8 Christmas Dinner Tips From Top Chefs

christmas dinner tips

Christmas Dinner is without a doubt the most important, decadent and – dare we say it – stressful meal you’re likely to cook all year. So, we’ve enlisted the help of top chefs to share their cooking tips for the big day

by Hannah Hopkins

Perfect turkey by James Durrant

“For me the breast and the legs cook at different times so when you cook a whole bird, you tend to overcook the breast to get the legs right or vice versa. Instead, ask your butcher to take the legs off the crown and bone them out. You can then season the leg meat with chopped chestnuts, sage, salt and pepper. Roll them and tie them and then you can roast the crown and the legs separately meaning both can be cooked to perfection and the leg is super easy to carve with no wastage.”

James Durrant’s senior head chef at the Bear & Ragged Staff

Goose by Jeff Galvin

“If you are cooking goose, start roasting the bird in at a fairly low temperature, say 165 degrees. Lots of fat will render from the bird. Keep this is small quantities in the freezer for roasting potatoes in the coming months.”

Jeff Galvin is co-founder of the award-winning Galvin Restaurants in London. 

christmas dinner tips chefs

Bread Sauce by Jason Atherton

“Making your own bread sauce is simple and it will always taste better than ready made. You can decide which spices to infuse the milk with – cloves, cinnamon, mace and bay are the most popular – but one thing that will really improve the end result is good quality bread, preferably sourdough. It has a tanginess that adds depth of flavour.”

Jason Atherton is chef-restaurateur with 17 restaurants worldwide including Pollen Street Social, Berner’s Tavern and Hai Cenato.

Christmas leftovers by Tom Aikens

“Cranberries are one of my favourite festive ingredients, so I always prepare lots of them so I have enough to go with cold, roast turkey the next day. They are also delicious with leftover turkey as a Boxing Day sandwich filler or as an addition to a turkey pie.”

Tom Aikens is a chef and founder of restaurants Tom’s Kitchen.


Sprouts by Ben Tish

“I don’t boil mine. I cut them into three slices and saute in butter and olive oil with mustard seeds and some diced cured ham.  The sprouts are still slightly crunchy but caramelised.”

Ben Tish, Culinary Director at The Stafford.

Stuffing by Peter Robinson

“This is a recipe for stuffing from the very talented Alistair Little, and I’ve been using it for many years. You’ll need 500g minced pork, chopped onions sweated lightly in a little butter, ½ tsp fresh chopped thyme, ½ tsp fresh chopped sage, 150g breadcrumbs, 100g chopped chestnuts, 100g minced chicken livers and a terrine lined with sliced prosciutto. Mix the ingredients and cook them with tin foil on the top in a bain-marie in the oven at 160°C for 45 minutes. This can be done the day before, you just need to slice it and reheat.”

Peter Robinson is Executive Chef at theoldbutchers.squarespace.com

Roast potatoes by Frederick Forster

“Roast potatoes, I love to pre-boil them for a few minutes and then drain. Season with a touch of cinnamon and roast with duck fat/garlic and thyme and finished with beef dripping butter.”

Frederick Forster is head chef at D&D’s Plateau restaurant

Roast vegetables by Theo Randall

“For root vegetables like carrots turnips fennel and celeriac prepare them carefully then toss them in a bowl with a couple of tbsp of olive oil. Place on an oven tray and Cover with tin foil and bake in an oven. Take off the tin foil once the vegetables are cooked through and lightly brown for 10 mins in the oven.”

 Theo Randall is head chef and founder of Theo Randall at the InterContinental

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