Recruitment for the 2010/11 winter season has started in ernest now and all our course participants are applying for jobs and asking questions on how to write the best 6 day menu plan to go with their job applications.
Anyone applying for a job as a chalet chef, host or assistant will need to supply at least a 6 day menu plan with their application. It doesn’t need to be a daunting task and by following some basic rules you can have one nailed in no time at all.
Get prepared either with a large piece of paper and pen or you laptop or PC and begin with writing out days 1 – 6, usually its best to start with Saturday as this is generally termed the start of your week or change over day, your week ends on Friday and its only 6 days as you have 1 day off mid week (typically Wednesday) when you do not need to prepare breakfast or dinner. You will however need to leave breakfast laid out for your guests to help themselves to and a cake for tea.
Once you are set with this along with the recipes you intend to use you need to compile them into daily menus.
Starting with breakfast you need to provide a regular continental breakfast each day along with 1 hot option - begin your meny plan by writing out your breakfast options on all your days, on Wednesday your day off it will be just a continental breakfast.
You should have: tea, coffee, orange juice, fresh bread, croissants, pain au chocolate, jam, butter, sugar, cereal, milk and yoghurt.
The hot option you provide each day does not need to be on the scale of a full English breakfast but you can use the components of this dish each day to create smaller hot dishes e.g. scrambled eggs on toast; fried egg and bacon; mushrooms on toast; sausages and tomatoes and eggy bread/French toast. You may also have to serve porridge each day, it used to be very traditional but it is less so now. You could also consider adding pancakes to your menu if your a dab hand at making them and a fruit salad or fruit plate is a nice, healthy touch a few times a week.
Now that is breakfast sorted, its time to hit the cakes & biscuits for tea, yum yum! Some people love chocolate but you can only have 1 or 2 chocolaty things in one week – repetition is an important point overall (or lack of repetition) of the same flavour or type of food whether its chocolate, carrots, chicken or eggs! So back to cake! Choose a selection of cakes and biscuits type things with a selection of flavours e.g. chocolate chop cookies, carrot cake, flapjacks, lemon drizzle cake etc. Its a good idea to serve a biscuit like flapjacks on your day off as they will keep well in an airtight container.
On to the main evening meal, we always suggest you start with the main course first and specifically the meat you will serve, this forms the basis of your meal and you build the rest of the dinner around this dish. So for example you are going to serve a breast of chicken, what are you going to do with it? Pan fry it, grill it, casserole it, cook it in the oven, stuff it, pour a sauce over it? If you have a recipe you have cooked lots before and know well then use it; I have a chicken recipe I have cooked for many years where you wrap the breast in a slice of parma ham and fry or seal the meat until it goes a nice golden colour before finishing the cooking in the oven; its served with a tomato and orange sauce.
Once the meat is chosen you can then select your starch (potatoes, rice, pasta etc) and vegetables to compliment the dish. They should provide an array of colour, texture and flavour; make sure you avoid too much red e.g. tomato and orange sauce with carrots and sweet potatoes or making a meal white. I always try to imagine what it would look like on the plate when you serve it, this might help you visualise the meal. I would serve my chicken breast with roasted potato wedges and sauteed mange tout and courgettes.
You can now move either way to the starter or dessert, personally I prefer to get the starter done next. Make sure your starter compliments the main meal, does not over power it in flavour or use any of the same main ingredients as the main course. You could choose a pea and mint soup for instance.
Now to the dessert – similar rules apply as for the tea & cakes, not too much chocolate or one type of pudding. Another important rule is you should not have 3 hot dishes in 1 meal so as I have a soup for the starter I need to have a cold dessert. I would also choose a pudding based on colour and texture so having had a green, soft soup, a red & green main course, I would go for a dessert with some crunchy texture somewhere and maybe of the chocolate or lemon variety e.g. Chocolate tart with homemade sweet pastry served with passion fruit mascarpone cream.
Vegetarian options need to be placed in for all main courses and where necessary for startes too. Its important to use as many ingredients from your main dish in your veggi option; this prevents you from having to prepare and cook many more things.
Its important to make the meal sound appetising as well as describing the main ingredients in it, it will only stand out from the rest if it reads well and makes the meal sound yummy. If you read this menu what does it make you think?
Pea and mint soup
Chicken with tomato sauce, chips and courgettes/mange tout
Now read this menu and see what you think:
Pea and mint soup served with a fresh bread roll and butter
Pan fried breast of chicken wrapped in Parma ham served with a tomato and orange sauce, roasted potato wedges and sautéed courgettes and mange tout
Chocolate tart with homemade sweet pastry served with passion fruit mascarpone cream
I know which one sounds more appetising, hopefully this makes the point clear on how important it is to write your menu in a descriptive fashion.
Once all your days are filled in check, check and re-check it for spelling and punctuation and ask 1 or 2 people to read it too. Check you have not repeated anything too often, a good way to do this is to read all the starters, mains and desserts across day by day.
Its critical you know how to cook and have cooked every dish you put on your menu plan before you go for an interview, countless people have been caught out by putting some elaborate dish on the menu because it sounds good but have no idea how its made. When you are at an interview you will asked questions on your menu plan so its important you know who to cook the dishes, have tasted them and also how you would serve them.
On our courses we cover this in more detail and give you a detailed 6 day menu plan to get you started, to book your place on out course just visit our website www.thealpinecookerycourse.com
The Alpine Cookery Course is the leading chalet host training course for ski season workers. We teach you everything you need to know to successfully run a ski chalet, cook delicious, nutritious meals with minimum hassle & maximise your time on the slopes.
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