One of the greatest things about professional chefs is that they think about more than just the food; they think about the overall experience, everything from the prep to the cleanup. This is just as true in their homes as it is in the workplace.
Below you'll find 20 Thanksgiving Tips From Professional Chefs, including how the famous Susan Feniger sets the mood, what secret ingredient Spanish American chef José Andrés adds to perfect his mashed potatoes, and what beverage Gale Gand, a James Beard Award winner, enjoys with her turkey.
Some of these tips are nice and subtle – you might be doing some already, but there's a self-validation factor seeing it here – while others are a bit quirkier.
Pick and choose what works for you, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.
#1. Let the music guide you.
“I always have fun, upbeat music playing as people enter the house. Then during dinner we switch gears to piano or jazz to allow for more conversation.”
—Susan Feniger, Border Grill, Los Angeles
#2. Prepare sides in advance.
“Make sure all of your side dishes are done the day before.”
—IRON CHEF Geoffrey Zakarian
#3. That way, you could focus on the main dish.
“On Thanksgiving day, only worry about making turkey and gravy.”
—Nick Anderer, Marta
#4. Add this special ingredient to your mashed potatoes.
“One of my favorite dishes to make is mashed potatoes with La Serena cheese (a Spanish sheep’s milk cheese). The cheese makes the potatoes so creamy.”
—José Andrés, Minibar, Washington, D.C.
Chris Hardy/San Francisco Chronicle
#5. Upgrade your salad.
“If you’re making a salad as part of the meal, serve it during the main course instead of as a starter. It helps with digestion.”
—Joey Campanaro, The Little Owl, New York City