How to serve up a treat this Christmas

How to serve up a treat this Christmas

So Andrew, what do you look forward to most about getting into the kitchen at Christmas?

Even though it’s one of our busiest days of the year, there’s always a lot of excitement in the kitchen. The energy is high and everyone’s on top form – we all work hard and look forward to going home after service to spend time with our families.

What’s trending on the menu at Chapter One for the 2019 festive season?

It wouldn’t be Christmas without turkey! Our guests love a slice of tradition so we’ll be serving beautiful roast black-feathered turkey with chestnut stuffing, chipolatas and bacon. Another favourite is smoked salmon; this year we have a lovely tartare starter served with crème fraîche, Atilla Oscietra caviar and sourdough croutons.

Would you describe your diners as being adventurous in terms of their palate?

Yes absolutely – we change our menu regularly because most of our diners return to us time and again. They love variety and the chance to try something new. We also balance this with traditional dishes that appeal to the less adventurous who are still looking for a perfectly executed meal and the highest quality ingredients.

Can you tell us what the Christmas Day at Chapter One experience is like?

Busy! We start the day nice and early to get on top of all the prep. There’s a full briefing for the whole team – kitchen and Front of House – to ensure everything runs smoothly. The restaurant is always fully booked and it’s a fantastic atmosphere. Everyone’s dressed up for the occasion and the Champagne is flowing. It’s full of families celebrating together and enjoying the day and we’re only too pleased to make sure their entire experience is memorable.

What’s the inspiration for your menu this year?

Like all the food we serve at Chapter One there’s a real modern European flavour. Dishes are inspired by the finest ingredients and cooking methods from across Europe and further afield with nods to traditional French, Italian and even Arabic cuisine with dishes like celeriac and truffle gratin with apple purée, Dukkah spice and bitter leaves.

Which dishes tend to be most popular during December and why?

Rich, comforting ones. December is all about indulgence – no one is counting calories until January! A couple of favourites on our current menu are red wine-braised beef cheek with potato purée, savoy cabbage, crispy shallots and a red wine jus and a starter of pressed chicken and oyster mushroom terrine. Dessert is a must at this time of year, and we’ll be serving traditional Christmas pudding all month long – it’s very popular – with vanilla ice cream and brandy sauce, – because it is Christmas, after all!

Do you stick with tradition and serve up turkey at home or do you prefer to mix things up?

We have turkey, very traditional but true. It goes hand-in-hand with the whole Christmas experience so why rock the boat? We add variation by serving different vegetables each year.

Can you give us some tips on how to keep your cool in the kitchen when preparing Christmas lunch?

Plan ahead! Write your menu and do the food shopping in plenty of time. There’s nothing worse than nipping to the shops with everyone else on Christmas Eve for last-minute ingredients! Prep veg and anything else you can the night before so you’re not under too much pressure on Christmas morning. Lay the table while the meat is in the oven. Then relax and enjoy yourself – after all, it’s Christmas! 

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