A former hairdresser, a university graduate and an ex-unemployed person walked off with three Academy of Food and Wine Scholarships on the final episode of Michel Roux's Service, which was aired on the BBC last night.
The eight-week programme, in which the Le Gavroche owner attempted to turn eight directionless youngsters into talented waiters and waitresses, climaxed with the group running a service for industry figures at Roux's famous Mayfair restaurant, before three of the final seven contestants received the coveted scholarships.
Danielle Meenagh, 18, a former hairdresser, won the sommelier scholarship, and has spent the last six months on a placement at the Hotel du Vin in Winchester.
With Roux unable to choose between two contestants for the maitre d' scholarship, he decided to award it to two contestants. Privately educated university graduate James Marvin, 24, walked off with one, and has been training at London's Galvin at Windows, while 21-year-old Ashley Flay, who was unemployed before the programme started, took the other, and has trained at the Hyatt Regency London The Churchill.
After the six-month placements each scholar will complete three week-long stages at establishments including London's Le Gavroche and The Ritz, Chewton Glen in Hampshire and the Waterside Inn in Bray. The remaining four contestants are all currently employed in the hospitality industry.
General manager at Galvin at Windows Fred Sirieix, who was a mentor to the contestants during the filming, said: "This programme is about trainees but also about youth; the courage and desire to be someone. This industry is very small and if you do well at one place that is with you forever. All you need to do is mention that to go on to bigger and better things. This programme has inspired and educated people and I hope people now know how rewarding our industry can be."
By Tom Vaughan
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