TV presenter and maître d’ Fred Sirieix on boxing, self-belief and winning a Bafta

First Dates host Fred Sirieix says smile, live life and enjoy
First Dates host Fred Sirieix says smile, live life and enjoy

Guilty pleasure? How can I choose just one? Champagne and butter are definitely high on the list.

Where is home? I have lived in Peckham, Southeast London, for 17 years.

Career plan B? Appearing on television means I’m already doing it.

Who would play you in a movie of your life? David Gandy.

Biggest bugbear? People who don’t smile.

As a child you wanted to be… Me.

Earliest memory? Play fighting with my younger brother Pierre in Limoges, France, where I grew up.

Secret to a happy relationship? Two people who share and work towards that secret.

Your best quality? Adaptability.

And your worst? Impatience.

Most romantic thing you’ve ever done? Too many to mention!

Top tip for a successful first date? As Jean-Paul Sartre said, ‘We must act out the passion before we can feel it.’

Last meal on earth? Oysters, langoustines, steak tartare, french fries, salad, champagne, a nice bottle of bordeaux, with apple tart for dessert.

Dream dinner party guests? Socrates, Alexander the Great, Bob Marley, Auguste Rodin, Lee Miller, Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Muhammad Ali, Auguste Escoffier, Shakespeare and Marcus Aurelius.

Advice to your teenage self? Believe in yourself. Live life and enjoy.

Cat or dog? I have had both and love them for different reasons.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Grandad, is that you?

On a day off we’d find you… Boxing at my local gym and in a Peckham eatery for dinner.

Starstruck moment? Meeting Rowan Atkinson when I was working at the Bluebird restaurant in Chelsea as head waiter in the late 1990s.

Big break? My first job as a manager at Le Gavroche in 1995.

Career highlights? Winning Manager of the Year at the Cateys industry awards in 2013, and winning a Bafta for First Dates in 2016.

Favourite tipple? Champagne.

Hangover cure? Paracetamol, water and sleep.

What did you have for breakfast today? A Lavazza coffee.

Top of your bucket list? To run from the north to the south of La Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean. It’s a distance of about 130km.

Secret skill? It’s not so secret – I get on with most people.

One thing that would make your life better? Living closer to my parents.

Philosophy? Enjoy life, learn for ever and make a difference.

Last film that made you cry? Pretty Woman when it was last shown on television.

Where would you time travel to? Ancient Rome to meet the emperor Marcus Aurelius.

First record you bought? ‘For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)’ by AC/DC.

Most extravagant purchase? A leather jacket, which cost 2,000 French francs, when I was 16 and broke.

Biggest regret? Like Edith Piaf, I have none.

Biggest fear? Fear.

Celebrity crush? Back in the day it was Pamela Anderson.

Happiness is… In the mind.

Fred’s new book, Secret Service: Lifting the Lid on the Restaurant World, is published by Quadrille, price £16.99. To order a copy for the special price of £13.59 until 19 November go to or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15


– By John Koski