‘Sweetbitter’ Star Ella Purnell Went to Restaurant Boot Camp for Coming-of-Age Series (Exclusive Video)

Actress learned everything from the dreaded three-plate carry to the proper way to pour wine

It’s a lot more difficult working in a restaurant than it looks — even if you’re acting as a server.

British actress Ella Purnell stars as Tess, a young woman who moves from Ohio to New York City after college. And like many recent grads with big ideas and small budgets, she gets a job as a server at a trendy New York restaurant. Actually, she has to train a while before she can be a real server, and she starts out as a back waiter.

To prepare for the role, Purnell went through two weeks of “boot camp” to learn all about fine dining.

“We had two weeks of, like, boot camp, where we learned how to serve, basically,” Purnell told TheWrap in a recent interview.

“It went from everything from like how to fold napkins to and how to lay a table from opening a bottle of wine, pouring it correctly, how to do a three-plate carry, the correct way to serve,” Purnell explained. They even had a front of house consultant.

“You become physically, like, so tired,” Purnell said. “Those plates are heavy. Your back, your shoulders, your arms.”

“Sweetbitter” is based on Stephanie Danler’s novel of the same name, and readers of the book will know this sounds a lot like Tess’ experience.

“I felt like I was going through this with Tess,” Purnell said.

Watch the full interview above.

“Sweetbitter” premieres on Starz on May 6.