The top 10 finalists have been decided in the 2017 search for the Kitchen Porter of the Year, a competition launched by Winterhalter UK in partnership with The Caterer.
Now in its fifth year, the competition has gone from strength to strength and is the only annual competition in the industry to recognise and celebrate the back-breaking work that KPs do in our kitchens.
The top 10 finalists are:
• Bayani Balba, kitchen porter, One Great George Street, Westminster, London
• Banjamin Berany, senior kitchen porter, The Vineyard, Newbury, Berkshire
• Mohammed El Wakili, head kitchen porter, The Goring, Westminster, London
• Mariano Espinoza, kitchen porter, The Carpenters Arms, Islington, London
• Daniel Gligorov, head kitchen porter, the White Hart at Fyfield, Oxford
• Miroslaw Glogowski, kitchen porter, the Landmark, Marylebone, London
• Adam Kaczor, head kitchen porter, Special Catering Company, Heathcote & Co, Bolton
• Rafal Matrejek, kitchen porter, Berwick Lodge, Bristol
• Jose Nunez, kitchen porter, The Stafford, St James, London
• June Pond, senior kitchen porter, Double Tree by Hilton, Milton Keynes
The judges were looking for kitchen porters who demonstrated that they were going above and beyond their day job, with good integration within the front of house and kitchen teams and to a lesser extent those managing complex operations.
Judge James Horler, chief executive of Ego Restaurants, director of Patisserie Valerie, Charterhouse Leisure, Ping Pong and Cartwheel Recruitment, who started his career as a KP said: "This competition is difficult to judge and we had quite a debate among the judges this year."
"It's a pleasure to judge this competition," added Richard Davies, executive chef of Calcot Manor Hotel in Tetbury. "I consider it a privilege to be on the judging panel and to promote and recognise the people doing this job."
Stephen Kinkead, managing director of Winterhalter UK, was delighted with the continued response to the competition and added: "The calibre of entries just keeps getting stronger and stronger. This year was the most difficult year to judge yet."
The brainchild of Winterhalter UK, the KP of the Year competition launched in 2013 to recognise kitchen porters working in restaurants, pubs, schools, contract caterers and hotels across the country.
The judging panel consists of: Lisa Jenkins, products and suppliers editor, The Caterer (chair); James Horler; Richard Davies; Anne Pierce, chief executive of Springboard UK; Sara Jayne Stanes, chief executive of the of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts; Hayden Groves, executive chef, BaxterStorey and Stephen Kinkead, managing director, Winterhalter UK.
The 2017 KP of the Year prize includes £1,000 cash for the individual winning KP and a celebratory meal for the KP 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.
The overall winner of the 2017 KP of the Year competition will be revealed in October.
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