SECRET SERVICE: Lifting the Lid on the Restaurant WorldFRED SERIEIX Book Number: 90148 Product format: Hardback
General Manager at Park Lane's prestigious Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows, Fred Serieix (a recent visitor to Bibliophile!) is known to millions as the Maître d' in Channel 4's First Dates programme. After learning the trade with major restaurateurs, including Michel Roux Jr who writes the introduction, Fred knows the business inside out. Stories of his early days include the Sri Lankan at the Monte Carlo Beach who would throw a knife with hair's breadth accuracy if his sexuality was so much as mentioned. A veteran tells Fred to look closely at the restaurant clientele so that he can recognise them when they appear on television accused of tax evasion or murder. There is a rhythm to every restaurant which may vary depending how busy it is, but Fred's rule of thumb is to send in the starter 10-12 minutes from the point of order, and the main 15-20 minutes after the starter has been finished. We learn the secret of recording the orders so that the waiters know who has ordered what even if there is a change of shift in the middle. If someone leaves a plate of food, they may simply not like it and a good waiter should encourage them to accept the offer of a replacement dish. Spying is essential, for instance checking your competitors' menus and prices and subscribing to their newsletters. Sometimes the Maître d' has to be firm, and Fred describes what happened next when some posh diners placed a plate of food on the floor, or when a couple had sex under the table. Never a dull moment. 246pp.
Published price: £16.99
Bibliophile price: £6.00