The eight-part TV show, which came to its conclusion last night, was produced with the close involvement of the AFWS, a professional body for front-of-house service.
It brought the sector into the spotlight, by following a six-month learning curve of eight new front-of-house recruits, none of whom had previously thought of hospitality as a career path.
“Michel Roux’s Service has given the Academy a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of front-of-house further and to demonstrate the broad range of exciting career opportunities available,” said AFWS deputy chairman and director Paul Breach last night at a screening event of the programme’s final episode.
“The ball is now rolling to make front of house an attractive place to work, helped by some of the fantastic role models in the programme such as Academy members Laura Rhys at TerraVina, Peter Avis at Babylon, Ronan Sayburn at Hotel du Vin and of course Fred Sirieix, all of whom are at the top of their profession and following interesting, rewarding careers,” Breach told the show’s trainees, their mentor and other industry members who attended last night’s screening.
In order to continue the drive, AFWS will establish a single professional qualification roadmap for front-of-house beginning at entry level and which can be followed through to a foundation degree in food and beverage management.
The Academy said its new professional training framework will also include opportunities for existing employees to develop higher craft, supervisory and management skills by attending short, work-based seminars, master classes and on-line learning programmes with mentor support leading to nationally recognised qualifications.
Training information, fact sheets on various aspects of service, career guides and video interviews with the stars of Michel Roux’s Service are available to watch or download on the Academy’s website at www.afws.co.uk.
‘You can do it’
Fred Sirieix, general manager of Galvin at Windows, who had mentored the trainees in the show, told them yesterday: “The programme has inspired and educated people and I hope people now know how rewarding this industry can be.”
“Whenever anyone says you can’t do something, you can do it. You have learnt life skills and social skills and these are transferable and you need to remember them.”
The final series of the TV show awarded work scholarships to three trainees: Danielle Meenagh, 18, is training at Hotel du Vin, Winchester; Ashley Flay, 21, is at Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill; and James Marvin, 24, is at the Hilton Park Lane.
Since the filming was completed all three have almost finished their six-month work scholarships and will then embark on three week-long stages at high profile establishments including Le Gavroche, Babylon at the Roof Gardens, Chewton Glen, The Ritz, The Waterside Inn, Galvin at Windows, Lucknam Park, and Bovey Castle.
Three of the other trainees are already pursuing careers in the industry, with Brooke Arnold, 18, working with Fred Sirieix at Galvin at Windows, Tom Burrows, 20, on a management trainee course with Zizzi’s and Niki Bedson, 23, in bar service.