With the entry deadline for the 2016 KP of the Year competition approaching, head chefs have shared their views on what makes a great kitchen porter.
John Whyte at Armagh City hotel and Duncan Miller at Galgorm Resort & Spa in Northern Ireland both spoke in support of the programme and shared their views on the KP's importance not just in their restaurants, but in any commercial kitchen.
"Our hotel has a five-star rating, and it's not just the chefs that are involved in that; it's mainly the KPs," said Whyte. "They're the ones making the kitchen run smoothly. They often help the chefs, too; their day is endless."
Miller also emphasised the important relationship between KP and chef. "A lot of people may look down on kitchen porters, but they are a key part of the inner workings of any restaurant or hotel - always look after them, keep them close to you; you never get on the wrong side of your KP," he said.
Like Whyte, Miller started his career in hospitality as a kitchen porter, as well as a waiter. His current sous chef was also a KP. "Chefs that didn't start as KPs often don't see how important they are," he added. "Any that haven't done it should go and do it for a while and see what's really going on and how hard it is."
The KP of the Year competition was developed by The Caterer and Winterhalter UK to reward and recognise the hard work of KPs across the country with a prize that includes £1,000 cash for the winner, plus a celebratory meal for them and their friends and family in a casual dining restaurant of their choice. The winner's place of work will win a prize too, in the shape of one of Winterhalter's warewash products worth up to £8,000.
"It's one of the most important roles within the brigade," said Stephen Kinkead, managing director of Winterhalter. "Whilst it's also one of the toughest, the careers of chefs like John and Duncan show just where it can lead."
The deadline for entries is 5 August 2016 and applicants will be judged by a panel of industry experts, with the winner announced in September. To enter visit www.thecaterer.com/kpoftheyear2016