The Best of The Staff Canteen 2022

Alex South

Alex South


As 2022 draws to a close, many will breathe a sigh of relief that the year's hardships are over. 

Despite a year full of ups, downs and enourmous challenges, a lot of positives can be drawn for hospitality: rarely have we seen so much solidarity and camaraderie. Even with the odds stacked against us, we've witnessed people coming together to support the industry in ways never seen before. 

Many tears have doubtless been shed this year, but we hope that some of them were tears of joy or laughter - and that we were responsible for a few of them.

Here is a selection of our favourite moments of the year on The Staff Canteen.

WHen Restaurant owner fined £10,000 after telling EHO officers mouldy chicken was in fact traditional crab meat dish

A London restaurant owner was given the largest possible fine of £10,170 at Stratford Magistrates’ Court, including £2,000 in council costs and a £170 victim surcharge on December 7th, 2021, after attempting "to pass off revolting mouldy chicken as boiled crab meat” when visited by environmental health inspectors in 2018.

Introducing the world chef Nikita Pathakji, MasterChef: The Professionals 2022 winner

As the 16th professional chef to earn the esteemed MasterChef: The Professionals title, Nikita takes her place in MasterChef history alongside other outstanding champions: Derek Johnstone; Steve Groves; Claire Lara; Ash Mair, joint winners Keri Moss and Anton Piotrowski; Steven Edwards; Jamie Scott; Mark Stinchcombe; Gary Maclean; Craig Johnston; Laurence Henry; Stu Deeley, Alex Webb and last year’s winner, Dan Lee.

She previously worked at Lanesborough Hotel, Claude Bosi at Bibendum, Core By Clare Smyth and cites Phil Howard and Mark Kempson as some of her role models. 

Lee Skeet calls out customer for disrepectful, degrading treatment of his front of house manager


Chef and owner of Cardiff restaurant Cora, Lee Skeet, made headlines after witnessing taking action against the appallings actions of a customer, to his front of house manager Lilly. In a note, Lee offered to refund the cost of their meal - minus a tip - but kindly asked that they never visit his restaurant again.

The tragic passing of Alastair Little 

Tributes were made for chef Alastair Little, who considered by many as the godfather of modern British cooking, who died on the 3rd August 2022, aged 72. Alastair was entirely self-taught originally planning to become a film editor before switching careers into chef after working as a waiter at Small's, a Knightsbridge cafe. His first role as a chef would come in 1976 while he was working at the Old Compton Wine Bar, when he would take over after the chef quit.

WHen we spoke to Philip Barantini about his critically acclaimed film 'Boiling Point'

In an interview with The Staff Canteen, Philip explained that before he made his name in the world of film and TV, he was a chef - making this film all the more important to him. Having risen through the ranks to become a head chef and eventually a consultant to restaurants in the North of England, "I've just seen so many things that you just wouldn't believe - unless you'd worked in the industry."

"There've been movies that you watch and you're like, 'yeah, that's not really hitting the mark, that's not really my experience in hospitality.' I wanted to shine a light on that world and make it as truthful as possible in terms of what I've witnessed."

The shocking passing of Paul Kitching

Paul Kitching was chef patron of 21212 Restaurant in Edinburgh. He started as a kitchen porter in a Latin American restaurant in Newcastle before moving to York as a commis chef and realising he had a passion for classical cooking.

He moved into Michelin kitchens in his early twenties including Restaurant 74 and Gidleigh Park before achieving his own star with his first restaurant Juniper. He opened 21212 in 2009  with his partner Katie O'Brian and gained a Michelin star after just 6 months. 

When Tom Kerridge argued that 'The reality is that cheap food does not exist'

Following the 2022 spring statement, Tom said, that "some companies aren't even quoting for a year because they don't know where it's going to be in a year's time. It's going to be a case of doubling or maybe even trebling our utility bills - which is massive."

Learning more about Gareth Ward and his legendary Ynyshir restaurant

In November 2022, Gareth was named the next LAFONT featured chef, so we spoke to him about all things Ynyshir, his dreams, and the flavours that inspire him at the two Michelin-starred restaurant.

Using only the best produce, Gareth ferments, pickles, ages and forages a wide array of rustic dishes, pulling off incredible flavours and presentation in the process.

The unique approach has resulted in nothing but success for him and his team, pushing Ynyshir to the top of their game, winning award after award including two Michelin stars, five AA rosettes and the prestigious title of Britain’s second-best restaurant according to The Good Food Guide 2022.

Glynn Purnell and Aaron Mulliss talk about catastrophic culinary hacks: chip-fat roux and microwaved duck breasts


In an episode of Grilled by The Staff Canteen, co-host Aaron Mulliss and Glynn Purnell, were asked what the worst culinary hacks were that they've seen in their time spent in professional kitchens. 

The chef said that he witnessed "some horrific things" in the earlier stages of his career, but that one of the worst was perpetrated by a chef at a pub inside a hotel in Liverpool. 

"The soup was really thin, so I thought, 'okay, we'll thicken it.' So he got a ladle of dirty fryer oil, poured it into a bottle, poured flour in it and whisked it and then whisked that into the soup. 

"I said to him, 'what's that?' He said, 'it's called a Scouse roux'" 

"The chip fat - the oil was black, so when the soup was being stirred, you could see fragments of small burnt chips floating in the top of the soup." 

"So I said, 'what d'you call them, Scouse croutons?'"

The news of Gordon Ramsay's  plans to open Restaurant 1890 at The Savoy with chef James Sharp at the helm

Restaurant 1890 offers an intimate and elevated experience, opening for dinner only and seating 26 guests.  Gordon Ramsay says that Restaurant 1890; “Creates a blend between unparalleled service, culinary creativity and exquisite wines.

“The tasting menu is seasonal modern French with European influences, prepared with great flair under the very talented Executive Head Chef James Sharp and our hand-picked team. 

“It’s the third gastronomic jewel operated by our restaurant group at The Savoy and we’re incredibly excited to offer this new experience.” 

James Sharp has most recently been cooking as Senior Sous Chef at Michelin-starred Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay, having joined the Group in 2015 at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Royal Hospital Road.

Merry Christmas to all from The Staff Canteen team!

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 30th December 2022

The Best of The Staff Canteen 2022