Another Successful Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards
Well, the results are in and we are closing the books on another year of organizing Vancouver magazine’s Restaurant Awards. By now people have likely heard that Ask for Luigi was the event’s big winner with four awards, Hawskworth won Best Upscale, Vikram Vij won Chef of the Year, and Tojo’s and Zest tied (yes tied!) for best Upscale Japanese. This year marked the 13th year that I have organized the event. Vancouver magazine is my longest running client and, my two lovely children aside, this event is my proverbial baby. Every year people tell me it was the ‘best ever’ and I wonder how we are going to make it better still.
I have to say that our team does an awesome job of organizing this event and we are focused on nailing every last detail. But what made Tuesday’s event so memorable were the emotional moments on stage that demonstrate the passion that those in the restaurant industry have for what they do.
We saw Premier Crew award winner Rose Nguyen give an impactful speech saying that it was the “great moment of her life”. We heard the son of the Amay’s House’s owners praising his parents for coming to Canada with $20 and building a successful business. We saw Vikram Vij get overwhelmed as he thanked his grandfather for getting him started in his career. And we were even treated to a spontaneous singing of Happy Birthday by our entire crowd to Bartender of the Year winner, Lauren Mote.
These are the moments that we can't control, but that we aim for as we plan the event. We pore over the results as soon as they come in from the accountant, agonizing about which awards we are going to present on stage. We ask ourselves which categories saw exciting movement from the previous year. Who will likely be most surprised? Who hasn’t had a chance to shine on stage in recent years?
It’s hard to say exactly what makes one event more successful than another, but moving beyond the tactical details and trying to connect with guests on an emotional level is key.
I would like to thank everyone whose talents contributed to an amazing event. The entire team at Van mag. Mark Philps for his stellar videos (here, here, and here). CBC’s Gloria Macarenko and Stephen Quinn who nailed the tone of the event perfectly. Our amazing host venue, the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre. And the guys at PSAV who pulled an all-nighter to set up the event. And last, but not least, the fabulous women that I work with at Elettra. You rock.