Sheffield street-food chef who launched Mexican-themed van in lockdown wins prestigious award
A Sheffield chef who launched a Mexican-themed food van during lockdown has been named Best Newcomer in the British Street Food Awards.
Danny Pinch, opened Pellizco (‘pinch’ in Spanish) in June after graduating from Sheffield’s ‘School for Pop-Ups’, run by Union St business hub, and doing events all over the North and Midlands.
Judges including Sheila Dillon, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme and Ed Cooke, senior sous chef of the legendary Fat Duck restaurant, were knocked-out by the food.
Pellizco is currently serving from Dyson Place, a newly revamped yard off Sharrowvale Road, and has just had its residency extended until the end of the year. Takeaways remained open throughout Tier 3 and lockdown.
Danny said he thought the first lockdown in March might kill the business after it ‘completely decimated our calendar’. But he persevered with a ‘reheat at home’ offering before launching Pellizco.
He added: “The competition was very high, there were some really big names in the final. To win best newcomer was indescribable, the nerves beforehand and the journey down to Reading were tough but it made it all worthwhile.
“I’ve gone from being seriously concerned that this would be it, to persevering and adapting. Now I’m over the moon.”
The awards were established in 2010 to celebrate Britain’s ‘real food heroes’ who serve fresh, seasonal and local grub in an environment where ‘only the strongest survive’.
Danny fell into cooking as a part-time job to support his studies but as he progressed he dropped out of university to do it full time.
He learned his trade in kitchens including the Double Tree at Sheffield Park Hotel,
He said: “Working with chefs that I am still close friends with today, I really learned the skill of being a chef there.”
After working his way up from commis chef through to sous chef his next move would have been to seek a head chef role. But as soon as he felt ready he went into self-employment instead.
Danny is a graduate of Union St’s ‘School For Pop-Ups’, a charity which supports people create street food firms.