BaxterStorey’s Davie Fleetham is ‘an inspiration to the team’
Davie Fleetham has been a kitchen porter for BaxterStorey at RBS in Edinburgh for 17 years – and now he’s the 2019 KP of the Year. The award was presented to Davie by Stephen Kinkead, managing director of the company behind the awards, Winterhalter UK, at a special ceremony at RBS on November 6th.
“I can’t believe I’m the winner,” Davie said. “I knew something was going on today but I had no idea I was going to be awarded KP of the Year. To be recognised like this is amazing.”
“The team sees Davie as an inspiration,” says catering manager Lindsay Turnbull, who nominated him for the award. “He can turn his hand to anything. He’s a star!”
Stephen Kinkead was impressed by the KP winner for 2019. “The KP of the Year judging panel were rightly captivated by his dedication. I loved the fact that he actually introduced homemade bread and scones to the business, and they’ve increased sales as a result. Davie is a very worthy winner.”
There were two KP of the Year 2019 runners up prizes awarded. They went to Cheryl Macdonald, who works at the Jury’s Inn in Fry Street, Middlesbrough, and Sam Idubor, who is at the Royal Airforce Club in Piccadilly, London.
Hear what Michael Caines, Paul Ainsworth, Emily Watkins, Michel Roux Jr, Brian Turner among others have to say about a day working WITHOUT one.
Michel Roux Jr
"Kitchen porters are worth their weight in gold. This idea of having a Kitchen Porter of the Year is absolutely fantastic."
"We all know that the KP is probably one of the most important people in the kitchen and sometimes they get overlooked. It’s great that they’re getting recognised with the KP of the Year award."
"The kitchen porter is the key person, not only of the kitchen but also the whole business."
John Williams MBE
"You want somebody who’s a great supporter of the cooks. KPs are a very powerful part of your team."
Brian Turner CBE
"Kitchen porters, especially in small restaurants and hotels, have to be able to multitask. You want someone who can trim the beans as well."
"A day without a kitchen porter doesn’t bear thinking about. For us as a business it’s vitally important that we look after them."
"Kitchen porters are very much the forgotten heroes of many kitchens, it's amazing to see the industry recognise what a huge part they play in the making of a good restaurant and efficient kitchen with this award."
"The kitchen porter is one of the most important people in the building."
Michael Caines MBE
"The KP has been and always will be a key part of the kitchen. They are unsung heroes, working hard and in difficult conditions to keep the flow of the kitchen going. We’re very, very pleased that we’ve got a Kitchen Porter of the Year competition. It’s a wonderful initiative."
"I started out as a KP. It’s such a hard job! We can’t function without them. To be able to celebrate kitchen porters is great – the KP of the Year is a brilliant idea."
This year there are fantastic prizes, not just for the winning KP but also for her or his establishment.
Chefs and managers from every part of the catering industry can enter their KPs for the award.
So whatever type of kitchen you work in, profit or cost sector, if your KP goes that extra mile, then enter them for the KP of the Year.
2018 - KP of the Year Father Riitmaas
2017 - KP of the Year José Núnez of The Stafford, London.
2016 - KP of the Year Mick Dunn Ruebns at the Palace, London SW1.
2015 - KP of the Year Peter Barneston of Skibo Castle.
2014 - KP of the Year Steve Ball of the Manor House Hotel in the Cotswolds.
2013 - KP of the Year Bartek Malek of the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge.
KPs come in all shapes and sizes… and here are some of the very best
The award is the brainchild of warewashing specialist Winterhalter and is judged by a panel of top names from the foodservice industry. Aleks has been a kitchen porter at the Crathorne Hall Hotel in North Yorkshire for over eleven years and was nominated by Alan Robinson, the hotel’s executive head chef. “Father Riitmaas is thoughtful, generous, does the most thorough job and makes the whole team smile,” says Alan. “He cleans and scrubs areas that other KPs didn’t even know existed! He gets involved in the upkeep of everything, from the deep fat fryer to the compost bins and our bees.
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.”
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. 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.
Peter Barnetson of Skibo Castle was Kitchen Porter of the Year 2015. Peter was nominated by Craig Rowland, executive chef at Skibo, who said, "Peter’s work ethic is second to none. His enthusiasm motivates the team, and his fastidious standards rub off on them! He’s a famous leg-puller and his jokes keep the atmosphere light during a busy, stressful day"