Throwback: You Won’t Believe Who Attended Our First Restaurant Awards

Hint: he's a Grammy Award-winning crooner.

August 17, 2017

By Jamie Maw, food editor, 1996 to 2008

In 1996 we held our first Restaurant Awards celebration (prior to then, they had simply been published in the pages of the magazine). Compared to the production values of the ceremony now, it was a decidedly modest affair: about 150 chefs, restaurateurs and PR types gathered at the Metropolitan Hotel. In addition to quality hors d’oeuvres and drink, there was a pianist in the back of the ballroom, crooning tunes that were soon buried by the boozy crowd. Toward the end of the proceedings, I panicked when I realized that we had forgotten his payment, and slipped downstairs to grab 10 crisp twenties from the “Green Machine.”

Back at the podium, I thanked our entertainer. “Ladies and gentlemen, I know that we would all like to thank our fine young performer today—so please put your hands together for Michel Bublé!” The singer leaned into his mic and, rather confidently for a kid barely out of his teens, announced: “Actually, it’s Michael Bublé. Keep an eye on me.”


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