“I See Dead People”

“But one downfall, perhaps: people have died in there. I’m sure of it.”

Well, well, well and an eventful week.
Oh how much has happened.

I sit here, in my chalet room-come-box, feet on the single bed, and look up at the frosted glass and my door-less wardrobe wondering why. Said wardrobe is the other side of my room but still in stretching distance. One mustn’t complain; I at least have my own space whilst all around me creak on bunks in rooms of three and four (oh the perks of being an arseholic, demanding, bastardised chef).

I mustn’t complain; I’M IN MERIBEL!!!

I’m clumsily writing, fat-fingered, on the iPad (the laptop’s en route) which is wholly ironic, for this last week or so has too been a struggling treading of water.

Only on leaving the hotel in Gatwick did I discover that we weren’t off to Meribel at all, but instead Morzine. Two hours away it is a much lower ski resort (lower in more ways than one) and of course, on our arrival… shut. Here we were to begin our training after a slight eighteen hour sleepless coach journey. All banter and smells.

We train and get the hell out of there; would be the short answer. There was of course the inevitable testing moment or eight. For instance cooking a curry for eighteen trainee nanny’s who turn into 29. They really do multiply at the mention of Butter Chicken (Gordon Ramsey, Great Escapes). And then, of course, having cleared the mains for the three course evening meal for a few guests (Sixteen of your bosses) being told that actually, sorry, there is one more Chicken due after all. As Gordon would say: “Ooh come on guys… Right: you, you, you and you: Fuck off”. But we got there in the end: even successfully serving someone who somehow manages to be a gluten-free, lactose intolerant vegetarian (no joke. I mean come-the-fuck-on: Apples were invented for a reason).

But here I am in Meribel, having just visited the chalet, and kitchen, that I will be spending much of the next five months in. Judging by the crowd of my peers, I’ll be cooking – or on the piste – or on the piss; there won’t be much sleep.

The Chalet is lovely. It’s certainly traditional (all buildings in Meribel must be made of wood and/or stone and in the traditional way – ’tis the law, you know) and most definitely large. There are nine bedrooms for eighteen guests, there’s a beautiful fireplace, two living areas and of course a twelve-person hot tub. Yep. Yes indeed: glad I bought the trunks.

But one downfall, perhaps: people have died in there. I’m sure of it. I can feel them staring at me. The place is scary as fuck. Put simply I don’t like being there alone. Hopefully next week I won’t be quoting the young Haley Joel Esmont’s infamous line:  ‘I see dead people’.

The first day I was there a chap appeared behind me in the kitchen and I turned and said: “Holy fuck man, scared the shit out of me” (Excuse the expletives but it’s a true story). Anyway it quickly transpires, by way of his own surprise and indeed French accent, that this is Jean Marie – the owner of the chalet. I quickly apologise and endeavour to bring him back on side. I eventually do and he reveals that his father built the chalet in the 1930’s. I didn’t ask where he died.

And so just a few more days of deep-cleaning, menu planning, shitting myself at every creaking door and worrying about Sunday (First guests arrive: 17 total: 5 veggies).
Forecast: no snow till at least Friday. Lifts open: 16/41. Runs open: 20/64. Conclusion: Please, please snow! Neige s’il vous plait.

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