Top Table shines at Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards

Top Table shines at 23rd annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards

Araxi, Blue Water Cafe, CinCin, West and Thierry honoured

Vancouver, B.C. (April 24, 2012) – If cherry blossoms herald spring across the province, in British Columbia’s culinary industry, the change of seasons is marked by the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards.

Now in their 23rd year, and unique in Canada, the awards were convened on a fitting spring day – Monday, April 23rd – at the Sheraton Wall Centre. A panel of 18 judges acknowledged industry excellence as AraxiBlue Water CafeCinCinWest andThierry were honoured before an audience of leading restaurateurs, chefs, and service professionals.

Araxi Restaurant + Bar

• Best Whistler – Gold Award
• Gold Wine List Award – Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival
• Premier Crew Service Award – Neil Henderson

For an unprecedented 12th year, Araxi took to the podium to receive the Gold Award for Best Whistler restaurant, a testament to the distinctive regional cuisine of Executive Chef James Walt and the true hospitality of Restaurant Director Neil Henderson. Araxi was also awarded the Gold Award for its deep and value conscious wine list, an acknowledgement of the harmony required for memorable meals.

As Vancouver magazine said, “James Walt’s relationship with local farmers and producers accounts for the fine ingredients on your plate at Araxi; his artistry in the kitchen is what makes them sing.” And, one judge pointed out, “[Wine Director] Samantha Rahn does an excellent job of matching his work with bottles from her well-stocked wine room.”

Neil Henderson’s two decade-long career with Top Table was highlighted, as he joined an elite group of five service personnel awarded with the Premier Crewdesignation for outstanding service. In his acceptance speech, Henderson said, “This room represents some of the hardest working people in the country, and I am honoured to be recognized amongst them.”

Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe

• Pastry Chef of the Year

Chef Thierry Busset, whom Gordon Ramsey has called ‘one of the best pastry chefs in the world,’ was recognized as Pastry Chef of the Year, his first nod as Maître Pâtissier of his eponymous chocolaterie patisserie cafe, Thierry. He previously won the ‘Best Last Course’ category in 2008 and 2010 as Pastry Chef at sister property CinCin.

Open since last August, Thierry has established itself as Vancouver’s top destination for exclusive hand-crafted chocolates, pastries and confections. The popular Alberni street patisserie, which is fully licensed and open early until late, has quickly become a popular rendezvous.

As the editors of Vancouver magazine said: “This sleek bustling café from former West and CinCin Maître Pâtissier Thierry Busset—is an apt manifestation of the man himself.”

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar

• Best Seafood Restaurant – Gold Award
• Best Upscale Restaurant – Silver Award
• Platinum Wine List Award – Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

According to Vancouver magazine, Chef Frank Pabst, the 2010 Chef of the Year, “continues to lay it down, demonstrating technical assurance alongside commitment to sustainable seafood. And his Unsung Heroes menu puts him over the top, every year.”

With the Best Seafood Award, Vancouver magazine judges saluted Pabst’s European discipline and technique with New World flourishes, especially as the popularity of its new private dining spaces increase. Wine Director Andrea Vescovi’s elegant and comprehensive wine list was also signaled for its depth and variety, winning the elusive Platinum Award.

CinCin Ristorante + Bar

• Best Upscale Italian – Silver Award
• Gold Wine List Award – Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

CinCin is celebrating its 20th Anniversary, a testament to its enduring quality and sense of warm hospitality. CinCin’s storied wood-fired oven suffuses the dining rooms with warmth, while classically inspired Italian dishes are heightened with modern nuances.

Moving to the forefront of contemporary Italian cooking, CinCin captured the attention of the restaurant awards judges, who said “CinCin earned kudos for its dependably high standards.”

CinCin also won the Gold Wine List Award for its famously broad and international wine list, featuring a unique, value-driven Italian selection.

West Restaurant + Bar

• Platinum Wine List Award – Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

The talented Quang Dang, following senior positions in some of Vancouver’s finest kitchens, recently rejoined West as Executive Chef. Critical and popular praise has quickly followed – and this year, Restaurant + Wine Director Owen Knowlton’s remarkable wine list attracted the Platinum Award, one of only six restaurants in the province to do so.

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Media contacts:

Alexandra Shaw

Lisa Trudeau