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Favorite Holiday Dishes, Traditions and Entertaining Tips from our Culinary Council

The holidays are upon us, and homes across the globe are preparing to celebrate! Do you make a traditional dish from a recipe that’s been passed along for generations? Maybe you prefer something off-the-beathen sleigh path. Are you an expert entertainer or are you hosting for the first time? We asked the renowned chefs from our Culinary Council for their favorite dishes, traditions and tips to help guide you through the holiday season.

JONNIE BOER
Favorite Holiday Dish & Best Holiday Entertaining Tip: This happens at the Roast at Brass Boer Bonaire. The team at Brass Boer prepares delicious fish and meat dishes on The Big Green Egg, served with various, tasty side dishes. Of course, it’s all enjoyed with a nice glass of wine in a great atmosphere.

Brass Boer Bonaire

Favorite Holiday Tradition: Every year we have our New Year’s dive in front of Brass Boer Bonaire. We celebrate with a plunge into the New Year by diving!

DAVID BURKE
Favorite Holiday Dish: A good roast turkey.

Best Holiday Entertaining Tip: If you want fresh bread for your holiday dinner, order a pizza with no sauce, no cheese, nothing – hot bread! Carve it – peel it apart and serve!

David Burke in the kitchen.

Favorite Holiday Tradition: I like to Carve & Cook! I also love eggnog, football after Thanksgiving, second-day pie, pumpkin pie milk shakes, the wishbone, lighting a fire and holiday music.

KRISTEN KISH
Favorite Holiday Dish: Growing up my favorite dish was the old-school green bean casserole. I grew up in the midwest and it was truly a staple during the holidays. I have no shame in saying all of the components were from a can and I LOVED IT! Sometimes nostalgia wins out over gourmet and nothing else can take its place.

Best Holiday Entertaining Tip: KEEP IT SIMPLE and ask for help! I find that entertaining can find legs of its own and all of a sudden you are no longer having fun, finding it stress-free, or enjoying your company. The purpose of entertaining is not to impress with a fancy and full buffet of every food possible, it’s about spending time with people. If your guests have expectations of the most five-star experience with opulence and gluttony, well … then … those aren’t my kind of dinner guests. Simple tasty food, a large format meat, pasta or a starch, a vegetable or the most beautiful green salad of the season. Throw in a baked sweet treat that you made a couple days before and that’s all you need. Cheese boards and things you can do way ahead of time or leave out at room temperature are also a huge stress reducer. And PS — It’s ok to ask a friend or family member or two to grab something to bring, food or flowers to add to the experience.

Favorite Holiday Tradition: Tradition is a funny thing … for years growing up we had more of them. From food to who’s home, from Christmas photos to movies. As we get older, people’s needs and wants change, family members disperse across the states, the traditions I had when I was five are no longer. Not in a sad way, more of a realistic way. But no matter what and as time passes, the only tradition we uphold is to see the people that mean the most, family and loved ones. It may not happen on the exact day or may not work out perfectly that everyone can be in the same place, regardless togetherness is valuable and important. Make the time, everything else can wait.

RUDI SODAMIN:

Favorite Holiday Dish: Vanillekipferl has always been my favorite Christmas cookie. Visit the blog on Monday for my grandmother’s recipe, which is easy to make and really delicious.

Traditional Holiday Meal: Smoked trout, roasted goose, blue cabbage, bread dumplings, roasted duck with fir honey, roasted pork bellies, baked carp, freshly prepared crepes and oven baked apples with raisins – so good!

Rudi Sodamin holiday

Best Holiday Entertaining Tips: Timing is everything and advance preparation will save you a lot of time. Chop and dice a day earlier so you have time to relax and enjoy the family and friends around you. Do all food shopping at least three days before the holiday. Set the table the day before along with your family – engage them to do the little things and involve them helping and dicing along with a small to-do lists for each. Count your blessings!

Favorite Holiday Tradition: Growing up in a large family in Austria (I had 11 siblings), as you can imagine, Christmas time was the most beautiful time for us kids. I remember watching my mom baking Christmas cookies for the whole month before Christmas; I can still smell these cookies and we all helped and shaped our own cookies. Also, strolling the Christmas markets, hot apple cider (today we drink Glühwein, a hot spiced red wine), and we enjoy the spirit of Christmas.

ETHAN STOWELL:
Favorite Holiday Dish: For the holidays, nothing beats an roasted ribeye. It’s not a traditional holiday dish, but it looks perfect on the table and tastes just as good.

roasted ribeye

Pair that with a Manhattan on the Rocks and it’s a very merry holiday!

Manhattan on the Rocks

JACQUES TORRES:
Favorite Holiday Dish: I love to bake cakes that can be eaten anytime of the day and anywhere – at the table or in front of the television. In France we call them Gateau de Voyage (Travel Cake). I always love these five flavors: chocolate, praline, pistachio, orange and vanilla.

Jacques torres cakes

Best Holiday Entertaining Tips: We get so caught up in making sure everyone else is having a great time, and often we forget to enjoy the day. Don’t forget about treating yourself just like one of your guests.

Favorite Holiday Tradition: By far, my favorite tradition for the last 20 years is on Christmas Day. We deliver chocolate to the children’s cancer hospital here in New York City.

What are your favorite holidays dishes, tips and traditions? Tell us in the comments below! Wishing you a joyous holiday season!

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