Aleks Riitmaa, known affectionately as Father Riitmaas, beat off strong opposition to claim the KP of the Year crown for 2018. 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’s also the unbeatable king of the dancefloor at every staff party!”
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
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"