Please find below a list of frequently asked questions. If you have a particular question which isn't listed here, please contact us at any time.
What is the benefit of learning in France, when there are similar courses available in the UK?
Did you know that water boils at a different temperature at altitude? Did you know that pressure at altitude affects how your cakes rise? There are so many benefits of learning on location in the Alps, for example learning how to cook at altitude, which is very different from cooking at home. Perhaps most importantly, you will find learning in a real chalet kitchen truly valuable when you come to run your own chalet. Our running costs in France are less than those of UK cookery schools, so our courses offer better value, plus, even though you'll be working hard and learning lots, it will sometimes feel as though you're on holiday! Feedback from past students has shown that they strongly agree it is beneficial to learn how to be a chalet host in a real alpine chalet.
How can I book onto a course?
There are several ways to book onto our cookery courses. It couldn't be easier to book online. Simply click here, select either the chalet course you want (which will require upfront payment of the full fees), or choose the 'deposit only' option in which case you'll have to let us know the date you wish to join on the payment page. Alternatively, you can call us on 020 3608 1213 to check availability and secure your place, or your can email us to request a place. We will require a deposit of £150 to confirm your booking, and full payment is due 10 weeks before your course start date. If you choose to book by phone or email, we will email you an invoice for the deposit which can be paid by BACS, cheque or card. We will then issue an invoice for the remainder of the fees which is payable 10 weeks before your course start date. Likewise, if you book online paying only the deposit, we will issue you an invoice for the remainder of the fees, also payable 10 weeks before the course start date.
How do I get to The Hive?
We offer free transfers from either Geneva airport or the local train station on course start and end dates. Alternatively, there is plenty of free parking near the chalet if you would prefer to drive (please contact us for directions).
If flying, please land at Geneva airport by 4.00pm on the first Saturday and book your return flight taking off not before 1.00pm on the last Saturday. Popular flights are with EasyJet from London, Manchester, Bristol, Liverpool or Edinburgh. We suggest you check SkyScanner for up to date prices and flight times. Transfer time from Geneva to the chalet is approximately 2.5 hours in good traffic. Please be aware that if you land early in the morning, or take off in the evening, then you will be required to wait at the airport (although it is quick and easy to get a train into central Geneva if you have enough time).
If you prefer to travel by train, the station to arrive at is Bourg St Maurice. Less than 30 minutes from the chalet, we will pick you up from the station on a Saturday (depending on your arrival time, you may have to wait if our vehicles are tied up on other transfers). Trains to Bourg St Maurice run several times a day from Gare du Lyon in Paris, with just one change at Chambery station. Please check SNCF website for timetables and prices.
What do I need to bring with me?
You will need to bring a pair of indoor shoes to wear in the kitchen, which must be closed-toe shoes and flip-flops are not allowed. Trainers are OK, so long as they're clean.
In your time off, you will have a chance to take part in sports and leisure activities. We therefore recommend that you bring suitable clothing with you. There may be the opportunity to swim during your time with us too.
During September, shops in the village are not open, so you will need to bring toiletries and personal supplies with you, as you will not have a chance to visit a shop until the Monday after arrival. Likewise, not all leisure activities are available for your afternoon off during September.
Throughout the summer months, the weather in the Alps is mild, with temperatures ranging from around 15 to 30 degrees centigrade. You will need to bring warm clothes for the evenings and we recommend bringing a waterproof jacket in case of rain.
You will need some cash to pay for activity excursions, Wednesday dinner, personal expenditure and any items from the chalet's honesty bar (drinks and snacks).
For students on the two week courses, we ask that you bring a laptop with you. This is because we will be working on your job applications during the week, plus the Food Hygiene course is an online courses which is incompatible with many tablets.
Who else is likely to be on my course?
You'd be amazed by the variety of people who do seasons; they come from all walks of life and are young and old. We look forward to welcoming a diverse range of students each summer. To survive a season, students need to be enthusiastic, hard working and have a good sense of humour!
Unlike some other cookery schools, we do not actively market our cookery courses to Duke of Edinburgh candidates. This is because DofE candidates often have little interest in becoming chalet hosts or learning about the job, therefore can be disruptive to classes. That being said, our courses do qualify for the Residential DofE requirements, so if you are completing your Gold DofE and would like to combine learning to be a chalet host with your Award, we are very happy to welcome you to The Hive.
Can I have a single room?
To guarantee your own room, single supplements are charged at £100 for one week or £200 for two weeks. Please let us know when booking if you require a room to yourself and we can invoice for this separately. Where possible, couples will be put in double rooms, everyone else in single-sex twin or triple rooms. All rooms are en suite.
My friend and I would like to do a course together. Can we?
Absolutely, yes! In fact, if two or more people book on a course together, we offer a 5% discount for everyone in the group. Please make it clear when you book that you are booking with someone else and please note that this offer is not available if the course is already discounted.
I'm vegetarian; can I still attend the course?
Of course you can. In a real chalet environment, you will frequently have to cater for vegetarians, coeliacs and allergy sufferers, so having students with dietary requirements on our courses simply enhances the learning experience for everyone. When you book your course, please make us aware of any dietary requirements or allergies.
How much free time will I get and what can I do with it?
On our one week course, you will get one half day free and, on our two week course, you'll have three half days free. During this time you can take advantage of the activities on offer locally (white water rafting, paraponting, tree top adventures, mountain biking etc), or just relax in and around the chalet.
Additionally, you will have a couple of hours each afternoon to wind down, so long as you're not cooking dinner that evening. There is plenty to keep you occupied. There are many marked trails if you wish to go walking. We provide equipment for ping pong, pétanque, tennis and volley ball. Inside the chalet, you will find wifi, a flat screen TV with DVD player, HDMI & USB ports, a Nintendo Wii with various games and several board games to choose from. There's also a balcony for sun bathing, so bring your suncream!
If you have energy after dinner, it is possible to go out for a drink in one of the local bars or restaurants, but only during the peak season of July and August. If any bars remain open outside of these months, consider it a bonus!
What is included in the course fees?
The fees include all tuition, food, wine with dinner, a Chalet Survival Pack (PDF recipe book and chalet hosting guide and apron), linen and towels (not swimming towels), accommodation, transfers to/from Geneva airport or Bourg St Maurice train station, a detailed reference and assistance with securing a job. The fees do not include activity excursions, insurance or flights. Please note that it is our company policy not to discount courses to fill places. The prices that we advertise are the prices that everyone on the course will pay (except for any publicly advertised early booking discounts, group booking discounts or friends and family discounts awarded). Whether you book one month or six months in advance of the course, you will pay the same as everyone else.