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Chef Favourites: Christmas Dinner Tips & Traditions

by Amy Broomfield

Ever wondered what chefs eat at Christmas? The answer lies in our world-famous Food Halls, of course, where the festive food is in abundance but how do they give it that magic touch? Our deputy editor Amy Broomfield spoke to six chefs to find out. Read on as she uncovers their tips, tricks and secrets that give festive feasts that extra pizazz.

Kama by Vineet
Vineet Bhatia
Which one spice is essential for you at Christmas?

Christmas and cinnamon is a deep-rooted combination, and my cinnamon-braised lamb shanks have been on our family dinner table over many Christmases. I tend to slow-cook the lamb, with red onions, tomatoes and black cardamom. After a few hours of braising the shanks in a country kitchen pan, the meat should be falling off the bone. There are occasions when I’ve poured a few splashes of red wine in the sauce. Served over clove-scented rice, it certainly brings Christmas to the table.

Harrods executive production chef
Andy Ward
Can you suggest a delicious vegetarian alternative to a turkey roast?

Christmas is a magical time... we wait all year for this one special meal. And I always go the extra mile – a nut roast just doesn’t cut it! For the ultimate vegetarian festive showstopper, I would make a celeriac and cep Wellington. It’s so tasty, and you can do the prep over a few days, not all at once. I use a Japanese mandoline, which slices the celeriac into long ribbons so you can roll it into a barrel shape. Then I vacuum-pack the celeriac with beetroot juice, veg stock, thyme and bay, and steam or poach it for 12 to 16 minutes. Once it’s cooled down, I drain it, then leave it to dry for an hour before wrapping it in a delicious cep duxelle, with roast portobello mushrooms, roast ceps and a reduction of shallots, garlic, bay, thyme, port, Madeira and brandy. I fold in a little egg white to give it some structure once it’s cooked, then I wrap it all in cling film and allow it to chill overnight. The next day, I just wrap it in a spinach crêpe and all-butter puff pastry, egg wash it, and finish by sprinkling mixed seeds on top for a little added flavour and texture.

Get Cooking This Christmas

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Food writer and chef
Xanthe Clay
What’s on your Christmas Eve menu?

We have fish soup for supper on Christmas Eve. It feels light and fresh, and it’s a European tradition to eat seafood then. But the day before ‘The Day’ is always busier than it should be – however organised I’ve tried to be. So I have no qualms about buying in the base: a really good jar of fish soup, which I’ll pimp with fish, red shrimp and boiled potatoes, plus a double handful of clams or mussels in the shell. Simmer very gently until everything’s just done, and serve with rouille, crème fraiche and chopped herbs. Feeling fancy? Crostini topped with crème fraîche and salmon roe – or even caviar – makes the whole thing magical.

Xanthe Clay

"The day before ‘The Day’ is always busier than it should be – however organised I’ve tried to be"

Harrods Social by Jason Atherton
Jason Atherton
What would be your twist on a traditional turkey roast?

I’d say try breaking the bird down into fillets and serving it as individual pieces with Brussels-sprout risotto, and turkey and chestnut sauce. Another favourite of mine is turkey Kiev, coated in Panko, with a wasabi dressing. You could also make a turkey and jamón Ibérico tartine, an elegant open sandwich that can be made canapé-size and enjoyed with a chilled glass of Moët.

Harrods executive pastry chef
Markus Bohr
What’s your favourite festive dessert?

In our house, we make bread and butter pudding, with the point of difference coming from a pistachio-cherry brioche – with dried sour cherries and pistachios – as the base. It’s best served warm with a vanilla sauce that has a splash of kirsch added to it.

Kerridge’s Fish & Chips
Tom Kerridge
Can you recommend a non-alcoholic festive drink?

Look no further than the Ramos, a dairy-based drink that usually requires a heady foam and equally heady alcohol (gin). But my recipe swaps out the gin for Pentire, a botanical spirit influenced by the sea. The Adrift expression contains a touch of salt to help with the seasoning – and which also tempers some of the sweetness of the pistachio syrup. The Ramos would usually need a team of bartenders to shake the liquid until it becomes full in texture and foamy like a loose meringue. Follow my little hack below to achieve the same result with fewer theatrics.

Pistachio Ramos Christmas Cocktail Recipe


40ml Pentire Adrift
25ml pistachio syrup
Juice of half a lime
25ml double cream
25ml egg white
3 drops of pistachio essence (optional)
Grated pistachio to garnish


Put all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker,
shake vigorously, then discard the ice and dry-
shake for 20 seconds. Add soda water to a tall
glass. Slowly add the shaken liquid to create
long, thick foam, top with more soda if required,
and garnish with the grated pistachio.

Festive Food

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