It's about time someone came up with some pomp and circumstance for our local food collective. The Charlie Awards have arrived.
Coming this November, the local food and restaurant industry will be recognized for all they do with a ceremony called The Charlie Awards. The brainchild of local food maven Sue Zelickson and a team of savvy tastemakers (including Ivey Awards' Scott Mayer), the awards are named after the good old Charlie's Cafe Exceptionale, a Minneapolis restaurant that stood as a benchmark for fine dining before it closed in the '80's.
The awards will honor food suppliers, beverage makers, culinary schools and restaurants with categories such as lifetime achievement, community hero, emerging chef, waitstaff, restaurateur, and more. In addition, food/neighborhood awards will be given thusly: Any non-franchised resto can nominate themselves with a signature dish they feel is emblematic of their mission (i.e. Blue Door's blucy or The Modern's pot roast), now through August 26th . All nominations will be grouped by neighborhood and voted on by general online eaters. The two top vote earners in each neighborhood will become the official nominees to be judged by a panel of multi-industry pros.
The actual award show at the Pantages on November 20th, will be preceded by a VIP brunch at LaSalle Plaza and followed by an after-party in the Crystal Court. The idea is to have it on a Sunday, which many chefs have off, and to have all the food cooked by culinary undergrads so that the industry kids can have a real night off!
Tickets will go on sale September 26th (on the site or through Ticketmaster), with the show and after-party for $35 (industry kids pay $25) or $100 for an all access pass to include the brunch (with a part of the proceeds benefitting Second Harvest Heartland.)
Restaurants, get your nominations in! Eaters, prepare to vote for your favorites!