The Restaurant Spotlight Awards will celebrate the best of New York’s bustling restaurant scene. As the restaurant industry’s premier awards program, the Restaurant Spotlight Awards shines a light on the best of the best.
The judges for the Restaurant Spotlight Awards are listed below. These judges not only have a very strong connection to the restaurant industry, but they too are frequent diners with a keen eye for great service, excellent food, and other traits that are being evaluated to determine the best of the best in New York’s restaurant industry.
Patrick "Pat" LaFrieda, Jr.Chief Executive Officer,
Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors
Pat LaFrieda III first experienced the world of meat in the summer of...
Pat LaFrieda III first experienced the world of meat in the summer of 1981 at age 10, when he began learning the meat trade from sunrise to sundown under the watchful eye of his forefathers Pat LaFrieda I and Pat LaFrieda II. That summer changed the course of his life and 35 years later, he owns and operates New York City's most prestigious and most valued meat packing facility. Selling to the finest restaurants around the country including Manhattan, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, D.C., Miami and Chicago, Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors is synonymous with quality. As the New York Post put it, "If carnivores really want to get respect, they need to name-drop cult butchers like Pat LaFrieda." Famous for their “chopped” not ground meat, Pat has created over 50 custom hamburger blends and is the mastermind behind such burgers as the famous “Black Label Burger” at Minetta Tavern (the reigning haute burger in NYC), as well as signature custom blends at hot spots such as Shake Shack, Spotted Pig, Union Square Café, Blue Smoke and Market Table. On April 9, 2012 The Food Network debuted “MEATMEN,” the reality show that followed Pat, his father Pat LaFrieda Sr. and his cousin Mark Pastore through their daily work, meeting with the most famous chefs around in the most sought-after restaurants. On the heels of their first reality show debut, on August 7, 2012 LaFrieda Meats marked another milestone for the family business when they opened their first retail location at Citi Field – the home of the New York Mets – with a Pat LaFrieda Original Filet Mignon Steak Sandwich kiosk. But it didn’t end there. On April 1, 2013 LaFrieda Meats and the New York Mets announced an expansion of their partnership at Citi Field, opening a second Pat LaFrieda Original Filet Mignon Steak Sandwich stand as well as a full service restaurant, the Pat LaFrieda Chop House. And in 2014, LaFrieda Meats become the official burger of the Mets. Later, in 2016, he opened another retail location at 2 Penn Plaza, at the entrance to Madison Square Garden. Last year, home cooks were able to learn everything there is to know about meat, Pat’s best meat tips, recipes, stories and more when Atria Books published Pat’s comprehensive, photo-laden first book, Meat: Everything You Need to Know . Ironically, the 2nd generation of LaFriedas never wanted his son to become a permanent fixture in the business. With the sole intention to teach his son about strong work ethic, Patrick Sr. introduced his son (as his father introduced him) to working in a constant 36 degree environment, standing for hours on end, working under the dangers of band saws and knives - all with the hopes that his son would turn around and get an office job. Fortunately, for the restaurants of New York, his plan backfired. "There was something about what we did and how we did it that fascinated me. The thought that being successful meant that the family survived... was poetic to me," LaFrieda Jr says. But he knew that in order to keep the poetry alive, things had to change. With only five employees and 40 customers, Pat hit the streets and started selling the brand that has won him accolades within the New York community including, New York Magazine, which dubbed Pat “the magician of meat.” Today, LaFrieda Meats boasts an impressive fifteen hundreds customers and is rapidly growing. The business works seven days a week and 24 hours a day. That unmatched LaFrieda work ethic not only gained notoriety but earned respect. So much respect that in 2003, New York City renamed the street where the shop was located to Pat LaFrieda Lane after the first generation of LaFrieda meat men. LaFrieda has been featured in such esteemed outlets as The New York Times, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, New York Magazine, The New York Daily News, The New York Post, Men's Vogue, Saveur, CNN, and Time Out New York. He has also appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, Fox & Friends, The Chew, Fox National News, The Rachael Ray Show, The Food Network, Martha Stewart, ABC News Nightline, Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, and The Mike Colemeco show on PBS and countless others.Linked In Profile
Damien L. Duchamp
Professor of Hospitality at St Joseph's College
Damien L. Duchamp was born in Paris, France then grew up primarily...
Damien L. Duchamp was born in Paris, France then grew up primarily in Woodstock, NY. He lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with his wife Sonja. He earned a B.S. in Communications from SUNY New Paltz and an M.Ed. from Clemson University. He is in the final stages of his doctorate in higher education administration with a focus on “hospitality and tourism management education in Ghana, West Africa” from Gwynedd Mercy University. Damien spent thirteen years working as an administrator in colleges and universities (Old Dominion, Longwood, Indiana State, St. John's), specializing in event planning, organization advising and marketing. In 2009 he made the shift to doing similar work in the hospitality industry, serving as the brand ambassador for Evian Water in New York City where he visited nearly 100 venues each week. His work within the beverage industry led him to consult with various venues and brands, followed by an opportunity to teach as an adjunct instructor. After six years of teaching hospitality and tourism classes at St. John's University, City Tech, LaGuardia Community College, and Monroe College, he joined St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn as a full time instructor and department head. Damien specializes in customer service, marketing, technology and is passionate about sustainability and the impact of tourism on local communities. He also teaches faculty how to teach online. Prof. Duchamp stays involved in the industry through projects and affiliations. He is an allied member of the New York State Restaurant Association and a frequent speaker at industry events. Through his global hospitality education organization ‘Hospitalented,’ Damien produces programs locally and abroad. As a consultant he is developing tourism and education opportunities in Ghana, as well as training staff in hotels and restaurants. Over the years Damien has produced major concerts, designed a line of clothing and accessories, co-authored a book, helped launch a restaurant franchise and was a partner in an Extra Virgin Olive Oil company. On the side he coaches startups, volunteers through New York Cares, organizes Meetups and is a licensed tour guide in New York City.Linked In Profile
Restaurant spotlight awards
Nominations for the Restaurant Spotlight Awards will be accepted from February 1, 2017 through March 31, 2017. To determine the top 25 entries in each award category, all nominees will be subject to a public Voting Period that takes place from April 3, 2017 to April 22, 2017. At the close of the Voting Period, our qualified panel of judges will begin evaluating the top 25 entries in each award category. Winners and Finalists were announced on June 16, 2017.
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PUBLIC VOTING PERIOD
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