Here are the winners of The Staff Canteen Awards 2020

The Staff Canteen

It's finally time to announce the winners of The Staff Canteen Awards 2020.

After almost 200 nominations and over 30,000 votes in the six weeks since we launched the awards, it was a tight race which took many unexpected turns.

Here are the winners in each of The Staff Canteen award categories: 

Lockdown Community hero

Charlie D'Lima, chef @ Paul Ainsworth at No. 6 

KP of the Year

Salvatore 'Salvo' Forcisi, The Art School Restaurant, Liverpool

Seasonal and Sustainable dish

Liam Cocken, sous-chef de cuisine, La Popote, Cheshire

Social media influencer

Poppy O'Toole, self-employed 

One to Watch

Sean Wrest, sous-chef at Roots, York

Chef of the year

Peter McKenna, chef and owner of The Gannet, Glasgow

What the winners had to say

Charlie D'Lima said: "It's amazing to hear what everyone else has done, to see how everyone has stepped up." 

"There are so many people who helped me during lockdown as well so I can't forget to mention them, all the volunteers, the charity that I worked for, my parents, and to everyone who voted - thank you very much for voting for me." 

"Thank you Paul and the whole Ainsworth family for getting behind me and really supporting me through the whole lockdown." 

Apologising for speaking little English, Salvo, who was nominated by chef Paul Askew, said: "Thank you to everyone for voting for me." 

Liam Cocken said: "A big thank you to Joe, the chef patron at La Popote for giving me the opportunity to do what we do, thank you to all the suppliers that we use, family and friends that've voted, 

"I'm shocked considering some of the people that were in that category, you had boys that are head chefs at The Hilton, the head chef at Gleneagles, so for the sous chef at a restaurant in Marton, it's quite good." 

Poppy O'Toole said: "It's incredible the amount of support I've got since losing my job in March which has just been insane and people that are still following me and voting for me, thank you so much, because 2020 has been quite a rollercoaster, but it's been quite good for me."

"Thank you very, very much everybody." 

Sean Wrest said: "Thank you very much, I honestly wasn't expecting that."

The chef was nominated by Tommy Banks, to whom he is very grateful, as well as to the people of his hometown in the Yorkshire dales, Leyburn.

"Tommy's amazing - he's supported me so much over the last five years that I've worked for him in every aspect." 

"Him and Matthew Lockwood have been there every step of the way when I've had a down day or whatever. Both of them have been great." 

"I've had so many messages of support, which has been unbeliev


As for the support from home, he added: "The support they've shown me since I started cooking when I was 18 has just been amazing. They've followed me every step of the way and every restaurant I've been to, so many people have visited and supported me, so it's been unbelieveable really." 

Finally, chef of the year, said: "I don't know what to say, my God, very unexpected. 

"Incredible line-up, even on the longlist, so to be alongside all of those guys" that is - Tom Kerridge, Elliot Hill, Paul Wedgwood, Matt Abé and Alex Greene - "was a career highlight, I would say." 

To those who voted for him, he said: "From my peers in the industry, it means loads to me, everyone that eats at our restaurant and thinks highly of us, that's a great honour, especially at the moment, we're all in a bit of a slump, a bit of a depression. 

"It's nice to have something like this here to perk you up in the doldrums of a November morning." 


The awards would by no means have been possible had it not been for our sponsors: headliner Koppert Cress, Meiko, Major International, Rational, Bord Bia, Gusbourne and WPA.

Franck Pontais, private chef and business development manager for Koppert Cress said: "We are very excited and very proud to be the headline sponsor of The Staff Canteen awards. The support from the industry has been absolutely amazing with over 25,000 votes and the standard of nomination was fantastic. 

"It was great to see people celebrated across all sectors in hospitality. So congratulations to those who made it to the shortlist and very well done to the six winners. Wishing you all the best and hopefully we'll see you very very soon."

Mark Morris, founder of The Staff Canteen said: "Thank you to every single one of the hospitality professionals who took the time to nominate people and vote for them. We've had lots of feedback from people saying that the industry needed this, and it provided a great distraction from all the doom and gloom for us too" 

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th November 2020

Here are the winners of The Staff Canteen Awards 2020