The Vermont Chamber Hospitality Awards are an important part of the Vermont tourism and hospitality sector. These awards celebrate the hospitality and tourism industry’s vast contributions to the state economy, and acknowledge these award winners as stand-out achievers within the industry. These are the individuals who enhance Vermont’s iconic brand.
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce announced its Hospitality Awards of Year at the 34th Annual Vermont Tourism Summit on April 5, 2017: Chef of the Year, Restaurateur of the Year, Borden E. Avery Innkeeper of the Year, and the Tourism Partner of the Year. Ronda Berns, Vice President of Tourism for the Vermont Chamber presented the awards and Joe Carton, Chief Operating Officer at Westport Hospitality emceed the ceremony.
Read below about each of the four Vermont Chamber Hospitality Awards presented annually along with this year’s winners:
2017 CHEF OF THE YEAR: Ian Huizenga, Chef and Brewer of the Bar Antidote and Hired Hand Brewing Company in Vergennes
This award recognizes an individual with a proven history of supporting Vermont’s agricultural economy through the use of local food and products.
Ian’s passion for locally-focused comfort foods—from farm raised beef and fowl, to hand harvested ramps and local vegetables—is what he is recognized for by his patrons. His blending and pairing of flavors is seen in his crafting of brews from local ingredients, pairing innovative pizzas, baked sandwiches, local cheeses and featured beer cocktails, as well as combining his beers with local spirits, shakes and beer inspired desserts.
2017 RESTAURATEUR OF THE YEAR: Holmes & Beal Jacobs and Megan Brady, owners of the Two Brothers Tavern in Middlebury
This award honors restaurateurs who continue to demonstrate excellence in the operation and management of a restaurant in Vermont.
The Tavern carved out a niche in the community, where they established themselves locally and beyond as a forerunner in the Farm to Table movement, sourcing as many local ingredients to support local farmers and Vermont food producers. They support their community with their charitable campaigns which raised over $400,000 and have also been recognized as Citizens of the Year and Business of the Year by both the Better Middlebury Partnership and the Addison County Chamber of Commerce.
2017 BORDEN E. AVERY INNKEEPER OF THE YEAR: Gary Thulander, President and GM of the Woodstock Inn and Resort
This award is designed specifically for individuals who continue to demonstrate excellence in the operation and management of a Vermont bed & breakfast, inn, hotel or resort.
Gary returned to Vermont in 2013 to develop the Woodstock Inn & Resort into a property that exemplifies the essence of Vermont hospitality at the highest level of service. Gary is a leader who is focused on economic sustainability and a supporter of the Vermont Brand. Through his leadership, the resort has been named one of the best resorts in the country and world by Travel & Leisure’s top 500 hotels in the World, and Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards as the number one resort of choice in Vermont.
2017 TOURISM PARTNER OF THE YEAR: Laurie Callahan of Cabot Creamery
This award is designed for an individual who is a leader in supporting and promoting the hospitality industry in Vermont.
Vermont is strong because of the dedication of people like Laurie who recognize that it takes active engagement and participation from private business leaders and staff. She has worked with many of the state tourism organizations to maximize the success the tourism industry in Vermont. As an inspiration to many, she deeply understands the role that agri-tourism has in Vermont’s tourism profile and has worked to make agriculture a strong asset in our state.
The Vermont Chamber Hospitality Awards are presented annually at the Vermont Tourism Summit which draws one of the largest gatherings of tourism professionals in the state including owners, managers, and employees of the many businesses connected to this important segment of the economy. In addition to the four Vermont Chamber of Commerce Hospitality Awards to be presented, VTS also features the presentation of the Travel Person of the Year award, the Governor’s SMART Award for Creative Marketing in Tourism, and one hospitality scholarship recipient is recognized.