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Charlies Season Kicks Off with Nomination Party Sept. 17

There are five new reasons to make noise at this year's Charlies Award—five new categories.

Monday, September 17 is the first day the Twin Cities food and beverage communities can nominate their peers for the 2019 Charlie Awards at the official Charlies kickoff at the Big Thrill Factory in Minnetonka from 4 to 6 p.m.

The local culinary “Academy Awards” honors the best in food and libations in the greater Twin Cities area. The actual awards ceremony will be held at the Pantages Theater in Minneapolis January 27, 2019.

The September 17 kickoff event—featuring food, wine and beer and entertainment—is free, however, to reserve your spot, register  by emailing info@charliesexceptionale.com.

After the kickoff, nominations can be submitted via the website, www.charliesexceptionale.com.

This year there will be five new categories for a total of 15 categories. The nominations will be honed down by past finalists and winner  to three finalists in each category. The new categories are:

Outstanding Barista

A working barista who can make a mean coffee drink during a rush, while being charming, customer-centric and attentive to detail.

Outstanding Caterer

A consummate professional who runs a catering company and sets up festive and delicious spreads for groups, with imagination, creativity and attention to every detail.

Outstanding Bartender

He or she possesses the skill-set to be an expert in both human nature and concocting  new and classic drinks, along with the ability to draw people out and guide their beverage journey with diplomacy and grace.

Best Entertainment Restaurant Venue

Sometimes called eatertainment, this outstanding venue never forgets food is first, drinks are first and fun is first. (can be kid-friendly or focus on the 21+ crowd)

Best Brewery

A brewing company that makes innovative beer or hard cider, has a social component, whether it’s a conscience or conscious effort to engage customers in a stellar product.

Returning categories are:

Outstanding Service

A restaurant or foodservice business that excels at hospitality by having a personality, and not just a pulse; at being so consistently welcoming and warm that people feel more at home there than in their own home.

Outstanding Restaurateur

Not all the magic happens in the kitchen. This category is for the owner with at least 5 years in the industry, who excels at running a restaurant, keeping it profitable and relevant and who is an influencer in the community and an inspiration to his or her staff.

Outstanding Restaurant

An eating establishment that continually hits on all cylinders with innovative and cravable food, inspired atmosphere & memorable service.

Outstanding Baker/Pastry Chef

A working baker or pastry chef with at least 5 years of experience who is an artist when creating the staff of life or the masterpieces of desserts and morning pastries.

Outstanding Chef

A working chef with at least 5 years in the industry, who shows consistency, relevancy, creativity and isn’t resting on his or her laurels. The chef of the moment, so to speak.

Rising Star    

An under 30 or so, up-and-coming foodservice professional whose talent and hard work guarantees he or she will make their mark on the Twin Cities community and go on to even greater contributions

Beverage Innovator

A professional who is doing innovative work with wine/beer/spirits, either as a brewer, mixologist, sommelier, craft soda producer or other libation-centric work.

Hidden Gem

An out-of-the-box restaurant, food truck or catering service that often flies under the radar of the mainstream media, but is a favorite with the neighborhood or foodie fans.

Community Hero

A compassionate, strong person who uses his or her skills and platform to better the community, either through charitable acts or mentorship.

In addition, we will be awarding the Lifetime Achievement award to one worthy individual “who has made a unique contribution to the local foodservice community as a mentor, influencer and/or innovator.”

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