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, the Christiane Skinner Vermont Tourism Champion of the Year, and one hospitality scholarship recipient is recognized.
Read below about each of the four Vermont Chamber Hospitality Awards presented annually along with this year’s winners:
2019 CHEF OF THE YEAR: Sarah Natvig, Chef-Owner of The Black Krim Tavern in Randolph
This award recognizes an individual with a proven history of supporting Vermont’s agricultural economy through the use of local food and products.
Sarah’s passion for cooking and using foods from the local region is reflected in her creative seasonal menus that change weekly. She has created the perfect farm-to-table restaurant, sourcing foods and products from surrounding farms as well as her very own farm, the Pebble Brook, in Braintree that she co-owns with her husband. Sarah is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute.
2019 RESTAURATEUR OF THE YEAR: Brian and Karen Zecchinelli of the Wayside Restaurant, Bakery & Creamery in Montpelier
This award honors restaurateurs who continue to demonstrate excellence in the operation and management of a restaurant in Vermont.
JKaren and Brian’s commitment to their staff, buying locally produced foods, the environment, community service and serving their valued customers has been unwavering at this iconic restaurant for over 20 years. Harriet and the late Eugene Galfettii entrusted their daughter and son-in-law to follow in their footsteps. Brian and Karen have carried it forward, now reaching 101 years, keeping the family traditions at The Wayside alive and well.
2019 BORDEN E. AVERY INNKEEPER OF THE YEAR: Peter MacLaren of the West Hill House B&B in Warren
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, and a commitment to the growth of the local community.
Being named Trip Advisor’s #1 B&B in the Mad River Valley, and in the top 10 for all of Vermont, is an incredible accomplishment and indicator of just how great of a property this inn is and the customer service it provides to their guests. Peter’s commitment to the local community is evident through his membership and board positions with the Mad River Valley Chamber and as an active participant with several other membership organizations to help grow Vermont and to lobby for pro-tourism legislation throughout the state.
2019 TOURISM PARTNER OF THE YEAR: Paula Maynard of Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home
This award is 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 Paula. She has excelled in her multiple roles at Hildene, serving as the Group Tour Director, Press Director and Volunteer Coordinator. Her personal touch, and warm welcome to all that visit, benefits everyone throughout the state. She is a true ambassador for Vermont. She is a member of the Vermont Attractions Association board and serves on the Vermont Travel and Recreation Council, plus is dedicated to the regional branding initiative of the current Shires of Vermont DMO and The Shires Byway since its beginning.