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Araxi rules Whistler at Vancouver awards



The team at Araxi must love award shows.

For the restaurant's Neil Henderson and his hard-working group had big smiles on their faces this week after the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards.

Whistler's iconic restaurant picked up two awards at the 23rd annual event.

Araxi received the gold award for the best Whistler restaurant again this year, and Henderson accepted the 2012 Premier Crew Award.

Aura (bronze winner), Bearfoot Bistro (silver winner), Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Bar, along with Sidecut, were the other Whistler restaurants nominated with Araxi.

Henderson, the restaurant director at Araxi, attended the awards ceremony with the rest of the Top Table Group. Thierry Busset was named Pastry Chef of the Year for his work at the Top Table outlet named after the chef. Blue Water Café and Raw Bar won Vancouver's best seafood restaurant award. CinCin was given a silver award in the Best Upscale Italian category but one restaurant dominated the awards this year with six nods from the judges.

Vancouver's Hawksworth was recognized as the Restaurant of the Year and named Best New Restaurant while also taking the Best New Design Award. David Hawksworth was named Chef of the Year and the restaurant's sommelier, Terry Threlfall, was named Sommelier of the Year by the magazine's judging panel of 13 industry leaders.

"Hawksworth's domination of this year's awards proves that upscale dining is back," said Vancouver magazine editor-in-chief, Gary Stephen Ross.

The impressive haul for Hawksworth is a testament to the chef's popularity, in light of his three-year hiatus. His restaurant has been open since the spring, at 801 Georgia Street.

"At the end of the day it is about the team," said Chad Clark, GM of Hawksworth. "The chemistry, the passion."

According to Chef Hawksworth, he works with amazing people.

Laughter erupted when he told the award show audience: "Do not poach them!"

The judges also acknowledged Julian Bond of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts with the Mentorship Award, a new award for this year.

Hosts Michael Eckford and Fiona Forbes of the TV show Urban Rush created the show highlight by encouraging three people from Kingyo Izakaya to conduct magic. The gold winners in the Best Casual Japanese category successfully make the contents of two bottles of wine disappear on stage. Yes, two bottles of wine...chugged on stage by three people made for much hilarity.

All the entrants deserve congratulations and Vancouver Magazine gets credit for putting on a great party.

Stewart survives another week

Whistler's celebrity sous chef, Jimmy Stewart, will cook again on the reality TV show Top Chef Canada after landing in the bottom three again this week.

The reality show is now down to eight cheftestants from the original cast of 16 competitors.


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