As a new chalet host you may be wondering what kitchen equipment you should take with you. Chalets are generally equipped by their owners and the type and quality of equipment in each varies considerably so it’s a difficulty question to answer. But here is our advice.
We have seen new chalet hosts turn up at the start of a season with a brand new rack of chefs knives probably worth £500 or more, also food mixers, blenders etc, etc. You do not need to do this; most chalets should have everything you need to run your chalet and prepare the menu you are employed to deliver. However, there are a few things that we think are worth taking as they will make your life easier and might not be supplied.
A Good Quality Sharp Knife: All chalets will have kitchen knives but the quality and sharpness are usually not good. We always take one very good all-purpose knife. We particularly like the Robert Welch Chef’s Knife with a 16cm blade. This will make preparation of veg and carving meet etc so much easier. They do not come cheap at around £48 each but worth the investment and will last a life time if looked after.
A Knife Sharpener: A sharp knife only stays sharp if you sharpen it! The advantage of the Robert Welch knives is that there is a specific Robert Welch sharpener which is very easy to use and will keep your knives in perfect condition. You do not need any “Gorden Ramsey” skills to use it which is usually why people allow their knives to go blunt.
A Timer: As a chalet host multitasking is one of your key skills, but it is easy to get distracted. To avoid burning you cake or over cooking your duck take a basic timer with you that you can stick on the fridge and avoid those annoying mistakes!
A Spatula: A good quality silicone spatula is very useful for getting your cake mix out of the bowl and not something that is generally supplied.
A Peeler: For peeling your potatoes and veg a good quality peeler is essential. Chalets normally have about 10 peelers all of which are generally rubbish, so bring your own! Personally, we love the Good Grips “Y” shaped peeler but this is personal preference just make sure it is one you like and can use.
A Zester: A lot of chalet recipes ask for the zest of citrus fruits. If you have ever tried to do this on a grater you will know how frustrating it is and how little zest you actually get out! We always take a zester with us although the technique for using them is not easy and requires practice, but we believe it is worth it!
A Meat Thermometer: If you are worried about how to cook your meat so that it is safe for your guests to eat, take a meat thermometer. They are not particularly expensive and can save you a lot of worry. They can also make sure you don’t overcook your meat so improving the quality of your food.
If anyone has any other suggestions that they feel are essential items to take with you the please leave a comment or get in touch, but our basic advice is don’t spend a fortune, just buy a few quality pieces of kit.
If you want to purchase any of these items they are available from Glanviles in Wadebridge, Cornwall or at most good cookware stores.