Reneé Touponce (Oyster Club and The Port of Call) Named Chef of the Year; The Shipwright’s Daughter Wins Restaurant of the Year; Sebastian Guerrero (The Port of Call) is Bartender of the Year
MYSTIC, Conn., Dec. 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Three Mystic restaurants took the top honors at the 2022 CRAzies, the annual awards presented by the Connecticut Restaurant Association.
The Shipwright’s Daughter at The Whaler’s Inn took home both the East Region Restaurant of the Year and swept the state to win Restaurant of the Year. Executive Chef David Standridge has created an outstanding menu that celebrates the bounty of the New England coast along with a firm commitment to sustainability, locally sourced ingredients and relationships forged within the community. Chef Standridge was joined by his wife and wine director Kathleen Standridge, general manager Claire Procaccini and Amanda Arling, president of Whaler’s Inn and Shipwright’s Daughter.
“Moving from New York City to open a restaurant mid-pandemic was an incredible challenge,” said chef Standridge. “It’s always been our goal to be the premier dining destination in the region, and we feel incredibly proud and honored with this achievement. Working with the local farmers, fishermen and makers of this incredible community to produce beautiful food is truly a privilege.”
Reneé Touponce, executive chef of Oyster Club and The Port of Call, was named Chef of the Year, a culmination of her journey at two of Mystic’s leading estaurants. Jacques Pepin, the evening’s recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award, joined the crowd in a standing ovation for Touponce, who, in addition to her endlessly popular plates at Oyster Club and The Port of Call, has earned a reputation for her talent in the kitchen and for her extraordinary leadership style.
“I am deeply honored for this award and want to thank my amazing squad, who shows up every day and always supports me,” said Touponce. “My mentor Ed Jones showed me that being kind is way cooler than being cocky, and Dan Meiser trusted me with two restaurants and allows me to be creative without putting up any boundaries. I hope I can do the same for the next generation of great chefs.”
Taking home the Bartender of the Year Award is Sebastian Guerrero of The Port of Call, whose creative port inspired cocktails have made the bar a top destination, earning it a spot on Esquire’s “Best Bars in America 2022.” Guerrero, who worked in New York City bars, including Dante, was ecstatic. “This past year has been one of the most exciting of my career,” said Guerrero. “It’s an honor to be recognized for our great cocktail program, but it’s even more special to be part of a wonderful, inclusive community and to work with chef Reneé, Jade Ayala, Nancy Hennings, and the entire team at The Port of Call.”
The trio of top awards reinforces Mystic’s growing reputation as a dynamic and innovative culinary destination, not only in Connecticut, but in New England and even nationally. The CRAzies, which have grown in popularity and prestige over the years, are often considered Connecticut’s version of the James Beard Awards.
The CRAzies Awards are presented annually by the Connecticut Restaurant Association, a full service, nonprofit trade association dedicated to supporting every type and size of restaurant. It advocates for the Connecticut restaurant industry and plays an integral role in Connecticut’s economy employing more than 160,000 foodservice workers and generating nearly $9 billion in annual sales.
SOURCE The Shipwright’s Daughter