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Great service matters almost more to Michel Roux than great food. He believes waiters and sommeliers are the unsung stars of the restaurant world; their brilliance transforming an ordinary meal into an unforgettable experience. In this new series, Michel is on a personal mission to train eight young people as front-of-house superstars, none of whom have previously considered this as a career. But this isn't just about transforming these young people into great waiters. Good service involves discipline, care for others and self confidence so, for Michel, learning to serve others will mean developing essential life skills.
|S01E01||Episode 1||12/01/2011||Michel's trainees experience the brilliance of Michelin starred service before cutting their teeth in the busy world of the High Street restaurant. Serving over 100 customers on Saturday night, Michel gets to see just what his new recruits are made of.|
|S01E02||Episode 2||13/01/2011||Michel wants his trainees to learn an essential quality for any top maitre D; how to keep customers returning again and again. Its not just Michelin starred restaurants that rely on repeat customers. Knowing that regulars are the life-blood of their business, the best family run cafes provide friendly, attentive service. So he takes his trainees to run the busy breakfast service at one of London's oldest greasy spoon cafes. The pace might be frenetic but the regular customers keep returning because the service is so friendly and efficient. Then it is off to Birmingham, to an award winning curry house, where owner Raj Rana follows the old Indian mantra that the 'guest is god'. Serving over 60 of the restaurants regulars, can Michel's trainees provide the standard of service they have come to expect?|
|S01E03||Episode 3||19/01/2011||This time Michel wants his trainees to understand the importance of serving people at life's special occasions. They travel to the affluent Cheshire countryside, home of some very wealthy diners and some equally exclusive restaurants. Their destination is a top-notch brasserie, the regulars of which include premiership footballers and their wives. Here regular diners come to celebrate their birthdays or anniversaries. Michel wants to see how his charges instinctively cope with the intimate, attentive service demanded at the brasserie. So his trainees are immediately immersed in the task of serving a private lunch for a party of women who regularly meet up there. The trainees need to learn fast, as in two days time Michel wants them to run service for the whole brasserie during a busy evening service. Michel arranges for the trainees to serve at one couple's very special day, their wedding, and they have only one chance to show the standard of care and attention to detail that Michel demands. Back at the brassierie, over 100 diners are booked in to the restaurant's two floors. With some very demanding customers, it's a night that will test attention to detail, attentiveness and efficiency. With a complex menu of specials, and a long wine list, the trainees' knowledge will be put under severe scrutiny.|
|S01E04||Episode 4||20/01/2011||Now nearly half-way through their training, Michel takes his trainees out of the restaurant, and into the world of five-star hotel service. Over a busy bank holiday weekend, the trainees' challenge is to serve the high-paying guests at an exclusive country house hotel in the heart of Dartmoor, where the motto is 'the guests can have what they want, whenever they want it'. Some of the trainees, like Ashley and Brooke, are eager to show Michel how much they want one of the two scholarships he will be ultimately awarding. They throw themselves into meeting and greeting the high-paying guests, the 24-hour room service and the challenges of formal dining. But for other trainees the demanding guests and the opulent surroundings make them question whether a career in high-end service can ever be for them. Single parent Nikitta feels out of place and ill at ease. Privately educated James bristles when asked to serve a family in the intimate setting of their own guest chalet; 'I feel like their servant'. Michel wants his trainees to pull together and take over a very special evening service; the hotel guests all wish to dine al fresco. Out on the terrace every mistake will be amplified and there is nowhere for the trainees to hide.|
|S01E05||Episode 5||26/01/2011||To test his trainees, Michel sets up their very own pop-up restaurant in the exclusive surroundings of the Kensington Roof Gardens in London's West End. He designs a special menu that will demand that they learn new skills; beef and lamb will be carved at table. Dover sole must be filleted. And dessert consists of crepe suzette that must be flambéed in front of the guests. The 60 guests who are booked for lunch are no strangers to fine dining. Food bloggers, restaurant critics and industry professionals, they will provide a robust test of the trainees' new skills. To prepare them for the challenges ahead, Michel takes his charges to some of the most established restaurants in London. Under the guidance of head carver Gerry Rae, they are taught to carve and fillet cuts of meat at Simpsons on the Strand. Working with Simon Girling, restaurant manager at the Ritz, Michel's charges are taught the speed, judgement and finesse that goes into preparing crepe suzette. With a pan and burner, the trainees learn the correct proportion of brandy, orange juice, zest and sugar that go into making this iconic dessert. The Ritz standard demands that a crepe take no longer than four minutes to prepare. Any more and one guest will have finished their dessert whilst another is still waiting.|
|S01E06||Episode 6||27/01/2011||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.|
|S01E07||Episode 7||02/02/2011||Decision time is looming and Michel brings his trainees back to London, to test their developing skills on some very special guests. Bespoke private dining is a growing phenomenon where wealthy diners pay for the restaurant experience to be tailor-made for them. Gok Wan, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Diarmuid Gavin have been personally chosen by Michel for their love of eating out and for their very different menu requests. Split into three teams, each catering for their very own VIP, Michel wants his trainees to go head-to-head. But charged with planning every aspect of their guests' evenings, from table decorating through to choosing the menu and matching, the trainees will be under the spotlight like never before. To prepare them for their intimidating dinner parties and the intensity of intimate service, Michel takes his trainees to one of the biggest days in the polo calendar, the Royal Windsor Cup. When the evening of the bespoke dinner parties arrives, some of the trainees struggle to cope with the added responsibility demanded of them. On his own monitor in the kitchen, Michel sees enough to know that some of his trainees are ruling themselves out of the running.|
|S01E08||Episode 8||03/02/2011||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.|