Could YOU be a society server? Staff rules at high end service team
What it REALLY takes to be a high society waiter: Edward Enninful’s wedding caterer reveals professionally coiffed staff rehearse for hours, must be polite but not ‘fawn’ and tattoos and piercings are banned!
- Edward Enninful employed high-society caterers for his ‘£600,000’ wedding
- Cellar Society’s clients typically have a budget in the region of £20k to £100k
- But it’s their ‘cast’ of waiters and waitresses that are the ‘key to their success’
The bash at Edward Enninful’s Longleat House wedding was full of men who were perfectly coiffed with flawless skin and outfits that fit just so. And they were just the waiters.
For the event was catered by high-end London-based firm Cellar Society, which specialises in producing food and drink that’s served by a ‘cast’ of men and women who are so attractive, they could easily be mistaken for models (many of them are, others are students).
Cellar Society attracts the highest of high end clients, with big name brands like Balenciaga, Harrods and Versace spending an average of £20,000 to £100,000 on food and drink for their soirees.
The London-based company does private catering, too, and worked Kate Moss’ 2011 wedding, as well as a recent bash in Monaco where the client only wanted Fiji Water that needed to be flown in in suitcases.
To work such glittering events, the waiters, who earn £14 an hour, must meet a strict list of requirements, managing director Bertie de Rougemont told The Times, and are ‘key to the success’ of a Cellar Society event.
Edward Enninful’s big day was estimated to have cost £600,000 – and part of that was splurged on bottles of Champagne and splendid food arranged by high-end London caterers (pictured) Cellar Society, whose clients typically have a budget in the region of £20,000 to £100,000
But while the service team’s food and drink is known to be of excellent quality – it’s their ‘cast’ of waiters and waitresses (above) that are the ‘key to their success’, according to managing director Bertie de Rougemont
They must have no visible piercings or tattoos, be ‘extremely fit and charming’ and, if they’re ‘boys’, have short hair. They can’t be hungover or lazy. They must be able to know how to hold a conversation, but never flirt; be engaging, but never fawn.
‘It’s all about detail. My boys or girls are never fawning,’ de Rougemont said. ‘They are not incentivised by tips. They can hold a conversation but are trained to withdraw without giving offence. But we’re all human beings and people do flirt.
‘It’s not always just some old geezer drinking champagne getting overfamiliar either. It’s not unknown for girls to slip a number into someone’s pocket. Especially after lockdown when people seem to have forgotten how things work. If we see it, we take them aside and say, “This really shouldn’t be happening”.’
While it was once mainly men who worked for Cellar Society, now more women are wanted.
‘We are now taking briefs from luxury brands who insist on diversity. Not just racial diversity — 20 beautiful blond boys who look like they come from Bergen, Norway, is not an option. They want girls too. Girls who are well turned out, charming and have the right attitude are now in demand like never before.’
Intimate venue: It is understood Edward and Alec married in The Orangery in the grounds of Longleat House, underneath a stunning floral arch
Meet my new husband! British Vogue’s Edward Enninful looks the picture of newly-wedded bliss in the first photo of him and new husband Alec Maxwell since their lavish English countryside wedding, taken earlier this month
The waiters and waitresses are interviewed and dressed before sitting through hair and make-up. A detailed briefing follows, with the service itself choreographed.
One Stella McCartney fashion show dinner saw the staff – who are paid £18 an hour – rehearsing for two hours ahead of the event.
de Rougemont said he was honoured to be asked to work on last week’s Enninful wedding, which marks high-society’s appetite for glitzy events returning again.
At the start of the pandemic, de Rougemont feared his company, which he started in his mid-thirties, after working at the CBS record label in the 1980s, would be finished.
During the first lockdown, the company used the leftover supplies to create 25,000 meals for the ambulance service found next door to its north London HQ.
For the most part, the firm’s staff (above) – which serve A-list celebrities, fashion houses and luxury brands – are made up of ‘fit and beautiful boys turned out nicely with a bit of hair and make-up,’ claimed de Rougemont, 56, who was born in Paris
However his cast of serving staff (pictured), made up of young models and university students in the main, who go around with trays of food and drinks at the glitzy events, is now more diverse
But the quarantine didn’t stop some ‘naughty requests’ from private customers asking de Rougemont to arrange a party – despite it being illegal. de Rougemont said he always said no to the requests.
Outrageous requests from the caterer’s clients have also included Katie Moss’ wedding to Jamie Hince in 2011, in which she wanted a champagne tower made of 500 glasses.
Poured into the glasses were 360 bottles of Pol Roger champagne, which were then handed out to guests one by one.
Then recently, a person behind a party in Monaco would only drink Fiji water – which had to be flown out by four staff members, carrying suitcases of the bottles from London.
House party! Longleat House was lit up by Emma Thynn, Marchioness of Bath, for her friend Edward Enninful’s party
Glamorous guests: Anders Christian Madsen, a fashion critic at British Vogue, shared a picture with editor Christine Centenera and Victoria Beckham ahead of the wedding
But post-lockdown have changed the clients’ tastes, with wealthy individuals seemingly not wanting to show off as much as before Covid.
As such, a buffet, relaxed atmosphere and vegan food is now preferred.
de Rougement remained tight-lipped on the exact offering at Enninful’s wedding, but no doubt it was delicious.
The Enninful wedding saw a handful of the couple’s nearest and dearest invited to see them exchange vows in the Orangery.
Ordinary couples must pay a minimum of £13,800 for venue hire of the Orangery for their ceremony and a marquee for the reception. The party then continued into the night, although the specifics have remained under wraps.
Chris Ayre, managing director at AYRE Events told FEMAIL, he thought the cost would be in the region of £600,000, saying: ‘I would say a wedding like this would certainly cost around £600,000, if not more.’
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