Christmas Dinner Top Tips

Ski Chalet Christmas dinnerCooking Christmas dinner in your ski chalet

Right then , do not panic ! Just because you are cooking your first Christmas lunch ever and you are doing it for 12 guests in a kitchen. I know you have only just walked into  it a week ago and its at altitude. We are here to help you get through it without waking up face down in a bar after getting the sack !

Top tips on cooking Christmas lunch

Christmas dinner checklistFirstly  you need to check you have everything you need so write a list. Work through the menu first, from canapes , starters , main course , pudding and then onto coffees. Break this down into everything you will need to complete each part of the menu. you will need to include everything from pots & pans ( is the roasting tray big enough ? ) to all the ingredients ( including oils , butters etc ) .

How do chefs get it right every time ?

The most important aspect of cookery is timing , this runs true from professional kitchens to the simple cafe and you are no different. So working backwards from what time you are expecting to have pudding build an image of what time the main course should be served. Remember to leave yourself time in between courses to clear away  and plate up the following course.

Now look at the timings for cooking the turkey

Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey
Turkey Weight
6 to 8 pounds2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds5-1/2 to 6 hours

Remember these times are for an un-stuffed turkey ( cook your stuffing separately its easier ) at sea level, so depending on your altitude you will need to increase these times. Always allow your turkey to rest for at least 90 minutes  before you carve it, in my opinion I would aim to cook the turkey in the morning once the guests have gone out skiing and you are tidying up after all the unwrapping of Xmas pressies. Make your gravy from the juices and any stock you have built up during the week . Reheating the turkey can be achieved in a roasting tin with some of the gravy covering the meat and tightly sealed with foil , place this in the oven about 60 minutes before you are going to serve it.

cooking Christmas sproutsCooking your Christmas vegetables

Sprouts are a must have on Christmas day , cook these the day before for 8-10 mins (depending on altitude ) and then plunge them straight into icy cold water to halt the cooking. Drain the sprouts and dry off nicely, store in a cling-filmed container and throw into boiling water for 2 minutes just before you serve the main course.

For your roast parsnips (panais in French) , par boil these before putting in the oven to roast , leave them in nice big pieces, that way if you leave them in a little too long they will not dry out .

Classic roast potatoes

There are a million recipes for the perfect roast potato, my trick is par boil in salted water for about 10 minutes , just enough so they give a little on the outer edge but are uncooked in the middle. Place them back in the dry pan and give a shake to fluff up the edges, sift a little flour over them as you shake them around, this will make them extra crispy. Place a large roasting tin in the oven with olive oil or goosefat ( if you can get it ) , add your potatoes to the red hot fat along with 5/6 bashed cloves of garlic and some sprigs of rosemary. Then whack ’em in the oven for a good 45 minutes on 220C for the first 20 minutes .Try to get a single even layer of potatoes ( use 2 trays if you have to) .

Final advice for Christmas day in your ski chalet

Make sure you get your table laid nice and early , that way you will stop the guests from  using it to play games etc , which could seriously mess up your timings .

Don’t start drinking too early ! believe me I have made that mistake, you do not want to ruin the guests  christmas and end up at chalet Gatwick for boxing day ! Remember that the guests are all having the best christmas. They have been skiing , had a couple of cheeky xmas apres ski drinkies and looking forward to a wonderful week with their family , so they are in a good mood. Just relax , run through your timings 2/3 times in your head .. add 5 minutes on here and there to allow for little mistakes and enjoy yourself.

Any problems just tweet us on Christmas day with the hashtag #Xmaspanic


Ski Jobs Blog : La Rosiere

Be Careful reading this next blog may induce you ( or seduce you ) into a season in La Rosiere , now who wouldn’t love to lunch in Italy and have dinner in France , well that could be you …read on !

More Alps Chalet

This could be your dining table for the season ,
who wouldn’t want to run this chalet !!

La Rosiere sits by the Col du Petit Saint-Bernard , which is the summer link over into Italy .. of course in the winter you don’t drive to Italy … you ski there and what better way of living that kind of life than sunning a small luxury chalet for 6 guests … read on and if you can see yourself here then email us or head to the website and contact us there


More Alps Logo We are a family-owned, independent company founded in 2002.
We offer our clients an incredible service and attention to detail


Looking after a fully catered chalet for 6 can be even more demanding than the larger chalets and you will certainly feel like you are 100% there for these guests , if you think that you can run a chalet as beautiful and luxurious as ours , whilst maintaining  high standards of customer care , then contact Cool Ski Jobs on  with your CV and we will be in touch

view over La Rosiere

This could be your view every morning for 5 months !

How cool is cool ?

So you wanted the coolest job in the mountains , how about being a ski or snowboard instructor ?

spend the winter deep in the pow !

One great way to spending seasons in the powder is to hook up with an instructor school and spend the winter tweaking your skills and learning the ways of the mountain. Canada can offer a great way to kick start your instructor career and enable you to spend up to 5 months having the time of your life plus learning skills that can go on to be a lifetime  on the slopes.

There are several companies offering you the chance to live the dream , we spoke to Steve at The Wintersports Company over a beer at the ski show , Steve and his wife run this great little company and can give you the chance to make a start on the coolest of cool ski jobs  , with packages from 3 to 18 weeks , with accommodation , food and lift pass all included  ( plus your flights and transfers) , you can spend 5 hours a day  in lessons and push yourself hard to become a level 3 .. or take a more leisurely approach ..either way this could be the start of something big for you .

Day in the life of a chalet host PART 2

.. So après ski is just too good to leave , the guests are loving the live band and have bought me a couple of drinkies , I’ll just have “one more” then run back to the chalet .

Fortunately all the guests are still in the pub so I can quickly put away the afternoon tea .. Just leave the cake on the side and they can take some out on the hill tomorrow ; quickly lay the fire and get that roaring , nothing better after a great day on the mountain .

Running a teeny bit late means a readjustment of tonight’s menu , cheese on toast will be ok ..ha ha , I wish !

Peel the spuds , slice and into the dish with tons of garlic and the gratin dauphinoise can look after themselves ( top tip from an “old” chalet girl : put a tray with water in it under the gratin , as it bubbles over the tray will catch all the cream and not burn on the bottom of the oven , 30 minutes cleaning saved there !) .The boeuf bourgingnon was cooked yesterday and should just need a slow reheat and smells yummy , and to make things easy I’ll serve that with braised red cabbage , cos that can cook itself too !

Quick run home and get changed , making it back to the chalet in 20 mins , how come I could never get ready that quick in my old life in England ?

Guests are heading back and the sound of baths and showers may mean only one thing … Yep the electrics tripped off again , no panic as I lit the candles the moment I heard them all heading to the bathrooms , leccy is back on and we should be ok if everyone takes it in turns to get showered etc …just hope it hasn’t slowed the gratin down !!!!!

So dishing up around the table and the stories are flooding out of the days antics , how they allskied the couloirs in knee deep powder and how little timmy did a 360 without faceplanting ( shame) ; I seem to have the national ski team of Surrey here this week !

The old classic of banoffee pie is the all time favourite and it hits the spot big time , the ladies are all wolfing it down , after all they did do a full days skiing today so they deserve it( I swear I saw them shopping at lunchtime as I grab a beer with my mates) .

Dishwasher is on the third cycle since I got into the chalet at 5:30pm and I’m loading it again , my nails and hands are completely buggered from washing up , Ahh well who cares …what a day !

Well if any of the guests are up for it there’s a dub step night at the pub and i can hear it calling me ( along with my good friend for the season : Jagermeister !) …. See you all at 6:30am ..let’s do it all again tomorrow !