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From the Editor: Charlies Were a Bloody Good Time

Charlie Photo by Joe Veen

The bloody Mary was heavy,  an entire 46-ounce bottle of V8 juice poured into a flower vase with a litany of toppings, including hard-boiled eggs and a rose. Fortunately, my husband suggested I store the skewered garnishes in the refrigerator overnight and skip the two jumbo shrimp, so as not to stink up the joint the next day when I carried the drink on stage as a prop for the Charlie Awards. 

CJ Cook from TriMark, who presented the Outstanding Bartender award with me, wisely declined to taste it before the stage manager swept it off stage so we could greet the winner. The bloody Mary that no one would drink costs $32 to make—and it didn’t even have vodka in it—which may be why I write about the restaurant industry as opposed to working in it.

The Charlies, however, makes me want to work in the industry. The award ceremony on January 27 filled the Pantages Theater up to the balcony with cheering, optimistic people who weren’t going to let the minute-by-minute weather updates about a big snow storm headed their way spoil their fun. 

As Beth Ewen points out in her story on page 14, the weather may have distracted the crowd from dressing to the nines as in years past. But they are still a colorful crowd. I have so many great memories of the show, but here are just a few top of mind that delight me: 

• Marco Zappia standing in the back of the theater when his name was read as Beverage Innovator and taking his sweet time to stroll to the stage, stopping to shake hands or hug admirers on his way. This is exactly why we refer to the Charlies as the local version of the Academy Awards. Marco definitely has star power. 

• So do our hosts, Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers. Joy suggested we ask chefs they’ve reviewed to critique their work—as in turnaround is fair play. Nick Rancone, who wasn’t pleased with a review Joy did earlier, was especially happy to roast her; Tim Niver lampooned the way Jason says deLISHus; and Ann Kim pondered over whether Jason’s Instagram was actually a means to hawk watches and cuff links. When the spotlight returned, Jason bragged about his expensive watch.

• Then there was ProStart instructor Monique Sabby presenting the Rising Star award to her former student, Joshua Walbolt. And the two ProStart students, Cole Orton and Maddie Jennings, serving up the Charlies plates with the names of  winners on them.

• Another fun moment was Kate Meier presenting a special Charlies edition of her infamous aprons to Outstanding Chef Justin Sutherland.

And, of course, Sue Zelickson getting the Lifetime Achievement Award. Who doesn’t love Sue? I’m privileged to work and play with her. 

When Publisher Jared Pfeifer first suggested we do six pages of Charlies coverage, I thought he was crazy. Now, I think he is crazy not to have suggested eight pages. Check our blog for more pictures and if you weren’t there, you missed out on a great party that put the people usually behind the scenes, front and center. 

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