After a marathon negotiation session, the judges of the 2016 KP of the Year have narrowed down this year’s entries to a shortlist of ten. One of them will win top glory and £10,000-worth of prizes.“But all of them deserve enormous congratulation – every one of them inspires their brigade with their dedication and work ethic,” says Stephen Kinkead, managing director of Winterhalter UK, the company behind the awards.
Sara Jayne Stanes, chief executive of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, was one of the judges. “For the fourth year running we’ve had the most phenomenal number of entries,” she says. “I’m more and more impressed with every entry I read – it’s really difficult to make a choice even for the top thirty, let alone the actual winner.”
Kinkead adds: “One of the really encouraging things about the entries this year is that they came from a real cross-section of the whole industry – education, hotels, restaurants, the prison service, MOD, retail outlets, pubs, hospitals, B&I, contract caterers – they were all represented. I’m delighted to say that the shortlist reflects that diversity, too.”
The shortlisted KPs are:
- Kevin Axtell, kitchen porter, Windsor Castle Guard Rooms, Windsor (Sodexo)
- David Bryant, kitchen porter, Next, Bradford (Gather and Gather)
- Joseph Burford, kitchen porter, MOD St Antham, Vale of Glamorgan (Sodexo)
- Stephen Cornwell, kitchen porter, Foxes Hotel, Somerset
- Mick Dunn, chief steward, Rubens at the Palace, Hotel 41 &Bbar, London
- Daniel Gligorov, kitchen porter, The White Hart at Fyfield, Oxfordshire
- Adam Korabewski, kitchen porter, Oxfam, Reading (Catermasters)
- Wendy Scott, mess band, Beachley Barracks, Chepstow (Sodexo)
- Raluca Maria Stoian, kitchen porter, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London
- Ken Wylie, kitchen porter, the Marram Grass, Whitelodge Caravan Park, Anglesey
Sarah Jayne Stanes adds: “One of the things that struck me this year was the fact that the employers seemed to appreciate their kitchen porters more and more. You get the feeling they could probably do without some of their staff but not their kitchen porters.
“I think the KP of the Year award has absolutely put KPs on the map, and I think that’s one of the reasons why employers may be looking at their brigades, and their kitchen porters especially, and taking even more note.”
The ultimate winner and runners up will be announced in the next few weeks. The winner will receive a trophy, £1,000 cash and a celebratory dinner for friends and family. On top of that, the winner’s establishment will get a Winterhalter warewasher worth up to £8,000. The runners up each win £250 cash and a trophy. Plus, every single KP who is nominated for the award will be a winner, as each will receive a special KP of the Year apron, created by Oliver Harvey, in a presentation tin.
A video of the judges ‘in action’ will be available on the Winterhalter UK YouTube channel shortly – there are also interviews with top chefs, including Marcus Wareing and Michel Roux Jnr, about their thoughts on the role of KPs in their kitchens. Visit youtube.com/user/WinterhalterUK.