A brilliant pizza chef succeeded in a Lanarkshire takeaway when he was nominated for ‘Best Scottish Pizza’ at the prestigious National Awards.
Franco Scanavini, who serves up mouth-watering desserts to customers at Tony’s Fish and Chip Shop in Quatbridge, took home the coveted award at the Italian-Scottish Awards, claiming his second consecutive title having also won this category at previous awards in 2019.
He impressed the judges, including celebrity chef Aldo Zelli, and thrilled them with two pizzas cooked in just 10 minutes in a specialty bread, including a signature dish specially prepared for the finalist and using the best ingredients from his native Italy.
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Now Franco, who has been a pizza chef for 30 years, is preparing to return in February to compete in the World Cup.
He has worked for the past eight months at the award-winning Shawhead Restaurant, which also achieved another success at the Italian-Scottish Awards when it was named a finalist in the Best Fish and Chips category in Scotland.
Franco told Lanarkshire Live: “When they said my name I felt ecstatic: I was already a Scottish champion and my goal was to renew the title; I was happy when I realized I had managed to win for the second time.
“In the competition, I made two pizzas that had to be made in 10 minutes; the first was a margherita with mozzarella and tomatoes.
“The second pizza was made with buffalo mozzarella, wild boar sausage, porcini mushrooms, truffle chips, peeled tomatoes, buffalo strawberry and old sheep, and the edge of the pizza was stuffed with ricotta and ricotta flavored with truffles.”
Throughout his three-decade career, award-winning Chef Franco has imparted his skills as a trainer, completing several courses including Pizza and Substitute Flour, and is part of the British Pizza Association in Scotland.
He added, “My favorite pizza on Tony’s menu is the Meat Festival, or Franco’s pizza. [which features Italian sausage and salami, black olives and tomatoes] I highly recommend everyone to try them alike! “
Owner Tony Hugh Ines praised the talented chef for his success, saying, “We were all stunned and amazed when his name was read at the awards ceremony. Franco jumped about six feet in the air and then ran straight to the stage!”
“I’ve brought him on board this year to build our pizza business and it’s great for him to defend his title, especially when there were 27 other pizzerias in the finals for the best restaurants and pizzerias across Scotland.
“They had 10 minutes to cook their dishes and were judged based on their knowledge of dough and how to make it, and what Franco did that astounded them.”
With two awards in the Italian-Scottish Awards, the total Tony Awards of the Year leads to four awards previously named as the UK’s 50 Best Fish and Chip Shops and 10 Best Mobile Trucks by Fry Magazine.
Hugh said of the highly recommended place for a fish and chip shop in this category: “It’s great to be bred by customers and then compete with the best in the country after being judged by a visit from a mystery shopper.
“We have a great community and lots of comments and congratulations – we are very fortunate to have won these awards and always want to keep improving and take our customers with us on the journey.
“Our motto is ‘We are not here to participate, we are here to take the lead’ and we put our heart and soul into what we do to be on top because our ambition is to be the best in the country.”
Lanarkshire restaurants have five more ‘highly recommended’ awards in the awards, with Pooh Uddingston named one of the top finalists in the same category as Franco’s Best Pizza.
Airdrie The Cape has been awarded in the 50-plus seat Scottish restaurant category and Pizza Village in Eaglesham is highly recommended as one of the top newcomers to the country.
Hamilton’s Twenty One was voted the best team in Scotland, and the same honor went to Pepe’s Fish and Pizza Bar in Lesmahagow in the Best Family Business in Scotland category.
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