All About French Silver Service

Published on October 8, 2016

French Service is a form of Silver Service that is perhaps the most entertaining and exciting form of service – delighting and wowing guests and diners.

So what is French service and does it originate from France as the name might suggest?

What is French Silver Service?

French Service is a form of Silver Service.  It is closely linked to the style and etiquette involved in the traditional form of Silver Service, but with a twist and extra flair.  It is the most dynamic and exciting form of service, and also the most costly.  Famously used in Michelin star restaurants like The Fat Duck, it is a true experience for the diners.

History

In French service à la française (“service in the French style”), food is brought out at once in an impressive display.  It originates from the French court and for modern diners is an impressive display which makes them feel like they are transported back in time to the French courts.  Formal dinners were served à la française from the Middle Ages until the 19th century.  

The meal is divided into three services: soup and fish; roasts; and desserts. Each service includes a variety of dishes, all served at the same time at the table with desserts and appetizers. Guests gather around the table and serve themselves standing by choosing foods that suit them. The table is set and served before the arrival of guests, with the waiters progressively bringing in new serving dishes to replace those emptied, so that the table is always filled with food.

However, unless the kitchen and staff are large in relation to the number of persons being served, it is not possible for all dishes to be served at their optimum temperature. Modern fine-dining restaurants provide dishes sequentially, so that they may be enjoyed individually, a style called service à la russe.

Style & Approach

  1. It is generally used in high end settings, 5* hotels, restaurants, yachts and private homes
  2. Unprepared or semi-prepared food is brought to the dining room on a guerdon (cart) in silver platters.  The final preparation is completed at the side table in front of the guests and then served
  3. The food is cooked in front of the guests adding to an impressive display and entertainment alongside admiration of being cooked.
  4. It is of course the most labour intensive form of service, and requires extremely high skilled servers.
  5. There is an additional requirement of tools and dishes as there may be multiple preparations occurring simultaneously. Therefore this is why it is preferred for very high end restaurants as there are high costs associated.  
  6. Space is important in the area as the server needs to prepare the food.  
  7. It is the most time consuming service practice.

Learning French Service

The art form is taught and learnt by working in 5* establishments and other private homes and yachts which encourage this service for specific meals and events.  However if you are interested in learning the art form, why not enroll on our Silver Service training course – The French Service module is fun and jam-packed, and students gain a great deal of knowledge during the course.  If you’d like to know more or book, just get in touch.

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