The search for the 2017 KP of the Year is over. Winterhalter, whose brainchild the awards are, has announced that this year’s winner is José Núnez, who works at The Stafford, the historic 5 star hotel in St James, London.
José was nominated by Mark Surguy, The Stafford’s hotel manager. Judges were impressed by the KP’s initiative – for example, he suggested a new storage solution that reduced breakages significantly. “He has a work ethic that cannot be compared,” said Mark. “He’s always smiling, he holds himself and every member of his team to the highest standards. Nothing is ever too much for him.”
Mark arranged for a special ‘team meeting’ at which a shocked José was presented with his winning trophy by Stephen Kinkead, managing director of Winterhalter UK. “I’m very surprised but happy to win this award and it was great to have my colleagues with me,” José said. James Durrant, executive chef of the Stafford, added: “Having José here for the opening of the Game Bird has ensured everything went smoothly. We know we can always rely on him”
In a year that saw the level of entries go sky high, judges had such a tough time making their selection that they gave out three ‘highly commended’ awards. Anne Pierce MBE, chief executive of Springboard Charity, was one of the judges. “There were so many amazing entries, on another day any one of the top ten might have won,” she said. “Judging them was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do!”
The three highly commended KPs for 2017 are Daniel Gligorov of the White Hart at Fyfield;
Bayani Balba, of One Great George Street, Westminster; and Banjamin Berany, from The Vineyard, Newbury.
James Horler, chief executive of 360 Restaurants, was also a judge. “These guys do a fantastic job,” he said. “The KP of the Year award is really important because the kitchen porter is the engine room of the kitchen.”
Stephen Kinkead said, “After last year, I didn’t think the level of entries could get any higher. I was wrong. But in the toughest ever year, José is a truly worthy winner and he was the unanimous choice of the judges.”
José receives a trophy, £1000 in cash and a celebratory meal with friends, plus he wins a Winterhalter machine for The Stafford. The three highly commended KPs also win trophies and £250 in cash. Plus, every KP nominated will receive a special KP of the Year apron, created by Oliver Harvey, in a presentation tin.