 2010 Chef of the Year, together with restaurant director Stephan Cachard, led Blue Water Cafe to win both the inaugural Best Formal award and its fourth annual award for Best Seafood, as well as an Honourable Mention for Best Formal Japanese for its Raw Bar.

According to Vancouver magazine: “Blue Water Cafe scored highest with its ‘commitment to every aspect of the dining experience, starting with a chef, Frank Pabst, at the top of his game.’ ‘Always busy without feeling crowded, and expertly run,’ offered another judge, ‘Blue Water Cafe is the room you’d take an out-of-town visitor who wanted to experience the embodiment of Vancouver’s culinary sensibility.'”

CinCin Ristorante + Bar

Best Formal Italian, Silver
Gold Wine List Award, Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

Executive chef Todd Howard has recaptured the legacy of CinCin’s storied forno and its welcoming rooms with classically inspired dishes heightened with modern nuances.

Moving CinCin smartly to the forefront of contemporary Italian cooking, Chef Howard and restaurant director Ricardo Ferreira, along with their colleagues, certainly captured the attention of the restaurant awards jury, who said that, “CinCin offers ‘quality dishes (and especially unforgettable desserts) in a vivid, buzzy room that appeals to visitors and locals alike.'”

West Restaurant + Bar

Best Formal Restaurant, Silver
Sommelier of the Year, Owen Knowlton
Platinum Wine List Award, Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

Chef David Gunawan and restaurant director Brian Hopkins placed West just behind sister restaurant Blue Water Cafe in this hotly contested category that signals the very best in British Columbia dining. According to the Vancouver magazine judges, “David Gunawan brings regional expressions of the season to the plate with imagination and flawless technique.”

West’s wine program was also recognized, capturing not only Sommelier of the Year in the form of the ever-articulate Owen Knowlton, but also the Platinum Wine List Award, again with sister restaurant Blue Water Cafe, the only two recipients of this highest award.


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