By Angie

15th February 2019

First Dates has been on our screens since 2013. We have absolutely fallen in love with watching the awkward few hours of a first date. Some of us have even applied.

But, what about the people behind the first dates? These guys bring a good 50% of the entertainment and the show just wouldn’t be the same without them.¬†Unsurprisingly, there are some secrets we don’t know about the lovely waiters, waitresses and bar tenders.

Those avid watchers of First Dates will know the names and backgrounds of all the staff that work at the restaurant. However they will need to have extreme addiction levels in order to know the secrets and information we have unearthed on them.

Firstly to meet the cast:

We have the Maitre’d Fred Sirieix. This lovely Frenchman leads the programme, welcoming all nervous singletons into the First Dates restaurant with his charming smile and lovely compliments. Fred is 45 years old and lives in Peckham, London.

Next up we have Laura Tott, Laura is 23 years old and is a waitress at the First Dates restaurant, which is based in London. She is from Surrey and is one of the most friendly faces in the show.

We also have Merlin Griffiths, the head of bar staff. This 41 year old always welcomes any guests with a drink of their choice and a compliment about the way they are dressed. He is a true professional and is extremely talented when it comes to cocktail making.

Then there is CiCi Coleman, 30 year old bubbly waitress who never fails to have a laugh and a joke with her customers. As you read on you will realise that she isn’t actually a trained waitress.

We have the extremely popular waiter Sam Conrad. He is known for his flirty relationship with colleague CiCi and there were rumours of the two dating at one point. He is very witty and gets along with the customers really well.

Then last but not least we have Autin Ventour. This waiter at first played an extra in the First Dates restaurant, before recently landing a job there on the full time cast. Thank god!

But now here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about the glue that sticks the First Dates programme together.

1. Laura Tott used to be in the Royal Navy

Prior to applying for this role in First Dates, she was actually a member of the Royal Navy. She travelled the world extensively and absolutely loved her role in the Navy.


She decided that the University life wasn’t for her but considers that she has officially graduated from the University of Life. What a lovely outlook to have on the world! She studied at Strode’s College in Surrey.

2. Merlin Griffiths used to be a global brand ambassador for Bombay Sapphire gin

This man has the magic touch when it comes to making cocktails. His duty is to greet the nervous, unlucky-in-love first daters and get them a nice bev to calm the nerves. Whilst they wait, he questions them on their ideal first date and what they’re expecting.

Image result for merlin griffiths bombay sapphire


Although working in the First Dates bar isn’t his only job, he has an extreme wealth of knowledge in this industry. Outside of First Dates, he is a pub landlord and has previous travelled around the world working for Bombay Sapphire.

3. Sam Conrad and CiCi Coleman are actually actors

Unlike Fred Sirieix, Laura Tott and Austin Ventour, the pair Sam Conrad and CiCi Coleman actually have no experience in the hospitality industry. These were both hired actors and have extremely little waiting experience.

Image result for sam conrad cici coleman


The restaurant is a real venue, so for the times of filming this pair have learnt a set of skills to help them actually wait on the people in the restaurant.


4. Waiter Sam Conrad actually revealed that he ended up dating a singleton from the show for a while

Millie was on her date whilst Sam was her waiter. Following the date, she decided that it wasn’t successful and that she didn’t want to see the boy again.

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Instead, she got the hots for Sam Conrad. Lucky for him, she went back into the restaurant after the date to give her number to Sam. The pair dated for a brief amount of time!

5. Fred has mastered love and is happily living with his partner and two children

As much as we all would love a slice of this French cake, he is sadly taken. This bearded, love-guru is happily loved up with his partner and they reside together in Peckham with Andrea and Lucien their two children.

Image result for fred sirieix and kids


This guy seriously makes this show, so we are definitely glad that he has his own love life in order. He is so good with all the nervous people who come through the doors, he always pays them a compliment or two.

6. Despite being hit on throughout the show, Laura Tott is actually really loved up with her hunky boyfriend

Despite some cringey boys hitting on Laura whilst their dates were in the bathroom, she doesn’t need to find herself a spot on the show because she is already all loved up with her boyfriend.


Although she Instagrams the odd picture of him on social media, she prefers to keep him out of the spot light. Although she gets some unwanted desire from the boys at the restaurant, she appears to be too smitten with her boy to even be fussed about any of the singletons on First Dates.

7. Merlin owns his own bar and restaurant

Merlin grew up in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and attended a grammar school. His work took him all around the world and he even lived in India.

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Currently, alongside working as the main bar man in the First Dates restaurant, he owns his own bar and restaurant. In north-west London you can find The Prior Tavern, which is owned by the king of cocktails!

8. Will they, won’t they?

Following the First Dates Christmas special we were all ridiculously excited at the prospects of CiCi and Sam Conrad getting together. The clip showed them hugging after he stole the witty picture card scene from Love Actually.

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Sadly, we can confirm that their relationship hasn’t progressed any further – much to our dismay. This was confirmed when CiCi revealed that she was single.

9. Merlin is EXTREMELY lucky in love when it comes to his wife!

He met his other half at a cocktail competition over more than a decade ago. Amazingly, he managed to win the whole competition and bag himself the woman of his dreams all at the same time.

Image result for merlin first dates wife


The lovely pair have a child together and are still going strong. We can definitely trust his advice when it comes to love!

10. Fred Sirieix is EXTREMELY into his fitness

If we needed any more reasons to fall in love with this man – which we definitely didn’t because his French accent and face that’s carved by angels has us all hooked anyway – he is a boxer who is seriously ripped.

Image result for fred sirieix boxing


His passion for boxing and keeping fit almost trumps his passion for love. Is he the dream man or what?!

If you like this article please feel free to share with friends. Also let us know if you have any secrets about the First Dates cast that we have missed.

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