Let’s take a break from all the earthquake talk for a bit, because life does, after all, go on!
Each year the Círculo de Cronistas Gastronómicos de Chile (Chilean Circle of Food & Wine Writers) celebrates the movers and shakers in Chile’s world of food and wine with a special awards ceremony. This year’s event (the 2009 Awards) was held at Oporto Restaurant in Las Condes (Santiago) last night.
As a member of this group, I can tell you that the selection process is long and thoroughly debated. We begin compiling our list in October or November, and then go through it, discussing each possibility, crossing off names and adding others. Sometimes the choice is easy and obvious; other times the decisions are hotly disputed and carefully examined. When there’s a doubt, we table the decision for the next monthly meeting while we go look for more information, visit a restaurant in question, read a book that’s been nominated.
Certain categories are standards: Chef, Restaurant, and Winemaker of the Year, for example, appear every year and are much anticipated by the food and wine community. The special Rosita Robinovitch Award is given in memory of this founding member of the group and is given to a distinguished member of the food and wine community for his or her years of dedication and experience. Other standards are Chef Revelation, which goes to a deserving chef who has burst onto the national scene within the past year, and Traditional Chilean Cuisine, which goes to a restaurant that stands out for its outstanding efforts in highlighting the best the country has to offer. Other awards are flexible and appear when merited, but have been known to go untapped for a year or two until the next deserving nomination is vetted.
It’s a process we take very seriously, and in the end it always takes us months to hone the list until we are all satisfied. We are now pleased to announce the winners of the Círculo de Críticos Gastronómicos de Chile 2009 Awards:
2009 FOOD-RELATED AWARDS
Chef Joseph Gander (Hotel Sheraton, El Cid Restaurant)
Av. Santa María 1742
CHEF OF THE YEAR:
Franck Dieudonné (Radisson Hotel, Santiago)
Av. Vitacura 2610, Las Condes
RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR:
Nueva de Lyon 113, Providencia, Santiago
TRADITIONAL CHILEAN CUISINE:
Divertimento Chileno Restaurant
Avenida El Cerro s/n esquina
Pedro de Valdivia Norte
Parque Metropolitano, Providencia, Santiago
OUTSTANDING CUISINE IN REGIONS:
Balandra Restaurant (Gran Hotel Colonos del Sur in Puerto Varas)
Del Salvador 024
CONTRIBUTION IN THE VISUAL ARTS TO GASTRONOMY:
“Recetas al pie de la letra”, illustrated book by Alberto Montt and Pilar Hurtado
OUTSTANDING FOREIGN CUISINE:
Baron Pierre de Coubertin 39
CHEF REVALATION OF THE YEAR:
Gabriel Layera (Europeo Restaurant)
Alonso de Córdova 2417
2009 WINE-RELATED AWARDS
WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR:
Rafael Urrejola (Viña Undurraga), the talented young “Terroir Hunter” has proved his mettle and shines a new light on wines from this traditional winery.
CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILEAN WINE:
Pedro Parra, “Dr. Terroir” himself, the guru of Chilean dirt, who leaves no stone unturned, knows the soils in Chilean wine regions like no one else.
PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR:
Wain Magazine: we couldn’t resist acknowledging this delightfully irreverent magazine that makes us laugh while taking a serious look at Chile’s food and wine (that would be “wain” in Spanish) scene.
For more detailed information (in Spanish) on the awards and their respective winners, see this week’s edition of the Revista Lobby (March 31, 2010 edition).
You can find past winners of the Círculo de Críticos Gastronómicos de Chile Awards here.