Journal

Retrospective: The season in review by Head Chef Nick Lyon Dean

06 May 2016

As the season draws to a close we go under the microscope with Head Chef, Nick Lyon Dean to find out about the highs, the lows and the future plans.

The Challenges


It’s been a season of many challenges, both professional and personal. Probably the biggest challenge in my role as Head Chef has been trying to deliver the highest quality cuisine and service at Ferme de Moudon while at the same time ensuring and monitoring that the chefs in the other 3 chalets are doing the same.

Then there have been the usual challenges that come from working in a chalet, such as keeping within budget, providing a consistently high standard of food and making sure you have enough time to go skiing! There was one week where the guests weren’t sitting down to dinner until 10pm and we weren’t leaving the chalet until 1am. When you then have to be back in the kitchen by 6.00am the following day it starts to become rather difficult to maintain energy levels and that fatigue has a domino effect running into the next week. So it’s a challenge to keep yourself and the team motivated!

This year has also seen a definite increase in dietary requirements and allergies. It was very rare to have a  week without some form of allergy or suchlike and that presents it’s own challenges for menu planning, budgeting and consistently delivering excellence.

 

Most Popular Dishes


From a guest point of view it's hard to say, especially as I rarely cooked the same weekly menu twice!There was a canape of goats cheese profiterole with honey & rosemary that I introduced halfway through the season and was an instant hit. But if had to nominate my favourite dishes from the season I would go:

 

Toasted Goats Cheese with roast red onion, pickled beetroot, poached fig, olive tuile & balsamic syrup
5 Spice Pork fillet with asian squid broth, noodles, shiitake mushrooms, chili & coriander
Warm cherry pavlova, myrtille ice cream, chantilly cream, caramelised pistachios



The Successes


I think overall it's been a very successful season for the Boutique Chalet Company. Occupancy levels have been very high, guest feedback has been extremely positive. Obviously there's always room for improvement but I think we can be very happy with the quality of service that's been provided this season. From a food point of view we've had some fantastic chefs this year and I feel that the quality of food delivered has been the highest of any season. We’ve generated a lot of repeat bookings for next winter so that’s always a good sign! Personally I've had some amazing feedback from guests about my food, which has been incredibly satisfying.

Favourite Moments

There are quite a few to choose from! Being called ‘sweetheart‘ by an elderly gentleman guest is always entertaining and at the same time slightly unnerving! Luckily the other males in the team were subjected to similar epithets! A lot of guests also wanted to take me home in their suitcases. This seems to happen to me more and more frequently.

Outside of work I managed to fit in trips to Val d’Isere in France and Soll in Austria. It’s always great to escape the bubble of the resort experience other ski areas. But probably the highlight of the season was sledging at dusk from the top of the Chavannes bubble in Les Gets to the bottom, while trying to avoid the rage of the pisteurs. It was like Mario Cart on snow! Honestly there should be more dedicated sledge runs in the Portes du Soleil! If you can only watch a few seconds of the video tune in at 2.07!

 

 

Looking forward …. summer @ Twenty26

I think the thing I’m most looking forward to this summer is building on the success of last summer, especially now the renovations at Twenty26 are complete and we have a fully functioning spa, swimming pool and bar.The potential we have now to create something really special is enormous so it’s going to be a lot of fun seeing how we can achieve that. Plus there’s some massive events happening this summer, such as Crankworkx in Les Gets and the Tour de France, so the vibe in the area is going to be something else, and we can really tap into that.

I’m also currently designing menus for the summer, and I’m looking to continue the Middle Eastern theme we had last year, as well as incorporate some south-east Asian influences, so that hopefully we’ll continue to offer a different kind of cuisine and experience from most other establishments in the area. It’s definitely going to be a place to keep an eye on!



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