I feel there’s a genuine need for putting service at the top of the menu. I don’t think the greater public understand the complexity of great service, or what goes on behind the scenes. Hopefully this programme on service will bring that to life and show people.
I’ve become very attached to the trainees in this show. After the training period I did feel very much a father figure, and I’m still in contact with them.
This is not just a one-off, flash in the pan TV show. Whether we commission another series or not, the work will carry on. We’ve always promoted and tried to help youth. Its something very dear to my heart and it’s the Roux ethos to help the youngsters.
We all know good food can be ruined by bad service. If you were to have mediocre food but exceptionally good service you’d be more prepared to go back to a restaurant, whereas if the service was terrible and the food was great you wouldn’t think twice.
The issue I have with food is that good service should be everywhere, whether you spend £5, £50 or £500. It shouldn’t just be restricted to fine dining.
The British have a problem understanding that service is not servitude or being servile. It can be a fantastic career choice and very rewarding.
Why should we have to go abroad to get waiters? Out of my front of house team of 26, I only have three British which is wrong.
I consider myself a restaurateur. I am a chef and that’s what I’m good at, but as a restaurateur I fully understand that my food is not the be all and end all. That’s the important message we have to put across.
Reading what the customer wants is really difficult. Some want to be pandered on, some want every morsel on their plate described in full, and it’s up to the maitre ‘d and waiter to identify their requirements. That takes years of experience and even then you can sometimes get it wrong.
What’s great about this industry is everyday is a different challenge. There are very few jobs where you have a live audience for lunch and dinner. It is tough but so rewarding when things go right.
I’ve had a lot going on in the last year, with Roux at the Landau and Parliament Square opening, a new book published, my app is now out and I’m also training for the London marathon. There have been 101 things going on but that’s always been the Roux way.
Running not only helps improve my fitness but it’s a way of de-stressing and a way of life. It takes self-discipline to say, ‘sorry I’m not doing anything else I’m going for a run so leave me alone’.
There are days where I think I may have bitten off too much, but that’s the beauty of it. I get up every day before my alarm; I love what I do and I love the challenge.
Roux at Parliament Square is doing well now but took a while to get the business. It’s an iconic location but not an automatic place people would think to go out for dining. We initially had a few teething problems with the students and various other things that have put a spanner in the works. But that’s all ironed out now.