Hospitality & Tourism

Published: November 19, 2021 | Updated: November 20, 2021

Hospitality heroes! One-off awards recognise individuals and businesses making a difference

Award-winners Andy Lennox, Rosie Radwell, Peter Baerwinkel, Sarah Berry and Chris Lewis. Picture: Paul Collins/PC Visuals.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

What a triumph for Dorset’s hospitality heroes!

The winners of four of the five categories at a south coast awards ceremony, recognising individuals and businesses making a difference during the last 18 months, came from the county.

They included Andy Lennox, Founder of The Wonky Table, who won the award for ‘Most innovative response to the pandemic.’

Bournemouth’s Marsham Court Hotel won the ‘Community effort/engagement’ award while the ‘Leadership award’ went to Peter Baerwinkel, General Manager of the Holiday Inn Bournemouth.

The fourth success for Dorset was Chef’s Mate, Christchurch, which received the ‘Work-related achievement’ award.

The one-off Hospitality Hero awards were organised by the Institute of Hospitality Southern Branch.

They were held at the Balmer Lawn Hotel, Brockenhurst, and attended by more than 60 local hospitality professionals.

Tim Seward, pictured left, Chair, Institute of Hospitality Southern Branch, said: “The evening was a great way to meet and network with other hospitality professionals after such a long break and celebrate the amazing achievement, training and responses that hospitality individuals and businesses had made during the last 18 months.

“It was encouraging to see that, during the pandemic, we came together and supported each other from as far as Weymouth to Portsmouth and beyond.

“These awards are testimony to how people have supported, trained and cared for each other.

“Every hospitality business in the area should be extremely proud of what they have achieved during some challenging times.

“I congratulate each and every one of them.”

The full results were:

Unsung Hero award – sponsored by Southampton Hoteliers Association

Winner: Sarah Berry, Simply Sig

Runner Up: Andy Lennox, Fired Up Hospitality Group

Runner up: Peter Baerwinkel, Holiday Inn Bournemouth, Interstate Hotels

Community effort/engagement award – sponsored by Lye Cross Farm

Winner: Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth

Runner up: Wonky Table Group

Runner up; The Burnt Chef Project – Kris Hall

Work-related achievement award – sponsored by BH Area Hospitality Association

Winner: Chef’s Mate, Christchurch

Runner up: Chelsea Hotel, Bournemouth

Runner up: Chewton Glen Hotel, New Milton

Leadership award – sponsored by Bournemouth and Poole College

Winner: Peter Baerwinkel, General Manager, Holiday Inn Bournemouth

Runner up: Karl Goebel, Head of Operations, Nq2 Bournemouth

Runner up: Oliver Weeks, Ideal Collection Group

Most innovative response to the pandemic – sponsored by Balmer Lawn Hotel

Winner: Andy Lennox, Wonky Table Group, Dorset & Hampshire

Runner up: Russ Kitching, The Lapstone Pub, Eastleigh

Runner up: Balmer Lawn Hotel, Brockenhurst, New Forest

The winners and runners-up have all joined the Institute of Hospitality’s ‘I’m in’ campaign (#imin).

They were commended by the judges and had some outstanding stories to tell including:

  • Setting up new information channels to help hospitality businesses across the South through the pandemic with the ever-changing information provided
  • Diversifying their business, training and leading teams with new ways of working quickly while staying open for essential/key workers
  • Raised £10,000 for ten charities in the community to help them bounce back
  • Changing their business model from delivering food to hospitality businesses to delivering food to those most in need

Andy Lennox, pictured left, winner of the ‘Most innovative response to the pandemic’ category, told Dorset Biz News: “The Wonky Table was created in the pandemic.

“From humble beginnings as a WhatsApp group, it’s grown to a network of thousands of people.

“I’m proud that the hospitality industry and Institute of Hospitality Southern Branch have recognised the work it’s done. I hope it’s helped.

“We continue to lobby and disrupt whenever it is necessary, including urging people to sign our VAT petition, and will continue to do so.

“To be runner up for two other awards is a testament to the good work done by everyone.”

The main event sponsor was the award-winning mobile app for customers for ordering, Firsti.

Category sponsors were Lye Cross Farm, Balmer Lawn Hotel, Bournemouth & Poole College, BH Area Hospitality Association and Southampton Hoteliers.

Guests were entertained by saxophonist Graeme Budd during the drinks networking reception.

The evening was hosted by local creative director and producer, Andy Brennan, pictured right.