Success of Michel Roux's service inspires front-of-house qualification

by James Stagg, Friday 4th February 2011 10:36

The Academy of Food and Wine Service (AFWS) is to create a single professional roadmap for front of house following the success of BBC2 TV programme Michel Roux's Service.

The qualification begins at entry level and can be followed through to a foundation degree in food and beverage management.

"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," explained AFWS deputy chairman and director Paul Breach at last night's screening of the final episode.

The show has raised the profile of front-of-house disciplines, with AFWS reporting record interest in their website and membership enquiries.

"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," added Breach.

The eight-part series came to an end last night, when three trainees were awarded work scholarships.

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.

After the six-month scholarships each will complete three week-long stages 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.

Speaking at the AFWS screening event last night, Fred Sirieix said: "The programme has inspired and educated people and I hope people now know how rewarding this industry can be."

Addressing the trainees, he added: "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."

AFWS executive director Sophie Roberts-Brown said the programme had managed to put the issue of service on the agenda.

She added: "Apart from the trainees, the real stars of the show have been Michel Roux Jnr and Fred Sirieix. It has been wonderful to see their gentle patience with the trainees, their inspiration and passion and the humanity they displayed. You could see all the trainees respond positively to this approach, which has been a lesson in how important it is to have faith and trust in the people you are training."

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By James Stagg


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