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Metro Washington's top chefs and restaurateurs unveiled

June 30, 2008




For Immediate Release:

June 30, 2008



Brie McMahon,

Emily Halonen,,



**High resolution images available upon request**


Metro Washington’s top chefs and restaurateurs unveiled

at the 2008 RAMMY Restaurant Awards Gala


Washington, D.C. –”Setting the Global Table” was the theme of the 26th annual RAMMY Restaurant Awards Gala, where more than 1600 guests applauded Washington’s chefs and restaurateurs for their work in elevating the nation’s capital to a worldwide gastronomic destination.  The 2008 RAMMY Award winners, including Chef of the Year, Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year and New Restaurant of the Year, were announced at the gala, presented by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, on Sunday, June 29th at the Marriott Wardman Park.  Throughout the evening, masters of ceremony Sue Palka of FOX 5 and James Adams of NBC 4 shared the stage with high-profile award presenters, including The Honorable Mariano Fernández, Ambassador of Chile and The Honorable Albert Jónsson, Ambassador of Iceland, and prominent members of the media, such as Bon Appetit’s editor-in-chief, Barbara Fairchild.


“Metropolitan Washington’s restaurant community has truly evolved into an internationally recognized dining destination,” said RAMW President Lynne Breaux. “Some of the world’s most renowned chefs have made the D.C. area home to their restaurants. While the RAMMY Awards are given out to Washington’s best chefs and restaurants, we felt it was important that this year’s theme – ‘Setting the Global Table’ – spotlighted the significance of the global renaissance that continues to revolutionize our nation’s capital’s dining scene.”


“This year’s gala was also a tribute to the chefs who are committed to heightening the use of regional, locally sourced ingredients in their globally inspired cuisine,” said RAMMY Gala Chair Oren Molovinsky of Mie N Yu. “Sustainability and support within the local foodservice industry is also a part of what makes the D.C. area’s restaurant community so outstanding.”


The 2008 RAMMY Award winners are:

Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year: Hank’s Oyster Bar – DC

Hottest Bar Scene of the Year: Central Michel Richard

Power Spot of the Year: The Oceanaire Seafood Room

Voters’ Choice Restaurant of the Year: The Monocle on Capitol Hill

New Restaurant of the Year: The Source by Wolfgang Puck

Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: Equinox

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: Poste Moderne Brasserie

Chef of the Year: Eric Ziebold, CityZen

Restaurant Employee of the Year: Joel Guagliano, Zaytinya

Pastry Chef of the Year: Heather Chittum, Hook

Wine and Beverage Program of the Year: Passion Food Hospitality

Restaurant Manager of the Year: Molly McWhorter, Chef Geoff’s Downtown

Rising Culinary Star of the Year: Barton Seaver, Hook


An anonymous panel of esteemed Washington food writers and hospitality industry educators selected the winners of most of the RAMMY awards; however, four of the awards were decided by a public vote. The public voted on awards for Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year, Hottest Bar Scene of the Year, Power Spot of the Year and the Voters’ Choice Restaurant of the Year.


RAMW named Phyllis Richman, former food critic of The Washington Post, the recipient of the Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award and Ben’s Chili Bowl received an honorary RAMMY Award for its longevity, history and cultural significance to Washington.  Jaleo received the Where Magazine Visitors’ Choice Award.  Additionally, at this year’s award ceremony, RAMW memorialized the late Joan Hisaoka, who had served as an active member of RAMW’s board of directors since 1999 and as the Gala’s Public Relations Chair since 2003.  In her honor, the Associate Member of the Year award was re-named the Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year.  Foodservice Monthly received this year’s award.


RAMW also announced that they will be joining Les Dames d’Escoffier, a fellow culinary-industry association of which Joan Hisaoka was a member, past president and energetic promoter, in creating a scholarship in her honor for a deserving high school student pursuing post-secondary education in public relations.


RAMMY major sponsors include: Icelandic Group, Iceland Naturally, Icelandair, Sustainable Iceland, Reykjavik Food & Fun Festival, ProChile, Wines of Chile, The Washington Post, Christiania Vodka, Destination DC, Fiji Natural Artisan Water, ProFish Ltd., Adams-Burch, American Express, BB&T, Comcast of the District, Fidelity & Trust/Eagle Bank,, Hisaoka Public Relations, KSM Marketing, Law Offices of Andrew J. Kline, Len DePas Photography, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, PSAV, Santa Lucia Estate Coffee, SYSCO Foodservices of Baltimore, USI Insurance Services, Inc., Virginia Wine, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Conservation Services and Where Magazine.


A portion of the proceeds from the RAMMYS benefits the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington Education Foundation’s scholarship program. The program helps area high school students develop viable careers in the restaurant industry by providing scholarships for post-secondary education in hospitality-related fields. Scholarship recipients who were funded by the RAMMY Awards proceeds last year are currently pursuing their culinary studies at the Culinary Institute of America, the Art Institute of Washington and Stratford University.


Established in 1920, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s vision is to unite restaurateurs and food service industry professionals of the Washington area. Today, RAMW has more than 600 members, and is the voice of establishments ranging from casual eateries to internationally acclaimed fine dining restaurants.