His kitchen has been a four-star performer since 2009. He has been nominated for James Beard Foundation awards three times. And now Vikram Sunderam, executive chef at Rasika in Penn Quarter, is the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s chef of the year, an honor he earned Sunday evening as part of the annual Rammy Awards gala at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel.
Sunderam, a Bombay native, had previously been nominated for chef of the year in 2009 and 2011 before winning this year. In 2007, Rasika won the Rammy for new restaurant when restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s modern Indian establishment made its debut.
Other big winners from Sunday night included Jeff and Barbara Black, owners of the Black Restaurant Group, who were named restaurateurs of the year. What’s more, their Palisades seafood restaurant and market, BlackSalt, was named upscale casual restaurant of the year, while Black Jack, their moody watering hole above Pearl Dive Oyster Palace on 14th Street NW, earned the Rammy for hottest restaurant bar scene.
The Rammy for new restaurant went to Fiola, former Maestro chef Fabio Trabocchi’s modern trattoria in Penn Quarter. Bourbon Steak, under executive chef Adam Sobel, took home the Rammy for fine dining restaurant, while Mitsitam Cafe, inside the National Museum of the American Indian, was perhaps the surprise winner of the Rammy for casual restaurant.
The Rammy for pastry chef went to Fabrice Bendano of Adour, while the award for rising culinary star went to Ed Witt, executive chef at another Bajaj property, 701 restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The Rammy for wine program went to Cork Wine Bar, the neighborhood spot on 14th Street NW, and Estadio, under mixologist Adam Bernbach, won the Rammy for beverage/mixology program.
More than 1,500 people attended the RAMW event. The trade association, established in 1920, has more than 700 members who are food and beverage professionals in the Washington area.
For a full list of this year’s winners, go to ramw.org.
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