What London’s best chefs are serving this Christmas
But not everyone feels so constrained — especially not those who can really cook. For chefs, Christmas tends to mean one of two things: either it’s a chance to experiment, to have a little fun, to try something new — or it’s a time to rest, to stop, to keep it simple. After all, when you make so much effort the rest of the year, isn’t 25 December the chance to not? Here, the capital’s very best chefs share the way they like to celebrate.
Dom Taylor, head chef, The Good Front Room at The Langham
This year, tamarind and ginger glazed ham will take centre stage at my family Christmas feast. Pork is probably my favourite meat to eat — it’s so full of flavour and so versatile. I have such fond memories of my mother and grandmother cooking and glazing hams at Christmas. My version gives it a contemporary feel, yet retains all of the homely nostalgia that feels so good at Christmas.
Sameer Taneja, executive chef, Benares
This year we’re celebrating with two vegetarian families, so we’re embracing a meat-free Christmas feast. The centrepiece will be a whole roasted Delica squash stuffed with soya and chestnuts, and served with a bread curry — my take on the traditional bread sauce, with a slightly thinner consistency and a great blend of spices. It perfectly complements the roast pumpkin and adds a burst of flavour to the dish.
Chantelle Nicholson, chef patron, Apricity
My go-to dish around Christmas would have to be apple tart tatin. It's one of the most simple, yet delicious, dishes with very few ingredients — just sugar, butter, apples and pastry. It's like alchemy — it's the only time of year I generally eat it, and it can't be beaten. Always with ice cream and crème fraîche.
Theo Randall, chef patron, Theo Randall at the InterContinental
I’ll be making bollito misto for Christmas dinner, as it is a traditional Italian dish served at this time of year. I love the different textures and flavours of carefully poached salt beef brisket, cappone, ox tongue and my favourite sausage — cotechino. It is served with a few poached vegetables, lentils, potatoes, salsa rossa and salsa verde. The trick is to cook each meat separately and cook the tongue and beef brisket slowly for a few hours.
The cappone I find best to tie up and place into a large saucepan with water, leeks, carrots and celery so it poaches gently, and leaving the string on will make it easier to take out of the broth. Reduce the broth by at least half and this will be the perfect broth to serve the sliced meats in. A delicious Christmas lunch that can make some the best leftover sandwiches for the days ahead and also a lovely broth to make a soup.
Advertisement feature: Perfect wine pairings for festive feasts
Vivek Singh, CEO and executive chef, the Cinnamon Collection
This Christmas, I’ll be cooking one of my signature dishes, the Lucknow-style turkey biryani. Turkey legs are much cheaper than a whole bird but still plentiful and delicious — moreover, a little goes a long way to make this stellar showstopper of a dish so you’re able to impress without spending a lot of money on ingredients and the whole day in the kitchen.
Elliott Grover, executive chef, 45 Park Lane
For me it has to be pigs in blankets, but not just any pigs in blankets. For Christmas day, I like to use wild boar spicy sausages wrapped in smoked streaky bacon. You can also use pigs in blankets as a canape; they’re great served with Oxford sauce. Back when I worked at Scott’s, we’d have pigs in blankets to accompany the oysters – absolutely delicious.
Matthew Ryle, head chef, Maison François
I love a coq au vin around Christmas, it’s the perfect winter warmer served up with some buttery pomme purée. There’s always plenty of red wine kicking around this time of year and it’s a super simple stew to put together. Always boil your red wine before marinating the chicken and vegetables; the key is to get organised and marinate the chicken the night before.
Kerth Gumbs, head chef, Fenchurch
I like to freeze my sorrel punch ahead of Christmas Day, it’s better enjoyed really cold — but be warned it creeps up on you as it’s laced with spices and rum! For the kids, I usually make mac and cheese balls which can be done ahead of time and stored in freezer, and fried on the day. They love them.
Shop with The Wine Flyer this Christmas
When you shop at The Wine Flyer, you can collect five Avios on every pound you spend on wine, craft beer, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks.
Add the drinks you fancy to your basket, log in to your British Airways Executive Club account (or sign up if you’re not a member) and pay for your order. The Avios you collected will go into your Executive Club account.
Become an Avios millionaire
All you have to do is spend £50 with The Wine Flyer before 21 December 2023 to be in with a chance of winning one million Avios. You’ll automatically be entered into the prize draw.
Add your favourite festive tipple to the basket and pray for a Christmas miracle.
The lucky winner will be chosen on 23 December 2023. And there’ll be five runner-ups too – each winning 10,000 Avios.