Michel Roux is on a personal mission - to take eight young people who have never considered a career as front-of-house restaurant staff, and prove to them that it is an industry that can change their lives. In just two months, he wants to take his trainees from the high street to the high end - learning skills that will enable them to take over service at his own two Michelin-starred restaurant. Ultimately Michel will choose the best two trainees and award them life-changing scholarships.
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.