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Take the Family › Top Tips for Child-Friendly Dining on a Ski Holiday

Top Tips for Child-Friendly Dining on a Ski Holiday

A Ski Famille chef.A Ski Famille chef.

Ski holidays can be daunting for first-timers and even for parents who have only skied pre-children – so much is unknown, and that includes what to expect when it comes to dining. We talked to Ben, a chef with our partner Ski Famille, about the importance of good nutrition for kids during ski holidays.

Hi Ben. How long have you worked for Ski Famille?

This is my second season. Last summer I worked as a sous chef in a gastro-pub in Buckinghamshire, before heading back out to the Alps in November.

What property are you based at?

I am based in Le Marjorie in Les Gets for the second year running. I loved it so much the first time that I requested to be placed here again. The chalet sleeps 22, which is perfect for me as I enjoy the challenge of cooking for a fair few guests but without it being overwhelming. I also know the kitchen now, so it made it easier to get into the swing of things this year – it was a bit like coming home!

What can kids expect to eat on a Ski Famille holiday? Is there a wide choice to cover both those who like to encounter new flavours and dishes and those who want to stick to what they know?

We try to cater to each child and their likes and dislikes. Being a family-based company, we understand that children can be picky eaters and we are prepared for that.

I normally discuss with parents on the first night if there is anything special that their children like. We have a standard menu that is set out at the beginning of the week, but we sometimes deviate to suit the tastes of the children in the chalet that week. 

There is a good mix of traditional family favourites, similar to what they would encounter at home, such as fish pie, lasagne, roast chicken, and pasta and meatballs, but all are homemade from scratch. The most popular dish tends to be homemade chicken nuggets and wedges. The children’s lunches are generally simpler – examples include jacket potatoes, homemade pizza and macaroni cheese.

What time do children eat?

Lunch for children in our childcare runs between 12.30 and 2pm, once the older kids have returned from ski school. All the children in the chalet come together for both lunch and dinner and it is a lovely environment. In the evening we aim to serve their dinner at around 5.15pm, after the childcare team have handed back the children to the parents.

And what about parents? What are the options for them at breakfast, lunch and dinner?

For breakfast we offer cereals, French toast, pain au chocolat and croissants, along with tea and coffee. We also do eggs (served a different way each morning), porridge and pancakes to order. For lunch, adults generally eat out at a mountain restaurant, then we bake a cake each day for when they return from skiing. At 7pm, once the children are in bed, we provide Prosecco and canapés, before serving the evening meal at about 8.30pm. Dinner for adults is three courses, with this year’s menu including french onion soup and cheese soufflé for starters, steak frites and herb-crusted loin of lamb for mains, and molten chocolate fondants for dessert. On the Tuesday night we serve the traditional Alpine classic - raclette!

What’s an average day in the life of a Ski Famille chef?

7am Arrive at chalet and start preparing breakfast, porridge and eggs of the day.

8am Bake cake for afternoon tea and get it in the oven.

8.30am  Prepare the children’s lunch and leave in the fridge for the childcare team to heat up and finish off.

9am Clear away breakfast and start any prep for dinner that can be done and got out of the way!

10am Full clean down of the kitchen and assist chalet hosts with communal cleaning.

10.30am Head up the mountain to improve my skiing

4pm Back to work to prep the children’s tea.

5.15pm Serve the children’s tea.

6pm Clear away the children’s tea.

6.30pm Prepare canapés for adults’ evening meal.

7pm Serve canapés and finish off dinner prep.

8pm Dinner service.

9.30pm Clean down kitchen and take away all rubbish and recycling.

10pm Off to bed (or the pub!).

What is your advice to those bringing children skiing, nutritionally?

When you take children on a ski holiday, it’s important to remember that they’ll be doing lots of exercise and also spending a lot of time in the cold, so it’s key that they replenish their energy levels through their diet. A nutritious breakfast is a good start; eggs or porridge are a good option as they’ll ensure they don’t get hungry too quickly. 

I would also recommend taking snacks for when they are up on the mountains to keep their sugar levels up and prevent them getting getting too tired or cold! 

A healthy dinner in the evening makes sure they replace all the energy they’ve burnt during the day, followed by a good night’s sleep!

Read more about family ski holidays with Ski Famille.

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