Top RAMMY Awards to Bailey, Onwuachi; John Laytham Honored

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Chef of the Year Kyle Bailey of the Salt Line, RAMW CEO Kathy Hollinger, Rising Star Chef of Year Kwame Onwuachi of Kith & Kim. Photo by Ana Isabel Photography.

Top food-service industry professionals and their fans gathered on Sunday, June 30, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for the 37th Annual RAMMY Awards, as Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington announced winners in 20 award categories and other special honors.

Ana Deshaies won Pastry Chef of Year, and David Deshaies won Upscale Brunch of the Year for Unconventional Diner. Photo by Ana Isabel Photography.
Mayor Muriel Bowser with Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year, Andrew Kline of the Veritas Law Firm. Photo by Ana Isabel Photography.
Christina Ricchi and Ashok Bajoj both received Honorary Milestone awards for their legendary restaurants, Ristorante I Ricchi and the Bombay Club awards. Photo by Ana Isabel Photography.

The selection process for the winners involved two groups, the voting public and an anonymous panel of volunteer judges consisting of food and dining journalists, educators and industry professionals. The voting public decided the winners in four categories: Favorite Gathering Place, Upscale Brunch, Casual Brunch and Favorite Fast Bites.

RAMW honored additional members with the Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year award, given to the Veritas Law Firm for exemplifying commitment to and support of RAMW, and the Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award, presented to restaurateur Virginia Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl-Ben’s Chili Bowl Foundation for her hard work and outstanding initiative that has increased the profile and success of the metropolitan Washington foodservice community. These awards were determined by RAMW’s Executive Committee.

The 2019 Honorary Milestone RAMMY Award was given to The Bombay Club (30 years), Ristorante i Ricchi (30 years), Moby Dick House of Kabob (30 years), Silver Diner (30 years), Taberna del Alabardero (30 years) and Lebanese Taverna (40 years), dining staples celebrating 30 and 40 years serving locals and visitors in metropolitan Washington.

Mayor Muriel Bowser joined the presentation to remember and honor John Laytham, co-owner of the Clyde’s Restaurant Group, who died in January. Bowser announced that Nov. 12 will be named John Laytham Day in the District. The first John Laytham Day will be held on what would have been the industry leader’s 75th birthday.

In addition, RAMW honored Laytham’s legacy by renaming a RAMMY Award for him: the John G. Laytham Exceptional Leadership and Impact Award. This award was first given to José Andrés in 2018 for his humanitarian leadership efforts on a global scale. It was awarded at this year’s RAMMYS to Claude Andersen of the Clyde’s Restaurant Group for his dedication in carrying out John Laytham’s vision for more than 45 years, and as a leader in areas of culinary and hospitality education and workforce development over many decades. 

The winners of the 37th Annual RAMMY Awards are:

Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year: The Veritas Law Firm

Upscale Brunch of the Year: Unconventional Diner

Casual Brunch of the Year: Compass Rose Bar & Kitchen

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year: Open Road

Favorite Fast Bites of the Year: Taco Bamba Taqueria

Service Program of the Year: Ambar – Clarendon

Beer Program of the Year: Republic

Cocktail Program of the Year: barmini by José Andrés

Wine Program of the Year: Maxwell Park

Casual Restaurant of the Year: Royal

Employee of the Year: Valentine King, Hummingbird Bar and Kitchen

Manager of the Year: Donna Seal, Oceanaire

Regional Food and Beverage Producer of the Year: Ivy City Smokehouse

Formal Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: The Source by Wolfgang Puck

New Restaurant of the Year: Spoken English

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: Iron Gate

Pastry Chef of the Year: Ana Deshaies, Unconventional Diner

Rising Culinary Star of the Year: Kwame Onwuachi, Kith/Kin

Restaurateur of the Year: Michael Friedman, Mike O’Malley, Colin McDonough & Gareth Croke, Redstone Restaurant Group (All Purpose, Boundary Stone, The Red Hen)

Chef of the Year: Kyle Bailey, The Salt Line

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