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First Dates Staff – Do They Really Work There?




First Dates restaurant workers

Being able to watch the first dates of various pairs of socially awkward people on television is the peak of reality tv. Never before has it been possible to watch such an intimate moment between two complete strangers; whilst discussing it play by play with our friends and family. Being able to share in the sweetest moments of their first date is great. Being able to cringe at the worst moments is even better. Who has a better view of the show than the staff who work there? But do they really work there? This article explains all this and more. 

Who owns and hosts the first dates restaurant?

The restaurant is owned and managed by the show’s host, 46-year-old Frenchman Fred Sirieix. Sirieix is an ex “maitre d’hotel”, meaning he ran a restaurant at one point. The role he played is that of manager and greeter, just like he greets people in the show. This has given him all the knowledge and experience needed to be the best person for the job of hosting the first dates show. He is very experienced at greeting people, helping them feel welcome and relaxed, ready for their big date. If you want to see him for yourself, why not simply make your way to the restaurant near saint pauls cathedral. He genuinely does work there normally, the restaurant doesn’t just play host to the show. It is fully staffed by professional servers. But who else works there?

Who are the staff?

  • Merlin Griffiths is another face you might recognize. He is the friendly gentleman working behind the bar, who is responsible for making the cocktails for the shows guests and the ordinary customers like you and me. 
  • Cici Coleman, you may recognize her as the pretty blonde lady that waits on the tables. She has some professional waitressing experience, clearly, and always does a good job of chatting away with the restaurant patrons.
  • Austin Ventour – cheery Austin is one of the more experienced waiters with a strong background in the hospitality industry. Hands down has the best smile on the show.
  • Laura Tott – the bubbly blonde is always laughing and joking with other waiters. She is now a qualified Paramedic.
  • Sam Conrad – fun loving Sam is great at interacting with guests and is consistently flirting with Cici. Rumour has it, he once dated a guest from the show.
  • Grant Urquhart – one of the newer members, Grant joined at the start of Season 10. Like Austin, he is a small-time actor and model.

Do they really work at Paternoster Chop House?

If you were popping in to see if you could get yourself one of merlins magic cocktails, you are bang out of luck. He owns a small pub in London himself, so the likelihood of him working full time as a barman for someone else’s establishment is slim at best. If you want to see him, you better get lucky and go when the show is filming. Cici doesn’t actually work there full time, she has used her TV exposure to generate a decent internet following and carved a career out for herself as an actor/online influencer. The other staff on camera? Whilst they may work there during filming they don’t work at the restaurant full time. 


If you were hoping to make your way to the first dates restaurant, you are in luck as it is a real restaurant open to the public. If you were hoping to make your way there to meet the staff, well you are only likely to meet Fred Sirieix (if you are lucky). Hopefully, this article has shone some light on to the reality of reality tv for you. 

Tessa is a Senior Writer at Patty360. She has previously worked as a freelance journalist for various news sites in the UK.