Building a chalet from scratch where they now run luxury catered ski holidays has given Steve and Lindsay Butcher their dream life in the Alps. finds out how they made it work
Some people seem to have the golden touch when it comes to turning their business idea into a success, and Steve and Lindsay Butcher are definitely one such couple. They run Chalet Amuse Bouche in Montriond in the popular Portes du Soleil area of the Alps, offering high-end catered ski holidays. But the couple haven’t always worked in the hospitality industry. They originally met when they both worked in manufacturing, but having decided they needed a career change, they bought an old antique shop in a small village in Kent, which they decided to turn into a restaurant. Steve worked as a chef and Lindsay ran the front of house, but it was the relentless hard work with little time off that made them turn their thoughts to the next project.
“With a restaurant, there’s really no life,” explains Lindsay, who says they decided to look at other ways of using the skills they had learnt in the restaurant business. Running a ski chalet business seemed the obvious choice: “We enjoyed skiing and we’d been on catered ski holidays so we thought that would be a good use of our skills. Also it would enable us to have some time off in between the summer and the winter season,” adds Lindsay.
The couple’s first attempt at buying a property in the Alps in 2007 fell through at the last minute, and they decided to spend a few months exploring the different regions of France. It was an old farmhouse in Charente in need of renovation that captured their imagination. Steve renovated the house and its barns, transforming it into a successful gîte business. “We ran the gîte business for four years until some guests came along and made us an offer we couldn’t refuse,” remembers Lindsay.
Once again, the couple started contemplating their next project. “We asked ourselves whether we should go back to the UK, open a bistro or try the ski chalet again. It’s funny because so many times we’d said the ski chalet option was too expensive and then we’d find ourselves secretly looking on the internet to see what was available,” says Lindsay. “We said: ‘This is silly, we’re still thinking about it, so