Through initiatives such as the Gold Service Scholarship, front of house is finally getting the recognition it deserves, says Pride of Britain's Peter Hancock
Several recent events have put a big smile on my face because at last it seems that front-of-house service is receiving the recognition it has always deserved. In fact I would go as far as to say that the chip on my shoulder formed when starting as a waiter 35 years ago has finally been lifted.
Last October the Academy of Food & Wine Service generously presented me with their inaugural Diamond Award, which I suspect had more to do with speaking out than dishing out. Nonetheless I take pride in still being regarded as a member of the service side of our industry.
Then in January we had a tremendous night at Pennyhill Park going "Back to the Floor" for Hospitality Action, with 20 doyens of the luxury hotel sector clearly revelling in the joy of serving their highly appreciative guests.
Time and again we have observed that TV chefs enjoy so much more attention that their colleagues at the pass, but even this could be changing. Fred Sirieix and Silvano Geraldin, for example, have high profiles, while the number of programmes devoted to cooking may have reached saturation point. And surely we can expect Rebecca to become well known after her year being mentored by the best in the business.
As a marketer, there is a limit to the value we can place on good food and beautiful surroundings. Most of Pride of Britain's customers have these at home after all. What they are really paying for, and what produces a luxury experience, is great service in all its forms.
Coming up soon is National Waiters Day (23 June) and another chance to showcase rising stars. For too long front of house has been at the back of people's minds. But hark… is that Cinderella's coach I hear approaching?