A day in the life of a season chef

By natives.co.uk, 23 Jan at 14:33

The clock reads 6.59 as I turn over and pull a warm, comforting breath. I wait peacefully as that minute clicks on and Radio Maribel's smooth DJ gives me my reason to get up....

Overnight 25 centimetres fell all the way down to street level: no need to stay up high today. Not a cloud in the sky so get out and enjoy the sun and that snow”. I roll over and out of bed, catch myself smiling in the mirror, grab my towel and jump in the shower.

Ok ok... That is not always how it goes.

Here’s the reality:

The alarm is screeching on my left as I turn in agony to slap the snooze: I cracked three ribs the other day. My fault. It’s icy out there..

I eventually manage to pull myself up with usually barely enough time to wash before stepping out into the cold (careful not to slip on the ice - again). It’s pitch black as we wind our way up the curving mountain to our chalet. It’s a mad rush before the guests come down.
I’m three espressos in before the guests trickle in. Before long the bread arrives, croissants are out of the oven and the pans are a-buzz. One for scrambled, one for dippy and some poached and below in the oven the bacon is crisping. Today’s gonna be a good day and it starts out heartily.

I’m in my chalet which caters for 18 guests. There are three of us : two hosts and myself. We pride ourselves in making sure they have the best week possible: nothing’s too much trouble. It’s a basic that you can choose your eggs but here you get a three-course evening meal with options for each one. And a cheese board. And afternoon tea...

I manage to use every damned pan in the kitchen. I need to wash up and then get prepping for dinner. I’ve got three courses with two options for each course. There’s always third option for someone who decided to be a gluten intolerant vegan who doesn’t like peppers or cucumbers or onions or anything really. An apple? (That hasn’t happened yet).

We change and are on the chairlift right behind the guests. The snow is epic. Some of the best runs we’ve had. We get a solid five hours in, fill our ski boots with the apres, jump in the shower again and onto evening service.

The three courses go out without a struggle. Most people go for the “Tomato and Basil Salad”, ”Duck and Dauphinoise” and “Chocolate Brownie”. Its a doddle and we’re out by 9.30 and down Le Pub with the rest. A few beers and time for kip: we’re in early tomorrow and hoping for that little bit more snow… which comes.

I suppose the life of a chalet chef is somewhere in between. It’s definitely not all play. Its long and it’s tiring… but as soon as you’re on that chairlift being risen up to the fresh snow, headphones blasting… all that washing up and all those vegans suddenly seem well worth it ;) An apres not bad either. This is one of those things that you do in life and look back on thinking: I had a bloody great time…you won’t remember the washing up. Or you can look back and think: why didn’t I do that? Why didn’t I do a season. There’s still plenty of time. And plenty of snow. Sometimes.

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