Ten Minutes With...Lisa Murgatroyd, Director of Peppered Strawberry Creative Catering
Ten Minutes With… is part of a regular series of interviews with individuals and companies in various ski resorts around the world. They share their local alpine knowledge, insight into life in the mountains and how to live the alpine dream.
Lisa Murgatroyd is a chef based in Chamonix Mont Blanc. Combining her background in art with a passion for food, she creates visually stunning, delectable meals using fresh & local produce as a private chef and caterer.
Which ski resort do you call home?
How long have you lived there?
I first came in 2007 but I’ve been living here permanently since 2012.
Tell us about your home, what do you love about it?
Chamonix is a pretty special place, it’s not only a top winter and summer holiday destination it’s also a bustling community that has many year-round residents which is quite rare for a ski town. I love the different seasons here and look forward to each one for different reasons. I enjoy skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. The landscape is so beautiful and inspiring in many ways.
How do your surroundings inspire your cooking?
France is a gastronomic place and people here are very passionate about food and local produce. For me I don’t really like the typical local Savoyard specialties but I do like to use fresh, local ingredients, which is easy to come by if you know where to go. I always feel inspired by the nature and no matter where I’m cooking there is usually an amazing view!
Tell us about the supper club concept.
Pop-up dinners and supper clubs have been gaining popularity worldwide in the last 10 years. It’s such a wonderful concept. They give chefs an occasion to showcase their culinary talents and give diners a chance to try something a bit different from the usual restaurants. I’ve been hosting these events regularly for the past 3 years. They started off in a small café in Chamonix, which was closed in the evenings and therefore gave me the opportunity to turn the space into my own restaurant with my own menu for one night! I now host these events in a chalet above where I live when it’s not occupied. It’s such a great night! I work alongside an artist friend of mine. We choose a theme, she decorates the place and I create a 6-course tasting menu which incorporates the season and the theme. I also run yoga dinners and brunches where guests get to practice yoga for an hour and then get to feast on vegetarian food and catch up with friends old and new!
What is your favourite winter dish?
For myself personally in the winter I like comfort food especially when I’m working hard, it has to be healthy and nutritious! I like all the winter root vegetables and I love to make soups, stews and curries. For clients, it’s a bit more refined! I try to cook with local produce usually incorporating a world food twist to my dishes. I guess one of my favourite things to cook (and peoples favourite to eat) is my homemade ravioli.
What inspires you ingredients-wise?
I get most inspiration from beautiful vegetables, especially in the summer when fresh, colourful ones are in abundance. I enjoy going to the local markets and seeing what’s available. Most people eat with their eyes and I really enjoy creating dishes with as much colour and flavour as possible. I love to use Asian flavours wherever possible and to fuse them with local seasonal produce.
What is your favourite local restaurant?
I love Munchies like most local people here. Atmosphere is good for French classics with a modern twist. Revola is another great place with ever changing delicious menus. Satsuki and the Organic Epicerie are my favourite for lunch in town. When skiing I like to go to Café Comptoir in Vallorcine. I honestly don’t spend my life eating :p
If you had one last meal to eat what would it be?
That is a really hard one! I think it would have to be some sort of Indian dish; close second is any Italian food!
What do you always have in your kitchen?
There are way too many to list, my kitchen is always full to the brim! At home my store cupboard essentials include lots of tins of tomatoes and coconut milk. I use a lot of pulses, nuts, seeds and grains so always have a variety to choose from. I also have a huge array of herbs and spices. In the fridge I’ll definitely have some butter and a few jars of different things like capers, chilies and olives, which are very useful.
Many people dream of moving to the mountains but you've made it a reality. How did you make it happen?
I came for one season to visit my brother who was living here and like a lot people never left! Before Chamonix I was living in London and not really sure what I wanted to do with my life, career wise and personally. I came to Chamonix and fell into chef-ing and realised I loved it! I spent the first few years working for chalet companies until 3 years ago when I set up as an auto-entrepreneur and started my private catering business “Peppered Strawberry”. It’s a great place to be if you’re a chef and prepared to work hard. There’s always work in the chalets in the winter. You have to be a little bit more proactive other times of the year. I usually have a bit of a break in the spring and autumn and try to do as many pop-up dinners as I can. The summer work is quite different to the winter work; I tend to have quite a few repeat bookings. Last summer I worked on a few retreats cooking vegetarian and vegan food which is my favourite type of cooking.
If you are interested in the resort of Chamonix, click here to see our Chamonix Ski Resort Guide.
If you would like to view properties in Chamonix, click here to see ski properties for sale in Chamonix.
If you would like to speak to a real estate agent based in Chamonix, click here to see our list of Real Estate agents in Chamonix.
If you would like to contact Lisa about a catering or private chef opportunity, please visit her website at pepperedstrawberry.com.
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