Christmas Dinner Tips From Top London Chefs

If you’re worried the turkey might be dry, you overcook the sprouts or that the spuds won’t crisp, fear not. Chefs from some of London’s best restaurants offer their tips on how to ensure your Christmas feast is a cracking one…

Photo: Getty

1 Jonas Karlsson, Aquavit London on prepping ahead
Whilst a fresh turkey is always of course best, to take some of the pressure off buy your turkey now and freeze it. Simply remove from the freezer two-three days before Christmas to slowly defrost in the fridge. You can also par-boil and half roast your potatoes on Christmas Eve. Not only will it be one less thing to worry about, but you’ll also have extra crisp, double-roasted potatoes to boast about!

2 Daniel Mertl, Ganymede on roast potatoes
For the best roast potatoes use a floury potato like Maris Piper. Peel and cut into large chunks, and boil in salty water until the edges start to look fluffy, then drain and let them steam for a few minutes. Now, using either goose or duck fat, cook the potatoes on a high temperature (around 190 degrees), turning them every 20 minutes or so. For extra flavour, add half a bulb of garlic and a few sprigs of thyme halfway through, cook until golden brown and crispy.

3 Yasuda Akinori, SUMI on nailing gravy
Take your gravy to the next level this Christmas by adding a couple of splashes of soy sauce in as you’re simmering it. Soy sauce has a brilliant rich, umami taste, and it adds a real depth of flavour. It’s also quite meaty in taste so it’s perfect for those looking to enhance a vegetarian gravy.

4 Henry Brosi, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane on prepping turkey
My top tip is to brine the whole turkey in a good chicken stock 24 hours prior to roasting, as this will keep the turkey extremely moist. I’d also recommend buying a turkey crown with the legs removed (boned and rolled) as this will save you two hours on the cooking time of the turkey – you can always ask your local butcher to do this.

5 Sameer Taneja, Benares on juicy turkey
To nail a perfect juicy roast this Christmas, try adding a tablespoon full of pineapple juice while marinating the turkey as this not only imparts sweetness, but acts as a tenderiser and softens the meat as well as retaining good moisture in the turkey.

6 Michael Carr, Fenchurch Restaurant on vegan alternatives
A great vegan alternative on Christmas Day is a cauliflower steak – it’s an absolute winner when done right! You cut the thick middle part of the cauliflower out, and then you add all the different herbs and spices (you can’t go wrong here as the cauliflower is so versatile). I personally like getting a masala curry powder and rubbing that all over, before cooking the cauliflower like a steak in really hot oil and serving with creme fraiche and herby-basil tomatoes.

7 Ken Tyrrell, Burger & Lobster on prawn cocktails
Elevate your retro prawn cocktail starter by replacing the prawns with fresh wild lobster tossed in a creamy lemon mayo. This will be one tough act to follow and guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.