A day in the life.
6:45am – The hardest part of my day. I’m shocked awake in disbelief that it’s already morning. It’s a fumbled grab in the dark for my phone as it begins its chiming duet with my roommate’s.
Sleep is such a precious thing that I only allow fifteen minutes to make myself presentable. I change into my uniform that will forever smell of food, no matter how many times I wash it and go into the bathroom; turning on the tap as I scrape my hair into a ponytail whilst the water warms. Sometimes cold water is all I get as I’m too impatient to wait any longer. I splash my face and then moisturise my skin. (Tip: moisturiser is underrated anywhere other than the mountains. Here, it’s a lifesaver, so bring plenty of it!)
I apply a basic layer of foundation, then focus on the extra concealer needed to hide the bags under my bleary eyes, which are still adjusting to the bright light. I grab my water bottle and lip balm as I zip up my fleece, the coziness of it reminding me of my bed, which is still warm. Thankfully I live in my chalet, so I haven’t got a long commute and am upstairs ready to start my day in a minute.
7:00am – I’m in my chalet kitchen, the oven is on and I pop some pastries into it as it warms. I clear up the odd glasses and other debris left from the night before, then using the freshly cleaned crockery from the dishwasher, I lay the table for breakfast. It’s a game making sure you haven’t forgotten anything for the table.
I set my trays and pans out on the hob, and fill them with mushrooms, tomatoes and bacon, using baking paper as my saving grace. (I have a deep love for baking parchment – say goodbye to scrubbing baking trays for hours on end!)
Alongside this, I begin making the afternoon tea for the day, so it can be thrust into the oven once it is free. I make anything from salted caramel flapjacks and banana bread to my special mystery ingredient cupcakes, which always provide a fun guessing game.
8:00am – There’s movement and a swish of salopettes heard from above as the guests start making their way from their bedrooms to the table. The smell of the tea and coffee must have made their way up the stairs. The morning chatter begins over the rustling of cereal being poured, as the cooked breakfast orders roll in.
The ability to multitask is key in this job, as even a skilled juggler will find it a challenge when all four hobs are being used for different styles of eggs and then someone orders porridge to top it off. But becoming an egg connoisseur is a given in this job. (Tip: For poached eggs, use a low frying pan and chef rings as your tools to get neat balls of runny in the centre eggs that will make their way from the pan to the plate in one piece.)
It’s also crazy how excited I get about kitchenware now. Non stick frying pans and a decent spatula are great assets to your breakfast game. With any spare moment I have, I get on with the food prep needed for the evening, making sure I have a clean space to work on first. (Tip: clean as you go! I cannot tell you the importance of this and how easy it’ll make your life. Tidy chef = tidy kitchen.)
9:30am – Breakfast is over. The guests and their full stomachs are on their way out the door, if they haven’t left already. I clear and wipe the table, filling the dishwasher as I go and putting it on a short cycle. (Tip: The dishwasher is your best friend, be kind to it and it will be kind to you.)
Next, I grab my handy bucket full of cleaning products and trusty cloths, ready to tackle whatever I might find behind the bedroom doors. I work my way round the strewn pyjamas, smoothing out the bed sheets that have been crumpled through the night. I continue by wiping off the toothpaste marks from the sink and topping up the toilet roll supplies. A quick hoover of the communal areas and under the table, to suck up the last of the pastry crumbs, and I’m almost done. Just in time for the dishwasher to beep at me for attention, allowing me to set the coffee table for afternoon tea. Because who doesn’t love a slice of cake and a cuppa when they return from a hard day of skiing?
I check the hot tub is still toasty and snow clear around it if necessary, as all that extra water can mean lots of slippery ice, and no one wants that. I do a double take of the lounge, the smell of my freshly baked cake still lingering in the air as I close the door on what has been a very productive morning.
10:30am – It varies each day but I’ve usually finished for the morning by this time. Some days take longer, usually Thursday as there’s a towel change and deliveries to sort. But as the season progresses, everything gets easier and quicker. I’m definitely one to pick and choose the days I ski in accordance with the weather. But when you have five months to ski, you get that luxury.
Chilling on my bed is first on my list of activities, with my roommate and I sharing our morning’s events, whilst messaging the group to see what the plans are for the day. Then it’s usually a rush to get the bus as we somehow never give ourselves enough time. And with that we’re off to the slopes! Meeting up as a whole group can be difficult to organise sometimes, but it’s so worth it when you get to do a few runs together. It can also be slightly chaotic with twenty people shoot off towards the same lift.When it’s a bluebird day, we tend to do a combination of skiing until our legs turn to jelly and relaxing in deck chairs with some pommes frites and a demi pêche (beer with peach syrup – it’s incredible, you must try it!)
If the weather is grim, it’s a great excuse for a day in bed to catch up on some much needed sleep, or meeting people in town for a hot chocolate, a touch of shopping, or even some ice skating. I like to be back by 4:30/5pm at the latest so I can shower and relax a little before facing work again.
6:00pm – I’m back in my chalet ready for the evening service. If I have children in the group, I’m in about 5:15-5:30pm to get cooking their dinner which is usually served at 6pm. Otherwise, I clear away the afternoon tea and get started on the three course meal which is to be served in a couple of hours. It’s a hive of activity in my kitchen as I’ve got carrots to chop, beef to marinade and cream to whip. At the same time, I’m making sure the guest’s wine glasses are topped up and asking about their day, whilst getting started on setting the table for dinner. It’s a juggling act not to get too involved in the guest’s GoPro videos that they’re eager to show you, whilst also trying to keep an eye on the risotto or jus that needs attention.
8:00pm – The starters of beetroot, goats cheese and fig stacks, aubergine gratin or courgette and mint salads, are ready to be served as I invite the guests to the dinner table. I pop a few more bottles of their chosen wine onto the table and get to feeding my hungry skiers/boarders.As soon as the plates are out, I’m on to the next course; warming my plates through and stirring my sautéed leeks again. (Tip: hot plates are a must! When plating up, serving hot food is your biggest concern, particularly when there’s a lot of elements to a dish.)
I clear the starters away, top up the bread basket and refill the water jugs. Then I get on with plating the main course; ensuring each plate looks just as delicious as the next before it’s taken out. I can now say I’m skilled in slow cooking lamb, serving the creamiest coq au vin blanc sauce and the perfect parmentier potatoes.
I clear some workspace and get on with dessert, putting the final touches to my baked lemon cheesecake, sticky toffee puddings or vanilla pannacottas.Once all three courses have been demolished, I then offer a cheese board, tea and coffee. By the time I get to offer the after dinner mints, I usually find they are replete.
9:30pm– I’m finishing up the last bit of washing up, wiping down the surfaces and gathering the last few things from the table, turning on the dishwasher once again. (Tip: Make sure you turn it on as it’s the saddest thing when you come in the next morning and find all the dirty dishes waiting for you.)
I ensure the guests have everything they need before leaving them to their evening as I take the bins and empty bottles out with me. From there, the night is mine. Perhaps a drink or two with friends, movie night or whatever I feel like, as long as I’m awake for 6:45am ready to start the day again.
By the time I get into bed, my head hits the pillow so quickly it seems only a minute has gone by before my alarm’s morning duet drifts into my dreams.