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In chalet catering companies

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi there, we are planning a chalet stay for a group of 14 in serre chevalier this winter. We are on a low budget and already have a self catering chalet in mind and are looking to bring in some one else to do the catering to save on all the time spent shopping and cooking. We have 8 teenagers to feed.

I found a company called alps 2 Atlantic who offer this at reasonable rates but unfortunately they are fully booked. Does anyone else know any companies that offer this service, preferably breakfast, afternoon tea, dinner but willing to flex the first two.

I’ve also found a company called hu ski who can deliver pre cooked frozen meals and would appreciate hearing from anyone who has used this.

Many thanks,
Dave
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Well, the issue of course is that you need a chef or company that is fairly locally based as winter
travel can get difficult.

I am in the US and have tried to do what you are doing (although perhaps not as much on a tight
budget) and it's not easy to find anyone, especially in the less-populated and less glitzy resorts.

Finding a chef in Chamonix, Morzine, not too difficult. Other places, not too easy.

You might reach out to Snowcooks, I have spoken with Melanie and she tried to use her contact
network to find a chef for me.

Finally, many chefs are just taking a break after finishing the season and have not made definite
plans for next winter yet.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I hear good things about hu ski. We have a similar service in Morzine with Bon Appetit Alps and their frozen stuff is top notch. Ask whoever you are renting from if the local bakery will deliver (many will) and thats breakfast pretty much sorted.
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I'll make enquiries, there was someone doing it pre-lockdown. Leave it with me, and I'll add another post to the thread.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thanks hells bells, made noodles and snowshoer. Good to have a few options to explore.
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Davemc37 wrote:
Thanks hells bells, made noodles and snowshoer.


Has Nadenoodlee changed her username to made noodles, I quite like it! Toofy Grin
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Alastair Pink, it would adequately describe 90% of what i feed my kids ‘nudeln’
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Nadenoodlee, Laughing
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I'm not sure how low budget squares with bringing a chef in for breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner.

Bakery runs for breakfast and afternoon tea, by all means use Hu -ski or the like for dinner
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Quote:

We are on a low budget and already have a self catering chalet in mind and are looking to bring in some one else to do the catering

Laughing
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
[quote="Dave of the Marmottes"]I'm not sure how low budget squares with bringing a chef in for breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner.



Low budget means we can’t afford to pay for expensive private chefs, or fancy chalets with chefs but think that it’s possible for a small premium to have someone else do it for us. It’s certainly cheaper than going out to eat for more than an odd night. I had a quote from a firm for about £200 per person for 6 days including drinks but unfortunately they are fully booked. That’s good value in my book, particularly if you can do it for say 4 days and take off some of the strain.

Also, I enjoy cooking but not for 14 in someone else’s kitchen with whatever we’ve been able to rustle up from the local supermarket and its limited range of overpriced foods.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Davemc37, you do have fairly easy access to butchers, boulangeries, and large supermarkets in Serre Chevalier especially if someone has a car, there's three big ones in Briancon, and several smaller but well-stocked ones in each village. Many of the butchers have a traiteur section, and it might be possible to order an evening meal there. Also loan out fondue/raclette equipment if you buy the meats and cheeses. Raclettte night, 4 evening meals from Huski or make your own, pizza night (in or out) , one meal out somewhere, and you're sorted with minimal effort.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Oh, and at least one of the Sherpas and possibly some of the bigger ones now deliver, or you can click and collect your shop.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Davemc37, if you just fire up the croissants, OJ and coffee for breakfast and have lunch on the mountain surely you can find someone to do dinners? Chef from a mountain (lunch only) restaurant? Enterprising ski instructor who wants extra cash? Is there a Serre Che FB group or similar to post up a request?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
If the budget is tight, given there are 14 people, give two of them a budget and responsibility for creating dinner each evening for the rest? Get those hungry teenagers to make a contribution - do they learn French at school? Use it in the supermarket. With a generous budget (which can still be a lot cheaper than paying for a chef) buying easy stuff from local shops, and "traiteurs", need not make this an onerous task.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@pam w, I wouldn't want to be one if the two sorting dinner for 14 while the rest do bug all. Sounds like there are 6 adults...1 gets the dinner 1 night ...traiteur or hus ki, eat out on 1 night. The hungry teenagers can load up on cheese sandwiches. I don't imagine traiteur or hus ki would be large enough portions (make loads of mash to supplement)
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I hope this doesn’t sound rude or ungrateful but I’ve considered all the options and our group would rather not

have to try and cook for 6 nights for 14 people with supplies we carry from the local supermarket ,

we won’t have access to a car so can’t get to larger ones,

even if we could order online we don’t want to have to cook every night,

I don’t want to wait until I get there to try and sort it out.

To offset this we will be making our own lunches every day to try and keep costs down.

Best option looks like hu ski but it would still be good to do the fresh route rather than the frozen if anyone else knows of other catering options.

Thanks for your thoughts and help to date.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

I wouldn't want to be one if the two sorting dinner for 14 while the rest do bug all.

But you get to do bug all every other night! That sort of arrangement is obviously not for all, but it can be economical, and sociable, if people get on well and all contribute. We had a group of 12 in a chalet in Les Gets - mixture of friends and family. I knew them all but they didn't all know each other. Two people did dinner each evening, and the last night we went out for pizza. Evenings allocated in advance - most of us took some key ingredients to minimise local shopping and the plan was that the duty cooks also did all the clearing up - we all agreed this was far better than risking having to clear up after the kind of cooks who use every utensil in the place and don't wash up as they go along. Everybody had planned something pretty simple, nobody had to toil for hours, people were helpful and cooperative with dishing out, clearing dishes, pouring drinks for the cooks, appreciating the food, the kids (admittedly there were only two, but one of them was only Cool took their turn. No slackers!

For that holiday as well as the 8 year old we had my mother, who was elderly and disabled and wouldn't have enjoyed hiking out to a restaurant on icy pavements each evening. We'd obviously discussed the matter beforehand and all agreed that the plan would make for sociable evenings. All were keen to keep costs down, and most of us were used to cooking in less than ideal circumstances (boats, camping, campers). In the event the kitchen was good, and very well equipped, but we didn't know that beforehand. Very few affordable apartments are big enough for 14 (or even 12) people to sit comfortably round a table - or have good enough food storage and refrigeration facilities, either. In that chalet all six bedrooms had en suite bathrooms which made life pleasant. It wasn't ideally located but there's always a compromise!

Next season I have rented two gites in the same building, one sleeping 12 - 14, the other 10, over the road from my old apartment. But we will only be 16 - they are lovely gites (we've used the bigger one before) but would be much less enjoyable with full occupancy. We've not worked out how we'll feed everybody yet. A mixture of cooking for everyone in the big gite, eating in the delightful restaurant next door, ordering in pizzas and having separate meals in the two gites, I suspect. I shall have to work it all out before next April. rolling eyes It's all family - my three kids, their spouses and my eight grand-children. Of the kids, only two are too small (they will be 3 and 6) to make any contribution. The older ones, who will be 11 - 19, will all pull their weight and all the adults are good or at least competent cooks.

We will eat a great deal of Beaufort cheese....... Blush I suspect it will be the last time I will have my family on holiday all together.
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@Davemc37,
Quote:

I hope this doesn’t sound rude or ungrateful but I’ve considered all the options and our group would rather not

have to try and cook for 6 nights for 14 people with supplies we carry from the local supermarket ,

we won’t have access to a car so can’t get to larger ones,

even if we could order online we don’t want to have to cook every night
Don't worry, it's the snowHeads way to offer options that you have considered and expressly discarded! Laughing
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@pam w, I read "two people each evening" as only those two people
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It sounds like you're trying to build up the experience of having a catered chalet from constituent parts. Why not just book a catered chalet or a small hotel in the first place?

I can't believe that disaggregation delivers significant financial savings and even then that's probably eaten up by the hassle you have at the moment and or risk of non performance i.e. what happens if you find a private chef and they are sick that week or break a limb skiing and pack in for the season?


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Wed 8-06-22 10:55; edited 1 time in total
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@Davemc37, I originally thought you’d be on a hiding to 0 but in the early days our managers mostly worked weekends and they’d cater for people other times.

The Metro XL lasagne covered in a layer of ham and a fresh bechamel always went down well Eh oh! .

Your problem is just finding someone(s).

Facebook your friend I think.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
In my experience, in every resort we have stayed in you can buy locally-made ready meals. @Hells Bells has confirmed that is true of Serre Chevalier. Typically from a delicatessen, baker, or supermarket. Easiest are tray-bake type meals such as tartiflette and lasagne, but you can often find casseroles too (e.g. boeuf bourgignon).

Assuming you have an oven to heat them up in, you just need someone to fetch them and make the accompaniments (veg or salad).

And delicatessens will often loan the equipment for a fondue or raclette when you buy the cheese from them, that's another night sorted. Add in the inevitable pizza take-away, and you should be able to manage a week's evening meals which can be served in-chalet with minimal cooking effort.
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@pam w, we've done this on a few family skiing holidays and works really well. Each day one couple/group has been responsible for the whole day's catering. Collect pastries in morning, do breakfast and clear up. Make sandwiches for lunch, then prepare, serve and clear up dinner. It is a lot of work on your "day" but the rest of the holiday you are guilt free whilst someone else runs around after you. This year the youngest 4 children even did a day, in the evening it was raclette, so just setting out plates really and boiling a few potatoes but they loved the responsibility (though the washing up less so!)
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Hurtle wrote:
@Davemc37,
Quote:

I hope this doesn’t sound rude or ungrateful but I’ve considered all the options and our group would rather not

have to try and cook for 6 nights for 14 people with supplies we carry from the local supermarket ,

we won’t have access to a car so can’t get to larger ones,

even if we could order online we don’t want to have to cook every night
Don't worry, it's the snowHeads way to offer options that you have considered and expressly discarded! Laughing



Since you’ve said this it seems people are more interested in proving you right than answering my question or accepting that this is the option my group prefer to try this year. Very Happy Very Happy
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Davemc37, have you checked what facilities you have available for cooking? For e.g. does the chalet have an oven. I've looked at Hu Ski as an option (having experienced their catering at the PSB) but wasn't sure how well it would work for a big group if you don't have a large oven available (which can be the case).

Like DotM suggests, have you considered a catered chalet?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Davemc37, rather than getting shirty have you considered the obvious reason that you're not getting loads of helpful suggestions as to the exact spec of your question, that there is simply not a very big industry in what you want and therefore you are going to have to do a lot of legwork thru facebook etc to get close to what you want. I'd suggest the company you've found is itself not very big (maybe a 2 man band or so) so it's really first come first served with them but there clearly isn't a big enough market for there to be dozens of freelance caterers in a particular resort.

My group would prefer a week's skiing with bottomless powder each night , perfect avalanche safety, sun (but not enough to feck the snowpack) and no life lines or indeed anyone else around. I wouldn't expect we'd be able to get our wish though.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Even if there are very few companies setup to offer this, the reality is that there are likely to be plenty of people locally willing to “informally” cater for a group in the evenings at €2800 for a week - that’s a fortune to many seasonaires! But you’ll have to do the legwork to find them and take the risk on quality / that they turn up.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Davemc37, maybe pop a post on here - https://www.facebook.com/groups/760028714340033/ @BobinCH, is right, you'll need to do the legwork!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Davemc37, no, people are just being friendly SHs and trying to help you out.

What you are looking for, IME, is not easily found - at least, not on a budget. (I live in and rent s/c accom in one ski resort and have considerable experience of others).

Firstly, economically, a decent (and casual) cook is going to want to earn enough € to make it worth the work. So I’d expect at least €100-200 on top of ingredients and not including any service. (Typically pay for cleaners €30/hour … I’d WANT to be paying my cook at least €50/h, so an hour for shopping, 2-3 for prep and cooking …)

Secondly, (assuming not the use case below) you will need to be very sure that any mooted accom is adequately equipped. You don’t want your cook walking out* as the 2 ring hob and mini microwave aren’t adequate) …

* Having been paid in advance

Of course, services do exist where the food is cooked elsewhere and just delivered, but why would anyone do that on small scale just to undercut restaurants? Far better to go upmarket in which case they aren’t what you are looking for).
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
@Davemc37, rather than getting shirty have you considered the obvious reason that you're not getting loads of helpful suggestions as to the exact spec of your question, that there is simply not a very big industry in what you want and therefore you are going to have to do a lot of legwork thru facebook etc to get close to what you want. I'd suggest the company you've found is itself not very big (maybe a 2 man band or so) so it's really first come first served with them but there clearly isn't a big enough market for there to be dozens of freelance caterers in a particular resort.

My group would prefer a week's skiing with bottomless powder each night , perfect avalanche safety, sun (but not enough to feck the snowpack) and no life lines or indeed anyone else around. I wouldn't expect we'd be able to get our wish though.
I'd be getting shirty, particularly with this gratuitously unkind response. It's an aspect of the forum which regularly irritates me especially the endless examples of people who recommend another country when asked a question about a specific country, usually the oft trotted-out, 'France? Surely not, you really should be going to Austria.'
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Davemc37 You don't say whether you're flying+transfer, or driving? If the former, would it be a viable alternative to organise a chef+assistant from the UK to fly out with you? As mentioned, you're taking about a hefty weekly pay rate compared to freelance catering in the UK. The air fares probably aren't going to be that much. And aren't you going to find it easier to do the research and checking of references etc. here? Just a thought.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@LaForet, they won’t have a car so presumably not driving out?
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@Hurtle, you call it gratuitously unkind, I call it tough love. Of course it could be both. I was simply trying to get across the point that when you have very specific non traditional requirements you will inevitably have either a) a lot of (virtual) legwork to meet them or b) a high cost. I totally see why the OP's group don't want to shop, cook and clean up when on holiday but as this problem was addressed 100s of years ago by things called hotels and guest houses and more recently by catered chalets also struggle a bit to see why that isn't a better solution (notwithstanding the (small and fragmented) market that is being served by the likes of Hu-ski and freelance caterers).


And yes the France/Austria thing does sometimes bug me but that, as here, is often a case like the Irish travel directions: "Well I wouldn't start from here!". I.e. someone lists a fantasy wish list of wants that would be perfectly well served in one place but says but it has to be AN Other when the reason they can't find those attributes in AN Other is that they don't exist or are very rare.

One option the OP has of course is to move their week to a week in which their ideal caterers would be available but I suspect the response to that will be school holidays. I'd suspect that anyone who is seriously in the business segment concerned and has a track record is already booked for such peak weeks
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Dave, we normally go to self catering apartments but wanted to be able to socialise more in the evenings without having to hang about in hotel lobbies and bars. We also wanted to have a seperate space for the teenagers so a chalet ticks all of the boxes.

The downside to this is that we have had to compromise on location both I terms of the resort and it’s proximity to certain facilities like the lifts, big supermarkets etc.

As you can imagine I’ve done an enormous amount of legwork already as we are now on our third resort/chalet for one reason or another. Every time it has changed I’ve had to look at other resorts, other properties, other travel and connection issues and other catering solutions whilst trying to stay within a fairly tight budget. No offence to the person who suggested it but paying £500 travel costs to get a chef to SC from the uk is not an option. This is also part of the reason why is is actually cheaper to disaggregate the services as the person organising takes on the admin overhead at no cost and strips out elements of the profit. Believe me if it was cheaper or similar in price I’d buy the package.

In a few years when everyone’s kids have left school and we are not confined to feb half term then life might be easier. But by then everything will probably be 100% more expensive due to inflation. I guess that’s just part of the deal when you love skiing.

So I’m conclusion all I’m asking for is if anyone has some specific advice for my specific issue which I don’t think is unrealistic. I found 4 companies that provide this service in morzine so it’s not that rare, though clearly I have left it late.

I have tried to solve this myself but would simply appreciate some help from those that are willing to help. I think that’s in keeping with the ethos of this website.
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@Davemc37, Well good luck. Personally I think you're on a hiding to nothing trying to get a bonded, insured caterer for a peak week in a resort not known for that sort of thing but do let us know if you succeed and how it works out. I'm sure they exist but you probably have to do a bunch of virtual local networking to find the right one.

(also makes me realise what I should be charging my apartment mates on the EOSB wink though they do get the pleasure of onion sous cheffing and cleaning up )
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Dave,

The EOSB will certainly be a lot cheaper for you guys in terms of travel and accommodation that’s for sure. Just another five years of kids at school until we are free from half term prices.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Davemc37,

I appreciate what your trying to achieve, but personally the amount of time and effort you are expending, you may as well just take turns in cooking for everyone.

You say you have a tight budget, but you want to go to the expense of employing someone, so its not that tight. It would be less to just go out and buy the food and cook yourself. Sometimes its part of the experience, get the teenagers involved. Some of them might enjoy it.
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Jafa,

I have found deals in other resorts previously where you can get 5 three course evening meals with wine, 6 breakfasts , 7 afternoon teas for about £200 per person which I think is decent value when you compare it to the time and effort of shopping, cooking and cleaning and a couple of nights of eating out. It’s even cheaper to get frozen evening meals delivered.

Some people will just spend whatever they want to get the best of everything and others will make some compromises. I doubt we will be in the pubs much and we will be taking packed lunches which we will make each day so it balances out.

Having self catered for all ski holidays since the kids came along 16 years ago I fancy trying something different and less hassle that means I get to spend more time with friends and their families.

Im not sure why it’s so hard for people to accept this is a thing albeit quite a hard to find thing in some areas.
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FFS the man wants a chef recommendation - stop trying to persuade him to self cater. Its a perfectly normal request - there are plenty of people out there doing it. If you know one - recommend them, if not, walk on.
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