Continuing our theme of introducing our winter resort staff and finding out what makes them tick, we spoke to David Allistone, one of our Swiss Cooks in Flims, who is spending this season creating delicious dishes for Powder Byrne clients. We found out about his previous experience and what he enjoys most about cooking with Swiss ingredients.
1. Where did you learn to be a chef and what drew you to the career?
I first started cooking at home with my family when I was about 13 years old, which is where my passion originated and has grown ever since. I followed my passion and chose a career that would allow me to do what I enjoy and love.
2. Where have you previously worked?
My last job was at The Narrow in Limehouse working for the Gordon Ramsay group and I gained some really invaluable experience. Before that, I was at the Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green as a banqueting chef. My favourite job in the last 5 years was at the Providore & Tapa Room in Marylebone working for Peter Gordon. I learnt a lot while working there and met some very influential people. I’ve also had the privilege of working as Swiss Cook for Powder Byrne for two winter seasons previously, and thrilled to be back for a third!
3. What do you enjoy making the most or would call your signature dish?
I really enjoy making a beef wellington. Using great ingredients and some precise cooking is my forte. My signature dish would be a delicious, rich chocolate fondant. It's just so easy to eat and always a crowd-pleaser.
4. What ingredients could you not live without?
Salt and pepper, otherwise known as “Susie & Percy”! They’re essential ingredients that I use in all my dishes. They’re so simple yet so effective and I could not live without them.
5. Who or what has had the biggest influence on your cooking and your approach to food?
My Nan was the first big influence on my cooking. She got me into cooking and started my passion. Anthony Bourdain, with his book “Kitchen Confidential”, was my next big influence. He was a huge inspiration and I've always tried to emulate him since reading it.
6. Do you enjoy cooking with local Swiss ingredients? How do they differ from the ingredients back home in the UK?
Swiss ingredients are fantastic. The availability and quality are very impressive and I love cooking with them. There are more cured meats and sausages here then I would have thought. Most of the ones I’ve tried are delicious and the flavours they produce in dishes are incredible.
7. What’s your favourite dish to cook at home while you’re relaxing?
When I’m at home I really enjoy cooking a curry from start to finish. It’s a relaxing meal to cook. It can take time but working the ingredients in to produce beautiful flavours and that distinctive, delicious smell is worth the wait.
8. How you do unwind in the evenings, what do you like to do?
A beer is the first thing on my list followed by relaxing on the sofa with some great company or a good film. Sometimes a simple evening can be the best way to unwind.
9. What’s your idea of a perfect ski day?
A perfect ski day would start with an early start to ensure I get a full morning of skiing in along with a hearty breakfast and a freshly brewed coffee to wake me up. I would then stop for a big lunch and a beverage to fuel myself up and recharge before the afternoon. I’d normally spend the afternoon cruising around the mountain, enjoying some smooth blue runs to finish off the day.
10. What’s your favourite mountain lunch?
I don’t have a favourite mountain lunch as I haven’t had the chance to sample many yet. This season I’m hoping to try as many as I can and indulge in the local foods and find the best restaurants, so I’ll get back to you!
Call our travel consultants on 020 8246 5300 or enquire online to book your ski holiday - our Swiss Cooks are waiting!