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Fred Sirieix: ‘I was training to be a chef, but I thought it would kill my soul’

The First Dates star and maître d’ on what his parents taught him about service, the value of hospitality and his pride in his Olympian daughter

I was born in food. My dad used to say: “We don’t have much money and we don’t have fancy cars, but we always have good food in the fridge and on the table.” My parents would buy fillet steaks, foie gras, oysters, lobster; they love good quality food. Every day we had a three-course meal: starter, main and dessert and cheese before dessert. Every single day.

My parents were nurses in a hospital in Limoges and they talked a lot about work at the dinner table: about patient care and the service that was provided to the patient and how they were making the customer, the patient, feel. And, for me, this informed the way I work in restaurants [as a maître d’hôtel]. It was about organisation, it was about trust, it was aboutefficiency, it was about timing, it was about attention to detail. And it was about quality. I was cradled in it; I was almost brainwashed in a particular way of doing things.

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