First Dates’ maitre D’ Fred Sirieix serves up a new batch of hopefuls hoping to find romance when the hit Channel 4 series returns on Tuesday, August 9 …
Celebrity First Dates has tickled our palate with TV stars Esther Rantzen, Scarlett Moffatt and Danny Brocklebank swinging by the First Dates restaurant for a date. But now it’s time for the main course, as First Dates returns with a new series, with over 80,000 applicants looking for love!
Fred, you’ve become a household name with First Dates. How did you get involved in the show? "I was working with a director on another show (BBC2’s Michel Roux’s Service) and he said I should look into this. After much talk and consideration I decided I wanted to be involved."
What was it about First Dates that appealed to you? "I wanted to do something good and something I could be proud of. I don’t want to do trashy TV; I’m not desperate to be on TV. I wanted to do quality stuff and I think I was right with the choice I made."
You’re now considered a bit of a love expert… "That’s OK, but I don’t consider myself to be a love expert! I work every day in my restaurant, I run my company, so my life hasn’t changed. I do exactly the same thing I did before. Sometimes people recognise me in the street. It’s fun, but I still have to pay the mortgage."
Do you have an instinct for which couples are going to click? "You can see when people walk in which ones have a strong connection. Sometimes though it doesn’t work and you have no idea why. They arrive with the same energy and look in their eyes, but if the chemistry isn’t there, there’s nothing you can do. It’s a mystery."
Would you like a First Dates wedding? "We’ve already got one! A couple called Scott and Victoria are getting married and another couple called Dan and Adam are engaged. For us that’s the goal. It shows our recipe works."
Why do you think First Dates is so popular? "The show is very genuine and done very well. The intention is good. We match people to perfection because we want them to get on with each other. You can’t fake that. It’s not just about love. It’s about people. How we are. We are all potential first date hopefuls. We recognise ourselves and can see why people do what they do. We can see how ‘not normal’ is really normal."
Why do you think people apply? "Over 80,000 people apply. They’ve tried so many things to find love, but it’s difficult. They see what we’re doing and how we really try to match people up – we have a team of researchers and matchmakers who are really very good at their job."
What do you think about the dating hopefuls? "I think the looking-for-love hopefuls are extremely courageous. I love the SAS motto ‘Who Dares Wins’. You’ve got to give it a go, you’ve got to try. Love’s about finding a connection and keeping that connection. The beauty of First Dates is it is genuine. There’s so much cynical, negative, car-crash TV these days. First Dates takes people for what they are."
Before we let you go, what can you reveal about First Dates Hotel, a new six-part series for Channel 4? "I can tell you it’s going to be in France. People will have the possibility of having a second date – with the person they’ve met on First Dates if it’s working, or a second date if it didn’t work. It will be a more in-depth, but very much in the vision and values of First Dates. The First Dates book is also out on September 2 – it’s called The Art of Love and it’s very good!"
Interview by Natasha Holt
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