Ski Chalet Chef and Kitchen Hand Jobs

Find information on different types of ski chalet chef and kitchen hand jobs.

Ski chalet chef, mountain chef or kitchen hand are popular options for seasonal work on the mountain. Here we lay out the key aspects of the job and some insider tips.  

Roles available

A number of ski tour companies offer guests fully-catered service as part of their ski tour packages. This is particularly the case for French, Swiss, Italian and Austrian resorts, where ski tour packages are very popular. These types of packages are also becoming more popular in Japan and North America.

As a result, every season, these tour companies look to hire qualified head chalet chefs, junior chefs and kitchen hands to work in the kitchens of their chalets.

In addition to the ski chalets, there are also jobs available for ski season chefs and kitchen hands in the larger hotels in ski resort towns, as well as in some of the restaurants around town. While not impossible, you are less likely to find work in the local restaurants, given that these restaurants often use local talent or are family-run.

 

Skills and experience

Despite the fact that you will be working in a big kitchen with high customer turnover, you don’t need to have come straight from the kitchen of Gordan Ramsay, Jamie Oliver or Anthony Bourdain.

For head chef roles, employers might typically look for a few years’ experience and a hospitality qualification. For line chef, or junior chef roles, some experience in hospitality is desirable, but not essential. Some experience in customer service would also be desirable as well, as it shows your ability to work with other people.

 

Visas

For those looking to work in Europe, you may need an EU passport. However, it remains to be seen what the new working arrangements are after the UK leaves the EU – and whether a UK working holiday visa might be enough.

For Japan, you will need to get a working holiday visa. See Work a Season in Japan for more information.

 

What is the job like?

Head chef roles can be demanding, as with any popular restaurant in a big city. You will be in charge of not only meal service, but also keeping stock and ordering produce and supplies within the budget. You will also likely be in charge of junior chefs and other kitchen hands. Other jobs will include food hygiene, controlling wastage and managing kitchen staff.

Given you need to order stock, if you have a bit of the local language, this is certainly viewed favourably by the big chalet and hotel employers, where English is not the local language.

Line and junior chef roles, as well as other kitchen hand jobs, are less demanding, but more routine. It will involve food preparation as well as carrying out the instructions of the head chef and chalet or hotel managers.

As with any hospitality job, chef jobs can be busy and challenging. Customers on ski tour packages have often paid top dollar, and expect good service and tasty food to go with a big day’s skiing. The same goes for people in upmarket hotels.

But the people you work with make the job, and everyone there is obviously working the evenings so they can play during the day, which usually creates a good vibe among kitchen staff.

 

Pay and advantages

An advantage of chef and kitchen hand jobs is that you generally just work the morning and evenings, meaning more time to ski and board during the day. This usually means preparing breakfast and evening meals, while guests eat up on the mountain during the day.

Head chef roles are well paid compared to other ski resort jobs, given there aren’t a lot of qualified chefs out there who are willing to work seasonal gigs. Line and junior chef roles are less well-paid given you don’t need the same qualifications, but more of these jobs are available.

Tour companies often throw in a whole set of sweeteners on top of pay at a ski resort. These often include free accommodation, free ski hire, a lift pass and food. It means the money you earn can go straight to other (more important) things such as gear or enjoying your time in an alpine resort.

It does mean you won’t have as much choice on where to live, but with seasonal accommodation so tight at many places, this is not such a bad thing.