WORK in the Alps this winter and improve your culinary skills for life!
Nestling in the heart of Chamonix, just a short drive from Geneva airport is the most beautiful mountain side chalet, built in the traditional French style with en-suite bedrooms and oozing luxury throughout. We caught up with Emma and Susie to find out about their business…
So Emma tell us about the Alpine Cookery Course.
Susie and myself, set up the Alpine Cookery Course in 2005. After 12 winters each working in the Alps we felt that we had gained experience in all angles of the ski industry from cooking and ski teaching to toilet cleaning! We knew there was a gap in the market for a chalet-training course based in a real top end chalet cooking with real local ingredients in an amazing location. So, The Alpine Cookery Course evolved. It is however more than just a cookery course; it is a crash course in working a winter season. It is a course designed to help you to decide if this is what you want to do and what options and jobs there are for you.
Where is the chalet based?
The chalet is based in the centre of Chamonix in the French Alps just one and a quarter hours away from Geneva airport. Chamonix is an all year round mecca for skiers, climbers and party people alike. The chalet is ‘Ski Weekends’ luxury chalet sold in the winter to top corporate clients. All the rooms are ensuite with handmade basins and views of Mont Blanc. There is also a sauna after a hard days cooking and eating…It’s fabulous.
What is the cost?
The course costs £595 per person. This includes all the tuition, accommodation based on 2 sharing, all food and drink, (including 4 course dinners with wine) the wine and cheese tasting plus guest speakers. Oh and a guarantee of a job if you pass! How about a ski season job in Courchevel or some other exquisite locale?
Extras are flights, insurance and transfers.
Tell us the day-to-day routine of the programme itself.
Well, we try to run it as much like a real chalet as possible. During the day you work in pairs cooking various types of suitable dishes mixed in with theory sessions.
In the evening each pair takes a turn at hosting and cooking dinner for everyone to get a chance to cook for 10 people. They then do breakfast and afternoon tea the following day. You also get a free afternoon on the Thursday to try some activities such as paragliding or rock climbing or just shopping and relaxing. We follow this with a wine and cheese tasting evening, a guest speaker and a cookery quiz. We also invite people that live and work in Chamonix to chat to people on the course. There is also a visit from at least one tour operator who joins us for lunch and often recruits there and then from the course.
Do you get any kind of certificate of attendance?
Our course is more about getting you the right job with the right company but if you want a certificate you could have one.
Most recruiters know us well. For example Thomson Tui, Ski Total, Ski Olympic and many others visit our courses with specific intent to recruit direct. Most companies know that students who train with us will have had a thorough grounding and know what to expect from working a winter season, warts and all!
What kind of jobs would be available to the right candidates after attending one of your courses?
There are many jobs out there. Cooking, running your own chalet, assisting in a chalet and working alongside a chef, being a Ski Rep, working in a chalet hotel or even working as a hydro-ceramic engineer (dish washer) This job has the most hours on the snow and is very popular! There is also an option with many of the companies to continue on in to the summer working a summer season. If none of this tickles your fancy then we can open up other avenues of training and jobs such as ski hosting, handy man/woman or ski/snowboard instructor training.
Can you offer help to people looking for ski season work?
Yes, anyone that wants a ski resort job we find them one subject to them passing the course. We also have a job’s page on our site and offer help to clients as soon as they book on the course. They don’t have to wait to attend the course before we can look at their CVs or even find them a suitable job.
What clients do you work with?
The age range can be from 18 – 60 years old and from gap students to life style change. Basically anyone that wants to work a winter season in the Alps. We do get a lot of people who are fed up with the commuting, the daily grind and not least the weather. They often ask themselves is there more to life than this?
What skills do applicants need?
The skills that are useful are an interest in food and eating, being hard working and having good communication skills.
Is it feasible for someone to get work in a ski season this winter or do they need to plan ahead?
Absolutely, we expect people to get work this winter if they want it.
Do you have any tips or advice for our readers?
Lots but you would have to come on the course! What I can tell you though, don’t expect to want to go back to the ‘real’ world. One season is never enough.
Seriously though, be prepared to work very hard work, but Monday morning on the chair lift makes it all worthwhile.