Meet the Team | Alfie

Can you give me an overview of your journey in hospitality so far? How did you end up as Head Waiter at The Gilbert Scott?

To be honest, my journey into hospitality was a rather conventional one. When I left school at 16 I trained as an apprentice electrician. After three years of training I discovered that it was not the career for me, quickly deciding that I needed to find a new career and fast.

This led me to work as a waiter and barista at a local wine bar called Jack and Alice in Tring, and then as an assistant manager. After working there for a few years I decided that I wanted more from the hospitality industry.

That’s when I decided to apply for a job at The Gilbert Scott. Home cooked food and interesting, high quality ingredients were something my mother drilled into me as a child, so when I joined the team as a waiter, I realised that these values were being reciprocated within my workplace, inspiring me to strive for more!

For me, it was important to learn and develop on the knowledge and experience of my colleagues, many of whom have had substantial careers in the hospitality industry. I was learning something new every day, and slowly I gained the skills and confidence to progress my career and become the Head Waiter.

Take me through a typical day as Head Waiter – what does it involve?

My duties tend to involve:

—  The running of a station on the restaurant floor and delivering exceptional customer service on a daily basis

— Making sure all of the opening and closing procedures are completed

— The monthly stocktake of the tableware  (plates, cutlery, coffee cups etc…)

— Making sure the company standards are upheld before, during and after service

Have you had any big influences in your career? 

The biggest influences on my career are two managers from my previous job – Gavin Walker and Nicki Trousdale.

Without these two people I wouldn’t have felt inspired to continue my journey within the hospitality industry. They are so passionate about their work and they showed me that hospitality is not just a standby job, but a career to be excited about.

What are the worst and best parts of your job?

The best part of my job is definitely getting to taste all of the new and exciting dishes when they are announced in the pre-service briefing and also sampling the new wines on the wine list.

The worst part of my job is definitely running the hoover around the restaurant late at night after service…

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while working in the hospitality industry?

You must always have an in-depth knowledge of what you are selling. You must always be prepared to answer any question raised by a customer, and thorough knowledge of the menu is essential to offer quality customer service.

What’s your favourite part of working in the hospitality industry?

It has to be meeting new and interesting people from all over the world (customers and colleagues), and being able to share my passion for great food and wine with them.

What’s your favourite dish on our menu (past or present?)

I’d definitely have to choose the selection of steaks we have to offer on our menu (rib-eye, Medium rare if you’re buying).

But for individuality, I’d pick the devilled sardines on sourdough starter on the a la carte menu. If you love spicy food, this is the one for you.

What advice would you give to those who are interested in a career in hospitality?

Always listen to advice and knowledge from your peers. The hospitality industry is composed of wonderfully diverse people, each with different life experiences, able to offer invaluable knowledge of their field.

QUICKFIRE

Favourite restaurant in London? 

I love Opium. It’s a boutique cocktail bar in Chinatown that serves the most amazing Dim Sum!

What are you usually found doing on a day off?

I really enjoy walking around London and finding new and exciting places… to have a pint!

Go-to recipe to cook?

My mum’s Pasta Tricolore, which is basically pasta shells with tomatoes, raw garlic, mozzarella and olive oil stirred in a pan! It is delicious, but not a first date meal.

What are you currently watching/reading/listening to?

I’m currently watching The Fall with Gillian Anderson – it’s quite thrilling! And music-wise, I’m really into 70’s and 80’s tunes. Anything Motown or David Bowie is my jam!