How to become a Kitchen Porter. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
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What does a Kitchen Porter do?
As a kitchen porter, you would work in the kitchens of hotels, restaurants and other places where food is prepared and cooked for the public.
You would work alongside chefs and cooks to keep the kitchen clean, tidy, safe and hygienic. Your duties would include:
- sweeping and mopping floors
- washing used cutlery, pots, pans and dishes
- loading and unloading a dishwasher
- putting clean items away
- collecting waste and disposing of it safely
- unloading deliveries of food and other equipment to the kitchen.
You could also get involved in preparing food before the kitchen or restaurant opens.
You would usually work 40 hours a week including shifts, weekends and public holidays. Part-time, temporary and seasonal opportunities are also frequently available.
Working conditions are usually hot and humid, and your employer will often provide you with a uniform.
How much does a Kitchen Porter earn?
Kitchen porters can earn between around £14,500 and £17,000 a year.
Salary rates for porters will vary according to the type of establishment and its location.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You do not need any particular qualifications to work as a kitchen porter, but a good general secondary education is useful. Some employers might prefer you to have some GCSEs (A-E). However, an interest in food or experience of working as a cleaner is likely to be more important.
You may be able to get into catering through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more about Apprenticeships, visit the Apprenticeships website.
Training and Development
You will usually receive on-the-job training and you may also be encouraged to take a course in food hygiene or food safety in catering, like those awarded by EDI or the RSPH. You could also work towards NVQ Level 1 in Hospitality (Food Preparation and Cooking), which may be useful if you decide to progress to kitchen assistant.
- Royal Society for Public Health
With further experience and on-the-job training you could work towards becoming a chef. As a trainee chef, you could take NVQ Level 2 in Food Processing and Cooking, or Professional Cookery. Check the Kitchen Assistant or Chef job profiles for details.
Skills and Knowledge
- good physical health, for unloading deliveries
- the ability to work in a team and use your initiative
- good communication skills
- the ability to remain calm under pressure
- an awareness of hygiene and safety regulations
- the ability to follow instructions.
You will find jobs in most parts of the UK (and overseas) in large kitchens within hotels, restaurants and colleges. Jobs are advertised in the local and national press, through Jobcentre Plus offices, on Directgov (Jobseekers page) and specialist catering recruitment websites. You could also check in industry journals such as Caterer & Hotelkeeper, and Hospitality Magazine.
With experience and training you may be able to progress from porter to assistant, and trainee chef (or quick service cook). A background as a porter may also help you move into other areas of catering, such as food and drink service or housekeeping.