“KPs are the key players in the kitchen” says chef Duncan Miller

With £10k-worth of prizes in KP of the Year 2016, more chefs shout out for their KPs

Duncan Miller Head Chef at Galgorm Resort  SpaJohn Whyte and Duncan Miller work at two of Northern Ireland’s most popular hospitality establishments, the former head chef at Armagh City Hotel, the latter Galgorm Resort & Spa. Both spoke in support of Winterhalter’s Kitchen Porter of the Year awards, discussing the KP’s importance not just in their restaurants, but in any commercial kitchen.

“Our hotel has a five-star rating, and it’s not just the chefs that are involved in that, it’s mainly the KPs,” says John Whyte. “They’re the ones who are making the kitchen run smoothly. They often help the chefs, too; their day is endless.”

Promoting the role of KP may inspire those unsure about career choices to consider hospitality. After all, it involves working closely with chefs in the heart of busy kitchens, and as a result chefs often take on mentoring roles with their KPs. For John Whyte and the Armagh’s original KP, David Aliam, this was very much the case.

“When David began working here he was an ideal KP, but he was actually very good at school as well, and he was set to go to university. He went but dropped out, and came back and asked for my advice. I got him into college, and now he’s just finished a Culinary Arts degree.

“It just shows how much a KP can actually progress.”

Duncan Miller, head chef at Galgorm Resort & Spa also emphasises the important relationship between KP and chef

“A lot of people may look down on kitchen porters, but they are a key part of the inner workings of any restaurant or hotel,” says Duncan. “Always look after them, keep them close to you; you never get on the wrong side of your KP.”

Like John, Duncan started his career in hospitality as a kitchen porter, as well as a waiter. His current sous chef was also a KP.

“Chefs that didn’t start as KPs often don’t see how important they are,” he says. “Any that haven’t done it, should go and do it for a while and see what’s really going on and how hard it is.”

KP of the Year was developed by Winterhalter UK to reward and recognise the hard work of KPs across the country – and there are prizes worth over £10,000 up for grabs. “It’s one of the most important roles within the brigade,” says Stephen Kinkead, managing director of Winterhalter.  “Whilst it’s also one of the toughest, the careers of chefs like John and Duncan show just where it can lead.”

For more information about the competition and how to enter, head to kpoftheyear.com. The deadline for entries is 5th August 2016.