The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington hosts the annual RAMMY Awards on Sunday at the Marriott Wardman Park, and the question foremost on Y&H’s mind is this: How will Inox‘s recent closing affect the ceremony, if at all?
Inox, as I’m sure many of you know, is nominated in the New Restaurant of the Year category, along with Bibiana, Birch & Barley, Bourbon Steak, and Eventide. Mathieson himself is also nominated in the Rising Culinary Star of the Year category, along with chefs Mike Isabella from Zaytinya, Shannon Overmiller from The Majestic, Liam LaCivita from Liberty Tavern, and Nicholas Stefanelli from Bibiana.
“This is the first time that this has happened in recent memory,” e-mailed Lynne Breaux, president of RAMW. She was referring to nominees who are no longer in business.
I had so many questions running around my head, I didn’t know where to begin. Would Inox and Mathieson still compete in their categories? Would the RAMMYs officially acknowledge the restaurant’s demise on stage? Would the winners in those two categories (assuming Inox and Mathieson can compete and assuming they don’t win) feel like these were hollow victories now that Inox and Mathieson are not currently on the scene? (I was imagining how, say, Robert Downey Jr. would have felt had he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2009 over the late Heath Ledger.)
Well, Breaux clarified my thinking with two quick acknowledgments: Inox and Mathieson can indeed still win the awards in their respective categories, and the voting is already tabulated.
Inox, in other words, may be the first restaurant to win an award after it has already closed. And Mathieson may be the first chef to win the Rising Culinary Star award and not be currently employed. How much would that suck?
Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj, owner of the nominated Bibiana, acknowledged the difficulty of the situation. But he adds: “I think every restaurant that is nominated is a good restaurant…We’re all superior in our own ways. Whoever wins would be good.”
Photo courtesy of Inox