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City Weekend Dining Awards: democracy with a cherry on top?

(CRI Online)

10:38, June 04, 2013

City Weekend managing editor Sienna Parulis-Cook (center) presents an award to the restaurant Brasserie Flow. [Photo: Wang]

Anybody wondering if Beijing's food scene is growing stale need worry no more. Beijing magazine City Weekend recently held its Dining and Nightlife Awards, and the competition was spicy hot. Last Wednesday's exclusive event at Indigo Mall's Flamme restaurant was packed with winers, diners, clubbers and rockers.

City Weekend managing editor Sienna Parulis-Cook said they received around 10,000 votes from readers, identifying Beijing's most respected restaurants, bars, clubs and bands.

There were 36 prize categories including Best Mexican, Best Hotel Brunch and Best for Families. Nightlife categories included Best Promoter and Best Beijing-based DJ.

Parulis-Cook says these awards are more transparent than others which are often entirely decided behind closed doors by the editorial staff, claiming that "their awards are more elitist."

But even Parulis-Cook says the tyranny of the majority can choose restaurants that don't necessarily represent the city's best. "I wouldn't say that it's a problem because it's a democratic process. I don't agree with all the winners, but it is the readers' choice awards. And then there's also the editors' pick award for every category."

However, as with many online elections, some repeat voters can skew the results. Beijing's Hot Club was voted best band in the city, despite the fact they're relatively unknown.

Martin (last name withheld) was also cynical about the event. "It's just an excuse to drink alcohol and the awards generally go to the same restaurants," the former chef complained. "People have bad taste, clearly."

Most people however enjoyed the festive atmosphere, and many from the service industry were delighted to have their work recognized. Kenneth Bermel was in a state of giddy shock when hearing his bar Brussels was the editor's pick as Nightlife Newcomer of the year. "I'm surprised. But it's a good surprised," he giggled. "It feels good that they notice us."

Chef Andreas Block helped to explain the feeling, after he received an honorable mention. "Since it's a readers' choice award people need to talk about you, need to know your restaurant. You need to deliver a constant product so people who come back keep coming back. It's a nice recognition for the hours that you spend at work."

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiXiang、Ye Xin)

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