WHAT LONDON’S TOP CHEFS EAT FOR CHRISTMAS

Five of London’s top chefs, from Pont St’s Sophie Michell to Ramusake and Kurobuta’s Scott Hallworth,  spill the beans on their favourite festive foods telling The Resident what and where they’ll be eating this Christmas 

Christmas dinner has long been synonymous with turkey (or goose for the slightly more adventurous), mince pies, Christmas cake and far too much wine. But what are the professionals doing this year? We speak to five of west London’s leading chefs about their plans for dinner, and get their top tips on how to make it a memorable meal.

Read on to discover why Neil Snowball is strongly opposed to traditional Christmas Day turkey, and find out how Australian chef Scott Hallsworth does a true festive barbecue…

Sophie Michell, Executive Chef at Pont St & The Gorgeous Kitchen, Heathrow

Sophie Michell, Executive Chef at Pont St & The Gorgeous Kitchen, Heathrow

1 Sophie Michell, Executive Chef at Pont St & The Gorgeous Kitchen, Heathrow

What will you be doing for Christmas dinner this year?
I’m very traditional: a well-bred turkey and all the trimmings please. Oysters Romanoff to start (oysters topped with caviar and sour cream) and Mont Blanc to finish. I hate plum pudding!

What are your best Christmas dinner tips?
Take the thighs and legs off the turkey, de-bone and stuff the thighs, and roast the breast crown separately: it’s easier to carve and to control the cooking heat.

What’s been your favourite Christmas dining experience?
Lunch at La Chèvre d’Or in Eze, near Monaco. It has two Michelin stars and has an amazing vista of the Riviera coast; it snowed during the lunch and it was like eating in a snow globe. The food is stunning too.
pontst.com

READ: RESTAURANT REVIEW: PONT ST

Ross Shonhan, Chef-proprietor of Bone Daddies and Flesh & Buns

Ross Shonhan, Chef-proprietor of Bone Daddies and Flesh & Buns

2 Ross Shonhan, Chef-proprietor of Bone Daddies and Flesh & Buns

What will you be serving for Christmas this year?
A duck galantine stuffed with brandy, prunes and traditional trimmings, followed by really boozy Christmas puddings and cold crème anglaise.

What are your tips for a successful Christmas dinner?
If you are cooking any bird, brine it the day before and cook it very, very slowly.

What’s been your favourite Christmas dining experience?
A few years ago a few mates of mine got together (mostly chefs) and had a blowout dinner. We brined a turkey and slow-cooked it at 70 degrees for ten hours and had loads of seafood for starters, then we stayed up most of the night watching the Ashes cricket that was being played back home in Oz. We were all quite competitive, but it meant we shared the workload and had a feast fit for kings.

bonedaddiesramen.com

READ: BONE DADDIES OPENS IN KENSINGTON

Neil Snowball, Head Chef of Pétrus

Neil Snowball, Head Chef of Pétrus

3 Neil Snowball, Head Chef of Pétrus

What will you be doing for Christmas this year?
I’m going to be avoiding the traditional things because I think that big hearty, gamey dishes like venison are much nicer than turkey and geese to be honest. The classic Christmas dinner is a bit boring and there are only so many overcooked Brussels sprouts you can eat, so we’ll make it a bit more fun with things like tagliatelle with white truffles.

What are your best Christmas dinner tips?
Don’t have turkey. When you look at why we eat it, it’s a bit peculiar because the fact that we don’t eat it the rest of the year says it all. You can make it nice, but you’ll have your work cut out doing so, which doesn’t make it worth it. I’d much rather have a good Beef Wellington for my Christmas meal.

What’s been your favourite Christmas dining experience?
I always like spending my Christmases at home, and the nicest ones have always involved having a few friends round for some great food and wine. I’ve had a few memorable bad ones as well, often involving powdery, dry, overcooked turkey breasts, which you need six glasses of red just to get out of your throat! But let’s face it, it’s all about the mince pies, isn’t it?
gordonramsay.com/petrus

Scott Hallsworth, Chef-proprietor at Kurobuta and Ramusake

Scott Hallsworth, Chef-proprietor at Kurobuta and Ramusake

4 Scott Hallsworth, Chef-proprietor at Kurobuta and Ramusake

What will you be doing for Christmas this year?
I’m going to take my family to the French Alps so I will go on a food-buying spree once we get there. It’s probably going to end up being all sorts of roasted birds, charcuterie, cheese and gallons of cream.
I can’t avoid making some tartiflette whilst I’m there – it is going to kill me!

What are your best Christmas dinner tips?
Get your prep done way ahead of time and don’t start trying to cook a batch of everything festive you can possibly think of – keep it simple and relax.

What’s been your favourite Christmas dining experience?
As an Australian, I love celebrating Christmas on a stinking hot day with cold platters of lobster and prawns. We also throw some garlic squid on the barbecue for a bit of a snack, then slowly move onto some roasted meats. The beer and wine get secured under piles of ice early in the day, and as it begins to slowly melt away and the sun starts to set, we break out the guitars and have a howling singalong. Needless to say, most of the neighbours now book trips to Bali around this time.
kurobuta-london.com

READ: RESTAURANT REVIEW: RAMUSAKE

Nathan Outlaw, Chef-patron at Outlaw's & Nathan Outlaw

Nathan Outlaw, Chef-patron at Outlaw’s & Nathan Outlaw

5 Nathan Outlaw, Chef-patron at Outlaw’s & Nathan Outlaw

What will you be doing for Christmas this year?
We tend to have fish for Christmas dinner, something that is really nice like turbot but with all the usual Christmas trimmings. My wife and I aren’t fans of turkey but if we have guests for Christmas lunch, I usually cook a small one just for them. It can always be used up for cold cuts and other things over the Christmas period.

What are your Christmas tips?
My Christmas cooking tips are always the same – prep as much as possible beforehand and only serve one hot course. Also, don’t be afraid to be different: don’t have turkey if you don’t really like it – try some lovely fish.

What’s been your favourite Christmas dining experience?
Christmas as a kid was magical. My brother’s birthday is on 23rd of December so our festive season ran from his birthday party through the entire Christmas week, culminating in a big New Year’s Eve party where everybody brought leftovers for the buffet table. Now I have my own children, it’s much the same.
outlaws.co.uk/restaurants

 

Words by Alex Larman

 

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