When the Caribbean comes to the mountains

Did you know? The friendly welcome and unique concept of the Ethic Etapes centres has spread across the whole of mainland France and even overseas! A far cry from the mountains, there is a centre awaiting you in the heart of the Caribbean, in Fort-de-France in Martinique.

But accommodation and activities are not the only focus of the teams in these venues dedicated to people, to sharing and to the environment. Far from it! Another centre of interest for all of us is food!

It is in this context that a team of apprentice cooks travelled all the way from this magnificent island in the sun to the CIS in Val-Cenis for a winter stay of 3 weeks, offering the opportunity to chat and compare our respective traditions and customs after a day out on the slopes, and to discuss tartiflette, crozets, lambis, accras and chicken boucané. It was also an opportunity to invite one of the young members of the team, Léa Henriette, to stay on for a one-month internship in the kitchens at the CIS.

From Bellefontaine to Haute Maurienne

The voice at the other end of the telephone is calm, with a pleasant sunny accent that brings warmth to the February skies. Originally from Ajoupa-Bouillon, in the north of Martinique, Léa is 17 years old and is in her first year at the vocational high school in Bellefontaine, where she is studying to become a chef. Despite her young age, she has a good head on her shoulders and knows exactly where she’s headed: straight towards the chef’s hat! After leaving high school she will continue her studies with an advanced technician’s certificate in cooking.

But Léa’s aims don’t stop there: “Later on, I would like to open my own restaurant in France, perhaps in Lyon.” Why Lyon? Because Léa is lucky enough to enjoy two cultures at once, with her mum being from Lyon and her dad from the Caribbean. Léa is keen to give foodies in our region the opportunity to enjoy delicious Creole cooking!

In the kitchens at the CIS
Léa accepted the internship offer at CIS without hesitation after testing the delights of skiing and visiting Lyon:
“My class was doing a course to discover new trades and techniques”. At the CIS, she has jumped in at the deep end: “I work from Mondays to Fridays, spending time at each workstation, both hot and cold dishes. I’m learning a lot.”

Her favourite thing? Learning new recipes and chopping and cutting techniques… but there’s something else that really whets her appetite: “There’s a great atmosphere in the kitchens at the CIS and the working methods are different, which I really like.”

As for the CIS, Léa’s arrival as an intern goes hand in hand with the centre’s passion for sharing and welcoming, as well as its social and educational aims to help boost the economic fabric in mainland France and abroad.

A few days before returning to her Caribbean island, Léa decided to leave a reminder of her stay and promote her own local food by concocting a special menu for the kitchen staff, with cod accras, spicy chicken fricassee and banana fritters bringing their characteristic aromas to the table for a meal cooked in tribute to La Martinique!
When I suggested that, with all these qualities, the team shouldn’t let her go, Léa calmly replied: “Oh, they have already asked me to stay!”

“The pleasure of dining is for every age, condition, country and day of the week”
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Chief Alexis’s recipies