Full Disclosure with James O'Brien

Award-winning LBC presenter and best-selling author James O’Brien hosts a series of compelling conversations with fascinating people. These are revealing interviews with people who rarely give in-depth interviews, be it from politics, entertainment or news. Subscribe to get a new episode every Friday.

Fred Sirieix

Fred Sirieix

Thu, 16 Mar 2023 22:00

He's the nation's most loved maître d' and the first face seen by singletons looking for love of Channel 4's First Dates. But behind the friendliness and warm exterior is a man serious about service and hospitality. Fred speaks to James about his how his parents' career in the French health service made him the man he is today as well as his latest series, Fred's Last Resort which sees him train British contestants in the art of high-end hotel service.

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This is a global player original podcast. Hello and welcome to Full disclosure, a podcast project that is designed to let me spend more time than I would get on the radio with people who are objectively fascinating. And this week's guest, Fred Sirieix. Did I say that right? Correct. Thank you fits into that category. We should start by saying thank you for finding the time to talk to us. Right, because you are currently in one of those purple periods career wise where everybody wants a piece of you. Well, thank you for having me. Actually. I'm really excited to be here. I'm a big fan and I'm not just saying here because, you know, I'm familiar with, you know, obviously if I didn't like you, I wouldn't be here. That's exactly right. But I really find you, you know, very intelligent, very articulate. I like the way you put your points across on the radio and now you, you, you, you, you, you articulate yourself, you know. And there was one particular discussion that you had not so long. Call about gay marriage and you had caller who came on and you were talking about Leviticus and you quote you were quoting it and you was quoting it too. But what you were doing is asking some very simple, very logical and reasonable questions to this man as to understand his point of view and see whether there was any flaws and you basically eat a brick wall. And I I just find this fascinating. I mean it's not just this is just an example. I think it's very very obvious example. The man who quote Leviticus to say, well, you, a man cannot lay with a man. But then the same token, you know, in the same passage there is, you know, you can sell your daughter to slavery but he didn't link the two together. And, you know, I think it's what's happening a little bit in in the world now. I think it's happened all the time, but I think it's more polarised now in terms of people's point of view and the inability of people to actually question their thinking and the reasoning and the logic behind their thinking. And I find sometimes when I'm when I'm confronting. Such thinking and such conversations, you know, I don't know what to do because I'd like to say, look this is 1 + 1 + 1 equal 3. There is no other way, you know, this is this is what it is. This is the truth. And there is such thing as universal truth. I think. Yes. But we can't seem to reach that. And we have division, you know, and we meet on the day that or the day after Suella Braverman made her latest announcements in the House of Commons about refugees in small boats. And a lot of that often seems to be devoid of observable. Reality, doesn't it? A lot of that's I was thinking about that and you know, I mean it's very sad actually that a statement like that can be made. And I can see the controversy with Gary Lineker and his point. And I mean I'm on the point, I'm on the side of Gary Lineker here. The thing is I think that the government that doesn't have concrete economic policy to make the country better, that's what we're talking about here. We're talking about better education, we're talking about better healthcare, better NHS, more opportunities for people. You know, our children to be happy. If you don't have anything concrete to offer that can yield results, then we've seen that through our history. You know, politicians use divisive politics and and, and and and this is their strategy, basically the strategy. There's no strategy. We're going to divide people. We're going to find a scapegoat and this is what we we had in Europe in the 30s. There was a scapegoat, you know, it was all down to the Jews. And once we get rid of them, everything is going to be better. And obviously this led to the war and and look what happened I mean but what I don't understand is we are discussing this issue and we are giving equal equal platform to both point of view when actually this it is not equal you know it's it's it's not even a 5 percent 95% it's it's right and wrong it's right and wrong and this is you know when you when you think of you know Socrates and and and the way that he held the pursuit of virtue as a meaning. Of life virtue is knowing what is good and bad, right and wrong. And clearly this is wrong, but somebody is pursuing that policy and and they just going to such lengths to articulate it, to explain it when actually they don't have a leg to stand on. I don't understand. Do you have a moral upbringing? Very. Was it religious? Not religious at all. My parents were both nurses and actually that played a big role in my upbringing in the way that my parents were working in the same hospital, in the same service. Cardiology. My dad was in the intensive care unit, my mum was in the in, in the wing next door. They had just had a door separating them and when they were at home and we were having our three course meal as part of our ritual. But I was daily life, you know, my mom would cook up, my dad would cook three course meal for lunch and for dinner. Invariably they would talk about work and the thing that they were talking about was about centered around the patient. The patient was was everything. It was about the patient care, the patient experience and how those people in those bed were feeling as a result of the care they were receiving. So it's all down to the individual as well as the collective as well the people who are working within this, this service to make sure that professionally, you know, it's it's the best care that you can get. But also it's warm. It's about hospitality and so it's about your your, your, your, your ability to be professional, your reliability, your loyalty, your, your, your kindness, you know and I think that's you don't need to be religious to be kind. No of course not. I just wondered cause you know yes of course I do. I I couldn't agree more. And in fact, sometimes we make the mistake of talking about humanity or humanitarian values as being religious values. But I just wanted because France is still or was when you were growing up. It's still quite a Catholic country. There was still quite a lot of religion around. The church still had a a degree of power. But I love this idea of your parents speaking proudly of the work that they do and you just absorbing a sort of sense of service and duty. Yeah, I think this is, this is fundamental. I mean, you know, for my dad, you know, for example or. Mom, you know, when when they were talking about working for them, it was a case of I wouldn't like to be in this bed if I was receiving a substandard care. And I've got to give the best care that I can give because one day is going to be me or my mom or my children in their bed. And, you know, if I don't do that, I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm a hypocrite. I I have double standards because I I can give substandard care to a patient and yet I wouldn't want to receive that care. So come on, let's just be fair, you know, and, you know we talk about, you know, it's awful as beautifully simple. Life balance, you know, we talk about all these things but you need to deliver, you know, on the basic you know, this is just and would this, you would just be absorbing this as a child or would your mum and dad be almost? Teaching you is it, you know, I think you were just witnessing conversations rather than being lectured. I, you know, it was a conversation. I just heard this conversation, you know, day in day out, this conversation. You know that my parents would and it would be invariably the same one. I judge everybody's reliability and honesty with my dad. My dad has never disappointed me, has never let me down. You know if you say he's going to be here at 2:00 o'clock if he says he's going to do this or call that person or do you know? Does it. And so for me, it's sometimes it's difficult when I'm working with people or, you know, people let me down. My parents, you know, the base, the very foundation that I had as a kid was I was never let down. And it was always talked about. You don't let people down. If you say it, you do it. In. In medicine, there's more at stake, isn't there with reliability than in any other walk of life. But you've carried it into all corners of your existence. Well, I think are you, would your daughter say the same about you? I hope so. Yeah. I hope so. Were you an only child with their siblings at home? No. I have a brother, my brother, he's younger. He's three years younger. He's actually in Cambridge. OK. He's a doctor, PhD, so he's a researcher. He's a he's a big brain. He's the brain of the family. So what were you like as a sort of primary school age growing up in limos? What was school? What sort of relationship with school did you have? I love school. Up to when I was about 14 or 15, you know, up to the college time. And I OK, results. My parents were very present, you know, to do my homework. My mum, you know, before I was going to play, he would say to me, have you done your homework? Yes. OK, come and recite your history lesson. And if I couldn't recite it by heart, I'll have to go back to my room and learn it again. And that was the way it was. And and then I went to the Lisa, which was quite a big school, you know, it was a Lisa Renoir in Limoges. It was more than a southern students. And I did Angel. I didn't like it. I just, I didn't see the point. And at that moment, I decided to join a catering college. So when I told my mom I wanted to be to to join a catering college, she says right away, look, there's a catering College in Le Marsh, but it's just open and I don't think it's good enough. I think you gotta go further. You gotta go 150 kilometres down the road to Soyak, which was a boarding school, catering college, but it was number three in France at the time, said, because if you are with the best, it will rub off and you've got to go there. And at first I didn't have a place because there was 10 demands for one place in that. Cool. You know, the school was run by a head teacher, was a public school, you know, not something that you paid for, you know, whatever, 20 grand a month or whatever. And the head teacher was running that school as if it was his own business, OK? And he had such pride. The teaching staff were incredible. And what it wanted is wanted every single kid to have a job when they finish. Yes, when they finished schooling. But they didn't teach us to be in little restaurant and there they wanted us to be in the Premier League of Restaurant, a Premier League of Hotel. And that was taught in to us, you know, so when you for example. In the morning. You had the roll call, you know, the head teacher would come and he would walk like a general, you know, inspecting his troops with his arm behind his back. You had to to wear a suit and a tie. You had to shave. You know, it was it was quite quite the upbringing but I think it was very important because you know, it's they were teaching us to be in five star hotels, five star restaurants, you know, to be at the very top of the Premier League of restaurants. And you know, appearance are key and and it's also about the mindset. It's about a way you appear. How you think. And I think that that that that taught me well, you're done. I know I've read that your dad would shave before even doing the night shift as well, wouldn't you? So this notion of smartness and tidy mind, tidy, tidy. Well, yes. I mean, this is, you know, this is my 10 golden rules of service. And one of the rules #7 is always look your best. And, and it's come from my dad because he was shaving every day before he was going to work and he had this French mustache, you know, like a French cop, you know, like, like you have still has it actually. And one day when I was a very young boy, I asked him, I said, dad, you know, why do you shave? Before you go to work. And you said, you know, Fred, I need to shave because I need to look the part. I need to inspire confidence. People need to to know and think I'm a professional as I go into the rooms, you know, to see the patients because although it was a nurse, he thought he was a doctor. Sure. And he was very good at his job. Very, very good. And it's not me saying it's because I have talked to people who've worked with him. And it's just the pride that he has when he talked about his job. And one day he entered the room and, you know, when you grew up in Limoge in the 80s or rather. When you were in hospital in the 80s, you know, and you were from that part of the world and you were in the intensive care unit of the cardiology unit, you know, chances are you were in a bad way, right? Clearly. And a lot of the people there at that time, you know, where 7080 were in hospital, a lot of them didn't speak French as their first language, OK? They would speak the patwa, the local dialect. In fact, my mom come to my mom and dad come from 30 to 30 kilometres apart and they both speak a different dialect now. They can understand each other, but it's two different languages anyway. That look at this man, he had the the sheet covering up his his, his nose up to his eyes. That look looked terrified. Of course he's plugged in from everywhere, you know, with the machines, you know. And that looks at him and he goes Kovac on pal and Kovac Champa in the local dialect means how are you grandfather Ohh. And you know when I'm talking about hospitality it's about making connection and bones it's creating trust. And the sheet come down and that connection was made right. This is where it starts. And you know when it's not an obvious crossover until you or Someone Like You starts talking about it. And and because there's much more at stake in a intensive care ward than there is in a restaurant or a hotel of course but but the parallels are pretty clear. Where? Where did this ambition come from? It's because it's a lot. More commonplace in France to aspire or to develop the ambition to work in hospitality than it is in the United Kingdom, but it's still not an obvious course for the son of two nurses to go down. I had a friend who was a pastry chef, you know, with tell you, you were just looking around, you were growing up, you knew you had to do something. You know, I think that I wanted to do something that was different. I didn't want to be like everybody else. And what I like is that he was working very early in the morning and working when people were were sleeping. And I like that. I didn't want to be the same as everybody else. And just like Jamie Oliver talked about that as well when you first started doing service in restaurants, he loved that idea of almost being in a in a hinterland, you know, in a separate. Moving at a different pace from the rest of the world needs to buzz. You know when you do a service and you run a busy restaurant, busy hotel, you know and it's just busy, you get a buzz as if you're on stage. Yes you know when you are doing a gig. Yes you know and and this is if every day you get that buzz and of course it can be difficult because you get tired and and and the key is that you need to be consistent. You need to always be up to be at that level so that you deliver that an incredible experience to people. Do you need to be a bit of a show off? Not really, but it's a bit. I mean you talk about being on stage. We talk on the podcast a lot about the look at me, gene. A lot of my guests have the look at me, gene, but some surprising ones don't. There is a performance here and a performance needs an audience. It's a performance to be a pro and you have different guests who have different needs and some people they like a bit of a sure. Other people, they like discretion of course. And I think it's important that you are able to relate to your guest and and it's about them, it's not about you, they're about them. Yeah, you derive. With much pleasure from looking after somebody who doesn't want to notice you as you do from somebody who wants you to make them feel like $1,000,000. Totally. It's the sale. That's a lovely you have to be good at everything you know. You can't just be you know, if you're not, you have a football player, you know, you can't just be good at the front of the attack. You've got to be good in midfield, you gotta be, you gotta be good everywhere and sometimes you are not seen. But that's what makes the difference. Exactly. I love that. How do you had much experience then of high end hospitality growing up? Had you? Had you? Did you eat? Out as a family much. Did you stay in nice hotels or not so much because my parents were both nurses and sure that's what I thought there were. There were nurses so they were hunting what they were earning in the French NHS. And I remember from time to time we were going to this restaurant called Le Pantalon in not far from Limoge in Hill and my parents were ordering me dovahzul and that was that's why I still loved oversoul like I used to at the time. It's actually, you know, it's a it's an expensive fish and he's special. But for me hospitality started at home. My parents were cooking a meal every day. You know, there's three course meals. So you have a starter. You'd have the mean. You had a cheese, you had a dessert. My mom would cook tarts. Hmm. And, you know, it's so different for, you know, I had neighbours, for example, here who would have tea, you know, where the kids at 5:00 o'clock and it's a sandwich, a bag of crisps and about you're in the UK now, you're talking. Yes, yes, yes, yes. And so, you know, when you, when you are having that, I mean of course in France, you know, the meal time is quite rigid, you know, in terms of you eat at 12, you eat at 7. My, my mom and dad would. And everybody sits down and everybody sit down and you have to be. Long time because the food doesn't wait for you. You have to be respectful to the food and you're here before the food come because the food cannot wait for you and you know my parents were doing parties all the time inviting friends. I mean we had party my my dad would dig a hole in the in the garden and cook a hole lamp and we invite friends and it would be wine and you know that's that's the upbringing of and then the rest was done with catering college and working in places and and learning I got yeah with that bit makes sense I'm just interested in the bit before that but I suppose if if if the Greeks have a word. Philoxenia, which doesn't translate into English or French. It's like a sort of hyper hospitality. It's if, if, if you come to my home and I'm Greek, then I am shamed. If you do not leave happy and full. And that that idea of really looking after the people, which is a beautiful concept that's shining through as you speak, this idea. But it doesn't have to be with Phil auctioneer. It doesn't have to be in a in an establishment or an institution. It will be in the home as well, but it crosses the borders. Crosses the barriers between the home so you look upon people eating in restaurants when you were were were a maitre-d' and and and a waiter, you would see them as your responsibility your your guests almost as if you've cut out the employment chain. You know what I think what's important is it. You know it when you are, when when you when delivering service, you know I don't think there is there is any great, either it's white or black, good or bad. You either deliver an amazing experience or not. And sometimes I work with people. Ohh, Fred, don't worry. You know it's gonna take 10 more minutes. No, it's not. You know, you've got to deliver people. People work hard, you know, and they come and spend their hard earned money in your place. You could deliver that amazing experience. And it's not because in hospitals you can make mistakes that you know ultimately can kill people and but this is not acceptable to make because it's not. There's a mistake. You make an error, but there is negligence. Yes, of course I can accept errors, but you don't make it again. Or if you make it again, you just have to put your hands up and do me. Culpable definition. Negligence. I cannot. I can't stand for that. No. And when you are a pro and you say you're a pro, you gotta deliver. Yeah, but look, I know that I'm sure you you're like me, you know, you, you, you, you, you're working with people. They're saying that they're going to do something and they don't do it. And you think, but why do you say in the 1st place, or if you can't do it, why don't you e-mail me a day before to say you can't do it and offer me a solution? Yes, yes, I do recognise what you describe. This is part of the reason why you're such an interesting. Man, isn't it? Because you have maybe listen, you don't end up on television as as, as as varied as a selection of programs as you have without having. And I know you're going to blush, but you have epic charisma. You bring something, you can go on a TV show with Gordon Ramsay and Gino de Campo and you slot straight in, you know, and they're people who were, if you ask my partner, she says, because I'm mad. Well, it might be because you're mad, but I it's it's, it's a charisma. It's a likability. It's a warmth. But you're a strict ******* as well, right? Yeah. I'm quite strict in the sense that yeah, I know what I want. You know. And, you know if you have you have a responsibility. You know, when you and I like this this is this is a I mean, people trust me. Yeah. And you take it very serious. Yes. Because the only way they're gonna trust me is if I deliver. And the reason why I think my dad is reliable because he's delivered every single day and I cannot, I cannot fault him. So now when I meet people is are you gonna be as reliable as. As my dad. And if you're not, well, yeah, this is the ball. We've got to work towards, I like to get some sort of chronology in these interviews, but it's pretty fluid, it's pretty loose. We're going to work towards the new show, but I want to, I want to ask about it already because Fred's last resort, which sees you take on a sort of ragtag bunch of potential hospitality superstars and one of them gets a big award, they get a plum job at the end of it and they get 10,000 pounds of prize as well. And now how are you likeable throughout, I mean? Surely some of these young people must have got? Of some of the stuff I've read the early publicity that I've read that what one I suspect laziness is, is something that you have very little patience for. No, I don't have patience for laziness. I think, look, I think I'm fair. Do you lose it much in the show do you? I, I, I not that I lose it. I think that I am. Look, we are there to run a 5 star luxury boutique hotel, you know, and I think to to run a hotel like that, I think that you great idea. You've got to be clear about what you want. What is your vision, you know, are you gonna deliver and are you gonna deliver it. So as long as you tell people exactly what is expected, nobody can come and say, Fred, I didn't know what I was supposed to do. OK, I've, I've, I've explained that from the off. And then, look, there is the people, the 12 kids on the program, they are untrained. But my philosophy is I can work with anybody and I can still deliver an amazing experience because my teaching method, my philosophy, the way I go about explaining, because I think it's always if people don't understand, I think it's my fault. So I've got to be very careful and I've gotta I mean, you, you describe yourself. The wordsmith which I love that because you know words have so much meaning right. And it's about making sure it's not just a word it's about the meaning of what you say to make sure that people understand what you mean and so they can go then and and deliver that experience to the guest. I sold down also to behavior it's about the education you know people these kids are young also they have a lot of issues within themselves which they have to deal with and they're very different generation from our general we're we're two weeks apart in age and. I don't want to sit here sounding like the two old men in the Muppet Show. You are, you are, you are gentle brain. I can't believe you did that. And I was talking about it with my mate today at the meeting with him. And you know, 500 years BC, Socrates was saying that that the young generation don't respect their elders. It's true. So now James O'Brien is sitting here, you know I'm saying and you're saying that I'm saying we must not do that. We mustn't go down that road until it's well, that the the. The work ethic is slightly different. I don't agree with you, do you not so in journalism, then I would never have said no. When I work, I mean maybe it was bad and things are better now. I'm not suggesting they're worse, I'm just suggesting they're different. But you know I can you go and place at my first editor might say can you go and place a bet for me on the horses or can you go and get my dry cleaning or go and get me a sandwich. Now younger colleagues coming into into journalism just wouldn't do it. They they. I mean, I don't even know if we'd ask anymore. So that's all I'm just pointing at is perhaps we shouldn't have done things like that but when you were starting out, our generation would. Thank you. See you. You you fell into the trap. You think that your generation you are better than your young one. And no, I didn't say better. I said different. Yeah, different. But maybe I'm jealous. He still implied and that disagree with you. OK. I disagree with you. I think that whether it's me or the young generation. And I've got a very good example for you at home. Yes. My daughter. Yeah, Andrea. She's 18. Yes, she's doing a levels this year. She is. I mean, I don't get bored to say it, you know? Forgive me. Champion. Fill your book. European. Woman world champion. I love you, world champion. This is for people who don't know. She's one of the best divers in the world. Yes, she is. But you know, the other day I said, well, you, Andrea, she goes, I'm so tired, Daddy. I'm so tired. She trained six days a week, you know, and she's preparing for this. So unfair. I'm not talking about her. I'm talking about some kid who wouldn't fetch me a sandwich 10 years ago. It doesn't matter. She's 18. She's in that generation. So yes, I have the lazy ones and you have. And I said to Andrea, you know, you're doing the right thing. But obviously the way you are, you know, you've embarked on on a journey that most people can't do. But you're doing it. But it's gonna be hard. You're gonna be tired. And when your body is tired, your mind is gonna go and you're gonna doubt what you're doing. But you've gotta think you're on the right way. You have to have faith. You have to believe is what you do. And you have to keep going. But you will get tired. And this is the way it is. I think. So you are a true universalist, aren't you? Take these. Because I when I when I was researching your your background and your life. But just just when you were beginning to become known in public, but you were still working at the Galvin restaurant, right? And and people would start asking you for advice. Consulting with you from completely different businesses about the values that you imbue in people and the things that you do. And that didn't make sense to me when I read it. It's making perfect sense now because when I look, I've been in the restaurant trade now for for 30 plus years. And whenever you open a new restaurant you have to reinvent the wheel because there's a huge staff shortage which we can talk about in a minute actually because I've got a big opinions about that. But the the point is, is that, you know, I I just thought to myself I've got a, I've got to work something out. But I don't have to reinvent the wheel every time. So I created a training tool called the Art of Service, which was designed and aimed at the restaurant industry. So basically what it does, it's it's a game, like a monopoly game, if you like. It's in two parts. First of all, you've got a pairing game, which is basically like like like a pairing game when you are playing with your kids and you're trying to pair the the elephants and the giraffe and all that, but it's about the vision, the values, the objectives and the golden rules of service. So it's about creating discussions to make sure that people understand what you're trying to do and what. Going to achieve and we'll get a consensus. And then the second part of the game is about the customer journey and each and every touch points that you have in a customer facing a business like a restaurant for example, because these touch points, for example, meet and greet at the door. This is what you do. This is the first touch point. Every touch point has two parts to them. There is the what and the how. What you do is meet and greet. How you do it is you got to see smile, say hello to people before they see smile, say hello to you. Yes. So it's about a methodology. And it's about a road map and it's about a road map that you can teach people about and share, but also you can train the people who are then going to train. But they are going in that direction. Because I'm right and I know I'm right and I know it works, but one has to apply themselves to it. You see what I mean? So I did that. But it is teachable to anyone. I think it is, but it's it's, it's much more. And also because there is such a staff shortage, you have to use language, you have to use analogies, you need to use a method that. People can get behind and understand and remember, because people don't come from a catering college like I did. No, I was in a catering college where I was taught every day this is the Premier League of Restaurant you gotta be like Maradona. And there was no way that I wanted to be anything less than that. We'll just go back to catering college then. What? I mean, at what point did you begin to feel inspired? Was it on day one? Because you kind of fell into it. It wasn't like a straight away. Just this is. I found my people. This is where I fell in love. Look, I was in boarding. Yeah. I mean, the first three months were hard, you know? I was because you missed Mummy and Daddy. I remember crying my mum, you know, big dormitory, 48 lads. Yeah. Yeah. But it was a nice, cool. He was in one of these where you get, you know. You know. Yeah, I know. I can't remember. I can't think of the French. The English word in French, you say vizuete, right? You know, we get your head put in a toilet. Or bullying. Bullying, yeah, whatever that is. So it was a great school. I mean literally when they put your head in the toilet, we call it bog washing. But I don't think you were looking for the literal specific well that was used to hold you by your ankles and flush the toilet at my boarding school. Never me, thankfully. Yeah. No, it was a great school. I had such a great time. And you know, I mean the opportunities that we had there like for example in the in the last resort you know, we are the the short. I'm running a hotel called LaRoche Blanche in Cassie's five star Hotel and one of my very first. Placement was down the road in Monte Carlo during the summer season. So what these kids are experiencing is exactly the kind of experience I had when I was a kid. Yes, but what you see in the show is the work that they do, but also behind the scene. I mean, obviously when you are the boss of, you know, and and and you are, you are managing a hotel like that, you know, you don't see what people get up to after hours or in the accommodation, but you get to see all this and it's so fascinating, so warm and so funny. Feel like God in this show, really, you're like in a way, how you got. I'm not sure there's a true thing but yeah. Well when when did you decide because I I mean at college you're training all areas of hospitality would you you'd you'd train in in in cooking and and yeah and that's the great thing about I mean look I've been gone from France now more than 30 years. So I don't know what they do now but when I was there you would you the first year you would do cooking and service and then the second year you choose your option and we had an incredible training restaurant in the catering college. Was working there effectively three days a week, four days a week and so and as well as doing your history and whatever you know. So when you finish your catering college, you know you are a professional, you've been trying, you are good at what you do. Yes. In this country in the UK when I started to work with education and education professional about 20 plus years ago we had about 280 catering colleges. Now we have, depending on how you classify catering college between 110 to 100 and 21130 madness. And why do you, why is that, do you think? Fred, what's happened? What's your overview on that? Because fundamentally, we don't believe in hospitality. Yes, if you're stupid, you can be, you can be a chef. And if you're really stupid, you can be away, you can be a waiter. This is the attitude. And but you hang on because you describe a period of history during which chefs have become more popular and better known in this country than ever before. And also it's been democratized. Not by some of the people you've worked with. And yet it hasn't. Translated into ambition for young people. Yes because there is a there is a, an imbalance there you know in the 70s when the rule brothers, so the rule brothers started everything. You know they're kind of the trunk of hospitality and and and and everybody you come from somewhere in hospital as it everybody has been trained by by the rule brothers you know and we all come from that that tree when they arrive in the country. Albert who famously said you know this is like a culinary desert the UK yeah so we started that wave. And when I arrived in 1992, you had the Conrad arrived and started these big restaurants, which democratised and popularised eating out in a way that wasn't seen before. But chefs were there also because. You know, it made good television and you can do good television cooking and cooking and steak. It's entertaining and there is something to show and to see. So in a way the chef was elevated to a standard because of television. But if you look back at the beginning of the century, it was the Metro D who were creates this series of the show, but not the spectacle but the experience. So television does spectacle, but actual hospitality does experience you provide and you can't do that on the TV, you can't. Is it OK can you so service for example and This is why you know when you know with my shoulder less resort you see you see the the front of our side and you can see you know you're on a mission. Then you you would like to see people watch the news show and think that's that's the life for me. I want to go down this road. Look I've been discussing and debating this since I'm 16 years old. Yes. You know this is not new. I have I wanted to showcase you know, something like this for many many years. What made you choose that path then as opposed to staying in the kitchen. As I know you did, you were in the kitchen for a while. I mean, you can turn your hand to it. What? What was it that I was quite lit you up? I was quite good, you know. I mean, I was, I was studious, you know, and I was a studying my recipes before we're cooking. And I could cook, you know, I can cook, sure. I mean, clearly. But I didn't think that it was, you know, you're basically in four walls like this in the kitchen. It's not free, you know, it's hot. It's grease. Yeah. I thought to myself, I like to be with people. Fine. I like to. I like to some shops. Really. Really. Don't like to be with people. Nobody's finally can be chef. But you need, you need the two to come together to create that experience. And so for me, it was a case of I can't do that. This is not what I want to do. And when I told my parents, they were like, Oh my God, my mom especially, she couldn't believe it. Well, she was disappointed. Yeah, she couldn't believe it because she didn't think it was. Status enough for. Yeah, you're right. You know, when people say what were you? I said, I'm a waiter and and I love the look at people's face. Yeah, I'm a waiter. I am proud. Yeah. You know, and then people say, oh, you're a waiter, you. That's all you can do. And how ambitious were you? I mean, did you want to be the best waiter in the world? Yeah, right. I think I'm. I don't know. Yeah. But you knew somewhere inside you were never going to be the best chef in the world. It's just that I didn't feel like he was my calling. I think that if I would have won, if I would have pursued it, you could have pushed it could have, maybe. But it's not what I wanted to do. So there's no point to think about it. And then why come here? I think I wanted to leave my life in English. Why? You know, you're 16 years old. You're playing the air guitar. You're listening to ACDC, and you're in front of the mirror. You said, like, way too well, you know, and you're like, and I, you know, I used to write poetry in English, you know, like you do when you're a teenager. And I love that, really. And also, you know, I had a friend who was living here and who came back to school and said amazing in England. And, you know, I just, you know, when I arrived here in 1992, you know, being French. Like an exotic creature. Course. Yes. Yes. People want to talk to you. You go to parties, you end up in the kitchen and you all want to talk to you because you're French and because you work in a restaurant and you got funny story to tell. You know what I mean? And so that's what that was that. So what happened? Tell me. You got off the ferry? You got off the plane. One way ticket. Really. One way ticket. What did your mom and dad say about this? Ohh, my mum, she's still crying. Really. Yeah. You come home. She's my boy gonna come home. But now obviously they're happy. I mean, look, I I I just realized my my one book wine uncorked and sadly she can't. Read it because it's all in in English. I mean they got a copy each my mom and dad. Ohh. But they can't read it so you get you get off the plane with your one way ticket. Well yeah I was on the on on the theory you had a job lined up. Yeah I had a job lined up in late unclear which were the three Michelin star. I got a bed seat in Pimlico Josh so I was on 12 grand a year 800 pretty good money in 90. So that Pierre Kaufman was. Yeah. So you were already in the Premier League. Yeah 870 on £120.00 or something a month. My best seat was £50. Yeah so you were. Quids in and but Can you imagine now young kids are working in hospitality. You want to because if you've, let's say you've finished at 12:00 o'clock at night and you've got to go down to Hounslow to go back home. Yeah. And you're gonna take the bus. You can't afford an Uber every single night. Of course. Do you know I mean and the price in London, I mean, it is this is the difference you know the generational gap that these young kids have that I did not have. Yeah. And now you know it's it's impossible. So that's that's why it's so difficult. I was working in a shop on Regent Street and I was living in Fitzrovia. Was north of Oxford St. it's exactly the same. Exactly. I was on better, more probably more disposable income during that little period of my life than I had for years afterwards when I first started on Judas. And you're right, they where do you live? Where where do you live now if you're worth, you're doing service, it's tough and you feel chef, you know, we're talking about before about the generational gap and, you know, the coffee that you don't go and get to your computer or whatever. I done a couple of interviews, you know, for my new shows and we were talking about life balance and, you know, I don't believe that. Life balance exist. I think that if if you got the work the work is there you gotta do it. And but if you're lucky enough to love your work then then then I fall in that. I fall in that category as well. But I can remember jobs or even periods in in journalism where I didn't love it and that's when you need to remind yourself about you. We all have doubt like that. Of course I remember Tommy my career when I was 26, you know I couldn't I couldn't do it anymore. The long hours and all that and I I spent quite a bit of time in a kind of a. A like the desert crossing in a way. Thinking about what I was gonna do. I'm gonna be a I was thinking about being a motorbike Courier. I was thinking about a health test. I even applied for BA and I didn't. I had an interview. I didn't go because I changed my mind at the last minute and then I carried on. And I mean we all have doubts like that when we are young about our careers. You know and and because we work hard we don't know where we're going. But this is part of growing up and this is part of this is part of life. I've got could I have achieved. I'm talking simply in the restaurant. World, you know what I have achieved without working from 9:00 o'clock in the morning until 12:00 o'clock at night, because you know, in all humanity I won all the awards that they were towards to to to win, you know, successful businesses, you know, Happy guest. I couldn't have done it, James. I couldn't have done it. If I had taken a Lucifer step back attitude where I'm gonna turn up at 10 and leave at 6:00 o'clock at it wouldn't have happened. But the reason I used the word lucky is also because you wouldn't have wanted it any other way. You would have, you would have felt, I suspect if you were taking a couple of hours off, you would have been itchy. You would have been, you'd have been thinking I could be doing that thing because you are a perfectionist. It's about quality. Yes, it's about quality at the end of the day. And it's about what it says about me. It's my way to express myself. You are. And at least you write beautiful stories that people read. Yes, I do. Restaurants that do hotel want it to be as good as it can possibly be. So there is never enough hours. Never mind that you're not doing. You know, the the full there's never enough because you can always think of something else that you could improve. Something else you could do better. How do you relax? Do you ever relax? Yeah well I'm relaxed now. Ohh yeah. OK well this isn't an entirely normal context is it? What do you. I mean you ride your motorbike you. Yeah I mean this. After we finished this I'm going to pick up my son. We're gonna we're gonna go boxing. We're gonna go sparring together. It's not a relax. Well as it is relaxing it isn't it. It's a very lovely time with my son. Beautiful family time. He's an effective way of relaxing 1370 kilos you know. And he loves it, you know. And it's it's, it's a nice to build up his confidence. Yes of course, and his self belief. And yeah, I really enjoyed fighting him. It's it's it's one for fraud I think isn't it so so you're at La Tont Claire you I mean you mentioned that little wobble that you have a a few years later but I see you as being very aware at every stage in your career until the mad bit starts with television of of knowing where the next rung is and and what you need to do to get on well what happened we still television really it's it's it's it's it's just luck or you know I was doing quite a bit of work charity work to help disadvantaged. Is getting into training education full time employment. This is galvins chance is it and this is the charity you set up. I think that's working with the Galvin brothers and and and getting kids from tough backgrounds into into hospitality and health. Exactly. So then somehow you know the B producer at about this we did a program which was serviced with Michelle Junior. Yes and I really enjoy television and I just pursued it and what I like about television is that it's creative. It's fast moving. And anything is possible and I like that. And so you know I carried on in in in in the restaurant world and little by little you do more things and you know at the end of the day it's like everything you do a good job you're good with people they like you and then they want to work with you and every command you to others. Oh well it's not quite like that is it because you could you could be working your fingers to the bone trying to present on television and just not have it there is a certain as also I think even though you say that you can teach it. There's an alchemy to charisma. Whatever word you want to use to be a brilliant maitre-d' and to be a brilliant television presenter. I can see that actually quite. Naturally happening it's a similar skills. Do you think you treat the camera like you treat a customer? I think you have to be, you have to be honest. Authentic is the word I keep thinking of while you're talking. When you were talking about about about the new show. It's your authenticity. So you are not there to make a television program in your front of your I'm running a hotel. Yeah, you're there to run a hotel and you're there to make these young people on last resort, Fred's last resort, as good as they can possibly be. And the camera is almost. Incidental to the person. You're right. And this is what we discussed before we started filming, you know, because we had some quite area conversations, you know, and I said I'm not doing television here. Yeah, I don't care what you say. I'm running a hotel. That's authenticity. Yeah. That's your passion for what you do. So you do the show with Michelle, the first thing. That was the first time you were sort of you. You got a flavor for it. And then first dates comes, what, a year or two years later? Much later does it much later. I started first grade 2015. You are 10 years ago, so. At 20. When was it? Yeah 20-30. But were you looking for TV work? No. So you you'd it found you. I mean I, you know because I was on on service, right. Then you get people. I remember doing The Apprentice for example but they called us because they didn't need a place you know, but it was just like a small segment and then first date was just kind of a a sort of a look like it was a fluke you know. And and when I was offered the gig, you know, I wasn't sure I want to take it because I'd never had. Watch first dates before, right. And I didn't want to be on TV for the sake of being on television. I wanted to make sure it was a good show. Yes. That nobody's gonna be made to to look bad or just edited. You know, bad just just to to for the ratings. And it took me a while to to to agree, actually. And then, yeah. I didn't look back. But you didn't give up the day job for a very long time. No. The the the hours you were putting in, presumably must have been. What did your wife say? I mean, did she ever see you? How on earth did you find the time to have children? You already had children, yes? Well, it was just, you know, look, I mean, I've always worked hard, you know, from the age of 16. That's what I've done. You don't remember? I was at boarding school, you know, so it's not like I I I was felt like I was working out. This is just, you know, when when you are used to working like this, it's just, it's just what you do. But it's anyway, James, if you want to get somewhere, you've got to put in the effort. What? What? Of course you do. What did you like about it? Were you surprised by how much you enjoyed it? I like the creativity side of thing and I like how anything is possible. And I like that, you know, I can do a show, for example, like Gordon, Gino and Fred, which is the type of show that it is. I can do first date, which is about love. I can do less resort, which is about running a hotel, you know, and there are and, or I can do a straightforward presenting job, which is for example will cook on Amazon, which indeed just was on there just before Christmas. It's very varied. It's very diverse. Nice, lovely position to be in. And it's nice to be able to do different things because life is boring otherwise and you always do the same thing, you know, and it's it's just good to be able to get up and do something different and not have today the same. So how quickly did you rise up the hospitality ladder? But I mean to to, to rewind again from from Letart Claire to to the top of the tree. You mentioned all the awards that you've won. How how clear is that path in hospitality because it's not something we know much about in this country. Well the one thing is interesting, you ask this question and I'm glad you you do ask it. Actually, it's about when I started, it was all about your CV, right? Yes. And you have to do your time. Yeah, like you do your time in prison. Yeah. So let down clear. For example, I wouldn't have dreamt to have done less than a year and I had one year on my CV, right? Even if at one point, you know, you just think, Oh my God, this is too hard. I don't wanna do it. I've learned everything you gotta do. You gotta get your stamps. It's gotten you go somewhere else. I went to the garage and I stayed 2 1/2 years and progressed through the issue on there. Then I went somewhere else and did my time again and again and again and again. So when you look at my CV. There are no gaps, there are no oils, yes, and you can see a very clear progression. Now when you look at CV's, you know, people for example can work here three months, four months, maybe they do a year, but the progression is quite fast. The thing is everybody wants to be a black belt in karate, but you can't be a black belt in karate in one year. You need to put in the effort and you need to learn all the things that you need to learn in order to be at that level. And this is exactly the same when you are in restaurant experience is skiing experience. Takes time and that's what it is. I think for me, in terms of the Courier, I think I could have progressed faster. I think I could have applied myself more certain time. But like I said to you, I went through a desert crossing where I didn't know what I wanted to do. Was that partly because of frustration at having to there being no shortcuts, frustration at not moving as fast as you want to think. It's just that life sometimes, you know, you just, you just out. You don't know where you wanna do what you wanna do, where you wanna go. And you get into that, that black hole. And it happens to everybody happen to me. And once it kind of left my brains, you know, I felt better. It was like, you know, something had been lifted. It is liberating to to have a clear idea of what you want to be. Well, I think it it happens to. It happens to have happen. It happens to everybody. But it happened to me. It happens to a lot of people. And what what would if I'd met you when you were? Just after that, let's say so in your late 20s. And I'd said what, what's your ultimate ambition? What, what? What would you have said? Where do you want to end up? What do you want to be doing when you're on top? I'm not sure. Because you know when you are, you know, you know. There's always what's your five year plan? What's your 10 year plan? I don't have a 5 year plan or 10 year plan. I'm leaving. But did you have heroes? Did you have positions or people that you looked at and thought that they were your role models, even whether you knew them or not? Because in a kitchen, I can see how that would be quite straightforward. Front of house. It's not so. Yeah of course. I mean I was working at lavage, for example, we Silvano Giralda. I don't know if you know him or heard of him. I have heard of him, yes. At the time he was fortunate in these places. He was like the God. Yes. See, that's what I mean. Shiva know was the God. And you look up to him and you think, wow, that guy, you know and that's the role model. And you Elena a bit at Elena's letoile on Charlotte St. and she had a reputation. Yeah, I met Elena. I've never worked with her, but yeah. Interesting. So there were a small number of people in London who were seen as the creme de la creme. And you would have. That's what you wanted for you, obviously. Yes, of course, yes. But I didn't have a planet like a clear plan. Like some people are very clear. This is what I want to do. This is what I want to be. I still don't know what I wanna be when I grow up, James. I really don't know. Which is probably why you've taken so enthusiastically to these sort of weird things that have popped up. I like weird things. Well, they are weird things. It's true. There's nothing weirder than presenting television programs. It's true. Especially when it's something where you get that little glimpse for a minute. I did mastermind. Recently. And it's like being in the television. It's not like being on the television. It's it's like you grew up watching these programs, you end up in those and you just sit there occasionally and just go. This is just deeply, deeply weird. But what I've learned about you already is that you bring exactly the same toolbox to everything that you do. What do you mean? I mean the skills that you have and the things that you care about, the priorities, the authenticity, that perfectionism seems like a. An unfair word, because perfectionism sometimes makes people sound tyrannical or something like that. I don't think you're tyrannical. Are you? But you? You, you you. You make sure people know what is expected of them and that. Like, actually, because on telly you're not in charge. What's that like? Well, you're in charge on some shows because you're God, as we've said in the new one. But, you know, if you're working with big egos like Gordon Ramsay and Gino de Campo and then you've got directors, so how's that? And certainly on 1st dates you're in charge of the restaurant, but you're not in charge of the TV program. I think it's about your sense of responsibility and ownership. Hmm. And our responsible you are and and and and and and and and and. Out into the program or into whatever you do. It's about the quality product at the end. You know, like, I mean I don't know if, you know, I I run a charity called the right course. Yeah. And basically what we do we go into prison and transform stiffness into training restaurants run by the prisoners front of ours and kitchen for the staff of the prison as well as the contractors of the prison. So they are in, in, in close prisons only. So you can't go and you know, you couldn't rock up, for example, to warm scrubs and eat in my restaurant. So, so this is a training restaurant. I'm talking to you about that because I am not in charge. You know, what I mean by that is, OK, this is the charity that I set up. But the. Well, just pause for a minute. Why did you set that chair? Ohh. Let me just answer that question and OK, OK, go on. OK, so I've set up that charity, but that charity is only as successful as the various partners that are collaborating to make it a success. So partners, you look talking about, for example, the education provider. Within the prison system there are various providers. You're talking about the MG, you're talking about design, LSM with us, our design, you're talking about the education, the education team within the prison, the governor of each prison. So this is a team. I am not in charge, OK, but I have to make sure that the right course is run and delivers on its vision, on its values and on its objectives. And we have all sat on this table like a round table, and we have all said we are going to do XY and Z. Nobody's forced to be there. I don't have to be there because it's not about money. This is about charities, about giving a chance, an opportunity to people who are in prison and who fell by the wayside. So we are there and we make a promise to each other that we're going to do what we're going to do and we're going to do in the time frame that we say we're going to do, and to the quality that we say we're going to do. So I'm not in charge, but we all have a responsibility here. Do you see what I mean? So it's exactly the same thing when you're talking about television. You are, you are an arch collaborator. Yeah. On you. Well, that's a, that word has an unfortunate connotation for a Frenchman. But I'm thinking about, you know what I mean? You, you, you like being part of a of a, of a I don't think you can be successful at anything by yourself. Yeah, you know, and here I am sitting and you can ask about television and all that, but but you never see yourself as being like a I suppose even a Formula One driver relies on 100 people behind her. You're working with people all the time. So why did you set up this charity? Well where does that impulse come from? I I told you I was 20 years ago I started this charity to help them and and then five years ago I started the right course and and registered it as a charity in its own right. And I had a very happy childhood. My parents were there 4:00 o'clock my dad would pick me up in a 2 CV with his slippers and his pajamas. You know I was stumbling out of the club drunk and he was there picking me up taking me back home and I had this lovely supportive loving you know I'm still worried if my. My mum thinks, you know, whether it's gonna be upset if I did or said something on television because she she she doesn't like me. For example, if I take my kid off on television, she's no, she's not very good. And she, she screams at me, you know, I'm worried about that. Anyway, so I had an upbringing, you know, that was the most. I mean, you don't realize. I did not realize until I was a bit a bit older, you know, stupidly. Can you believe it? No, I'm the same. And so, you know, the kids were in prison. The kids that we that, that, that, that, that, that we try and help. They are in prison. They didn't have the upbringing, the education. They didn't have the support. Love. And I'm in a position now where I'm a bit older, you know, I understand this, you know, and it's just so simple to transform a stiffness into a training restaurant. It's like a workshop. Yes. So I think for me, I I will never be able to put myself truly in their shoes and understand what it's like because as you, as you can see, you know where. But I can understand that. I can't understand and I can understand that maybe I can make a bit of a difference. But somebody didn't have the love and the support of their parents. Who was failed at school. Who then? It the wrong people, but didn't have somebody to put them in the right way and fell into prison. You know we need to do something because I've been working now and going into prison for for quite some times and I don't believe in the prison system. And I think that, you know, we talk a lot about we're talking about Christian values before, about redemption and forgiveness. This is a true measure of our heart, but that's why it interests me so much because you speak about it very matter of factly. It would be very easy for you to have enjoyed your success and not. Have this sense of serendipity. It is a sort of sensitive. I hadn't had such solid foundation stones. What would I have built? I really enjoy it and I take a lot of pride and satisfaction with what we do. It's very hard to run this charity because I think for me the best thing would be if the MG was saying, OK look, we're going to roll this out. I think it's a no brainer and we're gonna, we're gonna support it. But we have to fight constantly. And you know, things are, you know, time doesn't exist in the MG in prison. You know, of course health and safety. They said yeah, which we have to do. Of course because you know if you see some people are in prison. I mean people are in prison for a reason. But if you don't give people opportunities, if you don't give them chances, what are you gonna do. I mean I posted the other day about the work that we do because we're looking for managers. We're looking for chefs. We're looking for donations. We're looking for employers to help us out. You know, and to employ. And somebody said afraid well done. But you know all these people, you know we shouldn't be helping them because we are don't don't don't get we don't give it to normal people. And we. I'm thinking what do you wanna do you want to throw away the key? You wanna what do you wanna do. But that's the that's the classic kind of lazy that's a bit like the people who say we need to look at we shouldn't be looking after refugees we should be looking after our own. And then you say OK the nurses are asking for you. Ohh no I don't mean them. I went outside to look after our own. OK how about the doctors how about so so people are always looking for excuses not to do what they know to be right and I understand why because it's tiring and it's it's emotionally taxing to to to to do what is right but but you derive enormous pleasure from it. Clearly. Let me move you. From that if I can to the, the, the, the. What was it like to actually hang up your. I don't know. What does a matroid hang up when you actually left the restaurant when the TV stuff was going so well. I think we're when it was only what, 2019 or 17? That's right. Why you did your research. I tried to well, I've only got. I've you know, there's two type of journalists, good one and a bad one and. Actually, I like plumbers knowing there's a good one and the bad ones. Yes, I do because my good mate is a journalist and he was, he was always, his name is Eric Brown and he ran the Mafia times. And yeah, yeah, we had many conversation about journalism and it is all very old school act. And, you know, just like I judge my dad, you know, everybody with my dad, reliability, journalists with these standards because. So if he listens, he's the measure. He'll decide, right. But in December of 2019, you left Galvin at Windows. After about 14 years, that that was as a consequence of all of the success you were enjoying, couldn't do everything. Ohh, that's what I mean. I know, but what was that like? I mean it. I love the fact that you say you don't know what you're going to do when you grow up because that means that you probably took the step out with a sense of wonder and excitement. But it must have been quite a big deal to give up the day job that you've done since you were a kid. It was. It was a big decision and one I did not take lightly. I'm sure took me a while to take it. And I thought to myself, yeah, I mean it's like maybe cutting the umbilical cord. Yes, exactly there. And I it was a leap of faith. And I did it and I was very excited when, you know, it came the 31st of January and officially. And I was partying with Gino actually. And we had the biggest, the best party ever. Came back very late and very drunk. There was a lot of fun. And yeah, he was great. He was like, ohh, interesting. This is a new era. Do you ever miss it? Yes and no. OK, yes and no. But I'm very involved, stealing the hospitality, but not on a daily basis like I was, you know, running a specific restaurant, right? What's the biggest high? Well, because I think I understand when you say yes and no, there'll be moments where you feel like you're flying, right. Everything is going perfectly. And they're all your people. You've nurtured them all. You've trained them all. You've looked after this. Your restaurants, your floor. It's your and everything is. You don't get that anymore. You don't get that. In in quite the same way quite the but of course in terms of not missing it you wouldn't want to go back to doing that every day now because you've got so many other exciting things. Well you know for example I mean the last resort for example this is a show that was Commission and it's it's it's it's it's a it's a joint production between my production label kind of and Betty you know so as much as I'm presenting I'm also behind the scenes talking about and discussing and agreeing the direction that we're going to take and now we're going to do it. I'd like to be end zone and you know at the end of the day it's. It's it's obviously my production label, but it's also my face on the television and you know I I just want to make sure that he's right. So I'm busy, you know, it's not like you. Yeah, I do. I get it. So it's similar but not exactly the same. You're totally different. Yes. I mean I'm, I'm lucky that I get to almost kind of leave another life. Yeah. It's almost like you're having another career and you're having another lease of life and that just gets me up in the morning and you know, with with excitement. What, what sort of stuff do you say no to? My problem is I say yes to too many things. If I don't believe in something I for example, I'm not going to do the Natural Forest podcast, right? That's definitely something I'm not gonna do. You know something I don't believe it's a very low bar for things that you don't do. Everything above that is, is. But you have to know what you stand for. Yes, of course. And you have been outspoken in recent years about Brexit and about the impact, particularly upon your sector. Well, look, for me, I think it's a case of if it was good for my children, you know, my two kids who are British, by the way. Yes, I would have said yes. You know, it's OK. We're not going to be in Europe. The thing is you can't make the economy case for Brexit. Now if we talk about. Something very specific, you know, I think if you want to make such a change as exiting the European Union and for example, for hospitality where 40-50, maybe 60% of the workforce come from the European Union, they don't come here anymore. These people and the reputation that we have as a result of what has happened over the years, you know, since 2016 has not been very good. But we basically said, OK, we don't want you anymore. So these people are not coming, but in the same time we are not investing in our own talents. You know, we're talking about catering colleges. Cool. Well, 28020 years ago to 100 and 10120. So where are we getting our manpower from? How bad is it? How bad is the situation? It's very bad. Well, existentially bad. I mean, I know it's establishments are closing, people are not doing full service. They're only doing fewer services per week, because you simply cannot. Create human beings. You can't. It's very labour intensive, especially not trained human beings. It's not operating at the top end of a set of it's not gonna change you you any times you know to to to train people, any time to recruit people. And you could be working in in a hotel or in a restaurant. Leave the job at 12:00 o'clock at 2:00 o'clock I get a job somewhere else because because there's vacancy like I mean it's it's vacancy galore. So you got here in 1992 is this country. More welcoming, less welcoming, or the same welcoming for? People who weren't born here. Look, I think I love the UK. I know you first and foremost. I think that in the 80s there was in France there was a lot of um intolerance and racism. And there was a comedian called Colish who was very vocal and and and and fighting it and it it it kind of go full circle and it's kind of you know the zeitgeist and the zeitgeist of our time at the moment is there is a a climate. Climate and the wind of intolerance around the world and it's like it's like the Gulf Stream in the way it's blowing and we are all feeling it. I mean you see in Italy for example there is a a far right government. Yes the French at the last election obviously Macron got got was was elected but 50% of the French voted for either far right or far left and she said what is wrong with people and and when you listen to their arguments for voting for who they were voting, it doesn't make any sense. We'd like your Leviticus, man. We're back. We're back to where we started. Yes, it is. And and you feel it keenly, though some people can rise above it. Some people, even people who do it for a living like me, can just leave it at the door of the office and go home. You can't. You you you feel this stuff. I don't feel any kind of attack. Personal. That's no, no, no. That's not what I mean. You know, just a fear for what? For where we are. I think that we have to where our children will be. I think we have to be vigilant. Like what? You know, for example, solar brave man has done there. Hmm. It is clearly a wolf. Whistling and and it is dangerous because if you don't keep it in check, you don't know what comes next. And I think that we all have a responsibility and I have a responsibility for my children to make sure that I leave this world on this planet in a better shape or in the same shape that I found it when, when when I was born. Otherwise, I think we are doing them a disservice. And for me, I think that I I don't think it's right. I think it's morally wrong. And whether we need to talk about immigration or not, it's a different, different story. But we don't have enough staff to work in our hospitals. We don't have enough staff to work in our hotels and they use huge staff shortage and the staff shortage, the huge problem for the UK because economically you cannot grow if you don't have the manpower. That's the mad bit, isn't it? And really mad bit. And the problem is if you say OK, we don't like the Europeans to come here, now you are finding a lot of Indians are able to come here and work because it's it's it's easy for them to get visa. So now in restaurants, in hotels, you know you go to a conference, you find a lot of Indian stuff working in conference and banqueting. That doesn't make any sense to me. No, to me. Just to get rid of 1 and replace them with another. It's it's, it's, it's, it is. It's bonkers. It's bonkers. Fred's last resort in the can. Now it will be starting. Depending on when this goes out, either it started a couple of days ago or it starts in a couple of days time. 14 of March, 14th of March on on on on E4. You haven't had ambition. You've just had a desire throughout your life to do the best you can do. You haven't had, I mean, boxes that you've ticked. Is that fair to say? You haven't said I want to do this. I want to. Do you have any ambition now? Is there anything left on your list of things that I would like to record a reggae track? Would you? Because you've recorded with Mark King of Level 42. Yeah, I've recorded with Mark King. We haven't touched on this yet. Try call Levi. Continue. Yes. I just fancied doing a track and and with a rapper. Will exo, man. And we recorded in a bedroom somewhere in Lewisham, very glamorous. And then I did another track just with my partner. He's called take it kind of very French in in, in, in, in, in, in, in the lyrics and in in the beat. I wanted to do a Drake beat as well as a Keith Jarrett sort of corn concert piano track. But Dina have the eardrum. It's never going to be a number one. I love reggae and I love to do a reggae track, I think, you know, since both, for example. Is to go to Jamaica and play with The Wailers and know that. And I Can't Sing, I can't, I can't, I can't rap. But I think that with a good producer, whereas I wanna do it with proper musicians. And so if I can do this is something I want to do. And I've been talking about doing this now for years and got on with it. I am. But it's finding somebody who's going to take a pun, someone to put up with you. Because I have money in it. Is no money in it, you understand? If anybody's listening, then I'll put I'll put you in touch. And I don't know that I I don't ask this question. Very often, because it's a bit it's a bit silly, it's a bit obvious, but I'd be very interested to know, not including your children, what are you proudest of? What am I proud of? I think to be who I am. I think that I'm sound, I'm good. Fundamentally, I've got my moments, but I think I'm good. And I went through, you know, rough patches in life, but I stayed true to myself. And that is the thing I'm the most proud of. Fred Siriex, thank you. Thank you.