The trainees face their final challenge: to take over service at Michel Roux's own Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Gavroche. Afterwards, Michel must make his final decision.
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Michel Roux's mission, to find two front of house
stars of the future, has reached its final stage.
I guarantee we will definitely be able to get you
to tell the difference between a Pinot and a Cabernet.
His training has taken them from serving up pizza...
People are making up table numbers!
There is no table 17.
..via a five-star hotel...
A lad like me doesn't get an opportunity like I've got or come from where I'm from to this.
..to the formality of fine dining.
If we do this, we can do anything.
Now there's one last chance to impress and this time, it's personal as the trainees
will be running Michel's own two-Michelin-starred restaurant,
serving some of the most respected people in the industry -
the mentors who have been instrumental in their training.
Here, Michel will make his final decision.
Who will receive the life-changing scholarships
that will launch the two winners into careers in the industry?
My first choice is for the sommelier scholarship...
And my choice is...
After two months of intensive training, Michel's back at work in his London headquarters.
I'm really proud of my trainees and what they've achieved so far,
but the next challenge is huge.
Established in 1967 by Michel's father Albert and uncle Michel senior,
Le Gavroche was the first restaurant in the UK to be awarded three Michelin stars
and has been described as the restaurant that kick-started the British food revolution.
I'm asking them to take over the restaurant founded by my father and uncle.
It's been going 43 years.
It means so much to me and my family.
No one has ever run a service here without years of experience.
If they can pull it off,
then the sky is truly the limit.
Before letting them loose on the family restaurant,
Michel has arranged one last training session.
They'll be working a lunch service on one of the biggest days in sport, the men's semi-finals at Wimbledon.
Serving at the Gatsby Club, an exclusive restaurant set up for high-paying tennis fans,
they'll be under the scrutiny of one of the world's most revered chefs.
You guys are going to be serving in a restaurant
that is catered for
by the person that I most respect, that I most fear...
-Is it your dad?
-It's my father.
-Oh, my God!
He is going to be casting his eye over you.
I don't want to turn up at the end of service and see my old man shaking his fist and saying,
-"What the hell did you send me?!" So good luck, guys. Don't let me down.
-ALL: Yes, chef.
Michel's father, Albert Roux,
has exclusively designed the three-course, three-choice menu and will oversee the service.
Responsible for training top names in cuisine including Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay,
his standards are second to none.
Come on! What are we waiting for?
On his watch, mistakes are simply not tolerated.
I'm expecting to see a little bit of Le Gavroche while they work.
Since my son calls them his trainees, they must be above the others.
It remains to be seen.
Guiding them through their performance will be Albert and Michel's most trusted lieutenant.
After 37 years working as restaurant manager for the Roux family,
Silvano Giraldin enjoys a reputation as the godfather of the British service industry.
What we want every single day is perfection, perfection, perfection.
Today they will be working for Albert.
Albert is for us and for Michel, he is God.
For us, Albert is the person we respect the most.
He is the top of what you call quality and service.
Just a compliment from Albert makes my life worth living!
Can we get organised?
That should be there in front of you, ready to despatch.
After eight weeks, Michel has a clear idea of each trainee's strengths and weaknesses,
but even at this late stage a word either way from his father could prove influential.
For Michel and myself, Albert is God. OK? So we are going to serve God today.
Remember that. If we please him, we please everybody.
It's a massive deal that Michel's somehow convinced his dad,
who he's obviously a little bit in awe of,
to convince him to let us loose on his premises, and on a big day, the Wimbledon semi-finals.
And...yeah, I mean, it's intimidating.
We've got the experience now.
So it's more about actually showing what we can do, not learning.
There's kind of more pressure in a way. There's no falling back on, "I don't know what to do."
It's been a privilege even getting this far, coming to Wimbledon,
but working with the two top dogs is a massive plus.
If I can shine today, hopefully they'll see something in me. A massive privilege.
A bit harder than it looks!
With an ASBO to his name by the time he was 14, Ashley was far from obvious maitre d' material.
It's black! It's black.
He is inept when it comes to service. Totally and utterly lost.
-Things didn't always come naturally.
-Is that a new cheese?
-What kind of cheese...?
-You don't scream in front of everybody, yeah.
When I first met Ashley, he was a very angry young man.
Don't ask me! BLEEP. Can't do it.
He's worked hard and come on leaps and bounds.
No one wants this more than Ashley, but that's no reason to give it to him.
That cuts... It cuts through the strong flavour of the fish.
-He's one of many outstanding candidates.
-I don't want to change as a person,
but I want to change my ways.
For today's lunch, all the trainees have been assigned roles.
Nikkita and Brooke will be hostesses, meeting and greeting guests.
Right, girls. Nikkita, dress, shoes.
-Thank you so much.
-The rest of the team will be waiters and their section manager will be Tom.
-Do you know what these are?
-Do you know what they do?
-Go on your arms.
-These go here,
so you haven't got your cuffs in the food.
You look amazing. Don't worry.
With Centre Court tickets thrown in, today's guests have paid up to £3,000 a head
and hospitality manager Tracy Hurst expects her staff to be at their most professional from the start.
-What are you going to do for me today?
-I do smile. Don't get it twisted. I do.
-But from the off.
-If all the other girls are smiling, don't you be standing like that.
-I do smile.
Service is almost upon them and Nikkita and Brooke prepare to meet their guests,
but first they receive another distinguished visitor.
-You look beautiful.
-Thank you very much.
-You trained with my son?
-Yes. He's a brilliant trainer.
-So you must be superior.
Good. I wish you luck.
-Keep on smiling, the skies open.
-Thank you so much. Thank you.
What I'm looking for is confidence. Knowledge is very important, but more important is the confidence
in front of the people. That's what I'm looking for - confidence, a smile -
being able to contact with the customers, to express themselves and make happy the customers.
Good morning, sir. I've got the menu here and also the wine list. I can take your wine order.
-I don't want to let anybody down.
-You will not. I'll support you.
A good smile will take you anywhere.
You get away with everything!
And that's not an excuse to make mistakes!
A bit fiddly.
Nikkita, the problem this morning was she came with a very long face. She has totally changed.
When she goes in front of the customers, she expresses herself and I forgot everything.
But seven weeks ago when she started her training,
Nikkita only had one way of expressing herself.
I can't smell no grapes, no strawberries, no watermelon,
no oak, no plastic, no nothing.
I can't smell nothing. I just smell alcohol.
-Nikkita has a tricky background. Part of her thinks she can't escape it.
-I'll still be Nikkita
who got pregnant at 16 and will just do the same thing for the rest of her life.
I think she's probably the cleverest. She's a smart cookie.
If she can believe in herself, I believe in her. And that smile is beautiful.
How can you not smile back at her?
It's a Spanish wine. Would you like to taste it first?
They thought you were the sommelier. When you set your mind to it, you can do it.
Having a child in this industry is not a barrier to success. I've told Nikkita that.
But it's up to her. She has got to commit.
Whereas here you can go around.
I'll just drop the food in their lap!
-Lunchtime. As the restaurant starts to fill up, Ashley has his first customers.
-Ready to order, guys?
-OK. How would you like your beef?
-What do I do now?
-Have you taken their order? Take it to the kitchen and Linda.
What time is it?
-That's a nice watch.
-Cheers. 12 minutes past 11.
As long as Silvano sees my section is being run smoothly,
food is punctual, it's prompt, they're in, they're out, they're watching the tennis,
he can tell Michel Tom can do this.
-Tom's last experience as team leader wasn't a great success.
-You should have been coming in here
saying, "Chef, I want this. Chef, I want that."
Before training with Michel, Tom's party lifestyle made it hard to hold down a job,
but he was quick to impress.
Tom has got leadership qualities. We saw that early doors.
We really need to get bang on it. All right?
But I think he sometimes tries too much, too hard. That's his downfall.
Every single plate you have put down tonight, you served from the left.
-You've gone all the way round the table to serve on the left.
Always trying, though. Always wants to please. The customer sees that.
-Do you want to do one and I'll do one?
-Sounds like a plan.
Very good filleting. I'm impressed.
I'll see how he picks himself up. Last time didn't go to plan.
In the kitchen, the starters are ready to go out.
What was that? Wait.
Put a side plate underneath there. Do not go like that.
With Albert at the pass watching every dish leave, even the smallest error won't go unnoticed.
Once they escape the kitchen, they've got Silvano watching their every move.
-It's lovely weather for it today.
-Oh, it looks like rain.
-Do you think? Oh, no!
-It's all dark up there.
-Oh, no. That'll be awful.
Back in the kitchen, James has been caught red-handed.
No finger on the plate!
-Excuse me, young man.
-Where is your thumb?
-Next time I cut it.
As the oldest trainee, James had confidence from day one, if not always competence.
We've got problems. I just gave away a booked table to walk ins.
Where's table 19? I keep getting orders.
Everyone's pizzas are cold because people are making up table numbers.
Privately educated, he found some tasks particularly challenging.
It does feel a bit unnatural. I don't feel completely at ease.
There's the potential here that they're looking down on us because we are serving them.
James has got style and customers love him.
He's quite confident, but sometimes over-confident.
One very positive comment - apparently, you even recommended a bottle of wine.
You cheeky so-and-so! I bet you've never even tried that wine!
-LAUGHTER Did they like it?
-They loved it.
-That's all right then.
He's a graduate and our industry needs people like him.
He could go so far, but he's got to iron out those mistakes.
-This is the lamb, madam.
-You'd have a job finding a lamb that size.
I keep on doing the same little mistakes. It drives me nuts. Forgetting cutlery...
I need to ask myself - has James actually got the appetite for serving?
He likes the industry, but that's two very different things.
As service at Wimbledon winds down, Michel arrives.
He has come to hear the verdict on how his trainees have performed
from the two men whose judgment he values above all others.
-Chef, how are you?
-Good to see you.
-We got a very good team out of the seven. It's not bad.
Thankfully, Silvano, you didn't see them eight weeks ago.
Yeah, well, I probably would have been scared.
-Eight weeks ago, she couldn't hold a tray like that. Now look.
-And with confidence.
Without any doubt, I would employ them all because I know
that at the end of the day they are material to work with.
On the floor, Silvano is happy,
but for the most important opinion, Michel heads for the kitchen.
-Very well. You've come to give a hand?
-No, I've come after the battle.
-To pick up the corpse?
-Yes. No corpse, I hope!
-Where did you buy that?
-Never you mind. It's none of your business.
-How are my trainees, more to the point?
The trainees are enjoying themselves, which, as you know, is the most important thing.
Big smiles. I've asked all of them, "Do you like it?" They love it.
-I heard that one of them put a thumb on the plate.
-He soon take it off.
Yeah. Now, that young lady is very, very good.
-Niki? Do you think she's got potential?
She's got charisma.
She's well clued upstairs, yeah?
Did you have any chance to see the two girls at reception?
Nikkita is on the ball. I saw her about 15 minutes ago. I said, "Are you enjoying it?"
-She said, "I'm loving it."
-I think she's got a great future in hospitality,
but she can be very negative at first.
-Danielle looked very apprehensive.
-Yes, very apprehensive.
-She always has been, but then once she's in work...
-There's a lack of confidence in herself.
When she went in, she was great and she enjoyed it.
They all have something. It's extremely difficult to say, "That's the best."
In my view. So...
-Everybody seems happy?
-Well, nobody dares complain to me.
I told them if they want to complain, wait for my son, he'll be there in a minute.
Albert has given the trainees his seal of approval. Now only their final test remains -
service at the restaurant he founded.
I am bowled over and I'm really happy for you.
Tracy's happy. Silvano has given you glowing compliments.
And my old man's pleased. That's something special, very special.
-How did you guys enjoy it though?
-Yeah, I found it quite easy, to be honest.
The reason why it was easy is because you've been taught
and all these skills are now becoming second nature to you all. Yeah?
I'm really looking forward to the final service
and every single skill, every little magic touch that you guys have learned,
you're going to have to put into practice because we want perfection.
And remember, the two scholarships are still up for grabs, guys.
I haven't made up my mind yet.
With service at Le Gavroche looming, Michel calls his students to meet tailor Carolyn Lane.
Nikkita, here you go.
-Nikkita and Brooke, I'll get yours now.
-I like it.
They're going to be running the floor in his restaurant and he wants them to look the part.
-This is your first suit?
-This is my first suit.
-In time, you'll have one made bespoke, won't you?
Anybody you date has to know what real bespoke is. If they don't, dump him now.
Well, I don't. What's that?
-Is that OK? A bit more?
-Brooke has got it. She has got the character and that strength and belief.
APPLAUSE Thank you.
But Michel's early impressions of Brooke were anything but positive.
-What's your number?
-Give me your number cos I ain't got a phone.
Flirting with customers, exchanging phone numbers is not on.
Just think of that guy. He may not be a regular customer.
He's walked away with the thought of, "I can come here and pick up some chicks."
It's a cafe, it's a restaurant. It's not a knocking shop.
But her desire to learn and her growing passion for the job soon led him to change his opinion.
It sounds really pathetic, but I'm proud that I can do this.
People might say it's easy, but it isn't to have it set out perfectly.
When you see where she's come from and where she's heading to...
that excites me.
-What's your next table, Brooke?
-It's table two, eight people, one no sauce.
-Eight beef, one no sauce.
Brooke is definitely a candidate for a scholarship.
Whatever happens, she will go far.
I didn't see me like a year ago here, but I am.
I really was a little bit of a bad person. I wasn't going on the right way.
And now I am and it's all thanks to this.
Before he makes his ultimate decision, Michel is giving each student one last chance
to persuade him that they've got what it takes to win one of the scholarships.
What do you think of service in general?
I enjoy it.
It's been quite overwhelming at times and stressful.
If you look back to the very beginning of this journey, how does that make you feel?
The beginning of the journey, I was in a shell, I wasn't myself. I was quite closed off to people.
In the first restaurant, I was lost. I was like a fish out of water. I didn't know what I was doing.
But now I feel I've changed a hell of a lot. I feel more confident in myself.
I don't feel angry any more. I feel great, to be honest.
I've learnt so much. More than in six years at school. It's the stuff I want to learn. It'll stick with me.
I've definitely grown up.
It's made me realise that I have got to do something. No matter what happens, I'm going back to college.
So it's made me see that I need to do something and, miraculously,
-it's made me smile more.
-So there's a bonus.
I feel a lot more confident in my ability to do the job. I've learnt a lot about myself personally.
And my expectations of myself should be sort of higher than what I set them at.
Yeah, I think I've come quite far.
Would you say that this whole experience has been life-changing for you?
Yeah, definitely. When I'm 50, I'll be sitting there with my restaurant
and going, "I got my restaurant because I did this."
This is the best thing I've ever done and, hopefully,
not to be rude about it, it's not the best thing that's going to happen. A lot more will come from this.
-How much do you want the scholarship?
-I want it, I want it, I want it.
I think whoever gets it, it will change their life,
and thinking from that perspective, of course I want it.
Of course I want it.
I want this scholarship so much now.
At first, I thought, yeah, it's going to be easy, but I've realised all the hard work what goes into it,
so getting the scholarship would be amazing and I'd grasp it with both hands.
But one trainee has been weighing particularly heavily on Michel's mind.
I'm not sure about Niki. I need someone who is prepared to commit and give their all.
Not just for six months.
This is a life-changing opportunity.
I'm Niki, your waitress tonight.
History graduate Niki signed up with Michel, hoping to find a direction in life.
I've excelled in things that I've done, but I've never done anything that's been that worth excelling in.
CORK POPS Oh!
My wine knowledge is limited. I know a bit about Cherry Lambrini or two for a fiver in the Co-op.
But that's about it.
Niki can be so charming. She can switch it on, but she can also switch it off.
It's very worrying because in this industry,
we want people to be smiley, happy, and deliver the goods all the time.
I was fine until James came along and interrupted my flow. He's thrown me off my flow and I'm miserable.
I have not been and interviewed the animals, but I am assured that this is exactly how they are raised.
There have been times where she has been truly inspired.
Niki has got what it takes to go far in this industry. She could travel the world and do great things...
if only she was prepared to commit.
So, tell me,
where do you see yourself in five years' time?
I don't know. I knew you were going to ask me that. I don't know.
There must be a goal, something that you really want to work towards?
This has always been my biggest problem, that I'm such a wanderer.
My biggest problem has always been not having a goal or something to achieve.
I always live for today, rather than tomorrow.
And it's bad because I'm now 23
and I feel like I should be having a goal that I need to come towards.
Do you really want the scholarship?
Oh, God... I have big trouble with committing to things in life,
but I think if I'm given the right one, I could use it well.
-Not the food one.
The day of final service has arrived.
In just seven hours, Michel will choose which two of his students
will win the scholarships from the Academy of Food and Wine,
one a sommelier scholarship training in wine,
the other a maitre d' scholarship focusing on front of house.
But first, the trainees must run a lunch service in Le Gavroche,
the spiritual home of British fine dining which Michel took over from his father 19 years ago.
-Oh! Are you all right, guys?
-Look at you all. You look great.
-I love the suits.
I love the shirts as well. They look smart.
-You know what I'm expecting of you guys today?
Completely fault-free. Everything now should be coming automatically,
all the skills, all the knowledge that you've acquired over the weeks with myself and Fred.
Now you should be confident in yourselves because you've got the knowledge.
And today's service is the last one.
For Michel, it's an article of faith
that the front of house staff can talk knowledgeably about the menu they're serving.
He expects each dish to be served according to his instructions.
-You've got two starters - pork knuckle terrine...
..pressed with a little bit of parsley, asparagus.
-And you guys will go round with the truffle...
-And every plate will get a bit of truffle on it.
Go for three, four slices, but don't be afraid to go, "Is that enough, sir, or a bit more?" Be generous.
-Go for it.
-What is the truffle?
-Summer Italian truffle. Well done.
-Whereabouts in Italy is it from? Not Manchester?
Second starter. This little fella here is a soft-shell crab, deep-fried.
Underneath, there's a bed of octopus and a sweet tomato and chilli dressing.
It looks like a tarantula. I don't know if I like it.
-Can you eat his legs?
-You can eat everything.
-I don't want to eat his legs.
-The two mains...
Roasted canon of lamb. It's called "a canon", so it's the loin. Carrots, roast potatoes.
The sauce or roasting juices will be coming in a sauce boat
and you will be asking the customer if he wants it on top or only on the side.
And I want to see a lovely presentation like that.
I do expect you to ask the customer how he likes his lamb cooked.
-Are you listening?
-How he likes his lamb cooked?
I want that clearly written on the order sheets.
So the other main course... Roasted halibut.
Now, again you are going to have a sauce in a sauce boat.
It's a chive butter sauce. A lovely drizzle just on the edge like that, then a lovely drizzle around it.
-Halibut is a beautiful fish. It's very meaty, lovely texture.
-It's very delicate.
-What are these little things?
-Let's charge on to the puddings.
Passion fruit souffle will be served to the customer like this.
You will then immediately come to the table with one of these.
A spoon, warm water...
Go in like that.
And a quenelle which will be then plonked on top.
-Oh, look at it!
-The ice cream is white chocolate.
-Dive in, guys. Yes, you can have a taste of that as well.
ASHLEY: I'll just taste this because I don't have a chance getting in there!
Oh, my God! Wow!
It's so creamy.
If you have more than one on a table, you'll have to really move.
Lovely warm spoon, beautiful quenelle.
This one - dark chocolate and praline indulgence.
What you see here on the top is pure, edible gold leaf.
-Is it 24-carat?
I want to eat it. Aphrodisiac!
It's pure edible gold and it's so precious, I'm not giving it to you,
-but the boys can start because you started on the souffle!
-No! Please save us some gold!
< The gold tastes good, you know.
-I'm eating gold.
-It doesn't taste of much, if anything.
It's just the concept of... I'm eating gold!
It's just the thought of having pure gold. Isn't it beautiful?
To assess the trainees' performance,
Michel is relying on the help of three of the best experts in the business.
-Here they come.
-How are you?
Long-term mentor Fred Sirieix will be joined by Silvano and master sommelier Gerard Basset.
-Can I introduce you here to Gerard, recently crowned Number One Sommelier in the World?
Before they can get down to work, Michel divides the group for the final time.
The first three names I call out will be tasting and selling the wines -
Niki, Ashley and Danielle.
-I've chosen you for a reason.
-I didn't see that one coming.
I did not see that coming. No, I didn't think that.
The other four with Silvano and Fred.
He's going to be showing you how I want the tables dressed and how service will be run.
With his heart set on the maitre d' scholarship, Ashley is unsettled at the decision to put him on wine.
I thought I was in with a chance before, but not now. I'm sure they want a woman for it.
They want to put you with us... Of course they would. >
Has Michel said to you, "I want a girl for sommelier and a boy for maitre d'"?
Everyone just presumed that. He just said, "We put you in these teams for a reason."
You're still in with a chance. Whoever gets it, good luck. You know what I mean? Good luck.
-I just want to ask you a question.
How come you've put me on the wines? With it being the final day, it's thrown my way of thinking.
I don't understand why it's thrown you.
I thought Nikkita would be on as sommeliere. It just really threw me.
-I've just given you a little twist. I've just woken you all up and made you focus.
-Well, it has.
We are starting service in exactly an hour, so we need to have this restaurant set up in half an hour.
Silvano is going to team you up with one of these commis, one of these guys. All right?
They will be your commis, so you've got to tell them what you want.
They will not do anything unless you ask them. You've got a table which we have set up.
I want you to set up the restaurant looking exactly the same as that.
Each waiter will be in charge of a section of four tables, both in their preparation and for service.
Can we start now, please? Tablecloth first.
The sommeliers will also each be responsible for their own section.
Gerard has chosen the wines to accompany Michel's menu
and he wants to see if Niki, Ashley and Danielle can come up with their own descriptions,
just as a professional sommelier would.
-We looked at the wine. Now what do we do?
-Smell it, yes.
-I think it's very important that you give one or two descriptions about the flavours
and also about the texture and the structure.
-You came with apple. Anything else?
-Is it like a bit peachy maybe?
What about something like a flower perhaps?
-"Summery", that's a good word.
Impressed with her enthusiasm from the off,
Michel made Danielle maitre d' in the very first service.
-You haven't got your drinks yet? How long have you been waiting?
-What did you order?
-Two glasses of house red.
Guys, we need service. Rapid!
Danielle, the youngest of my trainees. At times, it showed.
I can't hear him, Ashley! He's been telling you.
I can't hear him when he's down in there! Calm down.
Stop pushing me! I'm just saying it's that way.
-Anchovy. You've never tried one. They're from Sicily.
-It's little bones.
-It's got hairs on it!
But if we can see the progress over eight weeks...
-Have a sniff and see what you think.
-Yeah, citrussy, lemony.
-Give it a bit of a swirl and let it rest.
-It's got quite a high alcohol content.
Danielle has her moments, especially under pressure. She can lose it.
Just remember my words. You are good enough to do this.
But when I think of where she could be in five years' time, that really excites me.
The respect of the linen which is very, very important.
You've got to open up a tablecloth and treat it like a baby.
Then you hold the tablecloth like that with your two top fingers and like that with the other top fingers,
and then you do that.
That's the way to do a tablecloth.
As general manager of Le Gavroche for over 30 years,
Silvano knows exactly where each piece of crockery, cutlery and table decoration belongs,
down to the last millimetre.
This table is perfection. Look at that. That's covering my table leg.
Here, are you covering your table legs?
It was meant to. Can you redo that, please, Brooke?
-Purple. So what does it give us? What does it tell us?
-Low tannin is fine.
-Yeah. Maybe you can say it's quite soft, it's quite silky.
-Yeah, delicate, juicy.
Delicate, velvety wine. Floral.
Try to make the space for you to walk properly and go around without disturbing the customer.
Not too much under the flowers. Be careful. Your jacket is messed up now.
Pollen is all over the place.
That's the best thing. That's the best thing to remove the...
2008. How the hell do we say that? "Sokol Blosser"? "Sokol Bloss-eur"?
"Full body of wine complements the fleshy fish."
I just want to congratulate you
because this is the first ever time that you are on time. Perfect.
30 minutes sharp. It's very efficient. Well done.
The first guests are due.
Guys, in your stations. In your stations, come on.
There's a buzz. There's electricity in the air. I can feel it. Everybody is very anxious, very worried.
I'm starting to get the butterflies as well.
I just want to get it on and get these first customers down.
Today's service could hardly be more daunting for the trainees.
They're running Michel's restaurant and looking after his industry peers
including the mentors who helped train them for the last eight weeks.
I've never been as nervous in my life.
I know. I'm shaking as well. Look.
-The trainees' first job is to make their guests feel instantly at home.
-Take a seat.
And it's crucial that they remember everything Fred's taught them from the all-important magic touch...
-How are you?
-..to the initial welcome glass of champagne from the sommelier.
-I'm really nervous.
-Don't be nervous.
-I'm really nervous today for some reason.
This is really intimidating for my trainees.
This restaurant has so much history to it
and it's not easy for them to come in and just do service here.
I would recommend that. That would be my preference.
With the champagne served, it's the turn of the waiters to take the food orders.
I personally would recommend the crab salad.
It's a soft-shell crab, so you don't have to mess around with the shell or anything. You can eat it all.
And the tomato and sweet chilli salad that comes with it is really refreshing.
-So, for yourself?
-I'll have the crab and the lamb.
Crab and lamb. And...?
-Crab and lamb.
-Your suggestion, we're going with it.
-So if it's not, you know...
-You'd best be nice now.
Despite Michel's reminder, Nikkita has overlooked an important detail.
How would you like your lamb?
-Not moving then?
-No, thank you.
Sorry, I forgot to ask. How would you like your lamb?
-There was no point in me asking(!)
-Yeah, you never know.
Once the order has been taken, a copy goes to the kitchen.
-That's for you.
-Which table? Which table?
-Table eight. Yes, Chef.
-OK, that's it. Table four.
It's the sommelier's job to check which dishes have been chosen and offer them matching wine
before the order reaches the table.
It's not a full-bodied red wine. It's young, it's wild berries, summer pudding flavours.
It's not too heavy for the ham which is quite rich and it's not too sophisticated.
Yeah? OK? Thank you very much.
Silvano! Can you come here, please?
All my orders are coming here, so I can get the wine.
And table nine have just got their starter, but there's no order, so I've not got them wine.
With the starters coming out, it's a busy period for the sommeliers,
but for Danielle, never at her best under pressure, an old failing is threatening to emerge.
Pork terrine, pork terrine, pork terrine.
Oh, where the hell is the pork terrine?
Oh, no, no, what am I doing? Right, chill out.
I need a Camel Valley, Camel Valley.
-Excuse me, guys. Which one of you is having the crab?
Can I recommend a glass of the Camel Valley?
It's very crisp and fresh and lemony, citrussy. It goes really well with the chilli in the crab.
-Would you like to try it?
Nerves are getting to them, but they have set the wheels in motion and things are going well.
But it's hard and I feel for them. I do feel for them.
But so far, no major mistakes.
Now I need three crab, then I need two crab.
BUZZ OF CONVERSATION
OK, we have, um...
So it's the lady's crab. Two, three, four for crab.
The final lady is the ham hock which is table six.
With Michel watching from the floor,
Fred has opted to assess the trainees from a brand-new perspective.
For the crab, we have the Bacchus Dry.
-Because this wine is quite fresh and quite young, that sorts out the spiciness of the crab.
-Would you like a little taste?
-Very good explanation, Ashley.
-Was that all right?
-It was perfect.
-I'm really feeling the pressure, Fred.
-The only one who can feel it is you. The customers can't see it.
-Can you not?
-It's very smooth, so keep going.
-Good choice. It's like you made it.
-No, I'm not going to have any wine.
We have some truffle for you there, sir.
-On the top?
-And for yourself, sir...? Lovely.
It's a bit of a surreal feeling. We're running Michel Roux's restaurant.
We're running an iconic establishment that is the reason why gastronomy is the way it is now.
So to be here running it after eight weeks is absolutely phenomenal.
I'm really buzzing at the moment. Service is going fantastic. It just feels amazing.
-How's it going? Truthfully, Fred.
-No, Chef, it's good. Very good.
I was just saying I'm very pleased. It really feels like a final.
Tom is doing great. I was watching him. Ashley is saying, "I've got the nerves."
But I don't feel it. For me, as a customer, what's important is my perception. It's a great experience.
With the starters successfully negotiated,
in the kitchen, the mains are being plated to Michel's precise instructions.
Come on, keep going at the back, guys. Keep going.
Presentation is key and the crucial final touch belongs to the trainees.
-It's all going very well.
-We're enjoying it.
-Good. I'm glad you are.
-Would you like some more?
-A little bit.
-I like how it goes on the outside. It's pretty.
-Here you go.
Thank you. I've got to be quick. I'm so sorry.
Attention to detail is what this restaurant is all about.
The history of this restaurant is attention to details, details, details.
And those little details are what make the restaurant.
It means the world to me that it goes well
because firstly, I don't want to let anyone down. I don't want to let myself down.
I don't want to let this lot down. They've come here for a good night.
They've seen us go from the bottom hopefully to the top and hopefully tonight,
we can all go..."Yes, we did it!"
And for yourself, sir? On the top or round the side?
-On the top is fine.
At this level of service, waiters need to know exactly who has ordered each dish,
so that the right plates go to the right customer, but two of Brooke's guests have swapped places.
And the fish for the other lady. What is he doing...? That's not fair.
With her commis waiter confused, Brooke steps in and quickly sorts it out.
This one was this position, yeah. See?
-No, not at all. It doesn't matter.
-You've all got the right food, haven't you?
-Yeah, it's perfect.
He's telling me different, but I know it's not.
-You're right. Trust yourself.
Two hours into service and only dessert stands between the trainees and the finishing line.
I like the generous dollop.
This is gorgeous. I can't not be generous. It's amazing.
Nikkita, are you enjoying it?
Yeah, I am enjoying it. I'm enjoying seeing everybody again.
-Perfection on your quenelle.
Having nurtured them from the start and lived with their ups and downs for the last eight weeks,
Michel is keen to know what his guests make of his trainees.
Honestly, really good. We've had a very nice...
Nikkita has probably been more difficult than most in the run-up.
We've had good fun today. We've been laughing a lot. She's joined in.
-She's read it absolutely spot-on.
-I think she has. She's read the table well.
-Right, guys, how are we doing?
-Really, really well.
But be honest, all right? Tell me.
-Tonight, they really delivered.
-One sec. Come on.
OK, madam, we have a 2008 Dolc Mataro from Spain.
It's got a lot of red berries in there, essence of raspberries, dark fruits.
-It goes really well with the dark chocolate. Would you like to try some first?
-Thank you very much.
-Yeah, I've not noticed a drop of wine on the table, so...
-There we go.
Again the confidence from her today has been absolutely fantastic.
-How was Brooke?
-We moved positions.
-They're very important.
-It didn't faze her.
-She noted it and when the food came to be delivered,
halibut was served here, lamb medium here, and that attention to detail...
-Tom's been fantastic.
A real nice presence. From when we arrived,
this was his table and he wanted to make sure what we were having,
who was having what... A good maitre d'.
His hand was shaking. He was looking calm on the outside,
-but he was a bit nervous.
-They're all very, very nervous.
Can you tell me about James in general?
He looked as if he's been working here for some time.
-He didn't look like a newcomer.
-And we made a couple of...
Let's say jokes or fun or whatever about the lamb
and his response was amazing.
He has it in him. If he wants to make a career of it, he will.
Two months ago, Michel met his trainees here for the first time.
They were the rawest of recruits, but Michel's intensive training
has brought them to where they are today. And now it's decision time.
Service was amazing. I saw a few errors, I saw a few things here and there.
But as a customer, I would have paid my bill, given you a tip and I would have come back.
It was amazing, the way you were communicating with each other.
I saw eye contact, Brooke, from far away. That was great. That was your best performance ever.
And I'm so pleased you did it at Michel's. Well done.
But only Michel will decide the winners of the Academy of Food and Wine scholarships.
We have been on an extraordinary journey. At times, I've been overjoyed.
And at times, you have seriously wound me up.
You've realised first-hand now the buzz that you can get from delivering good service
and the great camaraderie.
You seven here have become one. You've become a team.
My judgment has to be based on who I think has the most potential...
..who has the ability to go all the way.
The art of serving wine is very complex.
It is something which you have to be very passionate about,
something that is a skill,
a huge skill.
My first choice is for the sommelier scholarship.
And my choice is...
Oh, my God! What the hell?
Do you want my tissue? It is a bit wet. > Thank you.
-What the hell?
-You have won the sommelier scholarship
and you will be taken under the wing of some master sommeliers
-and I know you will not let me down.
-APPLAUSE Thank you.
-Well done, darling.
There are two exceptional candidates
for the front of house scholarship.
It's been so difficult for me.
There's just no way I could say one or the other.
Therefore, I have decided that we should have two scholarships.
The first of the two scholarships goes to a young man
who I know is going to be a leading light in our industry.
-And that's James.
-Oh, yes! APPLAUSE
Well done, James.
Well done. Well done, mate. Well done.
The second goes to somebody who I feel has masses of potential
and has grown so much.
And that is you, Ashley.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Oh, he's nearly crying!
Well done, Ash. Well done.
You deserve it. Well done.
CHEERING AND WHISTLING
For me, you are all winners. You've all crossed that line.
You can all leave with your head held high.
Thank you. Thank you, Fred.
Well done, guys.
Ashley, that's amazing. Look at that. I'm so proud of you, man. Honestly.
Ashley has epitomised exactly what this training is all about.
He's proved to me and to everybody that it is possible.
When I had made my mind up about Danielle, yeah, I was happy.
When she's focused and when she gets over her nerves, she can do well. She can do very well.
My journey here has ended,
but with this, it's just where it begins, innit?
See what happens from here!
James obviously has the maturity and the skills there,
but this has given him a direction in life, it's given him the focus.
So he's going to follow that route and I'm sure he's going to do really well.
I think Fred has got a little something to say to you.
We have a job available in the bar at Galvin.
-And if you want it, you can have it.
This is a major, major chance.
-Working with Fred.
-Screw the scholarships!
I've learnt that if I put my mind to something, I can be good at it.
Gerard is one of the best sommeliers in the world, if not the best,
and he said he was 'in awe of the performance I did today'. That was his exact words.
For someone to say that to me, I feel quite humbled.
This doesn't feel like I've lost at all.
But I am a little bit disappointed that I didn't get it.
I think everyone feels like that.
But the guys that have got it, absolutely congratulations. I'm just glad to have been part of the team.
I just didn't think I was going to get it, so I am really excited
and I can't wait to get started.
It's true what he says about I should have faith in myself like everyone else has
because that's all that he's ever said to me,
that I can achieve it and that if I've got faith, it will happen.
BROOKE: I never knew before this that this could be a career.
Eight weeks ago, I was working part-time for two hours a day
as a dinner lady in a primary school.
I wasn't doing much with the rest of my days and to me, I was a bit of a bum.
There was so much more potential that I needed to get out.
Michel's done that for me. He's brought all that potential out.
I feel proud and privileged to have worked with this motley crew of mine.
They have really given me great heart and belief for the future and they have such a bright future.
Our industry has a bright future if we can get more of these guys.
-Well done. You so deserve it, man.
-See you later. Take care.
It's been a long road for all Michel's trainees,
but for Ashley who quit school at 14 and ended up with an ASBO,
today is a day he thought he might never see.
I just can't even get my head round it. I can't believe it, seriously.
I've achieved something and...
It means so much.
It means so much, this, to be honest, because all I wanted to do was get away from...things.
And now I've...I've done it.
# You can lose your troubled thoughts
# For tonight at least
# You can wake in the morning
# Feeling that you can breathe
# Little darling, you're mine for tonight... #
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.
After eight weeks of intensive tuition, Michel's trainees reach their final hurdle. For their last challenge, he wants them to take over service at his own two Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Gavroche. Established over 40 years ago by Michel's father and uncle, Le Gavroche is famed as the restaurant that kickstarted the British food revolution.
Booked in for the special lunch are 50 leading restaurant professionals, some of whom have helped train Michel's charges over the previous two months. With the input of these expert judges, Michel will finally make his decision: which two of his trainees have the most potential and should be awarded the life-changing scholarships that will launch their careers in high-end service.
To prepare his trainees, Michel sends them to work with the man whose judgement he respects more than anyone else's in the industry: his father Albert Roux, currently guest chef at the Gatsby Club. Gatsby goers will pay up to 3,000 pounds for lunch and the trainees must serve these guests under the watchful eye of Albert and his old lieutenant, Silvano Garaldin, maitre d'hotel at Le Gavroche for 30 years and known as the godfather of British service. Back at le Gavroche, the trainees prepare for their last lunch service as a team.