Spotlight: West Michigan Food + Beverage Industry Awards 2020

Elyse Wild, Editor of Women’s LifeStyle interviews Chef Jenna owner of Amore Trattoria Italiana, and George Aquino from the Hotel District GR.

On January 3, The Hotel District invites you to celebrate local culinary achievement at the first-ever West Michigan Food and Beverage Industry Awards. 

At the event, guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres and a three-course plated meal while awards are bestowed upon winners in 18 categories, including Cocktail/Bar Program of the Year, Local Farm of the Year, Restaurant of the Year and more.

George Aquino, vice president and managing director at AHC+ Hospitality and the founder of the event notes that the awards are the first of their kind in Grand Rapids — rather than a popular vote, the winners are carefully vetted by industry experts.

“We are so excited about this,” Aquino said. “This is a food and beverage industry awards. Our judges are foodies, chefs, restaurant owners, and beverage managers.”

Chef Jenna Arcidiacono, owner and chef of Amore Trattoria Italiana, is co-hosting the evening with Aquino.  

“I think it is very important,” she expressed. “I grew up here, and I have seen the growth slowly and surely. Now it is just amazing to be able to go out and get any type of food that we want. It never used to happen for us. We are excited to teach others places they have never heard of. “

Aquino agrees. 

“We are more than Beer City,” he said.

Additionally, the event honors chef Angus Campbell with the Angus Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award. Campbell is a master chef and a local culinary icon who spent 25 years teaching at the Secchia Insitute for Culinary Education. The technique and guidance he has imparted onto thousands of culinary students have no doubt contributed to the restaurant boom Grand Rapids has experienced over the past several years. 

Individual tickets are $100. Proceeds will benefit a Culinary Study Abroad Experience, a program sponsored by AHC+ Hospitality Group.

“We will sponsor 5 or 6 winners to study abroad with Chef Angus in Parma, Italy,” Aquino explained. “We want to bring our chefs and food and beverage professionals outside of our area and learn something they can bring back here.”

Click here for ticket information. 

What: West Michigan Food and Beverage Industry Awards

When: January 3, 6:00 p.m.

Where: JW Marriott Grand Rapids

235 Louis Street Northwest

Cost: $100

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