Dan Yeo will be head chef at Chalet Rosière this winter! Dan is a culinary genius, foraging healer, and friend to all creatures.
We could not be more excited to be working with her. Here we ask Dan about her culinary journey so far, and how she developed a love for preparing vegan food.
I have always loved cooking and baking. I find it a peaceful and creative process. Even in a very busy kitchen at the most stressful points, I can find my Zen, lock it down and create.
When did you first learn how to cook?
My love for cooking started with my dad when I was very little, helping him make pancakes every Saturday. I later continued baking and cooking with my grandmas, both of who where fantastic cooks.
My father’s mother was a great baker. She taught me most of the cake and biscuit recipes I bake today.
My mother’s mother taught me how to make savoury dishes like cottage pie, lasagne etc. when I was a teenager. I have two little brothers who were always hungry, and I would cook with her for them.
I became a chef completely by accident. I got a job as a pot washer in a high-end bistro in Lincoln when I was in college. After I had been there for 3 months, one day the commis chef didn’t arrive on time and there was no one to cook the staff dinner. Despite only having taken on some basic kitchen jobs at that point, like peeling vegetables, I offered to step in and surprised the head chef with what I made.
Later, after I’d prepared about 15 more staff dinners, I was offered the commis chef position! I stayed at the bistro for 2 years, and subsequently became the sous chef. I loved every moment of it, and learned so much during my time there. After that I did a few months at a bakery for a change, which was lots of fun. I loved being a chef.
How did you end up in the mountains?
With all my newfound knowledge, and feeling fed up with my local city, I felt like a change. A friend had just come back from a ski season. After hearing his stories, and watching a snowboarding film, I was obsessed and started to apply for jobs.
From that first season at 21 yeas of age, I was totally addicted to everything alpine. I have now been in the Alps for 10 seasons. I truly love the energy and space there, and the endless beauty makes your heart sing. I can’t imagine my life without mountains. From snowboarding to foraging, the mountains are a part of who I am. I have learnt so much about myself through spending time here, and from this unique community full of active, creative and eccentric people… I fit in just fine!
Over the years how I eat, cook and live have changed. I have worked in ski chalets cooking rich, wintery food, I had my own cake company, and been head chef of a Thai restaurant! I like to change, evolve and learn new things.
I love eating in great restaurants then recreating my dishes, but I also find world cookbooks a great source of ideas, along with blog and the odd supermarket food mag.
I have a passion for spicy food and vegetarian cooking, making things with fresh ingredients that are full of flavour. My comfort food and favourite cuisine (most of the time) is Italian (I am a pasta-holic)
Why are you attracted to vegan cooking?
I love to cook and eat vegan dishes for their health benefits, but I’m also very aware that more than ever we are realising how much damage we are doing to this beautiful earth. I believe that every little helps in the process of creating a better world, and that adopting a vegan diet can make a difference.
I love to surprise people with just how good vegan dishes can be. Nothing makes me smile more than when a person eating my vegan food says something like, “I didn’t once miss the meat in this meal” or, “how can it taste so good and be dairy free?”
The choices you make about food provide you with an opportunity to be the change you want to see in the world on a small scale, and making good choices feels good, right? : )
To stay up to date with the wonderful wild world of Dan Yeo, follow her on Instagram @danyellowyeo.
Alex and Philip Volkers