Home > Eat > Recipe > 10 Christmas Tips and Tricks From Our Favourite Chefs

10 Christmas Tips and Tricks From Our Favourite Chefs

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

There’s no getting around it, as brilliant as Christmas is, it’s also hella stressful. Dinner planning, entertaining (if you’re the one doing it that is) can be the absolute worst if you let time run away with you, so we asked our favourite foodies to share their tips and tricks – and favourite Christmas food – to get you through the festive season.

We’ll let them take it away…

“Think of your menu as an experience,” – Alissa Timoshinka, Chef and founder of Kino Vino 

What’s your top Christmas tip? “Think of your menu as an experience for the guests, so when you are planning what to cook also think about the colour scheme, what flowers and foliage to arrange on the table, what colour of the tablecloth or napkins and what kind of dinnerware you will use. It does not have to be complicated at all, but it’s always so rewarding when the flavour of the food is enhanced by the aesthetic element of the party.”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “I absolutely love Brussel sprouts! Maybe because most of us grew up hating them so much. But once you discover the myriad ways of cooking them (including a shaved raw sprouts salad) you will also fall in love with this notorious Xmas green. I am currently loving the recipe from Athena Calderone’s book Cook Beautiful honey glazed sprouts with chilli.

“Keep it simple,” – Chetna Makan, Chef, Author and GBBO Winner

What’s your top Christmas tip? “My top tip is to plan your menu and prep in advance, which is the best way you can also enjoy and relax on the day. Another thing is to keep it simple. Plan the menu in such a way to not have too many little bits to do which will also take away from the main food.”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “Roast dinner. We always have chicken with all the sides and also a vegetarian option for my husband. That is my families favourite meal for Christmas.”

“Do the prep in advance …and you can have a prosecco on the go as you cook,” – Olia Hercules, Chef, stylist and author of Kaukasis and Mamushka

What’s your top Christmas tip? “It may sound obvious – but get ahead! Sit down two weeks before and make a time plan – then anything you can do a couple of days before (blanching carrots, potatoes; making custard for the trifle; making cauliflower cheese or any sauces that just need reheating) do it and have it nicely organised in a clean/purged fridge. On the day, keep your kitchen tidy between each job. If you do the prep in advance and organise yourself – you can just enjoy the day, have a prosecco on the go as you cook, listen to your favourite radio station – potential heaven!”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “If I’m in the UK, I do love an old-fashioned prawn cocktail! The only time of the year I’d have something like that, but it’s just so satisfying…If I’m in Ukraine – it’d have to be my mum’s Ukrainian buns – yeast-leavened, sweet, enriched dough and filled with leftover pork belly which was slow roasted over sauerkraut, apples, prunes and spices. They have the quality of a very good bao…”

“Stuffing, bread sauce and gravy can be made ahead and frozen,” Steffi Knowles-Dellner, Chef and author of Lagom, The Swedish Art Of Cooking Harmoniously

What’s your top Christmas tip? “It’s all about the preparation and making your life as easy as possible! If there is anything that you can make in advance – do! Stuffing, bread sauce and gravy can be made ahead and frozen, vegetables can be blanched and refreshed and potatoes peeled and cut the day before, then stored in water. Also, a Christmas cocktail for the chef can go a long way to calm frazzled nerves.”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “In Sweden, the star of the show at Christmas is always a large mustard-glazed ham as Swedes traditionally slaughter a pig at this time of year, so there’s a lot of pork! The first ham sandwich on dark, treacle-y spiced bread with salty butter and sweet mustard always tastes wonderful. Ideally this is accompanied by julmust, a malty cola-like drink only for sale at Christmas and Easter, which I like to mix with beer. So yeah, a ham sandwich and coke shandy – not very fancy, but to me it tastes exactly like Christmas.”

“Have a good selection of booze and tinctures,” Kylee Newton, founder of Newton and Pott

What’s your top Christmas tip? “Cocktails- my husband and I always bring the cocktail selection at the family Christmas. It helps that I’m a preserver as we have a wide selection of drinking shrubs, jams, alcoholic fruity tinctures that we can play around with on the cocktail mixing front. Top tip is to have a good selection of booze and tinctures. We had the best Boxing Day Cocktail evening with friends last year- everyone left very very merry.

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “Cranberry Sauce- it’s super easy to make yourself, there’s a great recipe in my book The Modern Preserver that’s boozy with a touch of citrus.
It goes perfectly with everything on your Christmas dinner- veggie and meat. I love to smother it on everything. And then for the next week with my Turkey or Ham sandwiches.
I love the tartness of Cranberries, I adore tart flavours on my palate, I think cranberries shouldn’t be just celebrated at Christmas and have been thinking for a while to get a T-Shirt made up “Cranberries- Not just for Christmas”

“Use any leftovers to make a breakfast hash – ham potato and greens, fried up and served with a poached egg on top.” John Gregory-Smith, food writer and author of Orange Blossom and Honey & more

What’s your top Christmas tip? “Christmas is all about spending quality time with friends and family while eating loads of delicious food. But that should not mean slaving away in the kitchen and missing out on all the fun. Make like easy and pre-prep as much as you can before the big day. Roasted veg can be reheated in the oven, and greens stir-fried back to life. If you want to feed a crowd fast, a huge ham is such a winner. Buy a cracker and serve it with creamy mash, beans and a salad. It’s a super easy meal in minutes. You can use any leftovers to make a breakfast hash – ham potato and greens, fried up and served with a poached egg on top.”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “Ham is a big win at Xmas, we always have it on boxing day but I do love the Turkey. I don’t eat much of it throughout the year, so I find it very nostalgic. I have a huge family, who are all brilliant, and every year we all get together for a full-on Christmas. That smell of the roast cooking slowly and filling the house is just brilliant. I love it. And I love, a few hours after dinner, a turkey sarnie. I make mine with thick cut bread, lashings of mayo, warm turkey dipped in gravy (winner!), stuffing and salad.”

“I like to get organised before the day comes.” Gigi Falanga, pastry chef and cake designer

What’s your top Christmas tip? “Xmas has always been a family moment for me. I remember since I was little we used to get together, the whole family and cook, eat, play and laugh all day long. Back in the days I used to eat more than actual cook, but nowadays I have to prepare the desserts and I like to get organised before the day comes. Every year I like to create something different, but always keeping that Xmas flavour & memories in my treats. Another great memory that I still love to serve is the Panettone. I like to fill the panettone with ice cream and nuts than place the lid back on and keep in the freezer for a few hours before the meal starts. Slice like a cake and make a salted spicy caramel to place on top of each slice. Yummy!!!”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “I can’t pick one favourite food but I have great memories of the Turkey. My mum used to be the person responsible for the Turkey and we started baking it earlier on the day and the entire house had those amazing aroma, it was divine. In Brazil we have a side dish call “Farofa”, very traditional on Brazilian BBQ but Xmas time we add extras such as bacon, eggs, onions, parsley, sultanas and all the goodness that works really well with turkey. Mum was busy with the turkey and always late to get it ready so I was the one doing the “farofa” and after years and years i became very good at it.”

“Cook for your climate,” Kate Reid, Melbourne based Pastry Chef

What’s your top Christmas tip? “This may sound strange, but my top tip is to cook for your climate! Celebrating Christmas in Australia is very different to Europe or the UK! Often it is 30+ degrees on Christmas day in Melbourne, and sitting down to a feast of turkey, ham, pork, stuffing, roast vegetables, plum pudding (and all of the other hearty, warming dishes that make up a classic Northern Hemisphere Christmas celebration) can be a little daunting! So in Australia it is not uncommon to have beautiful seafood platters, salads, fresh fruit and pavlova on Christmas Day!”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “After my detailed description of a normal Christmas Day spread in Australia, I’m still a sucker for Christmas Pudding (I’m a sweet tooth, what can I say!). Especially pudding that is drowning in my Mum’s brandy cream… and maybe some vanilla bean ice cream. And custard? Is that too much?!”

“I like to set the dinner table on Christmas Eve,” Safia and Katie AKA Cook & Baker

What’s your top Christmas tip?
Safia – “I love a beautifully set Christmas table! I know that’s usually not hard to do over the festive period, but going that extra mile to set a pretty table makes Christmas dinner even more special. In my family at least, we spend a good three or four hours at the table on Christmas Day! A lovely centrepiece or garland, plenty of candles, and some place names above a sparkly cracker for each of your guests will make everyone feel like they’re at a Christmas party whether there are two, four or twenty of you! Also, it’s always a good idea to have a range of desserts for after dinner and into the evening. Not everybody loves Christmas pudding, so I usually have a sticky toffee, a crumble, and at least one other sweet treat on the table.”

Katie – “Christmas is all in the planning and making the actual day as stress-free as possible! I like to set the dinner table on Christmas Eve- that way I can spend more time over it and if guests turn up early then it at least looks like I’m ready! Lots of the Christmas Day cooking can be done in advance too- you can even par- boil your potatoes in advance and freeze them until ready for roasting in piping hot goose fat. It’s always also a life saver to make a couple of batches of brownies or something the week before Christmas so that you have something to whip out of the cake tin for unexpected guests!”

Your favourite Christmas food and why?
Safia – “Christmas dinner. All of it. It’s genuinely my favourite meal of the year. If I had to pick one element of it though, it would have to be cranberry sauce. – getting a little bit of that sweet sauce with every mouthful of the meal is just the best thing ever. But then again I also love mince pies… I can’t choose!”

Katie – “Christmas pudding- my Grandma’s is legendary and only a few members of the family hold the highly secret recipe. It’s doused in brandy, full of fruit and accompanied by a really boozy homemade brandy butter. There’s always a fight over the last spoonful!”

“If in doubt, peel another potato,” Burmese supper club chefs, the Rangoon Sisters.

What’s your top Christmas tip? “You can never make too much food on Christmas day. If in doubt, peel another potato. Or two.”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “A couple of hours after the main event. A leftover Yorkshire pudding, stuffed with a crunchy lukewarm roast potato, a wedge of cheese, pig in blanket, cranberry sauce plus gravy. A portable snack.”

Let us know your best way to prep for the big day in the comments below: 

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

There’s no getting around it, as brilliant as Christmas is, it’s also hella stressful. Dinner planning, entertaining (if you’re the one doing it that is) can be the absolute worst if you let time run away with you, so we asked our favourite foodies to share their tips and tricks – and favourite Christmas food – to get you through the festive season.

We’ll let them take it away…

“Think of your menu as an experience,” – Alissa Timoshinka, Chef and founder of Kino Vino 

What’s your top Christmas tip? “Think of your menu as an experience for the guests, so when you are planning what to cook also think about the colour scheme, what flowers and foliage to arrange on the table, what colour of the tablecloth or napkins and what kind of dinnerware you will use. It does not have to be complicated at all, but it’s always so rewarding when the flavour of the food is enhanced by the aesthetic element of the party.”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “I absolutely love Brussel sprouts! Maybe because most of us grew up hating them so much. But once you discover the myriad ways of cooking them (including a shaved raw sprouts salad) you will also fall in love with this notorious Xmas green. I am currently loving the recipe from Athena Calderone’s book Cook Beautiful honey glazed sprouts with chilli.

“Keep it simple,” – Chetna Makan, Chef, Author and GBBO Winner

What’s your top Christmas tip? “My top tip is to plan your menu and prep in advance, which is the best way you can also enjoy and relax on the day. Another thing is to keep it simple. Plan the menu in such a way to not have too many little bits to do which will also take away from the main food.”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “Roast dinner. We always have chicken with all the sides and also a vegetarian option for my husband. That is my families favourite meal for Christmas.”

“Do the prep in advance …and you can have a prosecco on the go as you cook,” – Olia Hercules, Chef, stylist and author of Kaukasis and Mamushka

What’s your top Christmas tip? “It may sound obvious – but get ahead! Sit down two weeks before and make a time plan – then anything you can do a couple of days before (blanching carrots, potatoes; making custard for the trifle; making cauliflower cheese or any sauces that just need reheating) do it and have it nicely organised in a clean/purged fridge. On the day, keep your kitchen tidy between each job. If you do the prep in advance and organise yourself – you can just enjoy the day, have a prosecco on the go as you cook, listen to your favourite radio station – potential heaven!”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “If I’m in the UK, I do love an old-fashioned prawn cocktail! The only time of the year I’d have something like that, but it’s just so satisfying…If I’m in Ukraine – it’d have to be my mum’s Ukrainian buns – yeast-leavened, sweet, enriched dough and filled with leftover pork belly which was slow roasted over sauerkraut, apples, prunes and spices. They have the quality of a very good bao…”

“Stuffing, bread sauce and gravy can be made ahead and frozen,” Steffi Knowles-Dellner, Chef and author of Lagom, The Swedish Art Of Cooking Harmoniously

What’s your top Christmas tip? “It’s all about the preparation and making your life as easy as possible! If there is anything that you can make in advance – do! Stuffing, bread sauce and gravy can be made ahead and frozen, vegetables can be blanched and refreshed and potatoes peeled and cut the day before, then stored in water. Also, a Christmas cocktail for the chef can go a long way to calm frazzled nerves.”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “In Sweden, the star of the show at Christmas is always a large mustard-glazed ham as Swedes traditionally slaughter a pig at this time of year, so there’s a lot of pork! The first ham sandwich on dark, treacle-y spiced bread with salty butter and sweet mustard always tastes wonderful. Ideally this is accompanied by julmust, a malty cola-like drink only for sale at Christmas and Easter, which I like to mix with beer. So yeah, a ham sandwich and coke shandy – not very fancy, but to me it tastes exactly like Christmas.”

“Have a good selection of booze and tinctures,” Kylee Newton, founder of Newton and Pott

What’s your top Christmas tip? “Cocktails- my husband and I always bring the cocktail selection at the family Christmas. It helps that I’m a preserver as we have a wide selection of drinking shrubs, jams, alcoholic fruity tinctures that we can play around with on the cocktail mixing front. Top tip is to have a good selection of booze and tinctures. We had the best Boxing Day Cocktail evening with friends last year- everyone left very very merry.

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “Cranberry Sauce- it’s super easy to make yourself, there’s a great recipe in my book The Modern Preserver that’s boozy with a touch of citrus.
It goes perfectly with everything on your Christmas dinner- veggie and meat. I love to smother it on everything. And then for the next week with my Turkey or Ham sandwiches.
I love the tartness of Cranberries, I adore tart flavours on my palate, I think cranberries shouldn’t be just celebrated at Christmas and have been thinking for a while to get a T-Shirt made up “Cranberries- Not just for Christmas”

“Use any leftovers to make a breakfast hash – ham potato and greens, fried up and served with a poached egg on top.” John Gregory-Smith, food writer and author of Orange Blossom and Honey & more

What’s your top Christmas tip? “Christmas is all about spending quality time with friends and family while eating loads of delicious food. But that should not mean slaving away in the kitchen and missing out on all the fun. Make like easy and pre-prep as much as you can before the big day. Roasted veg can be reheated in the oven, and greens stir-fried back to life. If you want to feed a crowd fast, a huge ham is such a winner. Buy a cracker and serve it with creamy mash, beans and a salad. It’s a super easy meal in minutes. You can use any leftovers to make a breakfast hash – ham potato and greens, fried up and served with a poached egg on top.”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “Ham is a big win at Xmas, we always have it on boxing day but I do love the Turkey. I don’t eat much of it throughout the year, so I find it very nostalgic. I have a huge family, who are all brilliant, and every year we all get together for a full-on Christmas. That smell of the roast cooking slowly and filling the house is just brilliant. I love it. And I love, a few hours after dinner, a turkey sarnie. I make mine with thick cut bread, lashings of mayo, warm turkey dipped in gravy (winner!), stuffing and salad.”

“I like to get organised before the day comes.” Gigi Falanga, pastry chef and cake designer

What’s your top Christmas tip? “Xmas has always been a family moment for me. I remember since I was little we used to get together, the whole family and cook, eat, play and laugh all day long. Back in the days I used to eat more than actual cook, but nowadays I have to prepare the desserts and I like to get organised before the day comes. Every year I like to create something different, but always keeping that Xmas flavour & memories in my treats. Another great memory that I still love to serve is the Panettone. I like to fill the panettone with ice cream and nuts than place the lid back on and keep in the freezer for a few hours before the meal starts. Slice like a cake and make a salted spicy caramel to place on top of each slice. Yummy!!!”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “I can’t pick one favourite food but I have great memories of the Turkey. My mum used to be the person responsible for the Turkey and we started baking it earlier on the day and the entire house had those amazing aroma, it was divine. In Brazil we have a side dish call “Farofa”, very traditional on Brazilian BBQ but Xmas time we add extras such as bacon, eggs, onions, parsley, sultanas and all the goodness that works really well with turkey. Mum was busy with the turkey and always late to get it ready so I was the one doing the “farofa” and after years and years i became very good at it.”

“Cook for your climate,” Kate Reid, Melbourne based Pastry Chef

What’s your top Christmas tip? “This may sound strange, but my top tip is to cook for your climate! Celebrating Christmas in Australia is very different to Europe or the UK! Often it is 30+ degrees on Christmas day in Melbourne, and sitting down to a feast of turkey, ham, pork, stuffing, roast vegetables, plum pudding (and all of the other hearty, warming dishes that make up a classic Northern Hemisphere Christmas celebration) can be a little daunting! So in Australia it is not uncommon to have beautiful seafood platters, salads, fresh fruit and pavlova on Christmas Day!”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “After my detailed description of a normal Christmas Day spread in Australia, I’m still a sucker for Christmas Pudding (I’m a sweet tooth, what can I say!). Especially pudding that is drowning in my Mum’s brandy cream… and maybe some vanilla bean ice cream. And custard? Is that too much?!”

“I like to set the dinner table on Christmas Eve,” Safia and Katie AKA Cook & Baker

What’s your top Christmas tip?
Safia – “I love a beautifully set Christmas table! I know that’s usually not hard to do over the festive period, but going that extra mile to set a pretty table makes Christmas dinner even more special. In my family at least, we spend a good three or four hours at the table on Christmas Day! A lovely centrepiece or garland, plenty of candles, and some place names above a sparkly cracker for each of your guests will make everyone feel like they’re at a Christmas party whether there are two, four or twenty of you! Also, it’s always a good idea to have a range of desserts for after dinner and into the evening. Not everybody loves Christmas pudding, so I usually have a sticky toffee, a crumble, and at least one other sweet treat on the table.”

Katie – “Christmas is all in the planning and making the actual day as stress-free as possible! I like to set the dinner table on Christmas Eve- that way I can spend more time over it and if guests turn up early then it at least looks like I’m ready! Lots of the Christmas Day cooking can be done in advance too- you can even par- boil your potatoes in advance and freeze them until ready for roasting in piping hot goose fat. It’s always also a life saver to make a couple of batches of brownies or something the week before Christmas so that you have something to whip out of the cake tin for unexpected guests!”

Your favourite Christmas food and why?
Safia – “Christmas dinner. All of it. It’s genuinely my favourite meal of the year. If I had to pick one element of it though, it would have to be cranberry sauce. – getting a little bit of that sweet sauce with every mouthful of the meal is just the best thing ever. But then again I also love mince pies… I can’t choose!”

Katie – “Christmas pudding- my Grandma’s is legendary and only a few members of the family hold the highly secret recipe. It’s doused in brandy, full of fruit and accompanied by a really boozy homemade brandy butter. There’s always a fight over the last spoonful!”

“If in doubt, peel another potato,” Burmese supper club chefs, the Rangoon Sisters.

What’s your top Christmas tip? “You can never make too much food on Christmas day. If in doubt, peel another potato. Or two.”

Your favourite Christmas food and why? “A couple of hours after the main event. A leftover Yorkshire pudding, stuffed with a crunchy lukewarm roast potato, a wedge of cheese, pig in blanket, cranberry sauce plus gravy. A portable snack.”

Let us know your best way to prep for the big day in the comments below: 

Profile Photo
WRITTEN BY:
Khoollect team

The Khoollect team is small but perfectly formed. We're a diverse and interesting bunch, located in ...

READ MORE BY Khoollect team

You decide

Your dream holiday destination

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Profile Photo
WRITTEN BY:
Khoollect team

The Khoollect team is small but perfectly formed. We're a diverse and interesting bunch, located in ...

READ MORE BY Khoollect team

You decide

Your dream holiday destination

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Profile Photo
WRITTEN BY:
Khoollect team

The Khoollect team is small but perfectly formed. We're a diverse and interesting bunch, located in ...

READ MORE BY Khoollect team

You decide

Your dream holiday destination

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
comments
Leave A Comment

DON'T BE SHY WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

instagram

join us on instagram

instagram

join us on instagram
Skip to toolbar