Nevada Restaurant Association Announces 2017 Culinary Excellence Award Winners
The Nevada Restaurant Association presented the Culinary Excellence Awards on December 14, 2017 during the 35th Annual Meeting of the Members. The annual event honors the best and brightest in the industry, who were selected based on merit in such areas as reliability, teamwork, leadership, contributions of knowledge and time to the community and dedication to the restaurant industry. This year’s ceremony was held at Wynn Las Vegas. The elegant room was filled with the who’s who from the restaurant industry that contribute to making Nevada the premier culinary destination.
The Honorable Lorraine Hunt-Bono, former 32nd Lieutenant Governor of the State of Nevada, and the founding mother of the Restaurant Association, served as emcee for the evening. Awards were presented by NvRA chairman Jeff Trent in five categories: Drink Specialist of the Year, Culinarian of the Year, Vendor/Supplier of the Year, Restaurateur of the Year and Outstanding New Restaurant. In each category, winners are chosen based on set criteria, including exemplary dedication and skill to the craft, excellent teamwork and leadership and community service involvement. Candidates were nominated by a group of noted industry professionals in six award categories, and the winners were voted on by the Association’s Board of Directors.
“The nominees and winners exemplify the Nevada Restaurant Association’s mission to promote, protect and educate our state’s growing restaurant industry,” said Katherine Jacobi, president and CEO of the Association. “It is an honor to recognize these individuals for everything they do and their culinary and community achievements,” added Jeff Trent, Chairman of the Board.
Drew Levinson of Breakthru Beverage Group was awarded Drink Specialist of the Year, Chris Johns of South Point Hotel & Casino was named Culinarian of the Year, Mike Orlovich of Get Fresh was awarded Vendor/Supplier of the Year, SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill was awarded Outstanding New Restaurant and Richard Femenella of the Charlie Palmer Group was named Restaurateur of the Year.
Gold sponsors of the event were Lipsmacking Foodie Tours and FRSCO Corporation. The event was also sponsored by Wegener Insurance, Badger Insurance, Herringbone Las Vegas and Better My POS.
Following is a list of nominees by category:
Drink Specialist of the Year
Drew Levinson, Breakthru Beverage Group*
Francesco Lafranconi, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of America
Tori Bender, The Golden Tiki
Culinarian of the Year
Geno Bernardo, Herringbone
Chris Johns, South Point Hotel & Casino*
Brian Howard, Sparrow + Wolf
Vendor/Supplier of the Year
Supreme Lobster & Seafood Company
Restaurateur of the Year
Jeff and Rhonda Wyatt, Marche Bacchus
John Simmons, Firefly Tapas Kitchen & Bar
Richard Femenella, Charlie Palmer Group*
Outstanding New Restaurant
Sparrow + Wolf
SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill*
* Category winner