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Tauland Babi, kitchen porter
Photograph: Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a kitchen porter

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…according to Tauland Babi, 33.

If you can’t stand the heat… don’t worry, you’ll get used to it

‘As kitchen porters, we work in a small space with a few dishwashers on all the time. It gets quite warm in there, and it was a shock at first, but when you’re working full-time it becomes familiar. At least we’re not running about like the servers! ’

London diners don’t seem fussed about food waste

‘Being in the pot wash, you see all the waiters bringing down guests’ plates with leftover food. All the waste is separated and recycled here,  which is good, but it’s shocking to see what people can’t eat because they’ve over-ordered or got too full too quickly.’

London restaurant kitchens are a microcosm of the multicultural city

‘Before working here at Sticks’n’Sushi, I wouldn’t have known how to approach certain cultures. But I now understand how to communicate with people based on where they’re from, because there are so many cultures and nationalities here. Working in a sushi restaurant, we have to learn a bit of Japanese on the side too.’

Loads of people can’t use chopsticks

‘We have alternative cutlery for people who aren’t good at using chopsticks, but it is funny to see how many guests need to use it throughout the shift.
I always find out, because waiters regularly come down to see if I can wash up some more cutlery quickly for a guest!’

Waiters do whatever it takes to keep going through long shifts

‘There’s one member of staff who comes down to the pot wash and sings Italian opera for us. It’s strange but hilarious. I think he gets a lot of fun out of it, and it distracts us all for a while.’

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