At the Chalet Cookery School course you will be eased, step by step, through the varied routines of ski chalet life and its many activities. This will ensure you will be well prepared and organised to adapt to the role of a confident chalet host, able to provide maximum guest satisfaction. You will be expected present yourself as efficient and well organised, keep your chalet to an excellent standard and be an excellent time keeper, allowing your guests more time in the mountains.
Food and Recipes
Throughout your 7-days course at the Chalet Cookery School you will stay with us at the Chalet Amuse Bouche in the French Alps. You will have the opportunity to discover a range of menus that have been thoroughly tried and tested and learn the best ways to prepare, present and serve food, timing your cooking to perfection using different methods. You will also be taught the fundamental skills needed to meet the needs of guests with varied dietary requirements and how to accommodate and adapt these to your menu. In addition a part of the course will concentrate on catering for children by producing menus that will be quick and effective with stunning results.
Table Laying and Ambience
Presenting a table correctly in an appealing fashion is vital in creating the appropriate ambience among guests at every meal taken in the chalet. You will be shown how to create the WOW factor that will give your table embellishment the right impact. You will be taught how to concentrate on the small details that will really impress your guests – by, for instance, displaying folded table napkins in an interesting way. You will learn how to manage a successful dinner party by creating a cosy atmosphere among your guests. On many occasions, guests arriving at your chalet will be total strangers to each other. If not managed correctly, this could lead to awkward or embarrassing situations, particularly at meal times, so as chalet host it will be your responsibility to establish an amiable atmosphere by encouraging pleasant conversation and inter-action between guests. It will be your duty to make each of your guests feel comfortable and at home within the chalet environment. If you are not, by nature, extrovert, your tutor will show you the best ways to engage and interact with your guests.
Knowledge of Cheese and Wine
Part of the joy of visiting different countries is to enjoy the cuisine, especially local delicacies and produce such as cheese and wines that France has in abundance. During your week at the Chalet Cooking School you will learn about the wines and cheeses produced in the region. A professional Wine Club will visit the chalet to discuss different characteristics of the wines you will serve. You will be shown the easiest way to open a bottle, the correct way to serve the wine and you will get to taste the subtle differences that distinguish the wines our chalet guests will enjoy.
Shopping and Budgeting
Managing the weekly shop is one of the most crucial parts of a chalet host’s routine. You will be expected to cater for up to sixteen guests so it is imperative that you prepare each meal within a specific budget. Your instructor will accompany you on a visit to the local supermarket enabling you to sample ways to manage your weekly shopping budget. You will be given smart tips and useful tricks that will put you streaks ahead of competing chalet hosts as they rush to complete their regular supermarket shop. On your return, you will be advised on the best ways of storing ingredients and fresh foods to prolong their shelf life and retain quality.
Chalet and personal hygiene and cleanliness are of the utmost importance. It goes without saying that you are expected to look presentable at all times, but your chalet must also be kept impeccable at all times. There are however some clever tips that we will pass on that will make your daily chores far easier than you might think. Remember – any time you save on routine chores will maximise the ski and leisure time available to you. Although rare, nobody can really predict if a sickness bug might break out. Being prepared for such an event is vital for the well-being of your guests as well as yourself. Should sickness strike, you will be required to complete a sickness log and, depending on the circumstances, it might become necessary to quarantine your guests. An illness in the chalet can be catastrophic and can last weeks, affecting dozens of people if it is not properly controlled and the cause eliminated correctly.
You will learn everything about how to maintain a chalet in tip-top condition. This will include demonstrating the most time efficient way to clean the bathroom through to how to make the neatest beds and manage the laundry room. This will include filling in your laundry checklists and using the appropriate bedding for individual rooms. Another essential feature of the course will explain how to manage and look after guests during a chalet changeover – a limited time when a group of guests depart and new ones arrive.
In recent years hot tubs and saunas have become an integral part of a ski holiday. If these are not properly maintained there is a danger that they can quickly turn into a liability. There are some particular cleaning routines that you need to carry to ensure the facilities remain thoroughly hygienic. You will be shown how to clean and maintain these essential chalet features to maintain their efficiency – with special emphasis on water testing and the control and storage of dangerous chemicals.
As a chalet host, you will have the most sought after job in the Alps, but we hope this does not give the impression that every moment of your time is engaged in work. One of the reasons for taking a job during the season is also to enjoy yourself and have plenty of free time to ski and snowboard. During the time management sessions of the course, you will learn how best to manage your chalet work schedule in order to maximise your free time.
Wood Chopping and Fire Building
There is nothing more welcoming than a roaring fire to greet your guests when they arrive at the chalet and when they return from a fun filled day skiing. The open log fire is, after all, a central feature of chalet living. Believe it or not – there is a correct way to chop wood – and you will be shown how! When you have done the chopping, you will be taught the best way to build a perfect log fire that will bring a smile to your guests’ faces.
Snow Chains and Driving
Safety is always vital on mountain roads but during winter, snow and ice are additional hazards you need to contend with. The Chalet Cookery School does not just concern itself with teaching you how to do things inside the chalet, but outside as well. Few students will have ever encountered snow chains before – but when driving conditions are treacherous you will need to know how attach these to your wheels. You will also learn the correct procedure for controlling a vehicle in a skid or spin. Last, but not least, you will be shown the practicalities of clearing snow efficiently from around the chalet either by hand, with snow shovel and by a snow blowing machine.
Customer Service Standards, Client Handling and Basic Language Skills
Customer service throughout their entire holiday is paramount to a guest’s enjoyment. If you are able to make guests feel welcome they will depart with wonderful memories of the times spent at your chalet. They are likely to remember your name when you provide them with exemplary service and this, without doubt, be a strong reason for guests wanting to return each year. You will learn how to be professional and respectful towards your guests, and get to know exactly what their expectations of you will be. Is working with children a new challenge for you? If so, there is no need to worry because the course will teach you the best ways of dealing with toddlers and youngsters under various circumstances. Nobody wants guests to feel upset for any reason so you will learn how to control and diffuse any difficult situations should they arise. If you are not a French speaker, the course will also help you overcome the difficulties of speaking the language enabling you to order essentials such as bread or fresh vegetables in the local market or to translate your entire supermarket needs.
Job Assistance, Advice and Interview Techniques
The aim of the course is to give you the best possible start in hosting a chalet with your own guests. Whilst on the course you will be given all the help you require to confidently apply for a seasonal chalet position. You will be nurtured through mock interviews with your tutors offering guidance by suggesting ways they feel your technique could improve. As employers, we know exactly what companies look for when hiring prospective employees. We work alongside other employers that have a high regard for chalet course. As a student of the Chalet Cookery School you will be GUARANTEED to stand head and shoulders ahead of any fellow applicants when applying for your dream job in the Alps this winter. Once the course has finished, extra information, including advice and assistance is openly available to you from the dedicated Chalet Cookery School aftercare team on the Chalet Cookery School Facebook page or via email.
It cannot be stressed enough that having a well-written CV that stands out to a prospective employer is EVERYTHING. On average, each chalet company receives over 600 job applications each year, so competition has never been tougher. After booking your place on the course, as an integral part of the School’s student-assist policy – we will ask you to send us your current CV to enable our experienced staff to appraise. This will allow your instructor the opportunity to coach you through a private one-to-one discussion when you will be offered advice on ways to improve your CV to give you the edge over fellow applicants.