Bartek Malek, kitchen porter at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, has been named the inaugural winner of the Caterer and Hotelkeeper 2013 KP of the Year competition organised in partnership with warewasher manufacturer Winterhalter.
Malek beat off some tough competition from talented kitchen porters across the country. He was recognised for his amazing range of skills; he takes things apart and fixes them again, he is constantly looking to improve processes and has many hidden skills including photography of new dishes for the staff room.
Amanda Afiya, managing editor of Caterer and Hotelkeeper and chair of judges, said: "It was a given that the winning KP should keep the kitchen clean and anticipate the chefs' needs.
"Our winner had to be able to use their initiative and come up with solutions for the kitchen rather than problems."
Stephen Kinkead, managing director, Winterhalter, explained the rationale behind the campaign: "As a family business, this competition was about recognising the family in the kitchen and highlighting the support network.
"Of course you need a great dish washer in the kitchen that doesn't break down, but the role of the kitchen porter is so much more than just loading and unloading one".
Simon Young, executive chef at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower and Malek's nominator, said: "I'm over the moon that Bartek has won.
"He's a superstar and extremely flexible. It is a tough department to work in and flexibility is the key."
The role of a KP includes pot washing, plate washing, emptying the rubbish, maintaining the dishwashers, and a lot more. It's hot and sweaty, unsociable hours, and not the most attractive job to some.
With seven kitchens and a brigade of 28 stewards, "the stewards are very much a support network, and without them the chefs would be stuffed", said Young.
"I've been doing my job for 30 years and I've never had a KP like Bartek."
Winterhalter presented Malek with a trophy in the kitchens of the Jumeirah and he wins £500 cash as well as a meal for himself and up to five of his colleagues at a Michelin-starred restaurant. The hotel will receive one of Winterhalter's new pass-through machines to be launched in September, worth in excess of £12,000.
Pictured: Stephen Kinkead, Bartek Malek, Simon Young and Amanda Afiya