Michel Roux is on a personal mission to train eight young people as front-of-house superstars. The trainees experience the brilliance of Michelin-starred service.
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Service for the most part in this country is pretty bad.
It is surly. It can be slapdash.
Great restaurants need great front of house.
Michel Roux is renowned for his passion for great food.
-Eight here. Table eight here.
But now he's on another mission.
I have a team of 25 front of house and only one British maitre d'. We need to find more British waiters.
'Being unemployed, it's horrible.'
I want to have a career, yeah. Hopefully.
I know what I'm capable of and I know how much I can achieve.
Michel believes working in front of house can be a lifelong and rewarding career.
I want to take eight kids that have never set foot in a fine-dining restaurant
and prove that it is possible to climb up that ladder.
In just eight weeks, Michel will take his trainees from the basics through to the very top.
From high street cafes...
One set breakfast, baked beans!
..to country house hotels.
Welcome to Bovey Castle.
To Paris and the world of Michelin-starred formality.
If we can do this, we can do anything.
Wonderful locations, great experiences,
That is what this industry can give you.
If you are dedicated enough and put the time in,
the world is your oyster.
-Great job. Well done.
-You are good enough to do this.
Ultimately, Michel will select the two outstanding trainees
and award them life-changing scholarships to launch them in careers in front of house.
But he wants to inspire all of them to see that this is an industry that can change their lives.
It's not just about delivering food. I want people to come into our industry and take pride in serving.
If you can give your all as a young waiter, what you get back is immense.
This time, their training begins. Michel throws his novices in at the deep end
as they take over service in a busy high street chain.
-People are making up table numbers.
-There is no Table 17.
I'm really sorry. If I had money, I'd pay for it for you.
-I cleaned four of your tables and served three of your customers.
-We haven't got time to drink.
I think Ashley's station is like the Titanic. It's just gone down.
-I feel like a naughty schoolgirl.
-And believe in yourself.
-All right. I believe in you.
I believe in you. Let's go.
I'm not normally nervous when I go to work in the mornings, but today is a special day.
Today, I'm going to meet eight young trainees,
trainees that I hope are going to become stars of the future.
The trainees have been selected by Michel from thousands of young people who put themselves forward.
Each has their own reason for wanting to try out a brand-new career.
18-year-old Brooke's job as a school dinner lady is a million miles away from where she would like to be.
I'd like to run my own business.
I'd like to have a job that I can say I built this up myself.
From not doing too well in a school cafeteria to being a manager of my own restaurant...
I will do it as well.
19-year-old Tom still lives at home and is working as a cleaner.
My mum and dad have tried to give me a kick-start,
saying it doesn't matter what I do, as long as I get into something.
I've never been able to keep a job properly.
It does frustrate me that I'm not really heading anywhere.
So many youngsters are at odds with their life, at crossroads,
and with very little prospect in life.
I want to give them confidence in themselves.
Whether or not they then embrace this,
at least I will have helped them on their way and given them self-respect
and given them a purpose in life.
17-year-old Danielle left home last year and is desperate to keep her independence.
Sometimes I do think, "God..."
I'm 18 in a couple of weeks.
I have to think what I want to do for the rest of my life.
I've not really got anything in mind.
I couldn't see myself doing office work or anything like that.
It just doesn't seem like me.
Since graduating, history student Niki has found it impossible to get anything other than office work.
The job I've just been doing was a temp, sort of admin job,
just filing, putting data in on the computer.
I did feel like I was sort of rotting away.
I've excelled in things that I've done,
but I've never really done anything that's been that worth excelling in.
Our industry is very tough, very tough indeed.
But if you have the passion, which I want to ignite in my trainees,
then you can achieve anything.
The eight trainees have travelled to London to meet Michel at his Mayfair restaurant,
where he will spell out his mission.
Welcome to Le Gavroche. I am Michel Roux, the owner of this establishment.
My father and uncle opened the restaurant in 1967
and it is world-renowned for service and, of course, its great food.
Have any of you worked in this industry before?
-What about you?
-I've done a bit of bar work, a bit of catering as well.
It was working at a theatre in a bar. Stressful. I mean, it was satisfying, but intense.
-What about you?
-I've done lots of bar work,
but no sort of service like waitering or catering or anything like that.
I am going to take you on a journey to prove that you guys have what it takes to work in our industry.
In eight weeks' time, you guys are going to be back here,
running a service on your own.
I want it to be perfect.
That should put the fear of God in you.
Ideally, what I want is your heart and soul.
Passion. If you've got that, you will succeed.
At the end of the eight weeks, we're going to offer two of you a scholarship,
something very, very special, but you're going to have to prove to me that you can do it.
23-year-old Jarel trained as a chef.
Michel's challenge is exactly what he's been looking for.
I studied Catering and Hospitality
and it was in the second year that I realised because of my personality, I'm a "people" person,
front of house is more suited to me.
And James, also 24, is eager to find the career that excites him.
I'm private school, university-educated.
I'm at a bit of a crossroads in my life.
I haven't got a definitive direction of where I want to go. I want to get into something
that I'm passionate about, I can feel strongly about and put my all into.
In a few days' time, Michel wants his trainees to attempt serving real paying customers.
He's going to start them at a busy high-street restaurant,
but first he wants them to experience service at the other end of the scale
and show them just how high you can go in a career in front of house.
I've brought them here to one of London's most prestigious restaurants
as the general manager here worked for me as a young waiter.
He's someone I trust and he's also a great teacher. He understands great service.
Together, hopefully, we will be able to whip these trainees up into a really professional outfit.
I've always wanted to do this job since I'm 16.
I studied in France for four years
before I came to London to work with Michel for two and a half years.
It's a fantastic job. You meet great people, you can travel the world.
And top people in London can earn between 50,000 to six-figure sums.
Fred, in true maitre d' style, is there to greet his new arrivals.
Welcome to Galvin At Windows. Come through. Welcome to the restaurant.
How are you? I'm Fred.
Wow, this is beautiful!
-It's really surreal.
It's amazing. I've never seen anything like it before, especially the view. It's spectacular.
I've never set foot in a place like this.
Two days ago, I was in my living room with my daughter running round, going, "Mummy, what are you doing?"
From where I'm from to this, it's like another world.
It is like another world and it's an amazing experience. Seriously.
Ashley grew up in Leeds
and has applied for over 150 jobs in the last year.
He left school at 16 with only an ASBO to show for it.
I've not actually got any qualifications.
I was fine at primary school, but then when I was like 13, 14,
I started missing school, got involved in antisocial behaviour,
hanging around the streets, getting drunk, smashing windows and just generally being a bad kid.
Then I thought, "I'm not doing this any more cos I could end up in jail."
I want to have a career, hopefully, in it.
How does it feel?
-I feel really out of place.
-Customers come here to be spoilt, not just by the view, but by everything.
You can feel that. Yeah? You realise that you really are in a very special place.
There's a lot more places we'll take you. This is just the beginning.
Good start. Yeah, great start.
Fred used to work for me as a young commis waiter, not dissimilar to you guys.
He's the guy who delivers all the aspirations and the dreams to these customers.
You are in the premier league of restaurants. It will be hard work.
If you have the right attitude, we can teach you everything. And teamwork is very important.
Good service and good restaurants really work in teams.
I hope you do very well and I'm looking forward to working with you.
-Are you all up for it?
The restaurant is now open for lunch and is fully booked.
For the 90 guests expected, Fred has 20 front-of-house staff ready to serve them.
I want my trainees now to have lunch here,
to experience fine dining at its best, not just for the food, but obviously the service,
to experience and to see how it's supposed to be done.
Fred aims to ensure that guests are looked after from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave.
And that means dedicated table waiters being constantly on call.
They look after no more than ten guests each.
They are personally responsible for every detail of service.
Just look at how symmetric the table is.
Every single knife is in the right direction. Everything is gleaming. Everything is spotless.
The table waiters are all from France and Italy. Many have trained at specialist colleges at home.
Each has at least five years' front-of-house experience.
Have you had foie gras before? It's like a pate, a terrine, made with foie gras, which is duck liver.
-Pardon? Duck liver?
-Duck liver. This is a French delicacy.
-We've got some nice scallops.
-I've never tried scallops before.
I think the turbot would be your dish. Very light, very healthy with a mousseline of lobster on top.
The menu is constantly changing and the waiters must retain a detailed knowledge of the dishes.
Can I have that one, please?
Menu knowledge and product knowledge is going to be very important.
A lot of you don't know some of the products on the menu here.
These products are really common,
so we are going to be learning about the product and also learning how to describe the dishes.
Can I have, erm, the...
-Which one is it? Foie gras?
-The foie gras, yeah.
That one. And the lamb, please.
Wine orders are taken by specialist sommeliers
who helped select the restaurant's cellar of over 500 wines.
-Tres bien. Fantastic.
-Do you drink red wine?
-I drink everything.
-"I drink everything." I got that idea.
-He says he drinks everything.
Each course requires its own particular preparation.
The maitre d's and the waiters are putting down the cutlery for your food
and it's all appropriate for what you've ordered.
These are fish knives. They don't cut very much because you don't need to cut through fish.
Food orders are brought from the kitchen by a dedicated team of assistant waiters or commis,
so the table waiters do not have to leave their guests.
-We've got three very adventurous people here having some foie gras.
-What is that?
A really, really strong cheese.
-You don't like it?
-I can't eat it.
Can you get me a salmon for Ashley? He doesn't like it at all.
Get me a salmon, please, yeah?
I can't eat it.
When the starters are finished, the restaurant's standard
is that no more than 20 minutes can pass before the mains are delivered.
Can you pay attention? Can you look how they are putting the plate down?
They're not putting their whole body in between you and somebody else.
They are discreetly placing one arm, putting the food down and coming out.
Good service is being in and out like a ghost, not seen, not heard.
We are having a nice conversation and they don't want to disturb us.
MUSIC: "The Blue Danube Waltz" - Johann Strauss
Sometimes we talk about an opera in the dining room.
And sometimes we refer to the waiters as ballerinas
because of the way they move around the tables with style and they're gliding.
I feel a bit more daunted than I was before
because I'll be honest,
I thought, "How hard can it be, just serving a bit of food up?"
But seeing it in action, you realise there's so much more to it.
Like he said, it's like an art form.
The service was incredible, really top-class,
different from anything I've experienced.
It was like ghosts.
They just came in and went out, then they just wasn't there.
19-year-old Nikkita was predicted good grades at GCSE
until she became pregnant and left school without any qualifications.
I've got a daughter called Bailey-Mae
and she'll be two in June. And I'm a full-time mum.
Do you want to spit?
I was at college, but my daughter got ill,
so I had to stop going to college.
I don't really do nothing else. I just look after her all the time, constantly.
To be honest, I think, whatever career I'm in, I just want it to be the best it can be.
I want to be able to make the best of anything that I can do to make mine and my daughter's life better.
That's all I think about - making her life better. I don't want her to have to go through what I've been through.
Right, I think, like me, you enjoyed your lunch.
-Good. You've seen what we want, what we expect out of you.
Tomorrow is a big day. Tomorrow is almost like boot camp.
Fred is going to be teaching you the basics.
You've seen a lot of what goes on here. This is high-end.
But we're going to teach you the nitty-gritty,
the stuff you need to know, real basics like how to present yourselves.
Talking of which, we want you tomorrow to turn up smart.
And that obviously starts off
with cleanliness, tidiness and how you look.
After one day with his new trainees,
Michel has time to reflect on the task he has set himself.
I'm a bit worried.
I don't know how they're going to react to being told what to do tomorrow.
We've asked them to turn up smart. That'll be interesting, to see how they turn up.
I want a high percentage rate of success.
I don't want just one or two. I want all of them to fall in love with this industry.
I want all of them to say, "Yes, I've done it. Yes, I've trained with the best,
"and if I want a job in this industry, if I want to achieve something great, I can."
if some of them give up,
I want them to have learned self-respect
and polished off a little bit of manners.
Even that in a way will be small comfort for me, but at least I can say, "Yes, I've done something."
For the next eight weeks, the trainees will be living together,
moving around Britain and France as they learn their trade
and attempt to prove that they deserve one of the two Academy of Food and Wine scholarships on offer.
To give them some indication of just what lies ahead, Fred has left each a copy of his own staff handbook.
It's a lot to learn. It's a lot to get right and a lot to kind of ingest.
It is a lot to take in. I mean, just on "reservation", there's...
..15 points over three pages.
We'll need French lessons. I can't understand half of these words.
Michel believes the best way for his trainees to learn is by throwing them in at the deep end,
serving real customers with real demands and expectations,
but they will begin away from the Michelin-starred heights and work in busy high-street restaurants.
As their chief mentor, Fred will help prepare the trainees for every challenge over the coming weeks.
Today, he'll give an introduction to the fundamentals of waitering.
It takes a special person to be in front of house.
You need to be presentable. You need to be able to communicate well and enjoy making people happy.
But first things first, you need to look the part.
-Niki, I wouldn't have the leather jacket now.
-I forgot to take it off.
Yes, and your glasses, as well.
Thomas, nice jacket, nice shoes.
Brooke, you asked me if you should wear high heels. I said no. You're in high heels.
Showing a bit of flesh which is lovely in a club, but in a restaurant not so appropriate.
Jarel... Sorry, girls.
Jarel looks fabulous, obviously.
The trousers is not really my style of trousers, but, otherwise, you are fine.
-James, it's just your hair...
-That's what I was wondering about.
Danielle, we need to concentrate today. No playing.
Tomorrow, you are in battle. You'll have to shoot and be accurate,
so today, I'd like you to concentrate.
-We can be playing when we take breaks. Until then, I want you to be serious and concentrate. OK?
-Any other questions?
-OK, let's go then.
After the dressing-down, their waiter education can begin.
Have any of you carried plates before?
Take some plates and we'll see how you do.
Carrying plates correctly is one of the most basic skills a waiter needs to master.
-This is too high.
You can go like that. It's not going to fall.
-It's going to fall if we do it.
-No, it's not.
-It's going to fall. Like that, yeah?
That's right. That's right.
Please don't do it. Please.
-Oh, that's it, that's it, that's it.
-You're OK. This is resting on your finger here.
-Is that right?
-Let me see it.
-You see? It's resting on your finger there.
-So it can't actually slip. But you have to be straight.
-Oh, oh, oh...
-I could do it, but my plates aren't straight.
-You need to practise.
But this is good. In most restaurants, you would carry three plates. You could carry four plates.
You would do it like that in a rush.
And if you do banqueting, you could have five like this, but this is not really what we're going to do.
-Could he have another one on his head?
-No, you can't do that.
In a restaurant, it's a given you carry plates and trays,
but I want them to understand they are always on show, like a theatre.
Their posture is very important, but they must also keep eye contact at all times with the customers.
Have a conversation. Talk about anything.
How did you sleep last night?
-Pretty good. Not too bad.
-Was there anybody snoring?
As I put the plate down, I look at people. I'm just trying to see if they want something.
If I go, for example, like that,
I make him smell my armpit. I don't want that.
Although, I don't smell bad.
You see, I'm taking my distance. I put it down and I'm going away.
That's it. All right, let's go. Go.
First, it's Danielle, Nikkita and Brooke's turn.
OK, Danielle, it's good because you have two plates, two hands. This is a perfect thing to do.
For Fred, a good waiter is always attentive,
making eye contact with their guests,
even as they deliver their food.
It should not be down to the customer
to try to catch the waiter's eye.
Can I show you what you've done?
Brooke, as she was coming to the table,
she thought it was very funny, so she was kind of giggling.
She was going like this. Look...
And then she put the plate down like this.
-It was very funny.
Wherever they serve, these skills will be fundamental.
This is better already. Well done.
-Thank you, sir.
So, look, you see what's happening here. They are talking and ignoring you. Typical, yeah?
-So what I would do here, I would go for the easy one.
-This one and this one.
Fred believes every interaction with guests should be performed within specific boundaries.
He's going inside a comfort zone.
You are on an imaginary line, you knock on the door, somebody look at you, eye contact, you can come in.
It's just a comfort zone for the customers. They don't want to be invaded by you.
I'm quite far away, but not too far. I can still look at them and smile.
Efficiency, speed, boom-boom-boom!
The final exercise is to work on the trainees' communication skills. A good waiter is not just attentive.
They're able to sell their guests the full experience the restaurant has to offer.
-I'd say, "Good afternoon. How are you, ladies?"
-Fine, thank you.
What can I get you to drink? A glass of champagne maybe?
-What are you having?
-I'm not sure.
Most people would go, "That's a good idea." Or they would go,
"No, I'll have a gin and tonic" or "a Bloody Mary".
Or in a high-street restaurant serving Prosecco, I would say,
"Good afternoon, ladies. How are you? What can I get you to drink? A glass of Prosecco maybe?"
-It's an Italian sparkling wine. It's like champagne, only it's made in Italy.
Very often, it's sweeter than champagne. It's a lovely drink.
-Glass of Prosecco maybe?
-That would be lovely.
-And still or sparkling water?
You'll take the order, so I'll be sitting down.
Oh, God, I've completely forgotten what I'm supposed to say.
Good evening. What can I get you to drink?
-A glass of Proscetta-blah-blah maybe?
-Yeah. Why not?
That would be lovely. Thank you.
Just before you carry on, what did you think?
-A bit too fast.
-Yeah, you didn't wait.
-Sure, it's normal, it's normal. It will come.
-Just stay there...
The pressure is scaring me a bit, being thrown in at the deep end.
We're down here. Fred is up here. We're being thrown in here.
Don't get distracted. Keep the focus. You've learnt a lot.
If you can do that, that will give you strength for tomorrow. OK? Well done.
Michel is on his way to meet his trainees.
He believes the only way for them to really learn is to take on the full responsibilities of a waiter,
so he's arranged to meet them in London's Canary Wharf at a branch of a major restaurant chain.
This afternoon, we'll take them to a high-street restaurant
because they will run the service, they will be serving customers,
learning the ropes and being confident enough to face the customer and deliver food.
I don't think I realise the enormity of the challenge that we've got ahead.
But I'm good today. I've had a good night's sleep, I'm really confident. I'm looking forward to seeing them.
This is where it starts. Tomorrow, this high-street restaurant will be open to the public.
-You guys are going to be the only waiters there to serve them.
-What? The only waiters?!
-These guys are taking money out of their own wallet to pay for food
and they expect the normal service that they get in this restaurant.
You're going to be trained, you're going to be shown the ropes, given the skills necessary.
Zizzi's has over 100 branches across the UK and specialises
in pizza and pasta dishes.
The average customer spend is £20 per head.
As with many restaurant chains, there are fixed standards of service.
In every branch, customers should get the same speed, politeness and efficiency from the waiting staff.
Doug Love has been a manager with the chain for 18 months.
Tonight, Michel's trainees will learn working alongside Doug's staff.
Tomorrow, they will run service all on their own.
-What do you think about them shadowing your staff?
-No amount of classroom training will prepare them.
If you don't live it and you don't get involved in it...
I find it a much easier way to teach people.
A lot of people grasp the aspect of working in this industry by doing it, rather than being told what to do.
What are they going to really get?
From tonight's service, they'll see I've got a phenomenal team here.
They'll see how they interact with the customers,
the way they take the orders, can they carry two or three plates?
I'm eager to see how they perform.
Before the busy evening service begins, Doug wants the trainees to understand the importance of wine.
A fifth of his restaurant's profits come from drinks.
Opening bottles at table show the customer the restaurant takes wine seriously.
Two things with opening wine... Always ask the person that ordered if they'd like to taste.
Pour to that person first unless somebody particularly wants to taste.
I'll get some more wine over and we'll all have a go.
First, it's Niki's turn.
Let me stop you there for one second.
That's all right. Try and keep it in your hand, firm grip with this,
just against the edge, thumb round the other side.
I've worked in a pub for years. This is really embarrassing.
Don't worry. There you go. I'll let you carry on.
Quite a few of them have never opened a bottle of wine before.
And it shows. Other than maybe a screw-cap or a bag in a box.
Hold it here. Keep that out of the way.
And twist. Using your finger and your thumb to hold it all the time.
Then with the other hand, take this and slowly pull it up.
-Go on. Pull.
-Oh, that's dangerous.
CORK POPS Ta-da!
Understanding the wines and sharing their knowledge with customers
will be essential skills for Michel's trainees.
Try to get a bit of oxygen in there, swirl it round...
and you get all that lovely aroma, all the lovely perfume of the grape
and the fruit and, in this case, oakiness as well because it's been kept in an oak barrel.
I can't smell no grapes, no strawberries, no watermelon,
no oak, no plastic, no nothing. I just smell alcohol.
I guarantee we will be able to get you to tell the difference between a Pinot and a Cabernet.
Your senses will be awakened to it and it will be there every time.
Quality costs money. I'm a single parent on benefits.
I ain't got money to spend on a £30 bottle of wine.
Unless some prince on a white horse picks me up
and takes me away and spends £3 million on me,
I'm never spending £30 on a bottle of wine.
-Unless some rich footballer wants me.
-You're being negative.
Some people come from absolutely nothing and build themselves up.
-You didn't know you'd be accepted
and because you were, you've had experience of tasting that wine.
You want to be a role model for your daughter.
-I can't be a role model for her.
-I got pregnant at 16.
-That is not a role model for anybody.
-My mother was pregnant with me when she was 17.
-I was 16.
-I had my baby, then he left me.
Before evening service begins, Michel takes Nikkita aside.
-I feel like a naughty schoolgirl. What have I done?
-You're not. Don't think that. Don't.
-You know what's annoying me?
It's that you always think that everybody is against you and the whole world's against you.
They've all got their lives ahead of them. None of them have got any baggage. I have.
I'm here to try and make the best of it, but I know I am the one that's going to be sat in the back seat
-and everybody else will get the opportunity before me.
-Not at all.
If you take my company, my restaurant that I run,
I have got loads of young girls, maybe not quite as young as you,
but in the same situation, that have had children and I've taken them back on to work.
There are a lot of very good bosses out there. You may have just that little bit more...responsibility?
-But use that as a positive and believe in yourself.
All right, I believe in you. I believe in you. Come on, let's go.
I'm getting cold here!
The evening shift has begun. It's a busy weeknight
and the restaurant is gearing up to serve up to 150 customers over the evening.
Michel's trainees will shadow the floor staff to glean all they can about service.
You won't be serving. You can join in a bit if you feel up to it.
But you'll be shadowing, seeing how they work, so it's nothing really too much to worry about.
But a lot to soak in. Well done, guys. Yes, Chef.
The restaurant is divided up into four sections.
A single waiter is responsible for all the food and drink served.
Danielle is the first to help take an order.
-Excuse me. Are you ready to order, please?
-Take your time.
No problem. It's up to you.
The pace is relentless. In each section, one waiter can be serving up to 25 diners.
-Crostini formaggio di capra.
-Two of those.
-Two of them, yeah. Thank you very much.
There's a strict order of service. Drinks and olives must arrive first,
starters within 20 minutes and main courses must be cooked as soon as the starter plates are cleared.
Those can go into the kitchen. I'm going to be right here.
When mains are delivered, waiters are expected to offer the finishing touches to the meal.
-Offer if she wants any Parmesan cheese.
-Would you like any Parmesan cheese?
-Is that OK? A bit more?
-Yeah, a little bit more.
-It's not really coming.
Oh! No, that's not your fault at all.
Oh, much easier!
Is that enough? Would you like it proper, yeah?
You were having the linguine, sir?
-Or the lady. Let's give you a spoon for your linguine, madam.
They've got their starters, so they're OK.
He's got cheese now.
-You can't keep 'em happy.
-Yes, some people are like that.
Overseeing the floor is the duty manager, who acts like a maitre d'.
If any waiter needs help, it's his job to step in.
-OK, receipt and card. Thank you.
-Have a lovely weekend.
I like it. I like making people happy.
When people say "thank you" all the time, it makes you feel dead nice.
Danielle is doing very nice.
She's got this confidence that "I can do it",
which is very, very important.
But obviously, one hour, two hours is not enough to learn everything.
Good evening. How are you?
-Are you ready to order?
For me, personally, the best bit about doing this service
is seeing the customer with a smile on their face.
When the customer gives you a smile, you know you've done a good job and they're satisfied.
With the restaurant at full capacity,
the trainees can see the speed, efficiency and friendliness expected
when they take over the following evening.
Are you going to go now? No, wait a bit longer.
The evening's shadowing also allows the trainees to see what to do when things don't go to plan.
Hi. I'm really sorry I said that was mascarpone.
I didn't know what mascarpone was,
but I'll get you some now. So you can have that ice cream on the house.
But I'll go and get you some.
'Nikkita is very good at dealing with people.'
That's where she'll prosper.
I think she'll have difficulty with organising her evening
and making sure she's doing everything in a logical manner.
-Do you feel a real good buzz about what you've done today?
You'll have a full restaurant tomorrow
and you'll be running it on your own.
All right, guys, I'm going to leave you.
ALL: Hip-hip-hooray! Whoo!
I think, after my little shaky moment,
not thinking I'd be able to do it, I know myself that I can do it.
It's just getting past nerves and...
Basically, you have to have self-confidence.
It's been a good springboard for everyone for tomorrow,
so I think if we all put what we've learnt from tonight into tomorrow,
I think we'll gel quite well and be a good team.
Tonight was just an exercise. Tomorrow is for real, full-on.
I think that tomorrow morning they're going to wake up
and really realise the enormity of the task ahead of them.
Michel's trainees have now had three days' intensive training.
Tonight, he wants to see how they cope with the responsibility of real paying customers.
They'll take charge of service on their own for the whole evening.
Before opening, Michel wants to introduce them to another key skill.
It's not just about how to serve, but knowing what you're serving.
In my restaurant, every Saturday afternoon, we have a big meeting with all the staff.
We go through all the ingredients of the new dishes and the house specials, things like that,
and we get to taste them. The waiters get to taste them.
Then they know exactly what they're putting on the plate in front of the customer and they understand it.
That's vital. All of these ingredients are somewhere in the dishes we'll be serving tonight.
-Anchovy - you said you'd never tried one. They're from Sicily.
-It's hairy! It's got hairs on it!
-They're little bones, but you can eat them.
-I will not.
Go on, you do it. You have the hairy piece there. Dirty boy!
I want the tiniest little piece.
I'm sure you've had anchovy before.
Wow, it's salty!
As far as Michel is concerned, knowing the ingredients is more important than personal taste.
Even if you don't like it, anchovies, for example, or olives, you've got to sound genuine.
You never say to the customer, "Oh, no, I don't like that!"
Lie. Tell a little porky. To be able to sell your menu properly, you've got to understand it inside out.
The trainees are left to study the menu
and see how these ingredients are incorporated into the dishes.
My partner here is interested in the duck risotto.
That is a "comfy" duck leg...
Comfy? Soft and comfy?! LAUGHTER
It's a confit duck leg.
With a saucy red wine. It's a cheeky little number.
While the trainees familiarise themselves with the menu, Ashley decides to make everyone a coffee.
-Is that extra comfort?
Who else ordered a cappuccino?
-Get the tray off the table!
-That's the cappuccino. Where's the hot chocolate?
-Are we not allowed to put the tray on the table?
-Thank you, darling.
Excuse me, sir. You forgot one thing.
-You forgot one thing.
-You forgot sugar.
-I'm getting it now.
-Hurry up! You could have brought it with that.
-Get to it.
-It's behind the bar.
-He should've brought it with him.
Don't ask BLEEP me! Ask your BLEEP self!
How can I ask myself?
Coming up to me, "You bad boy," do you know what I mean?
It was me who thought of asking for coffees, know what I mean? Then...
Jarel, hang on a minute. Hey!
I did ask you guys something.
-I asked you to read the menu.
-We've been asking each other questions.
-It's for your benefit.
Listen. Just listen to me.
I was over there
and all I could hear was screaming, laughing, swearing.
-It's not acceptable.
At least do me the honour of reading the menu.
Read the menu...
I've gone and got what they wanted and I took it over there.
Everyone just started demanding off me, "Where's this, where's that, where's the other?"
I can't live with other people. I can't do it. Not who I clash with.
I'm not asking you to like 'em or love 'em.
Get on with them, yeah, because that's life.
In life, you have to work with people you don't like.
You'll get challenges like this. You'll get a ratty customer who'll talk to you badly.
You know, you've got to deal with it. You've got to deal with it.
With only an hour left before doors open, the restaurant is now in the hands of the trainees.
Fred is helping their preparations.
For him, waiters are totally responsible for the cleanliness and appearance of the whole restaurant.
And that means everywhere.
OK, let's start with this one. So you've got one, two, three, four toilets.
Clean them all in the same way.
-You've got some gloves.
-Oh, my God! I'll definitely look like the killer out of Hostel now with them on.
-All right. It's very important that it's very clean, OK?
If the toilets aren't clean, when people come here, they're going to think, "My God, look at this!"
-Have you finished? Have you finished to clean your tables?
-No, I've got to line them up.
-OK. So you line them up?
-I'm just looking at this.
-You can't waste your time now.
-Missed a bit.
-Can't waste your time.
I didn't think there was this much what would go into it.
I really didn't. I think I'm going to find it really challenging.
-That's what I was doing when it was up there, but now it's over there, so I can't do it.
-Then you share or get another one.
-There isn't another one. That's why it was up there.
-We'll see. Nikkita!
-Can you please not give me the...?
-I'm not. It's just that I know what I'm doing anyway.
-Just don't do it.
For tonight's service, the trainees will take on specific roles just like the restaurant's regular staff
and Fred and Michel will decide on the make-up of their team.
This will change each week and it's a way of seeing how each trainee responds to the different roles.
At the end of the training programme, it will help Michel make his decision
as to who should be awarded the two scholarships.
First off, Niki... You're going to be working on the floor.
-As a waitress.
-Thomas, you're working behind the bar.
-I love it.
Brooke, keep smiling, you're working on the floor.
James, I want you to meet and greet and work at reception.
Ashley, I want you working on the floor, as well.
..I want you working on this side of the bar,
taking the drinks to the table. Bar waiter.
-I won't let you down, Chef.
-That leaves me two positions to fill.
And that is of maitre d'.
And floor. So it's between you two.
-Nikkita to work on the floor.
-Which means you are our maitre d' for tonight.
-What do I do?
Go on, Danielle.
It's up to all the others to work with you and for you.
It's a position of seniority.
-Did you hear that, guys?
-Don't abuse that.
I will be coming back here tonight to have dinner and watch you guys perform.
Don't let me down. Don't let Fred down.
But, above all, don't let yourselves down. Yeah?
I can't believe they've filled this place up with bookings tonight.
I can't believe you've let us loose!
In terms of hospitality, I think they will be fine.
I think as a service, putting plates down, clearing, serving drinks, opening a bottle of wine...
This is where it's going to go down, I think, and I'm just bracing myself for it.
But we'll see. We'll see.
It's 6.30 and the restaurant is open for business.
Michel, Fred and restaurant manager Doug will be sat monitoring the trainees' progress.
As the first bookings arrive, it's a chance for the trainees
to acquaint themselves with their roles.
Brooke is your waitress this evening.
I'm Niki. I'm your waitress tonight.
That way, isn't it?
-I learnt from the best.
-You'll have cracked it by the end of the night.
-Tell me when.
-What's your name again?
-Yeah. I'll be back in one second with your drinks.
The three ladies have straight Pimm's, wow!
It's going to be a busy night. 60 customers are booked.
And as a high-street restaurant, a number of tables have been set aside for passers-by or walk-ins.
Can I offer you a glass of...prosciutto?
With his role on the door, it's James' responsibility to work out where each party of guests will sit.
You're looking very nautical. Very nice. We're by the river.
Overseeing the whole restaurant is maitre d' Danielle.
-Have you asked for garlic and olives?
-The bread, yeah, and olives.
-And the water?
-Yeah, water's coming.
All day long, I've been looking forward to a beer.
Good. Nice, cold glass, as well.
Early in the evening and Niki is the first of the trainees to be presented with a test.
-We're going to need another two Peronis.
Since you mention it, we've been asking for large ones.
These are only small ones.
-It's not a problem.
-No, if you've been ordering... I've been writing "large" on it.
-I'll check with them and see what's been going on.
-Make sure we don't get charged for that.
As a top manager, Fred knows the key to solving problems is to step in early.
You've got to let them do their job.
I'm trying to help them. I can't help it.
I know you want to do it, but sit down. Give them another ten minutes.
I won't move. They're on their own.
It's Danielle's job to sort out the confusion.
-Have they drunk them?
-Yeah. I've been writing "large", but they've been getting small.
-They drank it?
-What can we do?
Just make sure they get charged for small and not large.
-What table number is it?
Can I offer you a glass of..."proscetto"?
I think so, yeah.
In Ashley's section, there's confusion over the order of service.
He's taken a customer's drinks order,
but won't take down their food order
until drinks team Tom and Jarel have delivered their wine.
That was over 20 minutes ago.
-You haven't taken our order yet for our food.
I need to get you the drinks. I'm really sorry.
So you take 20 minutes to get us drinks? Thank you so much(!)
I'll be back in two minutes.
Where is Danielle?
We were thirsty when we arrived, but when we said, "You could take our food order,"
he said he couldn't do that until he had brought us our drinks.
-The woman hates me.
-You haven't got your drinks yet?
-How long have you been waiting?
-What did you order?
-Two glasses of house red.
Seven... Two glasses of house red.
Tom, two glasses of house red, table seven.
-She hates me.
-Yeah, they've been waiting a while. You should've said.
I don't think Ashley has set foot in a restaurant like this before,
so he doesn't understand even the fundamentals of having a starter, a main and a dessert.
Jesus Christ! This is stressful, man.
I have wine.
With the restaurant almost full,
Ashley's not the only one feeling the pressure.
We've got problems. I just gave away a booked table to walk-ins,
hoping that by the booking time of 8.30,
our first table would have left.
They've been eating for an hour and a half
and are still waiting on their puddings.
If that happens, people who have booked won't have a table.
A seating mix-up like this one is where a maitre d'
should come into their own.
-In 20 minutes, we've got three more people coming in, three more groups.
-No, wait. Coming in, OK?
Because we've had so many walk-ins, their tables are currently taken.
We need to get the first three tables. They've been here for over an hour and 40 minutes.
-Tables 4, 16 and 18?
-I've already told...
-Speak to the waiters. Ask them if they want anything else. If not, ask for the bill.
-4, 16 and 8.
Yeah... No, not now. They need to be out in the next 20 minutes.
-Table 16... Are you table 16?
They need to be out within the next ten minutes or so.
-They've just ordered dessert.
-You are joking?
Danielle decides to take immediate action.
-Sorry to rush you, but this table's reserved for 15 minutes. Sorry to rush you and everything.
I've had to ask four tables to leave. Four tables.
They'd arrived and we were being told, "Can you leave now?"
Well, I'm paying. It's not a free service.
Please, let us relax a bit and just finish our meal.
Although they've got bookings, if their timings had been right, that wouldn't have been necessary.
-I'm under a lot of stress.
-We all are, honey.
So far, over 20 walk-ins have turned up without bookings.
With the increased numbers, James is having to create more tables
and is giving them random table numbers.
He's failing to pass the information on.
Where's table number 98? No-one knows where they are.
98... It's probably these guys over there or these guys over there.
-They're waiting for their bill.
-So these guys haven't eaten yet?
-They've not eaten? Are you serious?
-I don't know.
-No, they have eaten.
-Have they eaten? OK.
-As the orders come in for random tables...
-Table 17 is mine, but there is no table 17.
..no-one knows who the food is supposed to be going to.
Who's got table 18?
People are making up table numbers.
Everyone's pizzas are cold because people are making up table numbers and not even telling us.
While they try to sort out the confusion, food is backing up in the kitchen.
We've been waiting half an hour and just got the water.
It's very stressful for me to watch this unravel in front of me.
Excuse me, please. I need them drinks now!
Tom, Tom! I need a bottle of water and I need that wine. Please!
Things were going really well up until about half an hour ago, then everybody just turned up and...
It's that time during service where you've still got starters going,
mains, desserts, people asking for bills, coffee, and you have got to have it all in your mind.
We've had to ask if we could order the main course,
ask if we could have drinks, ask if we could order the pudding.
Hot food is starting to go cold.
Here's your garlic bread. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.
Cold food is starting to melt.
Well, that long...
Oh, we're here.
-I'm really, really sorry. If I had money, I'd pay for it for you.
One duck, one gnocchi, out!
Re-laying tables now has thrown everything we've done in training and they're out of their depth.
-And this is table 98.
And table 98. Pick up which one you like.
Table 10 is my table and I didn't order no pizzas.
I think we've had already four waiters on our table within 15 minutes.
Is this for you guys, yeah?
I don't think so.
Wrong order again. Wrong order again!
With the pressure on the floor increasing, Ashley takes refuge in the kitchen.
That's really hot, isn't it, that?
What's the heat in there? 300 degrees?
And with the desertion of his post, Fred steps in.
Have a seat. I'll get a waiter for you. All right? Thank you.
We need to clean it, yeah? Give me a second.
I think Ashley's station is like the Titanic. It's just gone down.
Guys, they need service. Rapid!
This kind of service would not happen in our restaurants
and we wouldn't expect it in a high-street restaurant either -
having to wait for your order, being served only three glasses out of four,
waiting half an hour to be cleared.
It just wouldn't happen.
You could only do that for a month, then you would be shot.
This is really embarrassing.
Amidst the chaos, Fred's basic lessons of service are being forgotten.
It'd be OK, but it's a bit sweaty.
In terms of teamwork, I'm not quite sure they've got it really.
They missed the customers, the eye contact.
They missed the smiles. They missed saying "thank you".
They really missed the essentials.
That's all it needed - a man's touch. He made it look easy.
By 10pm, the restaurant is starting to empty.
With no diners in his section, Ashley decides to call it a day.
-It was crazy, it was madness.
Drink this, then we need to get bang on it.
-No, no-one's finished until the whole thing's finished.
I've been running up and down all night.
Let's not raise our voice in front of the customers. Drink your water.
Go and see what Danielle wants you to do.
-I'm doing fine with them...
-Danielle, come on.
-What did you want me to do?
Just look after your own section.
I've had to do loads of stuff in your section.
I'm not having a go at you. I'm just trying to keep everything going.
-I've been trying my hardest.
-I know, but can you try harder?
I'll try harder, but don't tell me off for it.
-At the beginning of the night, Danielle made me
-four customers. Seriously.
Come and do it then!
-sake! Over there, shouting his mouth off. Why doesn't he come and do it?
I've cleaned four of your tables and served three of your customers.
-We haven't got time to drink.
-That's what I mean.
Waiters, maitre d's, serving staff should never argue in front of the customer - full stop.
While they're arguing, nobody is looking after the customers.
At the end of five hours of service,
the trainees have served their 60 booked customers and countless walk-ins.
Fred and Michel have been assessing
just how satisfied these customers were
and how successfully their trainees served them.
You're probably not going to like what I'm going to say.
And if you're going to learn, I can't lie to you.
Mistakes were made that are unacceptable at any level,
be it high-street restaurant or fine dining
or the fact that the customer is paying £5, £50, £500.
Customer expectations are the same.
We should never let our customers down.
I saw tables waiting for a simple "hello".
I gave you my system and you haven't read it. I'm a bit disappointed.
I saw people giving the bill without even looking at the customers in the eyes and saying "thank you".
One thing I didn't like was arguing in front of the customers. That shouldn't happen.
They are basics, true basics that you have got to grasp.
Welcome to the catering industry, guys.
It was very scatty, all over the place. We didn't really know what we were doing.
It was very loud, very running around everywhere.
I think I've got a mountain to climb. I've got to go back to basics with these guys.
I mean, teach them basic manners.
The worst thing about it was definitely everyone coming up to me,
saying, "Danielle, what shall I do about this?"
I was like, "Jesus Christ, I don't know anything myself!"
I mean, thinking that they can serve in a Michelin-starred restaurant...
I mean, wow, there's, you know...
It was stressful. Service was the most stressful thing I've been through in my entire life.
How am I going to turn them around
into a bunch of professional waiters, maitre d's, sommeliers?
How is that going to happen?
Next time, Michel sends his trainees back to basics.
-Set breakfast, baked beans!
-What on earth are they?
Before they take over service at a top Birmingham curry house
where the owner believes the guest is God.
The order's wrong.
We are giving them a bad service and sending them cold food.
How difficult is it to serve three tables?
It's obviously very difficult!
Great service matters almost more to Michel Roux than great food. He believes waiters and sommeliers are the unsung stars of the restaurant world, their brilliance transforming an ordinary meal into an unforgettable experience.
In this series, Michel is on a personal mission to train eight young people as front-of-house superstars, none of whom have previously considered this as a career. But this isn't just about transforming these young people into great waiters. Good service involves discipline, care for others and self confidence so, for Michel, learning to serve others will mean developing essential life skills.
They will receive the best training, learning the skills needed to run service in some of Europe's best restaurants. And Michel hopes they will discover that front-of-house service offers a brilliant career. Ultimately, he will select just two to take up life-changing scholarships with placements at leading hotels and restaurants.
Michel's trainees experience the brilliance of Michelin-starred service before cutting their teeth in the busy world of the high street restaurant. Serving over 100 customers on Saturday night, Michel gets to see just what his new recruits are made of.