Cooking at Altitude

Irving Scott chefs boast some of the most specialized skills in the profession, including the ability to work to the highest standards at altitude. Going out for a dining experience at a high-altitude restaurant is very fashionable indeed, especially in destinations with skyscrapers that have restaurants 450m from ground level. However it is at altitudes over 1000m above sea-level that science kicks in and meals cook differently than if prepared on lower ground.

The sky as a limit

Our clients have households in destinations all over the globe whose altitude must be taken into consideration. Top-ranking gourmet cuisine is not only the reserve of Alpine resorts like Val Thorens ! Irving Scott knows of domestic service chefs in Colorado Springs, Las Vegas, Quito, Riyadh, Nairobi and Johannesburg, all successfully facing the challenges of elevated locations.

Although some chefs’ academies teach their students to bear altitude in mind from as low as 900m above sea-level, difficulties begin to become more pronounced from 1.8km above sea-level. It goes without saying that taking advice from local experts is the first step to any successful transition. For brusque changes in altitude advice abounds on what types of high-carbohydrate meals should be served to visitors upon arrival to ameliorate discomfort. Mountain sickness can be lessened by a well-planned diet delivered with care and consideration.

Timings and temperatures>

Boiled water is not as hot at higher altitudes, meaning it talks longer to cook sauces, soups and any other meal with a high liquid content. Likewise, dishes cooked in a microwave may require more time as microwaves function by heating up the water molecules within food. When frying food, chefs are constantly aware that the lower boiling point of water means that fried food may brown on the outside without cooking properly throughout. Meanwhile those chefs preparing grilled meats have to factor in the impact that dry air has on the moisture content of the meats that they are cooking. Water evaporates more quickly and yet temperature remains unchanged on grills, leading to drier steaks if not treated with care.

Acclimatization tips

Irving Scott chefs will prepare meals rich in garlic and ginger; they will make sure portions are light yet satisfying and they will encourage the intake of water and the avoidance of alcohol during the acclimatizing stage. But rest assured that none of these factors are an impediment to our high-quality chefs providing the best meals for high-altitude dining. Contact us for more details!