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2008 RAMMY Nominees Announced:

May 15, 2008
Emily Halonen,                                                      
Beth Amedeo,


Metropolitan Washington’s top chefs and restaurants revealed

Award winners to be announced at RAMMY Restaurant Awards Gala 

Washington, D.C. – Culinary stars gathered on Tuesday, March 25th to applaud the Washington metro area’s top chefs and restaurants as they accepted their 2008 RAMMY Restaurant Award nominations. The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), together with WTOP’s Man About Town, Bob Madigan, unveiled the award finalists at a reception last night at The Ritz-Carlton Washington, D.C. New Restaurant of the Year finalists offered tastings of their cuisine, and Wine and Beverage Program of the Year finalists created specialty RAMMY-inspired cocktails utilizing Christiania ultra premium vodka from Norway. Winners will be announced at the 26th Annual RAMMY Restaurant Awards Gala on Sunday evening, June 29th at the Marriott Wardman Park. 

According to RAMW President Lynne Breaux, this year’s theme at the RAMMY Awards Gala will be “Setting The Global Table,” in recognition of the tremendous international influence on the Washington metropolitan area’s cosmopolitan dining arena. “The Washington metro area is now a magnet for many of the most exciting restaurant concepts to open in the nation,” said Breaux. “So much so, that our judges panel could not select only five finalists for ‘New Restaurant of the Year’ and this year, expanded the category to include six finalists.”

RAMMY Gala Chair Oren Molovinsky of Mie N Yu said this year’s award ceremony will be resplendent in global glitz and glam, with many of the city’s renowned ambassadors in attendance and more than 1600 guests dressed in “black tie and bling.”  He added, “This year, the RAMMYS will feature  an opulent pre-awards reception in the hotel’s newly renovated Thurgood Marshall Ballroom, featuring ‘regional vignettes’ which will showcase wine and spirits from the around the world, paired with an international selection of hors d’oeuvres.  The ‘golden’ VIP treatment will continue into the Grand Gold Ballroom for the awards dinner featuring Icelandic foods and Chilean wines, and dancing into the night.”

An anonymous panel comprised of journalists and hospitality educators selected the finalists for each of the awards categories, and will determine the winners.  Finalists include: 

New Restaurant of the Year
: Brasserie Beck, Central Michel Richard, Hook, Proof, The Source by Wolfgang Puck, Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert

Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year
: Equinox, Michel Richard Citronelle, Restaurant Eve, The Oval Room, Vidalia

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year
: Oyamel, Poste Moderne Brasserie, Vermilion, Willow, Zaytinya

Chef of the Year: R.J. Cooper, Vidalia; Todd Gray, Equinox; Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle/Central Michel Richard; Robert Wiedmaier, Marcel’s/Brasserie Beck; Eric Ziebold, CityZen

Pastry Chef of the Year: Heather Chittum, Hook; Michelle Garbee, Bastille; Kate Jansen, Willow; Melanie Parker, Equinox; Josh Short, Neighborhood Restaurant Group

Wine & Beverage Program of the Year: Dino, Mendocino Grille and Wine Bar, OYA Restaurant & Lounge, Passion Food Hospitality, Tallula/Eat Bar

Rising Culinary Star of the Year: Nathan Anda, Tallula; Tony Chittum, Vermilion; Tony Conte, The Oval Room; Joe Raffa, Oyamel; Barton Seaver, Hook

Restaurant Manager of the Year:   Hicham T. Bennani, Mie N Yu; Christine de Clerfay, The Oceanaire Seafood Room; Molly McWhorter, Chef Geoff’s Downtown; Ned Mirkovic, Morton’s The Steakhouse; Adam Williamowsky, BLT Steak

Restaurant Employee of the Year: Simo Amhandi, Equinox; Michael Cherner, Mie N Yu; Joel Guagliano, Zaytinya; Chris Kelley, Mie N Yu; Willians Perez Rollins, Chef Geoff’s

AMW also wants the dining public’s input. Washington’s restaurant-savvy gourmands and food aficionados will decide the winners of the following four categories. The general public can cast their votes online at or on a special ballot, which will appear in The Washington Post Magazine’s Sunday, May 18th publication. Finalists include:

Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year: Ardeo, Belga, Billy Martin’s Tavern, Hank’s Oyster Bar - DC, Mark & Orlando’s

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene of the Year: Brasserie Beck, Central Michel Richard, Poste Moderne Brasserie, Proof, The Source by Wolfgang Puck

Power Spot of the Year: Bistro Bis, Charlie Palmer Steak, Monocle on Capitol Hill, Seasons at Four Seasons Hotel, Washington, D.C., The Oceanaire Seafood Room

Voters’ Favorite: (To be selected by the public)

Finalists for RAMW’s Associate Member of the Year were also announced. These include: BB&T, Belair Produce, EagleBank/Fidelity & Trust Bank, Foodservice Monthly, SYSCO Food Services of Baltimore

Partial proceeds from this year’s RAMMY Awards will benefit the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington Education Foundation’s scholarship program. The program helps send area high school graduates to culinary and hospitality schools around the nation. Last year’s recipients are currently pursuing culinary studies at the Culinary Institute of America, the Art Institute of Washington and Stratford University.

Tickets for the RAMMY Restaurant Awards Gala cost $200 for RAMW members and $250 for non-members and can be reserved by calling 202-331-5990. For more information, please visit

RAMMY major sponsors include: Icelandair, Icelandic Group, Sustainable Iceland, Reykjavik Food & Fun Festival, Iceland Naturally, ProChile, Wines of Chile, Christiania Vodka and FIJI Water.
Established in 1920, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s vision was 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.