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And the Finalists for The Charlies Are...

Charlie's Exceptionale probably never had banana flowers on its menu, but the exotic plant is just one of the stars behind the new look for the Charlie Awards.

Deb Ellis

Moving the date from September to February 25 isn’t the only thing that’s new and exciting about the 2018 Charlie Awards: This time around when we all gather at the Pantages theater in downtown Minneapolis to celebrate our culinary community, the three finalists for each category will know who they are in advance, and the winner will be announced from the stage.

Why the change? Well, for one thing, we want all the nominees to be recognized for their excellence in their craft. And we want to build some suspense, after all, we’re referring to the Charlies as the Academy Awards-like program for the Twin Cities foodservice community.

This year’s theme — celebrating the diversity that brings us together — will be referenced in our new graphics, the entertainment at the award ceremony and the decorating at the afterparty at Seven Steakhouse (where a past Charlies’s Outstanding Chef, Sameh Wadi, heads up the kitchen). Be sure to read the January/February issue of Foodservice News to learn a little more about each of the finalists in nine categories. The Lifetime Achievement Award has just one finalist, who will lauded at the event. The Charlies's new look from the food design team at JT Mega will also be unveiled in the January/February issue.

Reserve your seat to celebrate your industry with peers! This may prove to be the hottest ticket in town: call 612-767-3229 or go online at www.charliesexceptionale.com. Tickets to the show and afterparty are just $25. Tickets to the VIP dinner, March 12, at Open Arms are $125 and include a ticket to the awards ceremony and the afterparty. All proceeds go to Charlies’s charity of record: Open Arms. That's why the Charlies are called a party with a cause. 

And without further ado, may we announce:

The 2018 Charlie Awards Finalists

in alphabetical order

Outstanding Service

Good Day Café; Manny’s; Mucci’s 

Outstanding Restaurateur

Ann Kim and Conrad Leifur: Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola, Hello Pizza; Brent Frederick/Jacob Toledo: Jester Concepts (Borough, Parlour, Monello); Alex Roberts – Alma/Café Alma & Brasa

Outstanding Restaurant

Bellecour; Café Alma/Alma; Heyday

Outstanding Baker/Pastry Chef

Katy Gerdes – Angel Food Bakery; Emily Marks – Bachelor Farmer; Solveig Tofte – Sunstreet Breads

Outstanding Chef

Lisa Carlson – Chef Shack; Jamie Malone – Grand Café; Hide Tozawa - Kyatchi

Rising Star

Adam Eaton – Saint Dinette; Yia Vang – Union Kitchen; Josh Walbolt (formerly with Bellecour)

Beverage Innovator

Bang Brewing; Brie Roland – St. Genevieve; Nick Kosevich – Can Can Wonderland and Bittercube

Hidden Gem

Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine; Moroccan Flavors; Quang Restaurant 

Community Hero

Lachelle Cunningham & Michelle Horovitz - Breaking Bread Café  (Appetite for Change); Pat Weber, owner of Mise en Place consulting (volunteer extraordinaire for Charlies, Cookie Cart, etc); Rose McGee (sweet potato pie ministry)

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