Renowned restaurant maitre d' Fred Sirieix is to be presented with a British Citizen Award in recognition of his work with Galvin's Chance and the Clean Slate, his prison pop-up.
The British Citizen Awards, which will be presented at the House of Lords on 28 January, are designed to recognise individuals doing extraordinary things in the local community.
Sirieix, general manager of Galvin at Windows, who now enjoys celebrity status thanks to his role in Channel 4's First Dates, said he was happy and proud to be receiving the award.
The award acknowledges his work in founding Galvin's Chance, an into work programme for young people and, more recently, the Clean Slate, which turns the staff restaurants in fully functioning prisons into pop-ups using existing equipment and materials.
He told The Caterer: "I started Galvin's Chance because I work in Mayfair, but live in Peckham, and witnessed a wave of crime when I was looking for a school for my daughter, who is now 11. I did not want her to grow up in this environment and so I thought if I wanted to change it, I had to do something about it myself. The world is what we make it!
"A few months after we launched the initiative, her primary school teacher was stabbed in the arm by a young boy who wanted her bag. One month ago, in Dulwich, a boy was stabbed in the school we applied for her to go to for secondary school. This is crazy!"
Galvin's Chance was launched by Sirieix and Chris Galvin, chef-patron of Galvin at Windows, in 2009, and targets people aged 18-24 who are not in education or employment. It offers them training and opportunities for a front of house career in some of the most prestigious hotels, restaurants and food service management organisations in London.
The Clean Slate is an initiative devised by Sirieix in conjunction with HM Prison Isis, a category C prison for male young offenders up to age 30. He uses the pop-up to teach young offenders professional skills to help them enter the world of hospitality once they have completed their prison term.
"The prison pop-up goes to the heart of the matter. We teach high standards, and the value of what we do. Service is a religion and its teachings apply in all aspects of life. One needs to know what is good and bad and what is good and bad service in order to wow the customers. I think it is an excellent school for those young offenders. Fifty per cent reoffend, but with a job it is less likely."
Sirieix, who won the Manager of the Year Catey in 2013, joined forces with The Caterer at the end of 2015 to launch a comprehensive service training tool. Working with online training company Gravy for the Brain, he has created the Art of Service, which allows anybody from waiting staff to restaurant managers to hone their service skills using video and interactive Q&A.
Click here to find out more about the Art of Service.