Kevin’s blog

20th May 2009

Kevin Honeywood worked as Chalet Chef in Chalet Aurigny for the winter 08-09.  Here is tells of his Fish and Pips experience, a long way from Sydney!  Kevin is spending the summer in the UK before returning to Meribel in November for a second season.

As the final responsibility of the season, we’ve been asked to write a blog describing it as seen through our eyes, so here I go, trying to make sense of what was a whirl-wind 5months!

The first two weeks in Meribel I couldn’t’ help but stare out the window, there was loads of work to be done, and it was a long time until I could finally cook something, but I couldn’t help watching the snow fall as if it were a car race, running around trying to catch it in my mouth, jumping in it, rolling in it, I felt like a child, it was the first time I had been in snow. We had our first ski day – I was soon to learn that it was a ‘perfect day’ and one everyone prayed for, a blue sky powder day, most of which I spent falling hard onto something that didn’t feel like powder at all! Snowboarding couldn’t be that hard… I watched small children hurtling past me, spinning and jumping whilst I held hands with an instructor and still managed to fall onto this “powder”! I spent the next three days in pain, as if I’d played rugby for six hours.

Finally we were allocated our chalets and chef / hosts. Fi and I became team Aussie, and Chalet Aurigny was now our home; it was amazing, and I was proud to have one of the highest maintenance members of our team, the hot tub! Neither Fi nor I had ever done anything like this before, and most of our questions to each other were answered ”umm, I dunno”

Now it was time for our first guests. We were anxious, and I was scared that someone was going to find me out and take me away from this awesome job, and then in came one of the coolest families, and definitely one of our favourites, The Marsh Family. With their nightly dinner ritual of “hold the highest note the longest’ to “Take on me”, now our winter anthem, and making us feel like old family and that we were the ones on holiday! That week went fast and before we realised what we had to do, we had done it, and there were tears when we were saying goodbye. Transfer day became the hardest day of the week for the rest of the season, our ‘family for the week” just left us, and now we have a couple hours to completely turn the chalet around. It wasn’t like work at all, every week we had lovely guests, to whom we got attached, and the hardest thing was trying to say no to après ski, after dinner drinks, and dancing at the Ronnie and Dicks Tea Bar!

I finally got used to sleeping in a room with the two loudest snorers in the world (but yeah I made the trio!) and the rest of the season flew by.  I finally figured this snow boarding thing out, and started really loving it, I had three amazing gurus in the Fish and Pips team –  Marky, Alice and Nicko, whose massive love for the sport was inspiration and without it I would probably be a snow-shoer!  Just the privilege of us all being able to ski together, (how Vinnie and I never crashed into a massive ball of flames I’ll never work out) was amazing.  The best part of skiing wasn’t falling fast down the side of a mountain, but doing it everyday with some beautiful people.

Our weekly day off was always something to look forward to.  The trip to Chamonix was one of the best days of the winter, and the countless powder / mountain burger days as well; they were always early starters, both out of bed and at the Ronnie, and usually an early finish too. I’ll never forget the day we got called to maybe our only emergency of the season!  Holly with a very flat tyre in Boy-Blue (the Fish and Pips Renault Traffic), and Vinnie and I arriving having to prise our resident ‘Mr Placid’, Marky, from an angry French ski instructor trying to plough his driveway over the top of everyone.

Christmas and New Year were one of my funniest ever, not that I could ever replace being with my family (well…), but if I had to be away, both the company and the guests we had for those weeks made it perfect. Christmas was a traditional English fare, after buying the worlds most expensive parsnips (190euros they charged me – but don’t worry, I managed to get a refund – I was scared of Philippa that day!) being an Aussie, I needed some help from Johnstone family, our guests that week. After breakfast with a glass of champers with our guests and Holly and Philippa, we did manage to sit down for a proper Christmas dinner – Turkey, bread sauce etc – I’m sure I used every utensil in the chalet! New Year kicked off with a fireworks display from our pyrotechnic expert Nicko and culminated in Marky proposing to Alice at midnight, which sent everyone into hysterics, and polished off a great night.

Weeks passed and passed, and the temperature started to heat up, I’ll never forget Fi and I agreeing, “wow, its Zero degrees, and it’s warm!” which was forty-odd degrees colder than at home! All of the sudden the snow had melted and I realised we actually did ski home over a golf course. The winter suddenly ended, and we were on Easyjet home. Holly and Philippa have built an incredible company, they managed to put together an amazing team of people, and I’m so proud and grateful that I have the privilege to be a part of it. It’s going to be a long summer, hot I hope, but already I’m counting down the days till we’re back in Meribel. I just left the best five months of my life, the best off-the-cuff decision of my life, and the best group of people I’ve ever met in my life, I’ll miss Fi, and her cough that lasted the entire season, but her amazing ability to put up with me in the morning, and always going over for a demi after. I’m still hoping she’ll change her mind and come back next year! But Vinnie, Nicko, Crackie, Spoff, Abs, Jen, Alice, Marky and of course Holly and Philippa, you all made my season absolutely #@%$&*# incredible (swear jar!), thank you and I love you all for it. See you next year!

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