Inaugural awards honor people in hospitality and tourism industries
Hospitality and tourism professionals from across the state gathered earlier this month at the John Marshall Hotel in Richmond for the inaugural Ordinary Awards dinner sponsored by the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association (VRLTA).
About 150 people attended the event on Oct. 24, which recognized 15 individuals and organizations for work in the hospitality field and within their communities.
The awards are named after Chinn's Ordinary, which is considered the oldest original inn in America. Dating to 1728 in what is now Middleburg, Chinn's Ordinary — operating today as the Red Fox Inn — chiefly catered to travelers between Alexandria and Winchester.
“We are proud to honor these exemplary individuals and companies with the first ‘Ordinary Awards,’” Eric Terry, president of VRLTA, said in a statement.
Travis Milton, a former Richmond chef who worked at Comfort and is now starting his own restaurant, Shovel and Pick in Bristol, was named best chef. A native of Southwest Virginia who has been active in the Appalachian Food Summit (an annual conference that celebrates Appalachian cuisine), Milton jhas joined with Creative Boutique Hotels to develop and operate the company’s food/beverage concepts for its newest Virginia hotels. They are the Sessions Hotel in Bristol, scheduled to open in late 2017, and Miltons at the Western Front Hotel in St. Paul, scheduled to open in the spring 2017.
The other Ordinary Awards Winners are:
• The Ritz-Carlton, (Tysons) — Hotel of the Year
• L’Auberge Chez Francois, (Great Falls) — Restaurant of the Year
• Hal Craddock, Craddock Terry Hotel, (Lynchburg) — Hotelier of the Year
• Hu Odom (BOTH, Inc; Golden Corral) — Jim Wordsworth Award, Restaurateur of the Year
• Karen Blaylock (Kings Dominion) — Charlie Buser Award, Travel Attraction Employee of the Year
• Sara Saavedra (Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau) — Jim Ricketts Award, DMO/CVB Employee of the Year
• Kristin Winderweedle (The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons) — Hotel Employee of the Year
• Emil Corvera (Ford’s Fish Shack) — Restaurant Employee of the Year
• Jenna Wines (Virginia Tech) — Rising Pineapple Award, Hospitality & Tourism Student of the Year
• Old Ox Brewery — Beverage Producer of the Year
• Sysco Virginia & Sysco Hampton Roads — Hospitality Supplier of the Year
• Virginia Creeper Trail (Abingdon) — Travel Attraction of the Year
Rita McClenny, CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corp. also attended to honor the late Jim Ricketts with the Golden Pineapple Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to not only Virginia Beach tourism but to Virginia tourism as a whole.
Additionally, state Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-James City County, was honored with an award for Virginia Legislator of the Year for his commitment to Virginia tourism and the hospitality industry.