As an Epicurean, you love restaurants and probably followed “Service” the 8- part fly-on-the-wall documentary series starring Michel Roux Jnr, the Michelin 2-star super chef (Le Gavroche, Mayfair) and a cast of hopeless youngsters, many of whom had never seen the inside of a restaurant. Roux is worried about the future of “service” and decided to begin a training course. He put his eight students to work in various stressful situations, in restaurants and hotels in the UK and France. Finally they proved they could, more or less, cut the mustard, most are now gainfully employed and three snagged a six-month scholarship at two top London hotels.
The trainees were coached by French born Fred Sirieix (say it see-ree-ex) General Manager at Galvin at Windows, who also co-hosted the show with Roux. “Waiters should be like ghosts, neither seen nor heard”, he says. Sirieix should know he's spent his professional life in the business, did a stint as private butler during his French Military Service. Among countless awards are Tatler's “Best Front of House” and Best Restaurant Team at the “Hotel Cateys”.
Following on the theme is, “The Art of Service” a board game created by Sirieix, he spoke exclusively to us about his concept, available on theartofservice.co.uk and soon globally.
When did you first think of presenting The Art of Service as a board game?
I first thought of the AOS about 18 months ago. I wanted to create a structured, consistent, creative and fun way to learn about service and hospitality. Training can be so dull at times, it you want your team to perform you need to give them clear direction and inspire them. This is what the AOS does.
How long did it take to develop?
It took a good 15 months to develop from the moment I started to the moment the first prototypes were manufactured.
Did you have to show it to many people before you found someone who wanted to construct it?
I did show it to many people to ensure the game worked and the learning process flowed. I am so lucky and have been supported by many of the industry heavy guns from Marina O'Loughlin to Michel Roux jnr, Chris Galvin, Marcus Wearing, Mark Lewis and Jeremy Wayne to name but a few.
It was tested at Le Gavroche, Compass group, Chapter One in Kent and its' sister restaurant in Blackheath (Chapters All day Dining) as well as El Pirata De Tapas in Westbourne Grove. I use it extensively at Galvin at Windows, it helps me deliver our results.
Did the candidates for Michel Roux's service take part?
In a way yes. The game is what my training is based on and therefore this is what I taught them. However the BBC has very strict rules and I was not able to use it for that reason.
How much will it cost?
The game will be sold £375 in the UK (pre-order) and £450 thereafter.
Will it be sold in France? USA?
It will be, once I find a distributor in these countries. China is another big market and opportunity which I will also concentrate on.
Who are your target markets?
Hotels, restaurants, catering colleges. restaurant chains. The Art of Service is universal.
Have you had any orders yet?
Yes, Hilton Group have ordered 20 copies.
Where can people buy the game?
Not a member?
To share your thoughts sign up now. You'll also be entered into the weekly lunchtime lottery.