As the season draws to a close we finally manage to catch up with Sean from Lhotse, to take a sneak peek into the secret life of a luxury ski chalet chef…
How long have you been a Consensio chef?
This is my first season – so only 4 months.
How did you become a chef?
I hold my parents completely responsible for my career in the kitchen – first of all because they had a hotel in the Highlands when I was a kid, and secondly because they told me never to become a chef!
Have you worked in other resorts?
What makes Val d’Isere special?
What I enjoy most about Val is the quality of the produce I can get my hands on. It really sets itself apart in this respect.
What makes Lhotse so special?
Lhotse is my favourite. Of course I’m going to be biased, but I really do love it! It’s beautiful and luxurious without being pretentious. It has so much character with a warm, cosy, welcoming feel. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the bath in the master bedroom!
Do you get to ski very often?
I always ride on my day off, or if it’s a craking bluebird I’ll head up for a few runs, but generally I spend most of my time in the kitchen. This is completely by choice – I’m a slave to the stove!
What do you do in the summer months?
This year I will heading down to the South of France for my first season on the yachts.
What sets Consensio apart from its competitors?
The quality of the chalets and the quality of the staff is what truly sets Consensio apart from other operators. A team consisting of a manager, 2 hosts, a chef and a personal chaffeur is a world away from the chalets where I’ve previously worked.
What is the strangest request you have ever had?
To serve food that hasn’t been in contact with water.
What is your proudest moment?
Without a shadow of a doubt working under Martin Wishart in Edinburgh is my proudest moment. The knowledge and skills I acquired during my time with him completely revolutionised me as a chef. From there, I went on to utilise those skills and ran the Road Hole restaurant at The Old Course in St.Andrews.
How do you manage to stay calm under pressure?
I thrive under pressure. It makes me work harder, try harder and achieve more. That’s where the “buzz” comes from. Without an element of pressure, the workplace becomes boring.
What is your favourite meal?
Iberico Presa is incredible!! If you’ve never tried it get yourself down to your local Spanish restaurant and get involved. It’s a cut from the shoulder of the Iberian pig. Most people have only ever tried Jamon Iberico, which as most experts will tell you, is up there as being one of the best on the market. The uncured version is outstanding and has to be tasted to be believed.
What is your favourite restaurant in the world?
There are so many restaurants in the world I would love to eat in, very much the same as any chef. If we are talking about venues that I have already had the pleasure of dining in, then it would probably be Coda in Melbourne which offers the freshness and flavours of French/Vietnamese/Asian fusion. I was also lucky enough to spend time working with those guys.
Who is your favourite chef?
It’s very hard to single out one chef as being my favourite as there is so much incredible talent out there, but if I had to choose I would say that Marco Pierre White is the chef I admire the most.
What advice would you give to somebody who has aspirations to become a chef in a luxury ski chalet?
Go and do the Seasoned chalet chef course with Liam from Marco Polo who is a fantastic chef with a lot of experience in this sector. As well as offering endless advice, he will be teaching the key skills needed to run a top chalet.
What’s the best thing about working for Consensio?
The best thing about working for Consensio is being given the opportunity to work in such elite properties. I love tailoring my food around the individual needs of each client, which is essentially what I believe Consensio stands for.
Can you imagine doing a 9-5 office job?
Ha ha, I tried it once. Let’s just say it wasn’t for me.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A chef, a comedian or a lawyer.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Being a chef gives you freedom to create, the ability to bring people together over a meal, and the opportunity to travel the world.