Bermudian Shakira Dill emerged as a surprised top prize winner in the new People’s Choice Awards in Restaurant Weeks 2015 – launched by the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA).

Ms Dill was presented with a $500 travel voucher as a result of the picture she posted online of her winning meal at Muse. Executive chef and part owner of Muse, Enworth Davis was also declared the overall winning chef in the culinary event.

Leading vote getters were invited to take part in a live cooking demonstration, and award presentation at Bermuda Gas Showroom on February 26. Other recipients won dining vouchers and a weekend stay at Grotto Bay Hotel.

Restaurant Weeks 2015 saw a record total of 44 participating restaurants, with 31 offering authentic Bermuda-inspired
dishes priced in three categories from January 15 to February 5.

La Trattoria took the top prize in the $29 category, Muse won the $39 category, and Red took top honours in the $49 category.

Bermuda Gas People’s Choice awards were presented to Chef Davis in first place, Chef Chad Mitchell of Red in second place, Chef Angelo D’Amator of La Trattoria placed third.

Chef Enworth’s winning dish featured seared salmon on a piping hot Bermuda cedar plaque with garlic mashed potato and extra trimmings. He said he enjoyed the “challenge of putting a new twist on traditional Bermudian cuisine”.

BTA representative Pat Phillip-Fairn, BTA opened the reception “to celebrate what is, by most accounts, the best Restaurant Weeks in its four-year history”.

“Culinary tourism is an untapped opportunity for Bermuda and our local food culture is a rich story waiting to be shared,” she said.

The event was designed to put “the spotlight on Bermuda inspired cuisine”. It was also the first to be “driven by the latest in technology” with the launch of a new computerised support system that takes reservations 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.

Participants in the new People’s Choice Awards were offered a chance “to win great prizes by simply voting” on their favourite “Restaurant Weeks Bermuda-inspired meal” by uploading copies of their tab and their meal via social media.

The main aim is to promote Bermuda’s “talented chef community”, a group described as one of Bermuda’s longest “best kept secrets”.

By Ceola Wilson