What is your most memorable moment in the French Alps?
The first day that I “got” riding fresh powder. I don’t think I’ll be able to top that very first moment of floating through untouched powder on my snowboard, listening to Toots & the Maytals with the sun on my face.
What makes the Alps a special place to be for someone in the private chef and catering business?
The variety of people that I get to cater for is what keeps me on my toes. The Alps is a special place to work because, no matter how different clientele are, there is a deep respect and love of the mountains that everyone shares here. Also, everybody is ever-so-slightly unhinged in some way as they like to throw themselves off mountains in some way or another - it keeps people young at heart out here.
Does Alpine or French produce influence what you prepare?
Living in the Alps really forces you to cook mindfully and with the seasons. Unlike the UK where every possible ingredient is available at any given time, ingredients in the Alps are not as readily available. It forces you to be creative as a chef and to really capitalise on what is in season. It is how I’ve always wanted to cook as a chef, and I’m grateful for the abundance of fruit and veg that you can forage for yourself. I’ve also learnt to make the most of produce around me; whereas in the past I would have made my own bread, butter and pastries, French produce is so excellent here that it is would be a crime to not use it. The saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” rings a bell.
What is special about your business? What sets you apart from everyone else?
I offer more than individually plated dishes like the traditional way of dining. I focus on shared food; exceptional food becomes a necessary resource for connection, community and relationships. Picture huge platters, plentiful bowls, trays, dipping pots and jars, artful table decoration and flowing drink. A dining experience which encapsulates all the nostalgia, fun and warmth of feasts with friends and family. My food is as much about the experience surrounding it – the conversation and time spent relaxing – as the food itself.
Describe your business in one word.
'Sobremesa'. It is an untranslatable Spanish word that describes the time spent after a good meal – the conversation, digesting, relaxing, enjoying. Certainly not rushing. Not reserved for weekends.
What is in store for the future with your business? Any exciting projects in the pipelines that you can share with us?
I am going to launch some supper clubs in Chamonix – pop up events that celebrate food, community and the seasons. As well as encouraging community, supper clubs are an excellent way to make new friends and try new food in a truly immersive dining experience. Check the Chamonet Events Calendar or the PomPom website to keep up to date with future events. There are also some exciting charity projects with Patagonia in the not-so-distant future and watch this space for yoga retreats in the spring.