The show goes on for DC’s RAMMY Awards, but it’ll be largely virtual

The 2020 RAMMY Awards will be a live webcast from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. (Courtesy The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington)

The James Beard Foundation made a sobering statement last week in deciding to forgo the announcement of its remaining restaurant and chef winners at its event this fall, citing the difficult times the coronavirus pandemic has caused for restaurants.

D.C.’s RAMMY Awards, however, will be presented in full next month as scheduled, with organizers calling the event an important building block in the local restaurant industry’s recovery.

The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s annual awards event will be held Sunday, Sept. 20, and will be largely virtual, though it will be broadcast live from 6 to 8 p.m. from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The program will include a live presentation of awards, interviews with winners and videos of finalists telling their stories.

“Our industry, and all of us, need things to look forward to and to give us some semblance of joy and hope in our lives,” said Kathy Hollinger, president and CEO of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.

“While every awards program carries with it elements of competition, the focus this year is on keeping our operators in the spotlight and telling their stories as we work to help rebuild an industry that is part of the heartbeat of our region.”

The 2020 RAMMY Awards winners are selected from finalists based on the 2019 dining year. The finalists in 19 categories, including New Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year and Rising Culinary Star of the Year, are posted on the association’s website. Public voting remains open through Sept. 7.

You can watch next month’s awards ceremony on the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s website.

The James Beard Foundation announced this month it will forgo announcing this year’s remaining restaurant and chef winners, and will forgo traditional awards next year.

Instead, its Sept. 25 awards ceremony, which will be broadcast live from Chicago, will focus on previously announced winners in the categories of America’s Classics, Lifetime Achievement, Humanitarian of the Year, Design Icon and Leadership Awards.

“The uncertainty of this time for our industry is already a hard reality and considering anyone to have won or lost within the current tumultuous hospitality ecosystem does not in fact feel like the right thing to do,” the James Beard Foundation said in a statement.

D.C. was represented on the James Beard nominees list in several categories: Outstanding Restaurant — Jaleo; Rising Star Chef — Paola Velez of Kith/Kin; and Best Chef mid-Atlantic — Amy Brandwein of Centrolina and John Sybert of Tail Up Goat.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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