Steve Ball of the five star Manor House Hotel in the Cotswolds is not your average KP. For one thing, he’s been at the hotel for 35 years. He’s as likely to be found working in the kitchen garden, or ordering supplies, as he is in the kitchen – which he keeps spotlessly clean. But what really sets him apart is that he is Kitchen Porter of the Year for 2014.
The award, which is supported by Winterhalter, was hard fought and there were well over 100 entries this year. The judges described the overall standard as outstanding. One of the judges was Frances Atkins, of the Yorke Arms, who said: “It’s been phenomenal. The number of entries was absolutely amazing. That shows how important the role of the KP is.”
Steve was nominated for the award by the Manor House Hotel’s executive chef Richard Davies, who says, “Steve oversees a team of four KPs and ensures that the chefs have all the equipment that they need to do their jobs and FOH staff have all their plates clean and polished. He is at the top of his game in his field. It’s really inspiring to see someone so devoted to one place and job. I think he’d only leave us if his mighty Swindon Town came knocking on his door asking him to be their next manager!”
Along with the accolade of being top KP, Steve wins £1,000 cash and a surprise gift. Meanwhile the Manor House Hotel wins one of Winterhalter’s remarkable new DeMatik ‘leaner, greener and cleaner’ warewashers.
“There’s no way I expected to win! I would have been happy to finish in the top five, even the top ten, but this is overwhelming. Richard the Executive Chef has been fantastic for me and it’s hard to believe that I’m the hands down winner; but it’s a great feeling!” says Steve.
Highly commended prizes were also awarded to Jose Miguel of adam’s restaurant in Birmingham and Lawrence Brown of the Cameron House Hotel, Loch Lomond. Both runners up win £100 in cash to go with their trophy. Joshua Whitfield, of the Best Western Brook Hotel, Norwich, was highly commended and wins £50.
Winterhalter is also supplying all entrants with a special Oliver Harvey presentation tin and apron. “Every single one of the entries is clearly a great KP, so we felt we’d like to make every one of them a winner,” says Stephen Kinkead, managing director of Winterhalter UK. “The comments and descriptions from their nominators underline the phenomenal dedication that many KPs up and down the country put into their job.”