Winterhalter manager becomes KP hero for charity

Isiseko Summer Party raises over £3k for homeless children in S. Africa

Is YOUR KP a hero?  Nominate them for KP of the Year 2016

Winterhalter's KP for a night Keith O'Brien, left, with Chef Thomas Leatherbarrow at the Isiseko Summer PartyEach year the folk at Winterhalter pick one of their own to spend a shift being a KP.  It’s partly to promote the KP of the Year Awards, which were conceived by Winterhalter, but also to highlight the hard work and dedication of kitchen porters up and down the land.  At the same time, it’s a great opportunity to see a colleague making a fool of themselves, trying to do a professional’s job and suffering big time.  In the past the task has fallen to managing director Stephen ‘Kinky’ Kinkead, but he looked like he was starting to enjoy the pain too much – so this year the Winterhalter folk picked business development manager Keith O’Brien.

The event was an exclusive fund-raiser held in a mansion in deepest Surrey and attended by the great and the good of the foodservice industry.  The catering was done by top chefs Thomas Leatherbarrow (pastry chef for Jason Atherton) and Daksha Mistry (MasterChef finalist and now a guest judge on the show).

The cause was a truly worthy one: Mamma Zoliswa, founder of the Isiseko Educare Centre in South Africa, takes in poor township children and gives them a safe haven and the foundations of an education. The party was helping to fund a new school building.

With thirty five guests all being pampered to encourage them to dig deep in their pockets, great customer service was essential.  There were hundreds of pieces of tableware and glassware to wash – sadly without the aid of a Winterhalter warewasher.  Even so Keith not only did the dishwashing, he also got involved in the kitchen prepping and even went front-of-house to help with service.

“Keith did a fantastic job,” says Daksha Mistry.  “We chefs piled up the crockery and pans sky high and Keith just cleared and cleaned relentlessly.

“I know the Kitchen Porter of the Year competition well and would be happy to nominate our ‘Hero KP’ on the night Keith, but suspect as he’s one of the Winterhalter team that may not be possible!”

Thomas Leatherbarrow agrees. “Keith was a true star. He turned up with a smile on his face and kept it the whole night, worked non-stop and when a hand was needed he was there to give it,” he says.

Event organiser Denis Sheehan says, “What a hero, Keith did a phenomenal job.”

The Isiseko Summer Party raised over £3,000 for the charity, with more still coming in.  “It’s great to have played a part in such a worthwhile and high-status event,” says Keith.  “It’s also underlined what it means to be a KP – it’s hard and challenging work, but can also be rewarding.

“It was really tough for a while – especially before the rest of the team realised I wasn’t a professional KP!  But once they did they all rallied round and together we got the work done.”

Is your KP a hero?  Then nominate them for the KP of the Year Awards at  Along with the prestige of winning there are prizes worth £10,000 up for grabs – and every entrant gets a special KP of the Year presentation tin and apron.

Winterhalter’s KP of the Year awards feature prizes including £1,000 in cash and a celebratory meal for the winner, cash prizes for the runners up and Winterhalter equipment for the winner’s kitchen.