Kit Tsang from the Isle of Wight has been manager at Scotty’s Bar at our La Plagne chalet hotel since 2007. We chatted to him about his work and about living in the French Alps – and asked him to share with us a recipe for the perfect wintry cocktail to warm up after a day on the slopes…
• Hi Kit, how did you make your way to the French Alps? What’s your career background?
I held a variety of jobs in a range of industries from sales to sports. I started my season career through a spot of good timing – Andre the bar manager of Scotty’s St Anton, who I met on the Isle of Wight, offered a bar job in Austria to a friend of mine who couldn’t take the position, so I jumped at the opportunity. I haven’t looked back since.
I did two seasons in St Anton and was due to return, but on a summer season in Corsica I met Jen, the girl who would become my wife. I followed her to La Plagne, where I took a job in Scotty’s, and I’ve returned here each year since.
• What originally attracted you to working in the hospitality industry?
I’m a very sociable person and like nothing better than getting a party started and seeing people having a good time. I love the range of people you get to meet working in bars and restaurants and the lifestyle that comes with it, especially the travel opportunities the industry offers.
• Scotty’s is popular with hotel guests, but do locals come too?
Yes absolutely. We’ve always been popular with English seasonaires but in recent years I’ve worked hard to up our levels of French-speaking staff (and improve my own French skills) and have made a real effort to attract the French custom. The ski instructors of Oxygène Ski School are regular customers, as well as a growing number of resort staff and lifties.
We have a great location in the middle of resort at the base of the Stade Olympic competition run, which means we have a front-row seat for many world-class events held right on Scotty’s doorstep. As such, we attract both the competitors and spectators from the events. This year we’ll be lucky enough to have the Telemark World Cup located here.
• What do you think the secret to the bar’s success is? Do you host any special events?
We have a great reputation in resort as a fun and relaxed party bar. We offer live music, live sport, and fantastic food and atmosphere – and are definitely the only beer pong venue in town! Our staff are really friendly, and most seasonaires tend to think of us as their ‘local’ for the season.
I also don’t think you can beat our location right in the middle of Plagne Centre, at 1950m. Several runs converge on our doorstep, making us a a perfect central meeting point for a drink or lunch stop. Skiing into Scotty’s for an après-ski beer is also an absolute must for a holiday in La Plagne – the location makes it so easy that it’d be rude not to!
Our Wednesday après sessions have become legendary for their live music and awesome atmosphere, especially in spring when we move the band outside and rock outdoor après sessions. This season we’re offering live music après-ski sessions Monday to Friday and will also be throwing themed parties for as many events as we can think of. Paddy’s Day is always a big one, and this year we’re also thinking about a Leap Day party on February 29th. Fancy dress, drink promos and live music will feature heavily, I’m sure.
• Beside Scotty’s, what are your favourite places to eat and drink in La Plagne? What do you like doing when you’re off duty?
I’m out here in the Alps year after year simply because I love snowboarding, so that is what I spend as much as possible of my free time doing. When the lifts close, I try to hit up as many of the adrenaline-fuelled après activities as possible, including the Olympic bobsleigh track and Oxygène’s insane Super Luge Sledge Derby, of which I am the current reigning champion!
My wife and I are both also huge fans of the food in the Alps. She loves cheese fondues and tartiflettes, and I’m a fan of anything that involves lots of meat – pierrade and steak tartar are my favourites. We go out for dinner as much as we can in the season. La Plagne has some awesome restaurants to choose from. L’Arlequin and Chalet de la Roche are two of my favourites, as well as La Metairie, where I took Jen for dinner on the evening I proposed.
When I’m out for a drink on a night off, I tend to go to Bar La Mine in 1800, where I’m good friends with the owners. I also enjoy getting my rum on at La Rhumerie in Aime 2000, although a night spent there can get a little messy, especially if the chilli rum is involved!
• Where do you like to travel outside the winter season?
Anywhere I can get to in my time off, really! I often visit Hong Kong, where I have a lot of family. I was lucky enough to travel through South-east Asia and Bali on my honeymoon, and I have a fair few friends dotted around Europe who I try to visit when I can. My ultimate dream destination has to be Vegas though; I think I could have some fun there.
I’ve been spending my summers in Corsica for the last five years, which has begun to feel like a second home behind La Plagne.
• Lastly, could you share your favourite cocktail recipe with our readers?
Vin chaud has to be the best classic mountain cocktail for when you come in off the slopes and need to warm up. Make it when you’re back home and the smell alone will make you feel like you’re in the Alps…
Just remember: the nicer the red wine, the nicer the vin chaud (don’t fall into the trap of thinking that bad red wine can be compensated for by all the other ingredients!).
(makes 1 litre)
1 litre red wine
80ml orange syrup
60ml sirop de citron
2 cinnamon sticks
6-10 cloves, according to taste
Small cup of sugar, according to taste
Put all ingredients in a large saucepan and heat to 55-65°C (hotter and it will burn the wine), stirring regularly. Strain ingredients when ready and serve with a slice of orange.
Read more about ski holidays at our Chalet Hotel Christina in La Plagne.