For the past 24 years Vancouver's culinary movers and shakers have come together one night a year to honour the city's best.
This year the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards took place on Earth Day and it proved to be yet another great day for Samantha Rahn and Araxi Restaurant + Bar. The current Vancouver International Wine Festival Sommelier of the Year was given the same honour by Vancouver Magazine this week.
The wine director at Araxi, who seems to smile all the time, was recognized in the magazine's Premier Crew award division while her restaurant was awarded with Vancouver Magazine's top honour amongst Whistler eateries. Araxi was awarded gold in the Whistler award division with Bearfoot Bistro being recognized with silver and Sidecut in the Four Seasons acknowledged as Whistler's bronze location. Honourable mentions were given to Aura and Alta Bistro.
This is the first year Alta Bistro has been acknowledged at the magazine's awards while the other Whistler restaurants acknowledged are repeat honourees.
In light of the fact that the event took place on Earth Day it is worth noting that Alta Bistro is recognized for the great lengths it goes to in the name of sustainability. The crew at Alta Bistro produces very little waste. Edward Dangerfield from the Bistro likes to point out that the kitchen staff makes use of everything except eggshells.
While the recognition for Alta Bistro on Earth Day is great, the Whistler spotlight at the awards was on Araxi. The restaurant puts great effort into shopping local and the magazine recognized that in sharing the news of Araxi's gold placing at the annual awards gala at the Sheraton Wall Centre.
Rahn said the recognition for Araxi is the product of the hard work her coworkers put in every day.
"It is all very well orchestrated, every piece of the puzzle from the top down all together to make the service that seamless," says Rahn while enjoying the sunshine on the Cin Cin patio in Vancouver the day after the awards. "It is a thing that we work really, really hard at every day."
She believes it is no accident that Araxi has been around for more than 31 years.
"Every aspect of it is just as critical as the next from the busboys and the dish washers up," she says.
A group of 19 judges produced the results announced on Monday by Vancouver Magazine. They declared Hawksworth Restaurant of the Year for the second year in a row and named chef David Hawksworth the year's best chef. It is worth noting that the Green Award went to Forage. Chef Chris Whittaker has worked hard to reduce energy consumption, to compost and recycle. Every day truly is Earth Day for people like Whittaker.