Three cheers and a flashback look to another year of the fun Charlie Awards, which found us seeing some great old friends and smiling faces at every turn. The theme this fourth year was “Honor Thy Food,” which wowed us on stage at the Pantages, then was followed by the “Palate-Pleasing Post-Party” of cocktails and food sampling at the IDS Crystal Court.
Twin Cities restaurateur Wayne Kostroski (pictured above with his award) was recently honored by the Taste of the NFL, which presented him with the Pedestal Award at the 24th annual Legends Invitational in Pebble Beach, California, last month
His restaurant career began at 16 at the Lake Elmo Inn, and since buying the venerable restaurant from his former boss in 1983, John Schiltz has turned it into one of the Twin Cities’ favorite dining spots, earning numerous accolades along the way.
“The media makes things trendy,” noted Alfred Portale. “We don’t set out to create these trends.” True or not, a near-capacity crowd was ready to hear the longtime executive chef of Michelin-starred Gotham Bar and Grill in New York City and other top chefs talk about exactly that during their Future Food Trends panel at last month’s Restaurant Finance and Development Conference. If attendees were waiting for Portale—or chefs Richard Sandoval, Jeff Mahin or Joey Campanaro (pictured above)—to name one ingredient that will take over menus in 2015, however, they were out of luck.
After his Corner Table crispy pork belly won Outstanding Menu Item last year, Boemer thought no way would the Charlie Awards committee recognize the same restaurant with another award the following year—let alone two.