Friday Feature: we talk family, fine dining and inspiration with Bramble Ski and Haute Montagne Chef, Jacob Dearie

 

Jacob Dearie is finishing up his first winter as a private chef working for Bramble Ski and Haute Montagne following four years  working on Necca Island  for Sir Richard Branson.  He started out his career training and working in the two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Manoir run by the world-renowned Raymond Blanc. But his foodie roots and passion for creative fine-dining were nurtured far closer to home. As a very busy season draws to a close we steal a few quiet moments between service to get to know him a little better.  

What first inspired you to pursue a career as a chef?

My dad. He is a chef and owned and ran a busy hotel in Burford in the heart of the Cotswold’s while I was growing up. It was a family business and we were all really part of it, so I spent a lot of my time in the kitchen (starting on the dishes!). He really lives his craft and has an amazing work ethic (and is still so passionate about it – he recently came out of retirement to start up another restaurant). His passion for food and the restaurant industry meant that our time spent as a family on his days off would often involve enjoying a good meal out and plenty of food chat.

At just 23, Jacob has an impressive amount of experience. But there’s clearly real passion to match it. Here he is plating up a chocolate ganache with raspberry sorbet, wild strawberry gel, popping candy caramel and Chantilly cream.

What made you come to Verbier?

The mountains… and the skiing. I’d always loved skiing and Verbier is so well known for having some of the best terrain in Europe. I had also been working in the Caribbean for the last four years and I felt that it was time for a complete change.

What is your favourite on-mountain restaurant in Verbier?

Le Dahu, it’s near the snow park, has the best food and a great terrace with amazing views.

And what is your top pick for dining out in the resort?

Le Shed, hands down the best burger in town. Or when you’re feeling something lighter I really rate T-bar sushi, it has good veggie options too.

Are there any other of our resorts you would like to work in and why?

Bramble Ski is a great company to work for and I would be happy to work in any of the other resorts we are in – St. Anton, Lech, Zermatt or Méribel.

What is your fave chalet to work in and why?

Dent Blanche. The kitchen has an amazing view. It’s also just a really easy space to work in.

Breakfast set up at Haute Montagne’s Dent Blanche, with large sliding glass doors opening out to the balcony with views across the mountains. 

Where does your culinary inspiration come from?

All over the place! I was trained and started my career in Le Manoir. I’m still really inspired by French cuisine. But I also really love any good food. Trying new restaurants is great and I appreciate the work of other chefs. And I think about food a lot!  Even when I am not working, I’m constantly looking to learn from where ever I go and whatever I see, whether I’m in a top fine-dining restaurant or scrolling through Instagram or from a particular guest’s request.  

White chocolate cheese mousse, passion fruit crème, fresh passion fruit, brownie, short bread biscuit and dark chocolate ice cream! Jacob’s take on a cheese cake!

Do you have a current food obsession and, if so, what is it?

Sushi. It’s a different world to the one I trained in and learning the new and precise techniques has been great. 

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a private chef?

Travelling and doing what I love!

Chinese deep fried banana… Tempura caramel bananas with sesame, vanilla ice cream and a pear liqueur caramel.

Sweet or Savoury, and why?

Savoury both in cooking for others and for myself. You are what you eat, and I like to make it has healthy as possible.

Black cod with an olive crumb and sesame crust, beurre noisette cauliflower purée, curried nut mix and a coriander oil.

If you could cook for anyone, who would it be?

My whole family, all at once. They are all around the world and so it’s rare that we are ever together in one room.

What food takes you back to childhood?

I didn’t have a normal food upbringing – my dad’s long hours meant we ate at the hotel a lot and I tried so many different foods from a young age but (it sounds so classic British) … a good Sunday Roast?

What food trend do you think will grip the culinary world next?

Healthy eating (not necessarily new but somewhere we all need to be going). In the future I would love to open up my own healthier restaurant that’s affordable but still excellent quality.

Confit salmon in a lemon oil, freezer cooked and pickled cucumber, horseradish cauliflower, inspired by time at Le Manoir Aux Quat’saisons.

Do you have a personal fave winter dish (or a signature dish)?

I get asked this one a lot! But I really don’t have one thing, it’s actually one of the reasons why I became a private chef. It gives you freedom to be really creative – you get to design your own menus and push yourself to try new things and develop your craft. It never gets boring – you’re always adapting to a different guest’s requirements each week.

Is there one piece of kitchen equipment you couldn’t live without?

My knife – a Misono. It was given to me by my old head chef.  The time I spent working with him and in the Caribbean means a lot to me.

Is there one dish that sums up your time working for Haute Montagne and Bramble Ski?

I find this difficult to answer because, like I said, each week has been so different. Can I say a night rather than a dish? WOW nights always stay in my head – there’s always a theme (I got to go all out on the sushi for one group) and everyone dresses up. It’s pretty special to see the guests so happy with it and it always turns out to be a great and memorable one!

From an Indian-themed WOW night – seared pineapple, lime sugar, passionfruit sorbet, mango purée, chocolate almond and a lemon chia biscuit.

 … As it turns out Jacob’s food is pretty memorable in its own right!

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