Name Silvano Giraldin
When did you become a manager? In 1973, when Le Gavroche was in Chelsea and I was 26.
I was one of the youngest restaurant managers in the country.
What does management mean to you? Full control of Le Gavroche - except the food, which is done by Michel (Roux) - so all the beverages and the front of house. The restaurant has to look nice, the team has to be there and if someone's missing, positions have to be filled without customers noticing. There has to be a good atmosphere - if a restaurant's chefs and waiters are yelling at each other, it's a badly run place. My job is to act as a go-between and ensure these situations never arise - a happy staff means happy customers. It's no secret I also have to deal with difficult customers. We insist on a jacket and tie and one man refused to keep his jacket on. When I said, 'Sir, you have to keep it on,' his wife took her skirt off and asked: 'Now what will you do?' I said: 'Nothing madam, you look very pretty like that, but your husband still has to keep his jacket on.'
What do you love/hate about it? I love the quality of the guests. It brings me into contact with everyone, from pop stars to politicians and from the bottom of society to the top. The only thing I don't like is the long hours.