On September 1, 2016 in St. Petersburg and on August, 1 in Moscow the first stage of Wheretoeat restaurant awards were launched. This award is an annual rating of restaurants, compiled by the professional community, media, and business representatives.
In the course of the competitive selection, a panel of experts, including restaurateurs, chefs, hoteliers, sommeliers and journalists (by 100 people in Moscow and St.-Petersburg), decide on the winners by secret voting. The award was established in St.-Petersburg by the association of the Russian restaurant journalists in cooperation with the Italian brands of mineral water S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. In 2016, the rating will be made up for the first time in Moscow, as the experts had been selecting the best restaurants only in the capital of the North before.
The results of the award will be announced very soon: in Moscow, the ceremony will be held at the GUM Department Store on October, 25; in St.-Petersburg, the award ceremony will be held at the hotel “Astoria” on November, 16 .
“E Vesti” asked the management of the award about the way the competition is held and who took part in it. Alexey Dudin, the promotion director of Wheretoeat, answered the questions.
E Vesti: Could you name the restaurants taking part in the award? Do the participants fall under one category?
A. Dudin: All public catering establishments of Moscow and St.-Petersburg are potential participants of the rating. It includes the restaurants, cafes, trattorias, taverns, and gastropubs. From the most affordable to fine dining. So get in the list, a restaurant should be mentioned by at least one of a hundred experts of the award. The only limitation is that the public place should be open no later than the 1st of June this year. The reason for this rule is that the experts should not be affected by the launching “PR attacks” that inevitably accompany every launch. It is also more interesting to observe a restaurant not at a sprinter’s pace, but in the medium and long-distance race.
EV: Is there any difference between the way the competition is held in St.-Petersburg and how it is held in Moscow?
A. Dudin: Some nuances make difference. For example, the competition includes one more special nomination in St.-Petersburg: the Association of concierges, Les Clefs d’or, grants its own prize.
One more point: unlike the ceremony in St.-Petersburg, the upcoming Moscow event will be divided into two parts – a day press conference combined with the announcement of results and awarding of the winners, and an evening celebration in one of the best restaurants of the capital.
EV: How will the jury members determine the award winners among the restaurants? Do the experts visit the restaurants and try the dishes? On the basis of what criteria the places are be evaluated?
A. Dudin: The voting has already been conducted. Each of the hundred of experts (by 100 – in Moscow and in St.-Petersburg) which traditionally includes the leading restaurateurs, chefs, journalists, hoteliers and sommeliers, has filled out a special bulletin, in which it is necessary to include the top-10, in his view, public places of the city. The list is ranked… The list members that score the most number of points take the highest place in the rating.
There are no strict evaluation criteria: each examiner decides for himself, what is most important for the restaurants of his hometown. Of course, all the experts of Wheretoeat are the people who have tried a great deal of dishes of a variety of cuisines, authoritative in their field and they have their independent opinion.
EV: What kind of prizes will the winners receive?
A. Dudin: The corporate awards for the winners taking the places from first to tenth are the crafted plates from the St.-Petersburg Imperial porcelain factory.
Curiously, the first “champion” plate was accidentally broken immediately after the ceremony: Leonid Garbar (CEO of the restaurant “Stroganoff Group”) dropped its from the case during a photo session. The fragments were collected. Today, they are officially kept under glass in the place of honor in the restaurant.
The special prizes from partners will be granted to the winners in special nominations: “Chef of the year”, “Sommelier of the year”, “Special prize of the Association of concierges, Les Clefs d’or” (only in Saint-Petersburg), “Choice of media”, “Restaurant columnist of the year”.