How to Write the Perfect Chalet Menu Plan

For all you Chalet Hosts and Chefs heading out on a Ski Season shortly, it must be that time of year, when you are trying to perfect your weekly menu plan. Knowing that it needs to WOW your guests as well as staying within (what can sometimes be a fairly tight) budget. But don’t worry. This guide will help you to create the perfect plan for the whole week, ensuring your guests get what they want and need. While also being stunned by your culinary genius.

Breakfast

Breakfast needs to be quick, simple, impressive and varied. Remember, a lot of your guests will be wanting to catch first lifts which means early risers and big appetites. Every day the table will be laid with continental options but it is down to you to fuel their day with a hot option.

Most chalets hosts/chefs get 1 day off per week (usually mid-week)so you only need to think of 6 days’ worth of food.Something that looks really impressive, doesn’t always need to be time-consuming. A stack of American pancakes for example. The batter will be quick and simple, plus it’s really easy to batch cook the pancakes and hot hold them in the oven until needed. Giving you more time to prep for your other meals. Alternative ideas include eggs benedict or sausage beans and home-made hash browns.

For transfer day your guests could be leaving very early in the morning so why not opt for big bacon baguettes? A quick fix on a busy morning!

Afternoon Tea

After a big day on the mountain, your guests are going to be starving. Part of your job will be presenting a daily cake (or biscuits). But don’t panic, there’s no need to scour your cookbooks, the well-known yogurt cake is a firm favorite for all chalet staff. Altitude means normal cakes don’t rise properly, but this recipe will never fail you. One day you can add carrot, raisins and spices for a delicious carrot cake, the next you can simply fill it with jam and cream for the perfect Victoria sponge. Simple.

Of course, you can mix this up a bit, mince pies at Christmas, flapjacks on a Friday, but make sure you always make enough. How gutted would you be if you came in last from the mountain and someone had eaten the last slice?!

This is something you need to consider throughout your whole menu plan. You don’t want to waste food but nor do you want your guests to go hungry. Spend some time write out exact ingredients and quantities, this will also help you keep within your budget. Over-ordering can be a nightmare not

just for the purse strings but also for your storage! Make sure you consider where things are going to fit (think about freezer, fridge, and cupboards)

 

                                                 

Dinner

In chalets, dinner is usually 3-5 courses. When planning your main meals, you need to think about the kind of meal this is going to be. Is it a fine dining menu or a homely family style meal? Either way, you want your food to impress everyone, which also means taking into account dietary requirements. You will usually be warned in advance if any of your guests have any specific requirements, but it’s always worth checking in person when they get there. How embarrassing would it be if you served up a steak to a vegetarian because you hadn’t got the memo! Make sure there are always some back up ingredients in the cupboards for any surprise vegetarians, vegans or gluten frees.

 

Canapés

A canapé is a small savoury bite usually served with drinks. Note the word small, this should be something they can eat in one bite, they have a big meal ahead and you don’t want your guests full before they’ve even started. You can make something very simple look elaborate without having to use many ingredients at all. Smoked salmon and cream cheese blinis take minutes to make yet when delicately placed on a slate board and topped with a small bit of fresh dill-they suddenly look far more glamorous.

Other ideas include Sticky Pigs in Blankets (particularly suitable around Christmas time) and Mini Croque Monsieurs. As with all of the items on your meal plan, this is a great one to practice at home for friends and family.

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Starter

It is often a misconception that your starter should be vegetarian, however, to make it easier for yourself, you should make it so that the meat element of the meal is easily substitutable for any dislikes/dietary requirements.

Another factor to think about is the variety of ingredients. You wouldn’t want to serve Tomato and basil soup, followed by chicken tagine and an apple crumble with custard.

  • HOT HOT HOT, you should include at least one cold element in each meal.
  • Two tomatoes-both your started and main are made with a tomato based.
  • All 3 courses contain a fair bit of liquid, mix the textures up a bit.

Suitable starters would be carrot and ginger soup, goats cheese and caramelised onion bruschetta or asparagus, Parma ham with a poached egg.

Main Course

This course needs to be filling and hearty, yet also presentable on a plate. When you are designing your meals, its sometimes useful to draw out how you would present each element on the plate. Choose your meat, carb, veg and sauce, then go from there. You will be plating up for quite a few people in one go so nothing too complicated.

Usually in chalets you will be serving each person an individual plate but occasionally its quite nice to ‘family serve’. I used to make a Tartiflette once a week, a totally delicious, traditional French meal that when whole looks amazing, but not so great when it’s been served up. Pop the whole thing on the table with a charcuterie board and a big leafy salad – your guests will be impressed for sure.

Desserts

Desserts are simple, there are so many to choose from, most can be prepped in the morning which is a stress saver in the evening (this will help maximise your time on the mountain too).

Again, avoid repetition. You must consider what you have done for afternoon tea, if you have made Chocolate Cake that day, don’t have a Chocolate Brownie for dessert too. Maybe chose a Lemon Cheesecake for dessert. Similarly, a Tarte Tatin on Monday followed by an Apple Crumble on Tuesday = Apple overload! Mix it up.  Just like the canapés, desserts are easy to dress up, add a coulis or petit four on the side to amaze your guests. Something very simple can then become a showpiece.

 

Cheese Board

There is not much to say about the cheese board, just make sure you get a variety. 3 different cheeses should be enough, remember they’ve had a big meal. They don’t want to be overwhelmed. Accompany this will some grapes or sliced apple, a small selection of bread and crackers – winner! This can often be left out for a while as people may want to pick throughout the evening with their glass of red wine.

 

So that is my advice to you!

Organisation is key, make sure you fully understand your own menu,

write a shopping shopping list, you can amend the quantities weekly to avoid over ordering.

Enjoy your season!

Still looking for the perfect role? – CLICK HERE to view our full listing of chalet vacancies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Interview with a Chalet Chef

Have you ever wanted to do a ski season as a Chalet Chef, but aren’t really sure what to expect? It’s easy to look through stuffy job descriptions or look online for advice and information about what your day-to-day life will be like out in resort, but we’ve gone one step further and have spoken to one of our Chalet Chefs to give you a real-life account of what it’s actually like!

Our chef, Louis, has been doing ski seasons as a Chalet Chef for the past few years, and is just getting ready to start his third winter out in the Alps. He has worked for some of our favourite clients and by this point, has seen it all when it comes to awkward guests, kitchen disasters and housekeeping duties.

We asked Louis what made him want to do his first ski season?

“Truthfully, I had never been skiing or snowboarding before, but I knew I wanted to go travelling, to explore new places, but I didn’t have the funds for the trip I wanted. I’d been a chef for my whole career, so thought I would look at a way to combine travelling with some work to keep me going. Being flown out to France and looked after for 5/6 months seemed too good to be true! [Most roles include accommodation, transport to resort, food, insurance and your lift pass as part of your salary package] I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and three years later, here I am!”

What does a typical day look like for a Chalet Chef?

“So you usually get up at around 7am, and head to the chalet to start breakfast; sometimes eggs benedict, maybe pancakes, etc. and always a full continental spread. Meanwhile, you’re making up your afternoon tea, and getting some prep done for that evening’s meal (if you haven’t already started it the day before). I always try and get as much done in the morning as you can. Between you and your host, you need to turn the chalet over so it looks brand new, which involves making the beds, hoovering, general cleaning and tidying, and then I’d say you’re usually out the door for 11 am. This means you can be on the mountain, suited up for 12pm! I’m a snowboarder, so me and my boys go off to shred some pow for a couple of hours, then head back home for a napres (nap + après!). Around 5pm it’s time to head back to the chalet to finish preparing dinner, then it’s time to serve your 4/5-course meal. Afterwards, it’s important to clean down, before you go home, (either to party or sleep) and start the whole day again tomorrow!”

What is the one dish that all guests love in your chalet?  

“I have a lamb dish that always hits the spot. It is lamb, braised in red wine, rolled into rich lean ballotines. The braising liquid is then stained and turned into a spicy, Moroccan-style tomato and mustard sauce to drizzle over the lamb, and it is accompanied by crispy kale, sautéed kohlrabi and a Harissa yogurt. It’s a warming, filling and tasty dish that everyone likes (except the vegetarians of course).

Why did you use Silver Swan to help you find your roles?

“I’ve worked for agencies in the past – for almost 6 years now. I like to let them look for my work as they often find things that are a bit different. My first conversation with Philippa was back in 2015. She told me some very exiting things about what chalet cheffing is about, how it differs from standard cooking roles, and what is on offer in terms of progression. I was sold immediately. I’m now using Silver Swan for the 3rd year running and I’ve definitely progressed every year, in style, level, responsibility and wage.”

What other opportunities have opened up for you as a result of your ski seasons?

“ I would say that employers now take me on simply based on the fact that I’ve worked in some luxury chalets alone. I have a chef friend who wanted to see the type of work I get up to on my seasons, and so he hired me several times to do private functions for him in Cornwall. It also means when I feel I’m ready to move onto Yachts, my experience in the Alps will be invaluable, as they usually need previous fine dining and private cheffing experience. To be honest, it’s probably opened more doors then I’m even fully aware of over the summers and into the future.”

So there you have it! What to expect from a winter season, straight from a Chalet Chef himself. We couldn’t recommend a ski season enough to give you a great experience, meet new friends and, as Louis says, to open up doors for future career moves that you may never have thought of before. We recruit chefs (and many other positions!) for a range of properties in the Alps, from private chalets to luxury tour operators…and even entry-level positions for new chefs and cook/hosts. If you are interested in working in a chalet for the winter, then now is a great time to get in touch with your CV and a bit of information about what you are looking for. You can browse our vacancies here, or simply send us over your details to enquiries@silverswanrecruitment.com. We can then help you start your career in the ski industry!

What Is A DBS, Do You Need It & How Do You Get One?

If you are working within the Private Household industry you will most likely have come across DBS checks or CRB checks at some point. It is becoming increasingly more common for families to request a full criminal record check be carried out prior to having new members of staff join their households.

 

What is a DBS Check?

A DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, once known as the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check, is becoming more and more important when working within the Private Household industry. Majority of positions will request all candidates to have a valid DBS certificate before starting in the role. The Disclosure and Barring Service helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. There are 3 tiers of DBS Checks available:

  • BASIC DBS – the lowest level of disclosure which checks the Police National Computer for details of all current criminal convictions. Often used to support an immigration application, to vet prospective tenants or to volunteer.
  • STANDARD DBS – covers those working in other occupations to children, vulnerable adults and the elderly but where they need to be of ‘good character’ and not have a criminal record. This could include someone applying to be employed as an accountant, working in a pharmacy or legal practice, someone applying for a firearms license or a senior manager at a bank or financial services organisation. Organisations employing someone in this sort of position want to assure themselves that the people they are considering haven’t got a lengthy criminal record for dishonesty, drugs offences or violent crimes.
  • ENHANCED DBS – the highest level of disclosure required for those positions that can involve caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children or vulnerable adults. An Enhanced CRB will show the following offences: sexual, violence, the supply of drugs and safeguarding.

 

Who Needs a DBS Check?

If there is ever a safeguarding issue within your household or organisation and the people working or volunteering with children and/or vulnerable adults have not been adequately checked, you could be held legally liable. To prevent this possibility SAFE advises standard or enhanced DBS checks are conducted on all eligible staff and volunteers within your home or organisation.

 

How to Apply for a DBS Check

 Most recruitment agencies will be able to apply for a DBS Check on your behalf as part of your application process. If you are not working with a recruitment agency then you can apply for a Basic DBS Check yourself, only an organisation is able to apply for a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check –all checks can be applied using this ONLINE APPLICATION FORM.

 

How Long Will a DBS Check Take?

You should normally receive a copy of your DBS Check with FOUR WEEKS, however, do be aware that at certain times of the year, the DBS has a backlog of applications to process which may cause a delay in their response. Enhanced checks may take longer.

 

How Long Does a DBS Last?

A DBS has no official expiry date however SAFE recommends that all DBS checks be renewed at least once every 3 YEARS or sooner if there has been a significant gap in employment.

 

How Much Does a DBS Cost?

Basic DBS – £45.49

Standard DBS – £55.49

Enhanced DBS – £68. 49

 

What do you Need for a DBS Check?

You must provide a range of ID documents as part of the DBS check application process. There are 3 routes of ID checking:

ROUTE 1 – All applicants must initially be considered for route one.

  • 1 document from group 1 (refer to list of valid identity documents below); and
  • 2 further documents from group 1, 2a or 2b

At least 1 of the 3 documents above must show the applicant’s current address.

ROUTE 2 – 3 documents from group 2 consisting of;

  • 1 document from group 2a; and
  • 2 further documents from group 2a or 2b; one of which must verify their current address

ROUTE 3 – Birth Certificate (UK & Channel Islands) AND 4 further documents from group 2 consisting of;

  • 1 document from group 2a; and
  • 3 further documents from group 2a or 2b; one of which must verify their current address.

 

DBS List of Acceptable Identification

Group 1: Primary Trusted Identity Credentials

  • Current valid passport
  • Biometric Residence Permit (UK)
  • Current driving licence (UK), full or provisional. Photo card only for Isle of Man/Channel Islands licences, which should be presented with the associated counterpart licence (except Jersey)
  • Birth certificate (UK and Channel Islands), issued at the time of birth. The full and short forms are both acceptable, including those issued by UK authorities overseas, eg Embassies, High Commissions and HM Forces (photocopies are not acceptable).

Group 2a: Trusted Government/State Issued Documents

  • Current UK driving licence (old style paper version)
  • Current non-UK photo driving licence (valid for up to 12 months from the date you entered the UK)
  • Birth certificate (UK and Channel Islands) issued after the time of birth by the General Register Office/relevant authority (photocopies are not acceptable)
  • Marriage/civil partnership certificate (UK and Channel Islands)
  • Adoption Certificate (UK and Channel Islands)
  • HM Forces ID card (UK)
  • Firearms Licence (UK and Channel Islands)

Group 2b: Financial/Social History Documents

  • Mortgage statement (UK or EEA – non-EEA statements are not acceptable)
  • Bank/building society statement (UK and Channel Islands or EEA – non-EEA statements are not acceptable)
  • Bank/building society account opening confirmation letter (UK)
  • Credit card statement (UK or EEA – non-EEA statements are not acceptable)
  • Financial statement, eg pension, endowment, ISA (UK)
  • P45/P60 statement (UK and Channel Islands)
  • Council Tax statement (UK and Channel Islands).
  • Work Permit/Visa (UK – UK Residence Permit, valid up to expiry date)
  • Letter of sponsorship from future employment provider (non-UK/non-EEA only – valid only for applicants residing outside of the UK at time of application)
  • Utility bill (UK), not including a mobile telephone bill
  • Benefits statement, eg Child Allowance, Pension
  • A document from central/local government authority or agency giving entitlement, eg from the Department for Work and Pensions, the Employment Service, HM Revenue and Customs, Job Centre, Job Centre Plus, Social Security (UK and Channel Islands)
  • EU National ID Card.
  • Cards carrying the PASS accreditation logo (UK and Channel Islands)

 

Silver Swan Recruitment has a number of Private Household Jobs currently available and we are able to apply for your Enhanced DBS Check as part of your application process. Simply get in touch to discuss further.

Join the Silver Swan Team!

Job of the Week – Monday 4th September 2017

Our #joboftheweek is extra exciting as it is an opportunity for someone to join the team here at Silver Swan!

We are recruiting for a Recruitment Consultant to work alongside us in the London office, so if you have experience in the private household, yacht or chalet industry, get in touch at enquiries@silverswanrecruitment.com.

Check out the job description here….https://www.silverswanrecruitment.com/vacancy/private-household-recruitment-consultant-internal-position/

How Do I Apply?

If you are interested in this opportunity, send your CVs to enquiries@silverswanrecruitment.com.

Not for you? Then have a browse through all our other vacancies HERE.

Here’s How to Write a Great CV

Our pick of the Cookery Schools

There’s a cookery course out there for everyone – from one-day sessions in Italian cuisine, to year-long diplomas costing thousands. A cookery course isn’t necessarily essential to secure a role in a chalet, but they can really give you a great foundation to progress into a cooking career. There are hundreds of courses available, so we have selected some of the best and most advanced options for serious cooks and budding chefs. There are plenty of others we haven’t mentioned, including Abingers, Lakefield or Orchards Cookery School, who teach basic skills on a one-week course – more suited to Chalet Hosts and first-time seasonnaires. Aside this is a whole host of course attached to famous names including Raymond Blanc’s or Jamie Oliver’s Cookery School to name a few. We’d always advise looking into each course thoroughly to find the one that will serve you best for your intended aim, but to give you an overview, here is our pick of some of the best out there…

Leith’s

 

Leith’s is one of the best-known cookery schools around and their professional courses are renowned in the food industry. It’s a great option for those who are really looking to start a career in food and cooking, giving students a full toolbox of skills. They do a foundation or advanced certificate in food and wine, and an essential evening cooking course, but their standout course is the 9-month diploma. With the diploma, students get training in all areas of food and wine, menu planning, budgeting, food trends…basically everything you need to start a career in food! The teachers are all highly experienced and there’s a maximum of eight students in a class, so you will get professional, personal guidance. Prices obviously vary depending on which course you do and more info can be found at the link above.

Ballymaloe Cookery School 

 

For budding chefs over in Ireland, the Ballymaloe Cookery School has a great reputation and has been running courses for nearly 35 years. They are best known for their 12-week certificate, which is a great stepping-stone into cookery. They have a student to teacher ratio of 6:1, which guarantees students expert tuition and personal attention. They also have their own organic farm, which supplies a huge amount of the produce for the course – students get to cook daily with fresh, quality ingredients!

The school was set up by Darina Allen and her brother Rory O’Connell.  She was well established already as the author of multiple books and presenter on 6 Television series, and they are now considered to be the home of Irish Country cuisine and hospitality. Alongside their 12-week certificate, there are various short courses on offer, from half-day to month-long options.

Le Cordon Bleu 

 

You’ve heard the saying…this really is the “Cordon Bleu” of cookery schools…literally! This renowned cookery school teaches the fundamental techniques in classic cooking and the art of pastry, bread, wine and nutrition. The diploma is recognised around the world and is respected by professionals and experts in the industry – some of whom may even be teaching you! The facilities and equipment at Le Cordon Bleu are also some of the most advanced around and allow students to learn French classical cooking as well as more modern techniques (think water baths, tandoori ovens and a professional wine tasting room). It’s no wonder Le Cordon Bleu is so well known having been founded in 1895 and their Le Grand Diplome is their most intense and comprehensive programme available. Based in London, this course doesn’t come cheap, but for serious wannabe-chefs this is the place to learn traditional French techniques and innovative culinary skills.

Ashburton 

The Ashburton Cookery School is one of the UK’s top cookery schools with over 40 courses to choose from. Ranging from courses for beginners to established chefs, they are run by professionals who will take your cooking skills to the next level. They have either foundation, intermediate or advanced levels, the latter of which is suited for students looking to cook to a fine-dining level. But for those with a real passion for cooking and starting a career in the industry, the Chef’s Academy is the course for you, to learn fundamental skills, techniques and to wow with inspirational dishes. You can become a fully qualified chef in 6 months with their Professional Culinary Diploma, an intense course that could turn your passion into a career, or simply choose a four-week Certificate in Professional Cookery – all with the option to stay in the beautiful surroundings of the cookery school residences.

Tante Marie

Tante Marie is another long-standing cookery school in the UK, which has been running for over 60 years. Again, it has a great reputation and students like that they focus entirely on practical cooking skills. Their flagship Cordon Bleu Diploma doesn’t come cheap (coming in at just over £20k) but it’s for those who are serious about food and looking to take the first steps towards a career in food and drink. The diploma is internationally recognised and runs for a year, teaching a range of culinary skills and techniques. They also run an Intensive Cordon Bleu Diploma, which results in a professional qualification in cookery, or gap year courses, including a Chalet Cooks Academy – perfect to set you up for a ski season. This course, costing £2,400 covers essential skills across different areas of cookery giving students the knowledge to cook great food (and perfect their hosting skills) for a chalet environment.

So do your research, make sure the course is right for you and get stuck in to really get the best out of what’s on offer. You never know where it might lead…!

Silver Swan are going to be at the Cordon Bleu job fair meeting lots of potential new candidates – we’re hoping to register a number of new and experienced chefs and get them on our books for winter work. Hope to see some new graduates there!

 

 

Top Tips to Finding A Ski Chalet Job

You want to do a ski season but you have no idea where to start – sound familiar? I can guarantee that you are not alone. There are thousands of jobs available each and every winter, across a huge number of different ski resorts, all sounding very similar. So, where you do you even start……?

 

Choosing a Resort

Start talking to people – friends and family who have been skiing or done ski seasons to get a feel for where you might want to go. Different resorts each has its own charm and offers something different. If you want a party scene you may choose Val d’Isere, St Anton or Saalbach. If you want to be not too far from an airport for friends and family to visit you may choose Morzine or Chamonix. If you want a huge ski area you may choose one of the 3 Valleys in France. Everyone has a favourite resort so start collecting some recommendations!

If you have absolutely no preference at all then you can instead start thinking about what you might what to do for work during your ski season.

 

Choosing a Role

There really is something for everyone out there. The most popular route is chalet work, seeing as the volume of chalet companies recruiting each year is huge, meaning there is plenty of choice. Within a chalet, the choice of roles are generally as follows:

  • Chalet Chef/Cook
  • Chalet Manager
  • Chalet Host
  • Chauffeur

Within a chalet company you will also find roles outside of the chalet such as Resort Management, Senior Chalet Management (overseeing a number of chalets), Massage/Spa roles, HR Management, Ops Management and some office based roles. Outside of chalet based work you will find opportunities such as transfer drivers, childcare, accountancy, ski instructing and more.

Be sure to think sensibly about your skill set and read job descriptions carefully to make sure you are applying to roles which you can actually do and which you have the relevant experience for. You will not be doing yourselves any favours when choosing roles which you’ll struggle to perform well in.

 

Choosing a Company

It may be too soon to actually choose a particular company at this stage but you can definitely start to think about the type of company you would like to work for and the level of service you wish to be offering. Silver Swan Recruitment mainly works at the luxury end of the market so majority of our positions are with 5* ski operators and privately owned chalets – all of which require a good level of previous service or catering experience. However, there are also a large number of companies who have a much more relaxed, ‘home from home’ feel where 5* service levels are not required.

If your career is hospitality focused and you are looking for a role to further your career, to earn you a decent salary and to gain some valuable experience then you want to be aiming at the higher end chalets. However, if your season is more to have fun, meet some new people and do something a bit different then you may choose to avoid the high-end companies and focus your job search on companies who can guarantee you ski time every day, who don’t mind if you let your hair down on an evening and who don’t require a huge amount of previous hospitality experience.

 

Private Chalets vs Ski Operators

 

Don’t be fooled in thinking going to work in a Privately-Owned Chalet is the only place you’ll be paid a higher way. More and more people are looking for private work thinking it’ll earn them better salaries – this is no longer the case. We actually have a number of ski operators who offer higher salaries than some of the private chalets we work with.

So, what’s the difference? Working privately means you are employed directly by the chalet owner, they themselves (or their PA/Chalet Manager) will interview you and will decide whether you are right or not. Some owners will be the only ones to use their chalet so you will be looking after them and only them throughout the winter – not usually all the time but for a large number of weeks. Other private chalets will still sell their chalet to paying guests but will use it regularly themselves with paying guests coming to stay when they are not there. You will be part of a much smaller team, you are often treated like family and you often get a few empty weeks. The level of service is often very high in privately owned chalets so you do generally need some good 5* experience.

A ski operator will rent a number of chalets from the chalet owners and manage them for the season. You will therefore have no involvement with the chalet owner and instead the ski company will be your employer. You will be part of a much larger team so often works well with the more social people, there will be a formal training course at the start of the season to ensure consistency across the chalets, you will rarely have empty weeks but will mean you’ll have a bigger tip potential. There is a huge range of ski companies from the lower level, requiring little experience to the top level requiring a very high level of 5* experience. Some people prefer the smaller operators, some prefer the larger operators. There really is something for everyone!

 

Applying

When you have a clear idea of what you want to do and where you want to go it’s then time to get the ball rolling.

  • Write a good CV
    • Keep it to 2 pages
    • Include a photo
    • Clearly outline your previous employment and your key responsibilities
    • If your relevant hospitality experience is not your most recent role/s then have a section above your Employment History called ‘Relevant Experience’ – then underneath you can have ‘Other Experience’
    • Include references (and give your referees heads up that they will be contacted, it often prompts quicker responses)
  • Use specialised recruitment agencies to help guide you through the process
    • We spend time during your registration to really understand what you are looking for and what you hope to achieve during your season
    • We match your skills and personality to suitable roles. We offer lengthy probationary periods to our clients so it’s in our best interest to get the match right first time – so we really do do all that we can to ensure you are put forward to the right companies who you’ll have a great season with
    • We offer you a small selection of well match companies and then arrange interviews on your behalf with you preferred position
    • By using a recruitment agency to help secure your chalet role means you have a relationship built ready for your next step as we can then help you secure a villa or a yacht role for the following summer season. We can also help you find a permanent position – resort based or office based or in a Private Household once your seasonal days are over
  • Use specialised job boards. There are a number of job boards available which are specific to the ski industry and so can be a one stop shop for you to view a huge range of different roles with different companies. We can recommend:
  • Once you have found a company you are interested in – whether that be through recommendation of an agency or by seeing a role advertised on a job board then definitely visit that company’s website to familiarise yourself with their product and services BEFORE you apply and definitely BEFORE you have your interview

Once you have been offered your dream role and you have signed your contract, please stay in regular contact with your new employer. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask and be as responsive as you can with any paperwork or questions they send your way.

 

READY TO GET STARTED?

Have a browse of OUR CURRENT VACANCIES HERE.

For any questions regarding finding a chalet job or if you would like Silver Swan to help you secure that dream role then please just GET IN TOUCH HERE.

How To Become a Chalet Host

We hate to break it to you, but the film ‘Chalet Girl’ doesn’t exactly depict the most accurate account of what it is like to be a Chalet Host! In actual fact, it is a lot of hard work, with often long days and plenty of cleaning – but it’s also great fun, you’ll make new friends…but you probably wont end up a professional snowboarder by the end of your season (sorry Chalet Girl!)

If you’ve always wanted to do a ski season, but don’t know where to start, we have a few ideas that will help you along the way to becoming a successful host. Ultimately, a huge part of the role is down to personality and how you will interact with guests – hosts need to be friendly, smiley and always keen to chat to guests at the end of a long day on the slopes. But there are a few other things you can do to give you a head start and really set you up to become the best Chalet Host in the Alps.

 

First, it’s really important to get as much hospitality experience as you can from as early as you can. It’s a great idea to pick up work in cafes and restaurants doing waitressing, but try securing a role for catering companies where you will be doing silver service events and functions, or try and make sure you are working in a high end establishment to get used to the type of service you will be expected to provide in a chalet. Even better, housekeeping experience will stand you in very good stead for chalet work. You will spend a huge amount of your time on a winter season changing bed sheets and sorting linen, so previous work in a hotel, bed and breakfast or similar will give you some much needed experience.

Do you need to do a cookery course? In short, no you don’t NEED one. However it can be beneficial for some ski companies as you may be required to step in on occasion to help cover in the kitchen, or (depending on the chef you are working with) they may ask you to help wealth prepping breakfast or dinner. Or you never know, you may even become Chief Cake-Baker of the chalet, so any cooking skills you have acquired will help. If you are looking for a role that combines both hosting AND cooking (we call these roles cook/host positions), you will definitely need more than just a cookery course to give you the right level of experience. Ideally you will also have at least 6 months experience in a professional cooking environment to give you enough skills and knowledge to produce a three-course dinner party-style menu each night. Cookery courses are helpful not just for the basic skills they teach you, but also as they usually explain how the role of a Chalet Host generally works, what will be expected of you, and what your role will entail for 5 months. So if you are thinking about doing a course, go ahead…and keep your eyes peeled for our guide to the top cookery schools coming in a blog post soon.

It also always helps to get some life experience! Go travelling, try out a few different jobs, study…a lot of our clients want hosts who are a bit older and haven’t just come straight from college into their first real job. This way, you will have more interesting things to chat to your guests about, you might find you are more comfortable around guests (and colleagues) of different ages, and you will most likely appreciate your time in the mountains a lot more.

Once you’ve done all that, you’ll need to secure yourself a job! There are plenty of job boards out there where you can find hosting roles all over the Alps. They are updated regularly with new roles, so browse every few days for the latest vacancies. Natives or Ski Jobs is a good place to start…or if you need some help, come to Silver Swan and let us help you find the best hosting role for you. We know our clients really well and will always try and match you to the role that we think you will be best suited for. We are already recruiting for this winter, so if you are thinking about a season as a Chalet host, browse our vacancies here, or send through your CV to us at enquiries@silverswanrecruitment.com and we will get back to you.

Whilst you wait for the winter season to start, you could always get yourself some ski lessons (if you’ve never skied before) so you know what to expect when you get out there. There are a few indoor ski slopes across the UK including The Snow Centre in Hemel Hemstead and Snozone in Milton Keynes – places like this are great to get some initial lessons to build up your legs, and ensure you are not a complete novice when hitting the slopes for the first time in December! You can usually book individual lessons or a block course, so you’ll be snow-ploughing in no time. Most centres also have small parks with ramps and jumps too, so if you’re feeling particularly daring you can practice catching some air…or maybe save that until you’ve spent a few weeks on the real snow.

 

And don’t forget, you’ll need some clothes and equipment before you go. Most companies will provide you with ski equipment as part of your package, so you wont need to fork out for this (unless you really want to), but you’ll need to pack your own jacket, pants, goggles, gloves and helmet. There are some really great discounts to be had on new and last season’s ski gear – as it can often get expensive when you have to buy it all in one go. Try Sport Pursuit or Ski N Boardroom for heavily discounted branded jackets and accessories, TK MAXX for the essentials…or even eBay if you want to bag a bargain!

Summer Festival Line-Up 2017

Glastonbury has been and gone, but it always feels like the iconic festival kicks off the rest of the summer. If you didn’t manage to get tickets this year (or maybe you did, but you’re looking for your next festival fix) there are plenty more events left this summer. We’ve rounded up our pick of the best of the rest both in the UK and abroad…just in case the British weather decides to interfere!

 

EXIT Festival – Serbia, 5-9th July

That’s this weekend! For the spontaneous out there, there’s still time to jump on a plane and head to Novi Sadro catch the likes of The Killers and Liam Gallagher. Usually one for the dance-lovers out there, this year’s line up proves there is something for everyone at Exit.

Wireless Festival – London, 7th-9th July

If Serbia doesn’t take your fancy, stay closer to home and get yourself to Finsbury Park for the chance to get involved in one of the biggest day festivals in the UK. The line up is always full of big names and familiar faces in the world of R&B and Hip Hop (this year’s headliners are Skepta and The Weeknd). The stages are only half the fun, as there are fairground rides and plenty of bars to keep you entertained for the whole day.

 

Secret Garden Party – Cambridgeshire, 20th-23rd July

Later on this month, the not-so-secret Garden Party takes place in beautiful landscaped gardens in Cambridgeshire. The idyllic setting next to a river and lake hosts a mash-up of music, games and other activities with more underground acts such as Crystal Fighters and Metronomy playing centre stage.

Wilderness – Belgium, 21st – 30th July 17

Set over two weekends, it’s actually pretty unlikely that you will get tickets for Wilderness festival (they sold out in an hour this year) – so this is a heads up for 2018! This is hailed as the most important date on the planet for dance music enthusiasts, so expect to see the biggest names in house, techno and drum and bass. To give you an idea, this year, Eric Prydz and Axwell & Ingrosso lead the line up.

 

Boardmasters – Newquay, 9th – 13th August

If a chilled-out vibe is more your scene, the Southwest coast is the place to be in August for a display of some of the best surfers, skaters and BMXers in the world. Alongside the sporting spectacle is a mellow soundtrack provided by Jamiroquai, Alt-J and Two Door Cinema Club.

Flow Festival – Helsinki, 11th-13th August

Elsewhere in Europe (Finland to be exact), Lana Del Rey, The XX and London Grammar will be playing to crowds in an old industrial area, where lots of disused spaces have been turned into drinking holes and stages. The trendiest festival of the summer, it has attracted some big names this year and looks set to be an Instagram favourite.

 

Reading and Leeds – 25th-27th August

The most raucous event on the festival calendar, this double-whammy is the number one place to see the best indie, metal and rock acts. This year, Kasabian, Eminem and Muse will be making an appearance, so pack your sturdiest tent and your toughest wellies as this weekend isn’t for the faint hearted. Bonus – it’s over the bank holiday weekend, so you get an extra day for recovery!

 

Bestival – Dorset: 7th – 10th Sept

Rounding off the summer calendar is this boutique festival on the South Coast. The randomness of this weekend is what really makes it worth a visit, from fancy dress to comedy acts, to late-night singsongs in the woods. The line-up is as varied as the activities list, with The XX and the Pet Shop Boys headlining the event.

 

Roll on festival season!

STARTING A CAREER WITHIN A PRIVATE HOUSEHOLD

Starting a Career within a Private Household

Silver Swan Recruitment recruits for a number of private households and estates worldwide. The private household industry can offer a very rewarding and lucrative career and can provide the opportunity to travel the world. Unbeknown to most, this private hospitality industry is huge with a surprising number of homes and estates in the UK as well as overseas who employ staff. It is not unusual for these families to have multiple homes, all fully staffed.

Working in a private household can often be challenging as no 2 days are ever the same, however this variety helps to make roles really enjoyable. You become an integral part of the family and are relied on heavily to keep the household running smoothly. Each family will be different and you must therefore adapt your working style to suit each individual household. Some families will want to interact with you and will want you to feel that you are part of the family, other more formal households will not want this personal interaction. They will want you to be seen but not heard and will expect you to do your role with very little conversation with family members. It is vital that you take your time when applying and interviewing for positions as finding the right family to suit your personality and working style will have a direct impact on your level of enjoyment and success in the position. The perfect match between yourself and a family can result in a career for life within their home.

 

Job Opportunities within Private Households

The type of roles can vary depending on what the requirements of the household or estate, however they will typically include:

  • Estate/House Manager
  • Housekeeper
  • Gardener
  • Chef
  • Chauffeur
  • Butler
  • Nanny
  • Domestic Couple

All roles are as important as each other, each member of the team plays a vital role in the successful running of the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Started

The first thing required to start a career working on in a private home or on a private estate is to gain some good 5* service/housekeeping experience. Ideally this is within another private environment such as a chalet or villa if not then a small boutique hotel would also be a good place to start. Depending on the desired role will determine the kind of relevant experience for you to gain in advance.

There are various training courses which are worth looking at if you do lack the hospitality experience required. There are numerous Private Household Training Academies who offer training for Butlers, Housekeepers, Couples and more. You can expect to be trained on the following:

  • Service & Silver Service
  • Management
  • Housekeeping
  • Etiquette
  • Wine Knowledge and Food Pairing
  • Russian Service

 

Application Process

Recruitment agencies are a great starting point when the time comes to start your job hunt. Very few NHW households will advertise their roles directly and manage the recruitment process themselves, the only time they will recruit a new member of staff themselves would be if someone is recommended to them by someone they trust. Majority of recruitment would go through a bespoke recruitment agency. Families will often use the same agency every time and so will have a good relationship with their consultant who will have a good understanding of the family, the household and the role. The consultant will therefore know the kind of person who will fit well with the family and who will succeed in the role. They will spend time matching candidates to positions to ensure the fit is perfect each time.

When it comes to applying for Private Household positions, the following factors are vitally important:

First Impressions – you don’t get a 2nd chance to make a first impression!

  • Make sure your CV is well written, well formatted, easy to read with zero spelling or grammatical mistakes. Cover letters are useful to outline your skill set and match your qualities to that required of the role. It is also useful to include a photo on your CV.
  • Be sure you are well presented and smartly dressed for all interviews.

Longevity

  • Longevity on a CV is important. It will show your loyalty and commitment to your previous positions and will assure prospective employers of your ability to stay in a role long term. If you do have a number of short term positions on your CV, be sure to provide explanations of why you left each role. Working in each role 2-3 years as a minimum should be your aim.

Referencing

  • The referencing process is taken very seriously. Both the recruitment agency and the Principle themselves will want to speak to your previous employers. It is useful to have written references ready to present at interview stage along with contact details to enable them to be verified. Expect your previous 3 employers to be contacted. References must be solid for your application to proceed.

 

Interview with a House Manager

 

 

Russell Orford works as a House Manager for a UHNW client based in London. He oversees the running of their 5 homes worldwide – 2 based in London, 3 oversees.

 

 

 

How did your career working in Private Households begin?

I spent 12 years in the Army in the Scots Guards, wearing the red tunic and Bearskin Cap. This gave me a large amount of skills which were incredibly useful and transferable to the world of Private Households. When I left, I helped a friend of a friend with their maternity cover managing a house for a Titled Couple in Chelsea. I loved the variety of the work, and coming from the Army, I thrived on doing a good job and making things perfect.

I had a brief dabble in ex-military recruitment which really helped me understand where my skillset was, but most importantly how the job market works. The benefit of a good, tailored CV, and understanding what good recruiters can offer you, both as a client and a candidate.

I then landed the job which started everything for me, managing a very large house, for an UHNW businessman with bordering OCD tendencies. The standards were incredibly high and he was extremely demanding – not unreasonable, but everything was either perfect, or it was wrong.

 

In your experience, can the role of House Manager differ between households? 

I think the role of House Manager covers such a wide range of responsibilities that it can only ever be different due to different requirements. Some require cooking, some a little housekeeping, others need a real hands on approach, while others want a more set back managerial style.

 

What is your typical day?

There is no such thing! I have my standard things which I would do on a daily basis, checking the whole house, fixing the dressing room (resetting all the hangers, to be equally spaced etc). I would also make time to speak to all the staff every day, to ensure they were happy, knew what they were doing, and also felt connected and supported.

When it comes to my workload, I would class it as a good day if I got to complete 50% of the work I planned to do that day. There are always changes, always problems to fix and last minute immediate tasks given by the Principal.

 

What challenges do you face on a day to day basis?

The biggest challenge I find is staff disagreements. As in every workplace, there can be disagreements between staff members, and this will always come down to you as a HM to fix.

Just yesterday I had 2 housekeepers in two different properties have a row, and both handed in their notice before 0900. Not my favourite morning, but after some listening and talking they are now both staying!

 

What do you find most enjoyable in your role?

 

I love doing a good job, and fixing problems, whether it’s staffing, technical, logistical or sourcing hard to find items.

I don’t look for praise, but am very pleased when there is no criticism – if there is nothing wrong, then everything is right! (I have been pulled up for the length of the wicks on candles which have already been burning for an hour!).

 

What do you think makes a good House Manager?

The ability to adapt to anything, listen to everybody but make your own decisions, hear everything and say nothing. You must be there first, but put yourself last, behind not only your Principal, but also every other member of your staff.

It is an amazing privilege to be in the position to work in the incredible houses we are allowed to serve in, and to manage a team of people whose sole aim is to make someone’s life better.

It’s not always easy, but when you get it right, it’s perfect.

 

What Next?

If you have some good hospitality experience and feel you have the right personality traits to suit working in a private home or estate then please get in touch and we will help you either find a new opportunity or secure your first role within a private estate.

Browse OUR CURRENT VACANCIES HERE and APPLY HERE to get in touch.

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