Announcing the winners of The Staff Canteen Awards 2021

The Staff Canteen

We are proud to announce the winners of The Staff Canteen Awards 2021, celebrated today at our first awards ceremony at The Compound Studio in Birmingham.

From 273 nominations, 19,935 of you voted, whittling down the list to four individuals or teams shortlisted for each of the eight award categories: Chef of the Year, One to Watch, KP of the Year, Business of the Year, Front of House Team of the Year, Community Hero, TSC Member of the Year and Social Media Influencer.

We can now reveal the winners:

- Chef of the Year: Roy Brett, chef owner of Ondine in Edinburgh

- One to Watch: Oli Marlow, executive chef of Aulis and Roganic London and Hong Kong

- KP of the Year: Dragos Suhoverschi of Holborn Dining Room, London 

- Sustainable Business of the Year:  Hypha, Chester

- Front of House Team of the Year: The Star at Cotton

- Social Media Influencer of the Year: Thom Bateman, The Flintlock Cheddleton @chefthombateman

- Community Hero: Frank Bothwell, founder of Thomas Franks

- TSC Member of the Year: Burim Asllanaj, head chef at The London Cabaret Club/Bloomsbury Ballroom

On winning the title of chef of the year, Roy Brett said: "What feels amazing is the fact of being back together - in this room there's so much talent and so many good people who want to be here and want to be back together.

"Just to be here has been fantastic and actually to have my own gold mug, I'm absolutely delighted."

To have the support from within hospitality, he added, "has been overwhelming really. It actually means more than anything else because it's your peers, it's your colleagues, it's people you stand by. People you admire, people you respect, people you support as an industry. 

"It's far bigger than certain things you can achieve in this industry and it comes from the right people, it's not from a huge big sponsorship, it's actually from people who stand and graft every single day in their businesses. I'm thrilled."

Chef owner of The Flintlock Cheddleton, social media influencer of the year and twice nominee Thom Bateman said: "Finally got across the line, which was great."

Maintaining a following at the scale that he has sustained for the past two years, he continued, "it's a lot of extra work on top of my normal work - which I enjoy, don't get me wrong, it's something that I love to do, but it makes it worth it when I'm standing outside barbecueing outside at -2C."

To have created an online network of his own, he said, "drives the business and it drives people who come to visit us from afar who wouldn't necessarily know us and in turn that brings in revenue for the business, to keep people in a job which is the most important thing for me because I have a team that I want to keep hold of and I want the business to keep going forward with them. If me making daft videos helps, then all the better." 

Representing the lead sponsor of the event, Rational, was Adam Knights, who said: "The Staff Canteen is very much a chefs' company, we pride ourselves on being one too, so anytime we can collaborate is great.

To have audience nominations and voting, he said, "is quite an alternative way of doing it, it stresses the importance of the awards being for the industry - and we're happy to support that." 

Dan Wade, representing WPA healthcare said the event was "really well organised, really great venue, brilliant people here, it was lovely to catch up with people here in the industry - just really good fun which is what I think the industry needs." 

"I think it's quite refreshing to see to be honest. From an insurance point of view, awards ceremonies are always about who sponsors the most wins the awards, which has tarnished the reputation of a lot of awards. So it being community-led is so important, because it shows who the true champions are. 

"Even though you might not have necessarily heard of everyone, it shows what people are doing locally - and it shows that there are people behind it." 

Kris Hall, founder of non-profit social enterprise The Burnt Chef said: "It's been a great opportunity to not just recognise those who have done amazing work within the industry, but also to be able to see people face to face and get back to some degree of normality. 

The awards nomination process being industry-led, he said, "shows what's great about The Staff Canteen - it isn't dictated by the people who organise it and it is literally voted by the massive community that you have. That means that it is so much more important. It's a great awards to be a part of." 

Thank you to our sponsors, Rational, The Burnt Chef, Bord Bia, Chef Works, WPA, Compass Group UK and Ireland, Major International and Sharp's Brewery, without whom none of this would be possible.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th November 2021

Announcing the winners of The Staff Canteen Awards 2021