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Araxi owner takes Chamber award

Jack Evrensel, proprietor of Top Table Restaurant Group, named Business Person of the Year

A humble Jack Evrensel, who has been making mouths water in Whistler and Vancouver for three decades, has been recognized once again for his business success.

The proprietor of Araxi was awarded the Whistler Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year award at the chamber's luncheon Tuesday.

While he missed receiving the award in person at the Nita Lake Lodge because he was feeling unwell, he later told Pique that he was honoured.

"It's very nice of them," he said simply.

Evrensel's culinary adventures date back to the early Whistler days when he decided he wanted to open a restaurant in a ski resort. It was a bit of a stretch for the Concordia student who was studying mechanical engineering in Montreal.

But he fell in love with all that Whistler was promising to be back when the village was just a sketch on a piece of paper.

Whistler, like Evrensel, has come a long way since then.

His bold restaurant dreams grew into the award-winning Araxi restaurant in Whistler, and three of the best fine dining restaurants in Vancouver - CinCin, West and Blue Water Café.

After living in Whistler through the fast-paced '80s, he moved with his family to West Vancouver in 1991. The ties, however, still bind him to the community.

"I've been coming up one day a week for 20 years," said Evrensel, who still oversees Araxi.

When asked about the secret to his success, he laughed.

"I think it's just hard work," said Evrensel. "You get what you put in."

It helps that he likes what he's doing too.

And he has great expectations for the future in Whistler.

"I firmly believe that the best years are ahead of us in Whistler... Why? Look where we are. This is a magic place. The more you travel, the more you realize how privileged we are to be here."

Presenting the award this year was last year's Business Person of the Year recipient Shauna Hardy Mishaw. This year's award comes with a special perk - tickets to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Games in Vancouver.


2010 Chamber board of directors announced

In addition to its Business Person of the Year award, the chamber also announced its new board of directors Tuesday.

Elected to the eight open spots on the 2010 board are new directors Peter Alder, Pique 's Bob Barnett, Whistler Film Festival founder Shauna Hardy Mishaw and Danielle Kristmanson of Origin Design & Communications. Returning incumbents are Scott Carrell, Pat Kelly, Kendra Mazzei and Kennedy Raine.

There were 14 nominees for the eight positions and more than 100 people took part in the online voting system.

"We had a great turnout for the electronic polling," said outgoing board chair Tom Horler.

The board is made up of 18 elected directors and four appointees. The newly elected members will be sworn in at the first board meeting in January 2010.

Chamber president Fiona Famulak thanked Horler for his leadership and guidance throughout 2009 - a very busy and exciting year, she said.

Among other things, Famulak highlighted the chamber's work in hosting more than 20 Olympic-related events, facilitating the 2010 Commercial Space Matching Program, and hosting Business Opportunities workshops for local companies looking to capitalize on the Olympic experience.