The KP of the Year for 2016 is Mick Dunn of Rubens at the Palace, London SW1. “Mick won in the face of some incredibly tough competition – the toughest year ever – which shows he’s absolutely a top man in his field,” says Stephen Kinkead, managing director of Winterhalter, the company behind the KP of the Year awards.
One of the things the Award judges loved about Mick was his commitment – he’s been with the Rubens for over 27 years, and still has passion and, just as important, a ready smile. The Rubens’ general manager Malcolm Hendry nominated him, describing him as proactive and dedicated, adding, “He’s known by everyone in the business, he has outstanding loyalty, a wonderfully engaging personality and a brilliant sense of humour.”
Mick wins a trophy, £1,000 cash plus a celebratory meal for family and friends. Meanwhile his kitchen gets Winterhalter equipment with a retail value of up to £8,000.
“It’s a privilege and an honour to be voted for in such a prestigious event,” said Mick as he accepted the award. “It’s the second year running I’ve been nominated. Such a vast amount of people enter it, to win it this year is wonderful. Thank you, Winterhalter!”
At the Award presentation Bastien Peyraud, the Rubens’ deputy general manager, said, “Mick is a ninja in the kitchen! He flies around, and when we ask him to slow down, he says, “It’s fine, I know how to skate!” Well, he’s been skating around the Rubbens Hotel for nearly 30 years, he is an example for all employees and I genuinely hope he stays with us a lot longer.”
Mick responded, “Not for another 30 years though!”
The competition was so tight that the judges couldn’t decide on two runners up – so they selected three instead. They are Kevin Axtell of Windsor Castle Guard Rooms, Windsor; Daniel Gligorov of The White Hart at Fyfield, Oxfordshire; and Wendy Scott of Beachley Barracks, Chepstow. Each of the three wins £250 cash, plus a trophy. In fact, every single KP who was nominated for the award is a winner, as Winterhalter is giving each of them a special KP of the Year apron, created by Oliver Harvey, in a presentation tin.
One of the judges was James Horler, chief executive of 360 Restaurants, who was hugely impressed by the standard of entries in 2016. “These guys are the engine room within the kitchen. It’s great that these awards recognise the services they give our industry.”
Stephen Kinkead adds, “Reading these KPs’ back stories is a genuinely humbling experience. They are doing terrific work and they are truly dedicated. I’m really proud that these awards are helping to celebrate their contribution to the foodservice industry.”