The Delaware Restaurant Association (DRA) will host the 19th Annual Restaurant Industry Awards on Monday, October 18 at the Lighthouse Cove Events Center in Dewey Beach, with an after-party immediately at the Lighthouse. Each year, the DRA celebrates the contributions of the Delaware restaurant industry in all aspects of daily life, “serving as a cornerstone of our communities, our local economy, and career opportunities for all.”
After a hiatus in 2020, restaurateurs, operators, chefs, vendors, elected officials and industry supporters will once again come together in person to toast the resilience, spirit and camaraderie of Delaware’s restaurant industry at the gala event, with fine dining and cocktails, beer and wine from 25 stations, as well as live music from the 19th Street Band are on the menu for the event this year.
This year’s event on October 18 will mark the recognition of five ârising starsâ in the industry.
âThese five brilliant restaurant industry innovators are truly making a name for themselves, drawing attention to Delaware’s vibrant food scene, dedicated to making a difference in their communities and being respected by their peers. The DRA is thrilled to recognize these career professionals and to highlight their success and the pathways they create for our next generation of industry leaders, âsaid representatives.
âWe are extremely happy to celebrate this year’s Cornerstone Awards together and in safety. This is especially important at a time when our restaurant community has been through so much and worked so hard over the past 19 months, âsaid Carrie Leishman, President and CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association. “Ãum
In addition to honoring the rising stars of the industry, the DRA will also unveil a special video tribute to the current chairman of the DRA board, Scott Kammerer of SoDel Concepts.
âKammerer served as President for a two-year term (2020-2021) and helped lead the industry through a perilous time following the pandemic and business restrictions / closings. He has been a fearless industry advocate and mentor to many small business owners statewide.
Rising stars of the restaurant industry for 2021 include:
â¢ Olivia Brinton, Co-Owner, Little Goat Coffee Roasting Co./Peach Blossom Eatery (Newark) – Brinton grew up on a small farm picking strawberries and learning to forage for food from her parents. Her coffee background and bartending training at The House of William & Merry inspired her to open Little Goat Coffee Roasting Co. in 2017, and her latest business, The Peach Blossom Eatery (slated to open fall 2021). ).
“Her unique location has become a staple in the city of Newark, where she strives to bring a superior dining experience to her community while providing genuine career opportunities for her family of colleagues and valued staff.”
â¢ Christa Carlton – Executive Chef, Taverna (Newark) – Carlton grew up surrounded by a large Italian family centered in the kitchen, where she learned the love of cooking from her mother and grandfather. She followed her passion to study and earn degrees in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management at her dream school, Johnson & Wales University. Over the past five years, she has developed her love for Italian cuisine at Taverna Rustic Italian on Main Street (part of the Platinum Dining Group), starting as a sous chef and working his way up to executive chef.
âShe feels blessed to lead her wonderful team and is grateful to each of her colleagues. Can’t wait to see what the future holds!
â¢ Jason Aviles, Green Box Kitchen Co-Owner, Wilmington Green Box (Wilmington) Project Director – Aviles was recently named one of the Delaware Business Times’ Top 40 Under 40 Innovators and Achievers, and has led several social impact businesses in Wilmington to support arts and culture, including Wilmington Green Box (WGB), which provides at-risk teens with entrepreneurial jobs while providing urban communities with access to cold-pressed juices, fresh produce and healthy products.
More recently, it has expanded the Green Box Kitchen plant-based fast and casual eateries to include multiple locations. Green Box Kitchen won the Best of Delaware 2020 award for vegan / vegetarian restaurant and was named in 2021 by Yelp as the best vegan restaurant in the state of Delaware.
â¢ Megan Kee, owner of Megan Collective, which includes La Fable, Dalmata Italiano, Houston White Co. and Bramble & Brine at the Buttery (opening fall 2021) (Rehoboth Beach and Lewes) – Kee is a restaurateur and owner of Megan Collective, a culture and community boutique restaurant collection, owner of three successful restaurants in downtown Rehoboth Beach, and expanding its culinary influence into downtown Lewes with the opening to the fall of the newest addition to its restaurant collection, Bramble & Brine at The Buttery, in historic 102 Second Street.
A natural storyteller with an eye for design detail, Megan plans to make her new location in Lewes a community-driven place, providing the backdrop to ensure her native Cape Town shines as a true destination. culinary.
â¢ Dru Tevis, Corporate Pastry Chef, SoDel Concepts (Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Bethany Beach, Ocean View, Lewes and Fenwick Island) – After offering to make desserts for the Rehoboth Beach restaurant where he worked one summer after the university, rest is a sweet story. Following his true vocation, Tevis decided not to pursue higher studies in cinema and instead enrolled at the French Culinary Institute, receiving a Grand DiplÃ´me en Arts PÃ¢tissiers Professionnels and obtaining a major de promotion diploma.
While in New York, he worked for the prestigious Kierin Baldwin (The Dutch) and Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar). He studied at several of the best bakery and pastry institutions in the world and performed in kitchens around the world. In the fall of 2018, he accepted the position of corporate pastry chef for SoDel Concepts and continues to lead and supervise pastry chefs in all SoDel establishments.
More information about the event, including sponsorship opportunities, links to tickets and discounted hotel nights, is available at delawarerestaurant.org/cornerstoneawards.