You’ve prepped the veg, hand-made the mince pies and stayed clear of the champers. You’re certainly on point – but how do you elevate your Christmas meal to Michelin-star standard. Quintessentially probed some of our favourite culinary superstars to find out.
Ed Schoenfeld, RedFarm – ‘Three Sauce Wontons’
Forget the hassle of preparing the feast, and head out for spicy Asian instead. Creator of New York dim sum smash hit RedFarm – now in Covent Garden, too – says, “Christmas has become the busiest day of the year for Chinese restaurants in NYC. I like to make spicy pork wontons that are flavoured with three sauces: an emulsified sesame/peanut cream, a sweetened dark soy seasoned with chopped garlic, and homemade chilli oil.”
Marcus Wareing, The Berkeley – ‘Keep it Simple’
The foodies’ favourite recommends, “dividing up the turkey so it's smaller and takes less time to cook. Get your butcher to do the hard work for you and get it ready in its roasting tin the night before. The same goes for the vegetables, though don't be tempted to put them in with the bird. Almost a pint of liquid will come out, and you don't want poached vegetables.”
Michael Sager, Sager + Wilde – ‘Truffle Tagliatelle’
The wine buff’s #inspiration, bearer of a three-star award from World of Fine Wine, is all for bucking tradition: “My family always do a Truffle Tagliatelle. My mum would cook every year. I miss it. Fortunately, we have it on the menu at Sager + Wilde.” Enjoy more unorthodox Christmas extravagance at his new venture, Fare Bar and Canteen in Clerkenwell, London.
Tommy Banks, The Black Swan – ‘Lamb Fat Roast Potatoes’
TripAdvisor’s ‘Best Fine Dining Restaurant in the World’ of 2017 head chef recommends using lamb fat in the roast potato dish, rather than goose fat. “It isn’t necessarily as crispy, but it creates an amazing, thick, chewy layer around the fluffy inside of the potato.”
Gordon Ramsay – ‘Fry the Sprouts’
The pro-active pastry-botherer pimps his Brussels sprouts by frying them briefly in butter after boiling, making them “crispy on the outside and fluffy inside”. He’s also a fan of mixing up the veg, using seasonal mushrooms and beetroot.
Steven Lamb, River Cottage – ‘Face Bacon’
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage curing and smoking expert makes his own bacon from pig’s cheeks and jowl, an Italian delicacy called ‘Guanciale’. If you really want to save time, take a tip from Derry Clarke at Dublin’s L’Ecrivain, and quickly poach the pork cheeks as an alternative to ham.
Neil Campbell, ROVI – ‘Upmarket Trifle’
Head chef of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Fitzrovia veggie haven tells Quintessentially, “My enduring Christmas food memory has to be my grandmother’s trifle, laced with plenty of sherry. I try to recreate it every year - still using plenty of sherry - but with totally different flavours. Some of the combinations I like include panettone and quince, or pomegranate and sumac.”
John Williams, The Ritz – ‘Eat the Christmas Tree’
Executive chef at London’s most famous hotel channels TV adventurer Bear Grylls with his Christmas leftovers solution, as printed in The Ritz Cookbook. Get handy with the dustpan and brush, then rustle up his Douglas Fir and Lemon Verbena Cream. The pine needles give it that extra zesty kick.
Nick Beardshaw, Kerridge’s Bar & Grill – ‘Sweet Indulgence’
The head chef at Kerridge’s Bar & Grill has much affection for his mum’s chocolate fridge cake, a deeply indulgent dessert, “which consists of melted chocolate, brandy, crushed digestive biscuits, dried cherries, a diced Mars bar and marshmallows. I haven’t yet added it to my menu, but maybe one day!”
Jackson Boxer, St Leonard’s, Shoreditch – ‘Boxing Day Special’
Not ready to dismiss the dense Christmas pudding out of hand, the brains behind Brunswick House, Jackson Boxer says we should give the pudding a chance, “Every time someone tells me that they hate Christmas pudding, I want to whisk them back to my childhood, to share my dad's Boxing Day special. It’s a wedge of Christmas pudding, refried in brown butter, and topped with cold brandy cream.”
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