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By: Elettra Communications  09-12-2011

2011 Restaurant Award winners reflect the shift to quality casual dining

Vancouver, B.C.; April 13, 2011 – In celebration of B.C.’s dynamic culinary scene, top chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, and food critics paid tribute to the winners of the 22nd Annual Vancouver magazine Restaurant Awards yesterday at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel.

“It’s clear that quality casual food is what diners were seeking this past year,” said Vancouver magazine Editor-in-chief, Gary Stephen Ross. “That’s the lesson to be drawn from our stellar group of Restaurant Award winners.”

Nowhere was the shift more evident than in the Restaurant of the Year category, where the winner of Best Informal Restaurant, La Quercia, took the top honour. La Quercia also won Gold in the Best Casual Italian category. Last year’s Restaurant of the Year, Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar, was named Best Formal Restaurant and took Gold again in the Best Seafood category.

As further evidence of the casual dining trend, Bao Bei won multiple awards including Best New Restaurant, Best Small Plates, and Best New Design. Best Food Cart, a new category this year, saw Roaming Dragon take Gold for its Asian-infused street eats, while Southern food style Re-Up BBQ took Silver, and Japadog won Bronze.

Nico Schuermans was honoured as Chef of the Year for nurturing the burgeoning culinary scene on Beatty Street with Chambar, Café Medina, and Dirty Apron cooking school and delicatessen. Chambar won Gold in the Best Other European/Middle Eastern category and the magazine singled out Café Medina for having the city’s best breakfast.

Jack Evrensel, Proprietor of the Top Table Group (Araxi, Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar, Cin Cin, and West), was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Thirty years after opening Araxi in Whistler, he has set the standard by which rooms in B.C. are judged. Evrensel was honoured for his unrelenting focus, demanding standards, and hard work.

Several perennial favourites also received top honours, including: Vij’s for Best Indian; Le Crocodile for Best Formal French; and Tojo’s for Best Formal Japanese. The inaugural Pastry Chef of the Year award went to Thomas Haas.

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