Steve Ball, kitchen porter at the Manor House hotel, part of Exclusive Hotels, has been named The Caterer's 2014 KP of the Year in an annual competition organised in partnership with warewasher manufacturer Winterhalter.
Ball was selected as the overall winner from more than 100 entries for talented kitchen porters across the country. He was recognised for his range of duties including his skills in the kitchen garden and responsibility for the hotel's dry stores.
Ball has worked at the Manor House hotel for 35 years and has a team of five KPs, and is also responsible for new employees' food, health and safety training.
Stephen Kinkead, managing director, Winterhalter, explained the rationale behind the campaign: "As a family business, this competition is about recognising the family in the kitchen and the crucial role of the KP as the hub of the kitchen team.
"We launched this competition last year and were delighted with the response we received from restaurants, pubs, schools and hotels across the country, but this year has been phenomenal. We had more than a 100 entries from businesses across all sectors.
"The judges had a lot of work prior to the judging day and during and it was difficult to pick just one winner. KPs are a highly valued resource in most kitchens and standards are extremely high."
James Horler, judge and chief executive of 3Sixty Restaurants, said: "Steve has proved himself as a leader of other KPs and his experience from 35 years in the kitchen deserves to be applauded and will be an inspiration to others."
Frances Atkins, chef and co-owner of the Yorke Arms near Harrogate in North Yorkshire, added: "Steve has demonstrated great commitment and loyalty to the Manor and proves that you can have a long and fulfilling career as a KP."
This year, the judges also agreed to award second and third-placed KP awards to José Miguel, KP at Adam's restaurant in Birmingham and Lawrence Brown, KP at Cameron House in Loch Lomond respectively.
"Naming a shortlist is testament to the quality of the nominations we received. The KPs we discussed are at the top of their game and we wanted to acknowledge that," added Kinkead.
"José is a perfect example of the young talent we have in our kitchens," said judge Liz McGivern, vice-president of human resources, of Red Carnation Hotels
Co-judge Nick Vadis, UK executive chef, Compass Group UK & Ireland, added: "Lawrence demonstrates excellent green credentials and a seemingly endless job description."
"This is an amazing hotel to work at and having all my colleagues here for the presentation makes me very proud."