Cookery Courses for Chalet Hosts
Cooking is a loosely defined term that can mean anything from creating a banquet to knocking up a few bacon sandwiches. Taking on a chalet job can mean doing the former with the budget of the latter.
Fortunately that's a skill that can be taught and a number of cookery schools run courses ideal for equipping you for a hospitality role in ski resorts worldwide.
Rosie Davies, the owner and name of a school in Somerset, says her cookery courses are "designed as vocational training for people who want to cook for a living, most often on yachts in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, or as chalet chefs in the Alps." Class sizes are small, a maximum of five students.
Starting with the essential skills and basic techniques for recipes and preparing soups, sauces, meat and fish, vegetables and vegetarian dishes, desserts and canapés, the course will introduce more techniques as your knowledge and confidence grows: jointing, filleting and boning, as well as yeast cookery, advanced pastries and sauces.
The course addresses the reality of chalet cooking and understands that you will have to produce "super tasting, top class food under pressure, often coping in cramped and under-equipped conditions." Outside of the classroom, students visit the markets and go shopping for fresh meat, fish and vegetables.
Essential topics include menu planning, catering for special diets, presentation and how to solve some of the commonest problems, with advice on advance preparation, rescue remedies and plenty of shortcuts. For full details see: www.rosiedavies.co.uk
In the same way that the typically imagined London barman would have an Australian accent, Surrey is the natural birthplace of chalet girls and consequently a popular area for cookery schools.
Found in that English county is The Murray School of Cookery who teach five day courses "designed specifically for those who wish to gain the skills and knowledge necessary for working in ski chalets." Subjects covered include practical cookery training, cake making, time and menu planning, safety and hygiene, and budgetary control. More details at www.cookeryschool.net.*
Also in Surrey is the Tante Marie School of Cookery: details of their career and gap year courses can be found at www.tantemarie.co.uk
In Scotland, the Edinburgh School of Food and Wine's range of courses include a four week full time intensive certificate course suitable for cooking for a ski chalet or a highland lodge: www.esfw.com
These courses can be expensive but within the intense competition for ski resort jobs a cookery course on your CV will show that you are serious about cooking for a living and can meet the high standards that chalet guests expect. UK nationals looking for funding may wish to investigate the possibility of getting a Career Development Loan
* Link is now The Cook Academy, in Hampshire
Image courtesy Alain Bachellier