In June 2011, the Belize Tourism Board hosted its annual national Tourism Awards ceremony. The Maya Beach Hotel Bistro won “Restaurant of the Year!” John (chef/owner) and I (Ellen: shmoozer/owner) attended along with the finalists in the 5 other categories. The tourism industry and BTB had decided winners in the categories of Hotel of the Year, Small Hotel of the Year, Tour Operator of the Year, Tour Guide of the Year, Front-line Person of the Year, and Restaurant of the Year. It was a formal event at the Old Belize facility in Belize City: tables beautifully decorated, red carpet entrance, the works! It felt like we were attending the Oscars.
We could hardly believe it when they announced the winner in our category. It was us! John and I looked at each other, both thinking “Did you hear what I heard?” We stumbled up the short flight of steps to the stage and under the hot lights made a lame acceptance speech, which we were completely unprepared for. That’s one part I wish we could do over!
All in all it was a great night, and since then we are still flattered and humbled that people would have recognized our little contribution in this way. The food in Belize is really terrific, and that award could have gone to so many other restaurants in Placencia or other places around the country.
By the way, Placencia won 3 of the 6 awards. We also won Tour Operator of the Year (Avadon Divers) and Front-line Person of the Year (Althea Schable at Chabil Mar). If you haven’t noticed yet, Placencia is the place to be!