Tante Marie Culinary Academy: The Chalet Cooks Academy
Go back 25 years and being a chalet girl was a bit cliché… the UK not really on the map as a global centre of culinary excellence and British guests in catered ski chalets were content with good, home cooked food.
Today guests expect fantastic food and impeccable service; after all, why would you go on holiday to eat food you would get at home? Chalet food must impress, which means finding staff with the skills, knowledge and training is of paramount importance. This level of training takes time and shortcuts don’t work: if you want basic, then one or two weeks learning to cook a few simple dishes is fine, but if you want wow-factor, going the extra mile that Ski Famille guests love is essential.
The extra challenge now is that the growth in popularity of skiing and catered ski holidays has been accompanied by increasing numbers of people wanting to actually do ski seasons. Students planning their Gap Years are finishing their A-Levels and more students than ever before are considering ski seasons as part of an exciting year out. The responsibility of running your own little hotel for 5 months, looking after guests, providing great food and managing the chalet according to set budgets is a life experience which sets seasonnaires up brilliantly for university and future careers… all while getting paid and enjoying time on the slopes.
But with the increasing number of people looking to do ski seasons, maintaining high standards can become harder.
That’s where Tante Marie come in…
The Tante Marie Chalet Cooks Academy Course
Tante Marie Culinary Academy recognised the need for something a bit more comprehensive, but also understands that not every chalet cook can spare the time or money to commit to a 1 year diploma in professional culinary arts so in 2017 they created their 4 week Chalet Cooks Academy course: a specialist programmed aimed to tick all the boxes for working in ski chalets.
Graduates of the course are highly employable in ski chalet roles due to the training being more comprehensive than a shorter course: it actually teaches fundamental cookery skills and knowledge – in depth understanding of cookery rather than simply teaching a week’s worth of recipes.
Students learn about menu planning, cooking for special diets, how to cost dishes and work to a budget and even leave with 3 different qualifications:
- Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering
- CTH Level 2 Award in Culinary Skills
- Tante Marie Certificate of Attendance
Support and Resources During a Ski Season
In addition to this, graduates of the Tante Marie Chalet Cooks Academy get unique access to their own online Chalet Management Resources: an online toolbox for chalet cooks to help with kitchen management, chalet management, how to get jobs in ski resorts…
Graduates get access to the Academy’s impressive Virtual Learning Environment, where they have access to information about:
- An overview to doing a ski season
- What the different roles entail
- What package to expect from a tour operator such as Ski Famille
- How to find ski season work
- Day to day duties of a chalet cook, including a range of checklists and manuals for the various tasks you’d be expected to perform
- How to survive the season
- Guides and recipes suitable for ski chalets including kitchen safety, menu planning and cooking at altitude
- How to impress your guests and ensure they leave with great memories.
Ski Famille and Tante Marie Culinary Academy
As a family ski operator operating in 16 catered chalets, Ski Famille chefs provide wholesome meals and fine wine to families in their own chalet kitchens. Our guests look forward to excellent, well-presented cuisine from the comfort of their own chalet (both before and after a day on the slopes). This ‘home from home’ chalet experience is what really creates a unique, warm and relaxing atmosphere that both parents and children love.
Ski Famille love recruiting graduates from the Tante Marie Culinary Academy because they tick every box. Their knowledge and skills are unsurpassed and the training at Tante Marie is thorough; covering everything students need to run chalets to exacting standards and to a level which shorter courses do not extend to.
Ski Famille chefs prepare their meals in an open plan kitchen and therefore play a pivotal role in ensuring guests have a relaxing week in the mountains. Our chefs’ role stretches further than simply preparing delicious meals; they interact with you as guests and ensure your family holiday is a successful one. So, as a guest, your chef (or chefs) and wider chalet team can really turn your holiday from a ‘pleasant experience’ to an ‘exceptional one’.
Tante Marie’s longer (4 week) Chalet Cook Academy course has only benefitted Ski Famille chefs so far. Their graduates have developed a greater sense of confidence that is essential in a ‘guest facing’ chalet environment. Not only this but the extra knowledge and skills they learn in a more thorough course only enhance their own experiences when working a ski season as well as enhancing our guests’ family holidays.
It is essential our chefs are not only great cooks but they can demonstrate a confident, warm and hospitable service. We honestly believe that our chefs can dictate the ambience in our chalets so our guests have a truly special trip to the mountains. The Chalet Cook Academy course that Tante Marie offer ties very closely with the Ski Famille chalet experience to produce these friendly chefs that our guests love. Picture relaxing on your chalet sofa in the evenings, near to the warmth of the fireplace, with your children in bed, a glass of prosecco in hand and some gentle music to relax you after a hard day on the mountains!
The Academy’s smart new facilities are centrally located in Woking, close to our own office based in Fleet (Hampshire) and within easy reach of just about anywhere with great transport links.
For more on Tante Marie, head over to their website.
Alternatively, why not visit our Chalet Cuisine page for more.