With the trainees nearing the final straight, Michel wants his seven proteges to take over lunch service at two Michelin-starred restaurant Laserre for some special customers.
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Michel Roux is most renowned for his passion for great food...
-Eight here. Double eight here.
..but now he's on another mission.
Great restaurants need great front of house.
I have a team of 25 front of house, and only one British maitre d'.
We need to find more British waiters.
Michel's challenge is to take a group of young people
who have never thought of a career in front of house
and prove to them that it's an industry that can change all of their lives.
It's not just about delivering food.
I want people to come into our industry and take pride in serving.
Now over halfway through, the trainees are on a fast track from the high street to high-end.
-Thank you very much.
At the end of their training, Michel wants them to take over service
at his own two-Michelin-starred restaurant,
where he will award the candidates with the most potential life-changing scholarships,
launching their careers in the business.
If you can give your all as a young waiter, what you get back is immense.
Last time, they learnt new skills in some of London's finest restaurants.
This is hot and this is sharp. If you listen to me, you won't burn or cut yourself.
And now they're about to face their tallest order yet - Michelin-starred dining.
And this time, Michel's taking them to France.
-We can't afford any more mistakes.
-I've told everyone.
I hate this place. I can't stand it.
You are good enough to do this.
Paris, the Holy Grail of service, and the home of haute cuisine.
And in a side street just off the Champs-Elysees,
one of the most exclusive addresses in the city,
Famed since the 1940s for its excellent food, opulent decor and first-class service,
diners can wait months for a table.
It's here that Michel's father took him as a young man of 17
for his first taste of Michelin-starred dining.
And in just five days' time, his trainees will be running the restaurant floor.
Fine dining in France is a true profession.
It's a career. It's steeped in tradition.
It's almost like the stage of a theatre where everything has to be exacting and perfect.
It fills me with fear to think that my trainees will be working in that environment.
At this level, wine is as important as the food,
so coming with us is one of the UK's finest sommeliers
who actually made the same trip as a trainee many years ago.
London St Pancras, gateway to France.
For some of the trainees, this will be their first trip
to the country that boasts over 500 Michelin-starred restaurants.
Oh! I like it.
Aspiring waiters and maitre d's and sommeliers always go to work in France.
France for me, and for most people, is the capital of gastronomy.
And that's where you have to go to learn your trade.
That's why we're taking you to Champagne and Paris.
-This gentleman here is Ronan Sayburn.
He is a master sommelier. He's British.
-From Scarborough, Yorkshire.
-Yorkshire like me.
I'm a master sommelier. There's only 180 in the world.
It takes five or six years of study to get that qualification.
I started with Gordon Ramsay in all of his restaurants.
I looked after the sommelier teams there and built their wine lists up.
-Have you got any "UK Sommelier of the Year" award, or...
-Yeah, I've got that as well.
"Oh, yeah, I got that. That's nothing."
At the end of their training, one of Michel's students will be offered
an Academy of Food and Wine sommelier scholarship under Ronan's tutelage.
In order to understand it properly,
you've got to see it.
You can read it in books and see it on films,
but to see where it's made and experience it, and get the smells and the sights,
and see the whole process in action is really important for them.
Oh, my God! I can't wait to go to the Champagne region.
-I'm well excited, to be honest. I really am.
-We really are, aren't we?!
-We're going to Paris, Ash!
-I know. I can't wait.
For each service, Michel appoints one of the trainees as maitre d' in charge of the group.
Because of the maitre d' things,
only me and Niki was left to be maitre d' now.
It'll be me or her who's maitre d' in France. It's going to be quite nerve-racking.
I'm really excited for the challenge.
Before they go to Paris, Michel and Ronan are first taking the trainees
on a detour to Riems, capital of the Champagne region.
-Oh my goodness! Is all the green a vineyard?
-Yes. Every one of those vines is a bottle of wine.
The UK is the world's leading importer of champagne,
so it's essential for any would-be British sommelier to understand the drink.
This will be a bunch of grapes. Can you see?
These little caps will drop off and there will be a tiny flower that will turn into a grape.
-So, the little green things aren't little grapes. They're little flower buds.
-Each vine will make one bottle of champagne.
-Look at how many vines there are. The Champagne region makes about 320 million bottles a year.
It's quite a lot, isn't it?
Tomorrow, Michel has arranged for his students to serve champagne and canapes at a local reception.
The guests will be champagne experts from the surrounding area,
so the trainees will really need to know their stuff.
But first, Ronan and Michel have brought them to Pommery,
one of the largest of the 45 Champagne houses.
It's a chance to taste and learn about the champagnes they'll be serving tomorrow.
Whenever I come and visit Champagne, or any wine house,
I'm always enthralled. It excites and inspires me.
One of the two scholarships will be focusing on wine.
Helping whoever I choose to become, maybe, a sommelier one day. Yeah?
So, bear that in mind, guys, yeah?
I'll show you how to open a bottle of champagne.
You need to get your thumb over the top.
You need to hang on to the neck.
Then we pull down this little wire thing, the muzzle, on the top.
Six times anti-clockwise.
One, two, three, four, five, six.
Then just very gently turn the bottle.
BOTTLE HISSES ALL LAUGH
You want to pour it nice and gently, and nicely and slowly.
Grab a bottle and have a go. Remember to tilt the bottle at a bit of an angle as well.
Thomas, well done.
-Oh, my God, it's...
-It's coming. There you go. That's it.
-Stay well back from mine.
And you notice the way I poured it. You can hold the bottle like that, or you can hold it like that.
If you find that it heavy or it's a big bottle like a magnum,
you can always put your fingers at the end, pour it like that.
Very good, Ashley. You're a natural.
In preparation for tomorrow's reception, they're tasting three very different champagnes,
a non-vintage rose, a sweeter demi-sec, but first up, a dry, vintage Cuvee Louise.
-It sells for about £100 per bottle.
-This is their flagship wine. They call it a cuvee prestige.
So give it a bit of a swirl around now.
A really good champagne should have a really fine, gentle stream of steady, small bubbles coming up.
-Ashley, carry on.
It goes straight down, doesn't it?
It does if you just drink it like that.
I could drink that stuff all day.
-It's very nice, is that.
-Do you like that?
It's surprisingly weighty and will go well with some different types of food.
Maybe something a bit spicy, maybe heavier types of food.
It's really a food champagne rather than an aperitif champagne.
-Anything else you think it might go well with?
Next up, the rose.
-This is the rose. You should almost smell a bit of strawberry or red fruit.
A bit of raspberry, only a very delicate amount. You should get the characters.
-It tastes strawberry-ish.
-Yes, I can.
-It smells like Wimbledon.
And finally, the sweeter demi-sec.
Sec means dry and demi means half, so it's half-dry champagne.
Smell the sugar! Oh, it smells so nice.
Could that be used as a replacement of a sweet wine to have with desserts?
A good sommelier must be confident in suggesting wines to match different dishes,
so tomorrow, Michel wants the trainees to use their newly acquired champagne knowledge
to recommend complementary canapes.
The spicy prawn, it would go really well with a sharper wine.
Something that's got a lot of intensity behind it,
so one of the drier wines, so therefore the Louise.
WHISTLES That cuts through the strong flavour of the fish.
The blue cheese for me, blue cheese works perfectly with a sweeter wine.
Yes, definitely not with a dry one.
I'm a firm believer that you are born with your palate.
I think we have a couple in here who were born with naturally great palates.
To be a great sommelier, it's a tool of their trade.
-This is without a doubt one of the best experiences that I've had so far.
Yes, definitely. I 100% agree, James.
Someone said earlier, "I presumed
"wine came from a massive vat and got siphoned off."
-It's such a delicate, slow process.
-I thought it came from a grape.
-I thought it was grown on trees.
-I thought it was massive bush things like that.
At first I was, "All right, I'll go for the experience.
"I've never really thought about this stuff before. I'm not bothered by the scholarship."
Now I've started doing it, I really do want it, but I just don't think I'll get it.
I've got a couple of weeks left. Hopefully, he'll see that in me.
Tomorrow's very important. They'll have to open a lot of champagne,
pour it in the right manner. We are in the Champagne region, so they can't mess up.
Sundown on the trainees' first day in France.
Tomorrow's test will help Michel decide which two will take on the tough sommelier roles in Paris.
Villa Demoiselle, a local stately home where the reception will be held,
and where the trainees will interact with French locals for the first time.
This beautiful place is in the heart of the capital of Champagne, Riems.
It's used for weddings and for ceremonies, and today at lunchtime,
we're going to have a guest list of all the good and the great of Riems.
They are expecting you to serve them with the same champagnes
that you were tasting yesterday, and the same canapes.
So remember the people coming today may speak a little English,
but they will be impressed if you guys converse or at least try a little bit of French.
They will warm to you if you make an effort.
You can't pull the wool over the eyes of the people coming today.
They are Champagnois, they live in this region.
They drink champagne for breakfast.
With an hour to go till lunchtime, the trainees must prepare for their guests.
I really want to see them interacting with the customer and doing recommendations.
I want to see them talking about the flavours of the food and the champagnes.
Then saying why the two flavours match, why it's a good combination.
Michel is determined that they learn a few lines of French to make a good first impression.
It's a big thing, language barrier.
Obviously, it's a big part of having to have confidence.
I have not really got a lot of it, so that's why I'm scared.
Bonjour, monsieur. Je m'appelle Danielle.
Voulez-vous un...vin de verre?
Voulez-vous un verre de champagne demi-sec?
You were nearly there. You nearly nailed it.
They really have to understand that this is for real.
We're in France. People here, customs here, are very demanding, and they know their onions.
Guests are on their way, guys. Stand by.
Oh, no. Now everyone's coming. I've lost the plot. I forget everything.
The trainees are working in pairs, one approaching the guests with canapes
and the other offering the matching champagne.
You need to stay together as a team
and make sure you're serving the right canape with the right champagne.
James and Niki are serving Thai prawns with a dry prestige vintage.
These go really well together, because this is a complex wine and it's quite spicy,
-which goes well with the Thai flavours in the prawn, so they are a perfect match.
Do you need a little wine?
How do you say, "What are you drinking?"
-Qu'est-ce que vous buvez?
-Qu'est-ce que vous buvez?
The reception's barely under way, and Niki's embracing combining
her champagne knowledge with a smattering of French.
But the others aren't so confident with the challenge.
Oh, my God. Scary.
This is the most intimidated I've ever felt.
I reckon it's the language.
-Just take it easy, go slowly.
-I have trouble getting it in my head.
Voulez-vous un virre... un verre de champagne...
I want them to understand that they have to make that initial step, take that little effort
and force themselves just to say a few words in French just to break the ice.
If they do manage to do that, then it will boost them
and give them that extra bit of self-confidence.
-Oui, s'il vous plait.
-What is that?
-Ah, superb. Merci. Roquefort?
-This lady here maybe. The lady here?
A fundamental rule of any drinks reception is the guests should never go thirsty.
We've got a lot of empty glasses. We really need to push them harder
to make sure they're on the ball and keeping those glasses topped up.
But most importantly, Ronan is keen that they remember what they've learnt
and serve the correct canapes with the correct champagne.
Fromage bleu and this is demi-sec.
You really shouldn't be serving the demi-sec.
Remember, that's not what we talked about across the road.
An hour into the reception, glasses are being assertively topped up,
and the trainees are growing in confidence.
-Everybody's enjoying their food and wine. There's a nice...
Finish the bottle. Thank you very much.
Voulez-vous un canape?
Rose wine, I don't know if you know, but most of the time,
it's made from red grapes and they just take the skins
away from the juice earlier so they don't take the full red colour.
She knows her stuff, definitely. She's got a very good memory.
-Thank you very much.
-It's all right.
But the real stars of the reception are Niki...
It's 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir.
..and, despite her initial nerves, Danielle.
HE SPEAKS FRENCH Pardon?
-Thank you. Merci.
-Danielle has really got into it now.
She was really not looking forward to this, and very emotional. She was shaking.
She's enjoying it now and giggling with the customers.
I feel like a "le citron". LAUGHS
-You feel like a lemon?
-You feel like a citron, like a lemon?
-Like a le citron. Oui.
Who told you that?
This is just a taster of what's to come,
and what's coming round the corner is a massive challenge in Paris
and I am worried for them, because it's a huge step.
In fact, it's not a step, it's a leap, and I don't want them to fail.
MUSIC: "La Valse A Mille Temps"
# Au premier temps de la valse Toute seule tu souris deja... #
Paris - home to 64 Michelin-starred restaurants.
There are more three-star restaurants here than in any other European city.
With only 24 hours to go before the lunch service,
the group's regular mentor Fred Sirieix arrives back in the city where he trained
to help them hone their skills.
We have to really think very hard about who we think is progressing with the sommelier,
and who has the gift maybe or who has the passion and is picking up the knowledge.
You know, who is going to get this scholarship?
Who jumps to mind immediately is Niki. Yesterday when we did this champagne canape reception,
she was really excited about recommending the wines,
wanting to know more about the wines and passing that information on to the customers.
I thought that Danielle had a bit of a nose.
She has impressed me a few times when she has managed to pick up some flavours.
You're right with Danielle. She still has issues with her confidence.
It's important that they realise that tomorrow is going to be a big, big step for them.
Tomorrow's a big scary day at Lasserre.
This two-star restaurant is a celebrated establishment in Paris,
once frequented by the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Salvador Dali.
The restaurant is exclusive and the waiting list long.
Only the Roux family name persuaded such a celebrated institution
to open its doors to trainees with only five-weeks' experience.
Usually, Michel likes his students to shadow a service in the restaurant they'll be working.
But the discreet nature of dining in Lasserre makes this impossible.
Prior to their own service, the restaurant will only let trainees visit when its doors are closed.
This restaurant here is an iconic venue in Paris.
Opened in the 1930s. Mr Lasserre, that's the name of his restaurant,
was the king of service in Paris for many years, yeah? This place is steeped in history.
Michel hasn't been back here since his father brought him 33 years ago.
This is where you guys will be serving.
-Oh, la la!
Two stars are given by Michelin only to restaurants they consider are worthy of a special detour.
Often the customers are gastronomes who expect the very best in food and service.
In this quiet, imposing atmosphere, everything the trainees do will be scrutinised.
Silver service must be professional, discreet,
formal and the guest shouldn't ask for anything.
At this level, if food can be served at table, then it is served at table,
so waiters here are very much on display.
Silver service is about the showmanship of dining,
and customers here are prepared to pay £200 a head for the food and the spectacle.
This is the type of formal French service that Michel's father and uncle
brought to the UK 40 years ago when they opened their restaurant.
Look at the opulence. Some may say even a bit over-the-top, but...
-Overwhelming, I think, is nearer to the mark.
Let me introduce you to Franck here behind.
He is the head of the ceremonies here, the head maitre d',
so look at what he does, listen to him.
If I can let you in to a little secret about who is coming for lunch.
-I am coming for lunch.
I've got my mother coming and a whole load of aunties and cousins.
I expect to be served like I was served in this restaurant
when I was 17 years old.
My father and my auntie took me here all that time ago.
I sat here at this very table. I was sat there.
I remember absolutely everything - the flowers on the table.
I remember what I had to eat. I had a duck with orange.
My father had the kidneys flambeed with mustard.
I remember there were two commis waiters stood to attention behind the table.
And I remember everything about this place.
It's that kind of place. It's memorable.
You come here to eat and you have a memorable evening or lunch.
We need to show your family that you have taught us well, along with Fred as well.
-So, that's even more of an expectation.
-Yes, it's personal.
I'm so scared about going to a two-star restaurant. I really, really don't want to go.
Formality will be strange, because so far we shadowed in a Michelin one-star restaurant,
and we've eaten in a Michelin one-star restaurant, but this is a whole new level.
I'm sure they're going to be very daunted about this place, because it is stiff.
It's starched. It's steeped in tradition.
And I just want them to understand.
I'm sure that some of them must be thinking, "Why the heck are we here?"
I don't care. I want them just to be immersed in it and understand it.
To practise the silver service and the sommelier skills they'll need for tomorrow's lunch,
Fred and Ronan will be taking them to one of France's top schools of culinary arts.
But first, Michel calls them together to allocate their roles.
With the skills that you have learnt so far, you guys should be able to carry it off.
Nikkita, I want you to work on the floor. You're a smart cookie and I know you'll do well.
Tom, you are on the floor.
-James, you too will be on the floor tomorrow.
-Thank you, chef.
-Brooke, you're on the pass.
-Does that mean I have to talk in French to them? OK, all right.
-Niki, I want you to be one of our sommeliers tomorrow.
-Thank God. Yes.
-You are also our sommelier tomorrow.
-I think you can do it.
-Which leaves us with Ashley.
-Ashley, our maitre d' for tomorrow.
-APPLAUSE Well done, Ash.
It's the biggest challenge so far, because it's a two-star Michelin restaurant in Paris.
Obviously, it's going to be a high-class restaurant where we're working.
And obviously, they're probably trusting me,
because they think I've got the experience to do something like that.
So I'll try my hardest not to let them down.
Tomorrow's two-star Michelin lunch requires that many of the dishes
are prepared and served at table from a trolley called a gueridon.
So, at the Ecole Ferrandi, Fred takes them through the menu.
First a soup, which is served directly at table.
So, you go down as low as possible as you can. Don't forget you don't want to splash.
Tomorrow, James, Thomas and Nikkita will be waiters on the floor serving four tables each.
I'm not sure if you will be comfortable like this,
because you're a bit too much like that.
I think the positioning is very important,
because when you get your positioning, all right,
you don't want to go into the face of the customer.
You want to go very slowly, very gently when you pour the soup. It's about precision.
-You didn't do two full ones.
-It's still good.
When you are putting the ladle inside there,
you don't want to touch the sides or the bottom, you don't want to hear the bells. Yeah?
-Great concentration. That's good.
-LADLE SOUNDS AGAINST TERRINE
Oh, ding! ALL LAUGH
As tomorrow's maitre d', Ashley will need to be across all the skills
they are learning, so he can step in when needed.
Everything you serve here has to be perfect.
There mustn't be a little bit of dirt or dust or this or that.
It mustn't be. Everything must be spot on.
Fred, I don't like silver service.
It may feel difficult, because you've never done it.
I'm more of a person who's chatty, and this type of service isn't me at all.
I don't know why you've picked me. I won't be able to do it.
I'm a chatty person. I'm not one of those who's just there to be quiet.
The people you're going to have are going to be as nice and receptive as the ones before.
And you're going to have to establish a relationship. And you're going to do great.
-I don't speak French.
-This kind of restaurant makes you feel pressure.
You mustn't feel the pressure. It's very easy.
It's just as easy as the last one. Don't worry. I'll be here.
So as not to overwhelm sommeliers Niki and Danielle with too many wines,
Ronan has put together a pared-down wine list of three whites,
three reds and two dessert wines for tomorrow's lunch.
-First up, a sauvignon blanc, a 2005 Sancerre.
-Have a sniff and see what you think.
-Yes, definitely, yes. Citrusy, lemony. For me, it smells of grapefruit.
Yeah. As soon as you say it, I see it, but I wouldn't have got that if you hadn't have said it.
-I can taste apple, you know?
-Apple. Yes, yes, yes. What type of apple?
-Yes, green apples.
What we're actually going to serve this with is a pea soup, so petit pois soup.
OK, so now we're going to look at the red wines.
This is a Chorey Le Beaune from Burgundy.
What we're going to serve it with tomorrow is fish.
-Fruity, yeah. Like berries.
You never want to serve something with fish that is too heavy in tannin
as it would clash with the fish.
You can serve red wines with fish, but you want something very light in tannin.
What I want to see you doing, which is a real sommelier's job, tomorrow,
is to be there very quick, organised, as soon as the food order's taken.
Remember what they've ordered, then go to them and recommend the wines to them, OK?
The trickiest main course on tomorrow's menu is duck a l'orange.
The trainees on the floor must be able to carve neatly and evenly
this popular dish in front of their guests.
You see how he's cutting in an incline like this. He's not cutting straight.
The reason why he's going sideways like that is to give a longer slice of the duck.
So when it goes on the plate, it presents better. Notice how he positions the fork as well.
What's also important is the speed you do it at,
because if you're too slow, it'll get cold.
Service at this level is all about the spectacle of dining.
Highly trained maitre d's take years to learn the skills required
to prepare and serve at table.
In France, they can be treated with the same respect as a top chef in Britain.
A bit more energy, Nikkita, come on. You've got it now.
You see what's happening? The top of your slice is like that
and at the bottom is very thin, so you don't want to do that.
OK, James, let's go. You start now.
Brooke, can you be the timekeeper? 3:06.
Now that they've learnt how to evenly carve the duck breast,
Fred wants them to slice and plate it in less than four minutes.
Any longer and the other dishes waiting to be served will go cold.
-I know I'm doing it wrong.
-So think about what you're doing.
-I'm doing it wrong.
There's a pattern to it. There's no pattern here. Can you do it again with the pattern?
-What about this one? This is patterned.
-No better. It's a bit like a blob.
It's not very nice. Put them back. Your slices are too irregular. Do it again.
I don't even know what you mean, Fred. I haven't a clue what you're on about.
I realise Michel and Fred are training us to work
in silver service Michelin-starred restaurants, but that's not my character.
Maybe when I get used to it, I'll start to like it,
but at the moment, I've prejudged it and I hate it.
Ashley is a bit worried about tomorrow. He doesn't enjoy silver service.
I understand what he's saying, having done silver service myself in my career 20 years ago.
I understand him, but people want to have fun. They want professionalism, seriousness,
but they want to have fun, and Ashley can give them that.
After a full day's training, Fred is keen to spend
the rest of the evening immersing the trainees in Paris life and cafe culture.
Come on, I'll show you the way. I know this city like my pocket.
-Do you really?
-Yes, I do.
-Let's do some French. "Bonjour, madame."
-Bonjour, madame. Bonjour, monsieur. Comment allez vous?
Bienvenue, monsieur et madame!
-Creme de petit pois.
-ALL: Creme de petit pois.
-Creme de petit pois, legumier des legumes.
-Cheers. To tomorrow's service.
-ALL: To tomorrow's service.
8.30am, and on an avenue just off the Champs-Elysees
in one of the most exclusive restaurants in France,
it's time for the trainees to prepare for lunch.
I had butterflies for the first time when we first walked in here,
just realising the enormity and the kind of detail and precision... Merci. ..that's needed.
With three hours to go before lunch service begins,
Fred takes the trainee waiters through the layout of the restaurant.
The good thing about this restaurant is that it's small.
If you stretch your arms, you can touch the sides.
What does that tell you? It's manageable.
I don't know what to expect. I've got butterflies.
Partly because as soon as I walked into this place,
it brought back so many wonderful memories of when I was a kid.
You know, I was 17 years old and this was the first
really big Michelin-starred restaurant that I'd been to.
And it's eerie.
I've not been since.
The restaurant is divided into three sections,
with James, Tom and Nikkita looking after four tables each.
In just a few hours' time, they'll be in charge of 35 paying customers,
all of whom expect a two-star, silver service lunch.
These are the gueridons where you'll be serving the soup and the vegetables.
This is where you'll be carving your duck.
Every time you have to do something, you move your gueridon. So simple! You don't have to run.
So you remember... Look.
I'll show you just how simple it is.
From this table to that table in one station, I do one step.
From that table to that table, I do another step.
And from this one to this one, I do another step.
So, if you're ever rushed off your feet,
you just have to do like this and you are there, you know?
-SINGS A WALTZ
-It's like that, isn't it?
-I'm bricking it. I'm baffled. I don't have a clue what to do.
I don't know what he's on about. I'll just get on with it and try my hardest.
I don't know what anyone's on about today. My head's like this.
Ashley's not the only one feeling the pressure.
As one of today's sommeliers, Danielle has just found out that she will be serving Michel's table.
I feel sick.
-This is Brooke.
Brooke's role on the pass means that she must ensure
the handwritten orders get from the commis waiters to the head chef.
So, what will happen is a commis will bring down the check to you.
"One soup, one foie gras, line, one rouge, one beef, medium." Very important, yes?
-You wait for him...
HE CALLS OUT ORDER IN FRENCH
OK? Then he's going to put it in his thing there.
When he says...
As well as relaying orders to the chef,
it will be Brooke's job to make sure waiters ask for their main courses.
These should be cooked approximately 20 minutes after starters have been served.
This is called "mains away".
-"Fait marche..." I'll write it down. Have you got a pen?
You speak to the chef and you wait. That's why you've got to be a loud voice.
"Chef!" And you wait. You don't keep going, "Chef, chef, chef!" You don't do that.
He's looked at you, you say, "Fait marche."
He'll say, "Oui," then you know he's done. You know for sure he's done.
But you need to tell him to send the main course. That's why you say, "fait marche".
40 minutes to go before the first guests arrive.
That's really good. Can you turn my collar down as well?
-I can't wear this thing. I'm not wearing it. It's too big.
-You look like a soul singer.
-Darling, can I escort you to dinner?
-No, not in this. I want to go home and get changed.
-I really like it.
I'm still very worried. I'm anxious and...
I don't know about today. I want things to go smoothly.
Yeah, but the menu is simple. Three starters, three mains, three desserts.
The difference is the organisation, the precision
and the pressure they feel about this overwhelming place.
If they can feel at ease with the place
and that the people who are coming are just normal people like you and me
and they just want to have a nice time, they should be fine.
And I think... I hope they'll get that. They have to get that.
-Is that too tight?
-No, that's fine. It's like going to a wedding or something.
# Say a little prayer for you Together, together... #
I'm glad you're laughing.
You'll be all right. Let me give you a hug. Let me give you a hug.
-You'll be fine. You'll be fine.
-Yeah? You stay clear of my table.
-No, I'm not looking at you once.
-I'm not getting...clocking you on eye-contact. Don't worry.
-Oh, my God.
-You look fantastic.
-Niki, Brooke, Nikkita, Danielle.
-Tell you what, you look the part. You bloody do.
Please go in your station, familiarise yourself with your surroundings.
Brooke, remember, "Oui, chef. Yes, chef." Keep him sweet. Keep him happy.
Let's do it.
For some of the younger trainees,
the formality of the impending service is starting to feel intimidating.
You are good enough to do this. Don't get in a fluster.
Just remember my words. You are good enough to do this.
-OK? Just, just...
I want to do good and I want to be able to do it, but I don't think I can.
Just remember, you are good enough to do this.
-Keep smiling, keep pouring.
-How can I smile in these shoes?
Most of the guests dining this afternoon speak good English, but Fred is determined
that as maitre d', Ashley should take control of meeting and greeting.
-So, bonjour, monsieur.
BOTH IN FRENCH
-Bienvenue a Lasserre. Bonjour...
-Bonjour, monsieur. Bienvenue a Lasserre.
-Tres bien. Fantastique.
Don't walk too slow. Don't walk too fast, but don't walk too slow.
Faster, faster, faster. Faster, faster, faster.
-Voici le menu. You see how I'm going?
-Yes, like that.
You see the imaginary line? And you see how slowly I go?
-"Voici le menu, monsieur." Yeah?
"Have a great lunch." That's it, voom, and then you are out of the imaginary line.
Formula One. You're back over there. Let's do it again.
Downstairs, Brooke is struggling with the realisation
that she is the crucial link between the kitchen and the dining room.
It's her job to make sure there's a steady stream of orders
coming from the floor to the head chef, so that the kitchen is never overwhelmed.
-Yes, the soup.
We make soup in this one and this one and this one.
It's remembering things, isn't it? If I do anything wrong, Michel, it's letting them down.
It's letting you lot down, letting this place down.
I don't want to let everyone down.
It is a huge responsibility,
but we have huge responsibilities in life
-and we have to do it.
There are times where you have to say, "Yes, I can do it."
-Do you think it would be any better if I asked the chef to give you a kiss?
No, but that did make me feel a bit better, you just saying it.
This is pushing you to somewhere you have never been before.
This is the biggest thing I've done in my life.
I just really don't want to let myself down and I think, "Will I?"
-You're a winner anyway, OK? We can do it and do it together.
-It's OK now?
-Do you want an espresso with me?
-All right then. Why not?
-OK, with me, no stress.
-No stress. OK, cool.
Everything it's OK, OK?
It's 1pm, and in one of Paris's most unnerving dining settings,
where guests expect service to be seamless and invisible, lunch will now begin.
Can I take your name, please?
Michel Roux, OK. Suivez-moi.
Madame. Et monsieur.
Here's your menu, madame.
Your waiter today is James. I'll leave him with you, OK?
Enjoy your afternoon.
This is, like, real scary BLEEP, innit?
I'm glad they brought us here to France as well to do this.
Because if we can do this, if we do do this brilliantly, we can do anything.
Upstairs, the restaurant is filling up,
and Tom takes his first order from Michel's mother's table.
Being seated at the first of Nikkita's tables, Michel's wife and cousins.
Here's your menu, madame.
And James takes his first order from Michel's table.
Foie gras. Tres bien.
At the pass, the first check to arrive is from Tom's section.
-Fait marche. Vingt-et-un. Is that right?
Give it about ten minutes, and it's going to be like McDonald's in here.
With orders taken, it's Niki and Danielle's turn to recommend suitable wine.
-I understand you're having the pea soup for starters.
-Can I recommend a wine to go with it?
OK, I recommend the Sancerre, because it's very light, very crisp, lemony and very refreshing.
-It goes lovely with what you're eating.
-Yes, it's white.
-Is that a yes? OK.
-And, mademoiselle, can I recommend... You're having the coquettes. That's correct, yes?
-Can I recommend the Bourgogne?
-I need to know which wine I'm drinking.
-I'll go find out for you.
(Ronan! Where's the Bourgogne from?)
-Burgundy? That's what she said. She needs to know what she's drinking.
It's a Burgundy, a chardonnay from Burgundy.
-It's a chardonnay.
Yes, but that doesn't tell me the name of the chateau.
-Oh, I don't know.
-Is it possible...
-I think it's probably possible to find out.
I need your help. She's shouting, "What's the name of the wine? What's the name of the chateau?"
Take her the bottle. Show her the bottle. Just take her the bottle.
-Sorry, James. This is the one.
-If you think I should have that, I will.
-Yes? Are you sure?
-OK, no problem.
-On y vas.
As the kitchen starts to deliver the starters, service goes into full swing.
And it's time for the trainees to step into the spotlight and show what they're made of.
Any more? Can I just clean your side there? I spilled it.
Nikkita did the soup all right.
There was no cutlery on the table when she served the soup.
She just gave the spoon like that to the customer.
Not very right for this kind of restaurant.
It's got to be smoother, sleeker than this.
Excuse me, madame. Pardon.
At this level, no more than 20 minutes should elapse
between orders being taken and food arriving.
It's been half an hour since James took Michel's table's starter orders
and they've still not arrived.
Fred has discovered that the order was never given to the kitchen.
They took table two's order and they forgot to give it to you, chef.
C'est marche en express.
-Chef, c'est marche en express.
And this one.
-Are you aware somebody lost a ticket of Michel's table, the order?
-Does he know?
-He doesn't know.
-Should I apologise for the wait?
Don't say anything. The chef's doing it now. We can't afford any more mistakes.
I know we can't. I'll tell everyone now.
Concentrate and help your guys to do the service.
-Yes, I'll put some water on their table.
As maitre d', it's Ashley's job to make sure all his waiters and sommeliers
are giving their guests the attention that a two-star restaurant demands.
Danielle's not doing her job right. There's loads of tables that haven't got water.
At Michel, of all people's table, they're sat there without wine. It's not been sorted.
Obviously he's the person we need to impress. Danielle! Come here.
-Foie gras wine has not been sorted out.
-Wine, what goes with foie gras. So...
-Yes, it has.
-They want more.
Only one thing about Danielle. She's spending too much time at the waiters' station there.
She should be patrolling the room non-stop, like a yo-yo, up and down, serving water, serving wine.
-Ronan, I can't do it.
-You're doing fine. You're doing OK. You're doing really well.
-Just keep... Just stay calm, keep yourself organised.
-People are shouting at me now.
Who's shouting at you?
-Come on. Don't give up.
-I can't do it. No, I don't want to. I'm not moving.
-# I shall not I shall not be moved. #
-You will. Come on.
Dan, we need Michel's table, please.
-Ashley, stop it.
-It needs sorting.
Finally, after 40 minutes,
Michel and his guests get their wine and their starters
Ten past two, and downstairs, the kitchen are yet to receive any main course orders.
-You don't need a second plate?
You don't need the table 21 and the first course?
-What? Mains away?
-I don't know. They haven't said it.
-Should I go up there?
-Because it's too long.
-It's taking too long, isn't it?
-Chef's asking why no mains have been sent down yet.
They forgot to main away, so tell Ashley.
Chef wants to know why there's been no mains away yet. People are forgetting to mains away.
-For table 21. I'm not sure.
Nikkita, have you been doing your mains away?
No, because I've not been on my mains yet.
-Not gone on the main yet.
-The chef wants to know why he's got no mains, so...
-Yeah, will do...
-Don't worry. I'll do it.
Wait. No, because no-one's ready for their main yet.
-All right, you can main away for 22 and 23. Yeah?
Main away for 22 and 23.
-Ash, are they clearing?
-Yeah, I've been doing mains away, then I'm going to do all that.
-mains away. Can you mains away on table 21?
At the moment, it's rather stressed.
I hate this place. I can't stand it.
Chef, c'est marche.
With all the trainees forgetting to mains away,
the kitchen has all the orders to cook at once.
There's going to be a moment where all the food's going to be coming out at the same time.
I just hope Brooke downstairs can hold it together
and send out the tables slowly, not too fast.
-Sorry about the wait, madame.
As the mains start to hit the floor,
Nikkita has her first duck breast of the afternoon
to carve for Michel's wife and cousins.
By serving the fish first instead of keeping it warm using the burners,
Nikkita is under extra pressure to carve and plate the duck quickly.
My wife and my auntie have been served with their fish,
but it's going to be cold by the time Nikkita's finished carving.
Meanwhile, Danielle has noticed that James has written two orders for table two by mistake.
It's Michel's table.
This one here is table four.
Sorry about that.
James changes one order upstairs to say table four,
but neglects to go to the kitchen to change the chef's copy.
-Be careful. It's hot. Very hot.
James still hasn't realised the consequences of his mistake.
Eating for... Un, deux, trois, quatre.
IN FRENCH ACCENT: Quatre, quatre person in this table.
The two beef fillets which are meant for table four
have arrived at Michel's table and Ashley is confused.
Meant to be beef. Ash! Ash!
For table four, I have a rare beef.
-Then why is this going to table two?
-Table two needs that immediately.
On Nikkita's section, she's about to attempt her second duck breast.
-Here's your duck.
-Nikkita's done very well with this duck.
Four minutes sharp from the start to serving the sauce. It's very good.
I'm just curious to see if she goes to Michel's wife's table and takes the dessert order.
If she does that, perfect.
-Are you ready to order?
-She's doing it.
-We are, yes.
She's taking the order, which is what I would have done.
Superb. So far, she's probably my number one.
Back in James' section, the two rogue beef are still causing problems.
Cinq poisson on table deux?
Non? No eating?
What have you got for me? He says this is Michel's plates.
It's not. Come here, please. This way.
James has finally realised the two beef belong at table four, but in the meantime,
the knock-on effect of everyone forgetting to mains away
means that all the food is now arriving on the restaurant floor.
The kitchen cannot serve any more dishes until James clears the trays.
Come on, hurry up. I need the silver trays.
Here. We need one more.
Finally, the bottleneck clears.
At Michel's mother's table, Tom is carving.
And as all 35 diners enjoy their mains,
time for one last piece of theatre.
It's been crazy.
I'm trying not to laugh, because otherwise I might cry a little bit.
3.20 and as lunch service winds down and desserts are ordered,
the sommeliers make their dessert wine recommendations.
OK, we have a Chateau Filhot, very tropical and fruity.
It goes nice with the ice cream.
The Cote del Leone, it's honey, hints of strawberry. It's syrupy.
-OK, are you enjoying this now?
-I'm sort of slowly but surely getting into it.
Danielle's been good.
At times, her mannerisms are a little bit too friendly,
but it is acceptable, because she is actually delivering the goods.
A bit rough and it's early stages, but if they're willing to put in the hard work and long hours,
there's no reason they couldn't become good sommeliers.
At the beginning, shambles.
You're making me cry just thinking about it. It was dreadful.
I was getting myself in a tizzy. But I have enjoyed it. The end of it.
It's gone quite well. I don't know why I was so nervous this morning.
I didn't want to do it. I was crapping myself really.
But things are running smoothly. Everyone's working together as a team.
There's one or two mistakes. I thought that would happen.
It was rectified as soon as we could.
-Au revoir. Merci beaucoup.
Lunch is over and the guests begin to leave.
Tom was impressing.
He cut the meat beautifully, presented it on the plate extremely well.
In general, I thought it was very good, because they're very young,
they've never done anything like that before,
so they've done a very good job.
And Michel's wife's table seem similarly impressed.
-Niki explained the wines properly?
-Yes, she did really, really well.
She explained everything, all the wine.
She suggested wine that went really well with whatever we had, so she did a good job there.
-We are very difficult customers, aren't we?
-It's la famille Roux.
-Yeah, that's right.
-Thank you so much.
It was brilliant fun. See you later. Smile.
See you later.
OK, guys, service over. Debrief time as usual.
I was really very, very nervous before service.
Very nervous, but I must say, for the most part, you delivered the goods.
The two wine waitresses did well. Nikkita, I watched you.
I saw some of the vegetables being beautifully placed on the plate.
Again, with elegance. The kind of elegance that is demanded in this place.
-Ashley, I think you lost a bit of control at one stage.
-Yeah, I did.
But it was great to see you jumping in and helping everybody.
James, you were serving my table. Not easy.
Quite a few mistakes, but you didn't panic. You did all right.
Franck, would you like to say a few words?
It wasn't a car crash, but you have to be conscious we scratched the car today.
Next time, I want no scratches on the car.
I want the key in my hands. I don't want the insurance to go up.
-Well done for today, well done.
-Well done, guys.
-ALL: Thank you.
-Well done. Well done.
-You passed this time, Niki.
I have to remind myself sometimes that Danielle is only 18.
She gets so nervous and wound up before service, but that I think is positives.
That is her passion that's inside her.
Ashley was out of his depth today, and the formality of the restaurant
was definitely not his cup of tea and he couldn't shine there.
But for a young man who six weeks ago was on the dole, now look at him.
I'm really pleased for my trainees.
They pulled it off, but they've still got some tough challenges ahead.
Next time, Michel comes closer to deciding which two trainees will receive the scholarships.
I'd like to think I'm in the running for it. I'd like to win.
I hope I'm doing the best I can to get it. If I don't, I've tried my hardest.
And the group go head-to-head looking after some very special guests.
If I have bad service, then I will kick off 100%.
Michel Roux is on a personal mission: to take eight young people who have never considered a career as front-of-house restaurant staff, and prove to them that it is an industry that can change their lives. In just two months he wants to take his trainees from the high street to the high end - learning skills that will enable them to take over service at his own two Michelin-starred restaurant. Ultimately Michel will choose the best two trainees and award them life-changing scholarships.
With the trainees nearing the final straight, Michel decides they are ready to take on the spiritual home of fine dining - Paris. With less than six weeks' training behind them, he wants his seven protégés to run service at a two Michelin-starred restaurant that has become a Parisian institution: Laserre. Without any help from the expert resident waiters, Michel's team will take over lunch service for some very special customers.
To prepare his trainees for this massive step up, Michel takes them on a detour to Reims, the capital of the Champagne region. After learning with master sommelier Ronan Sayburn, the trainees must try to show who has the best nose, the best understanding of how the wines are produced, and who can recommend the right champagne to go with the right canapé. Not only is Michel looking to see who to choose as his sommeliers in Paris, he is ultimately looking for one of the two Academy of Food and wine scholarships on offer to go to a trainee sommelier.
In Paris, the trainees work with regular mentor Fred Sirieix at a top hospitality college. Meanwhile, Ronan Sayburn gives Michel's chosen sommeliers a crammer course on some of the wines the restaurant will be serving.