Thanksgiving Recipe Tips From Six Acclaimed Hotel Chefs

Thanksgiving is just two weeks away! Six top-flight hotel chefs gather their top tips for preparing Thanksgiving dinner – from when to shop to how to diversify your meal.

Executive Chef, Ernesto Alvarado | The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

“People often become stressed around holiday cooking, so I recommend having your recipes chosen 5-7 days in advance of your meal. This allows for ample time to shop for ingredients and source fresh, higher-quality produce. As for timing, I recommend having all the prep done the day before. That way, you don’t have to worry about the preparation time and only the cooking to ensure everything is as fresh as possible. The turkey should be cooked first, then starches like potatoes, rice and stuffing done separately. The vegetables should be made last to keep them al dente and not have to reheat them, which often results in a loss freshness and quality.”

Executive Chef Santosh Koradi | Park Hyatt Beaver Creek

“While traditionally cooking meats like Turkey, Ham or Roast beef is what a thanksgiving meal is known for, the latest trend of healthier options, including vegetables, has become very important to many. Adding different vegetables brings a lot of variety and choices to any meal. Bringing the seasonal ingredients on the table with the traditional meat makes the dinner well diversified with different options to choose from. With the rise of vegetarianism, people are opting more towards vegetarian meals than meat. Using fresh green lettuce for salads, cooking seasonal vegetables like squash, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes, using pumpkin for soups, and apples for pies enhances the whole dinner experience.”

Executive Chef Matthew Brennan | JW Marriott Tampa Water Street / Tampa Marriott Water Street

“For Turkey, I love a nice seasonal brine with Cider, Brown sugar, Sage, Sea Salt, White Pepper, Orange Peel and Garlic. Also, for a little unexpected twist on sweet potatoes, add coconut oil to give them a nice finish. To elevate all classic dishes in a simple way, make your knife cuts precise. When everything is the same size and shape, it looks much nicer.”

Chef de Cuisine, Andrew Thompson | The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota

“The perfect gravy is made overnight through a slow and methodical cooking of the roux, using a very high-quality turkey stock until the right shade of amber appears. For an added depth of flavor, we cook the giblets in the gravy.”

Executive Sous Chef, Coatiest Gabbidon | The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas

“To make my favorite thanksgiving recipe, the Raging Cajun Turkey, I use a blender to combine all the ingredients (including spices, peppers, dried Pimento Berries, dark caramel, etc.), then massage the freshly blended paste onto the turkey, and make sure to let it marinade for at least 48 hours before slowly cooking it. Also, wondering what to do with leftovers? Try Turkey Soup, Cubano Turkey Sandwich Melts, Cranberry Glazed Turkey Wings, or Turkey & Puff Pastry Tapas.”

Executive Sous Chef, Ulises Rodriquez | The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

“As The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe’s former Pastry Chef, I like to diversify Thanksgiving’s final course by making traditional desserts from around the world with a seasonal twist – like spiced crème brûlée, sfogliatella filled with pecans, or pumpkin tres leches or flan.”


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