Danish restaurant Noma’s decision to make their Kitchen Porter a partner in the Michelin starred business shows just how important a Kitchen Porter is to any successful restaurant or hotel. The role of a Kitchen Porter requires serious hard work and unflappable composure in a busy, fast paced environment. Mick Dunn has displayed those attributes, and much more besides, during his 35 years as a Kitchen Porter, 29 of which he has spent working at The Rubens at the Palace. Here, he talks to us about receiving the Kitchen Porter of the Year award, and what a typical day in his kitchen entails.
How long have you been a KP, and what first attracted you to the job?
“I have worked as a KP for 35 years and I have been at The Rubens at the Palace for 29 years! I joined on Sunday 27th of November 1988, by default really – I was just looking for a job! I didn’t know that – fast forward 35 years – I’d have had an absolutely brilliant adventure, or the opportunities and skills being a Kitchen Porter would present.”
What skills do you think are essential to become a successful KP?
“I think it’s essential to like working with people; be hardworking; have strong willpower; and not take things too personally.”
Talk us through a typical day in your kitchen…
“First thing in the morning I drain the dishwasher from the night before. Whilst that is happening, I clear the rubbish, empty any bins, and then restock for the day. Then, I clean and wash the remaining items from the night before.
During service, I wash and clean everything that comes back from the restaurant and kitchen, making sure the team is restocked and able to offer the exceptional service that our guests are used to. Supporting my team and our guests is my priority.
After service, I take my time when most of the team is out for breaks to pull out the fridges and clean behind them and mop the floors. Afterwards, I wash the remaining plates and items from the kitchen, rooms and the restaurant. I then take the rubbish and the empty glass bins. When everything is done, I check with my manager and go home!”
What are the secrets to ensure a professional kitchen is kept running smoothly?
“Firstly, it needs to be professional working environment. You also need to get on with your team members and, most importantly, work as a team.”
What do you think makes The Rubens at the Palace a great place to work?
“I believe it’s the great people that you get work with at The Rubens at the Palace. From our General Manager, Mr Hendry, right down to us, we all have a great work ethic.”
What advice would you give to anyone interested in getting into the hospitality industry?
“You need to enjoy working with people, and you need to be prepared to work hard!”
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
“Two things come to mind. Winning KP of the Year is definitely one of them! I’ve also been at The Rubens at the Palace for 28 years 9 months, so I am really looking forward to my 30th year at the hotel!”
What’s your favourite dish on the hotel’s menu and why?
“I love the Aubrey Allen Tomahawk, the signature dish of the English Grill. I love the texture and the taste.”
What does winning the KP of the Year award mean to you?
“I always thought that being a Kitchen Porter is a thankless job, but my perception soon changed. I feel very honoured to have won such an award!
Winning the KP of the Year is not just a win for me, but a win for all my fellow KP’s at the Rubens, because we all worked hard to achieve this wonderful award.”
Experience the dedication and can- do attitude of The Rubens at the Palace’s staff first hand when you visit the hotel.
Image Credits: All images courtesy of Red Carnation Hotels.