Northern Michigan Food & Wine: One of our winners, Dave Denison, chef and owner of Amical sent us a very gracious thank you for supporting the area's restaurants with our annual feature. Among his remarks, he included some interesting ideas for Red Hot Best categories next year including compliments for the commitment of staff in the front of the house: servers, hosts, bussers and restauranteurs, who might not have the celebrity status that chefs often receive. 

Dave writes: 

Traverse Magazine staff,

Thanks again to Traverse Magazine for organizing the Red Hot Best awards.  Amical is honored and humbled to receive the recognition from our patrons, even after 19 years of operation.  I am especially proud of our service team, Andrew Hoadley in particular, for their outstanding efforts throughout our history.  Earning seven awards is quite a surprise and we  appreciate it immensely. 

One of the reasons I am writing you is because I believe there should be more Red Hot categories for "front of the house" members of the hospitality industry.  These staff members represent over half of the industry employees and are an important part of delivering the experience of our blossoming 'foodie' reputation.  

I suggest considering adding sub-categories to the "best server" award to represent the different styles of restaurants in our area.  Family dining, casual dining and fine dining come to mind.  Hosts play a big part of the dining experience as well.  And perhaps a "restaurateur" category could highlight the contributions of those who work more behind the scenes but are a driving force in our areas success and notoriety.

Food certainly gets its share of the glamor and spotlight in Northern Michigan.  It is a subject everyone can discuss with experience and vigor. There are so many service professionals in our region who are truly committed to providing guests (both regulars and visitors) with an outstanding hospitality experience.  The more opportunities we can provide for media recognition, the better chance we have to continue to improve the dining experience of our region's visitors and residents.

Cheers and thank you, Dave

Learn more about the Northern Michigan dining scene in the MyNorth Dining Guide.