Bring On The Roasted Potatoes!
Abbe Lewis - November 25th, 2013
Thanksgiving: A day that gives us great reason to feel both appreciative and gluttonous. While some gather around their dining room table rejoicing and giving thanks, many opt to keep their kitchen ranges clean and eat out for the holiday meal, leaving chefs across the country working many long holiday hours.
As the great dinner of the year draws near, we asked chefs and restaurant owners what they do to celebrate with those hard-working people who give up their Thanksgiving meal to feed others—their staff.
In the city that never sleeps, tourists and New Yorkers alike have a plethora of options for their turkey day, as most restaurants stay open. Midtown’s Casa Nonna, however, is closed to the public in order to serve a staff appreciation meal. This year, chef Julio Genao will serve stuffed turkey breast with roasted sweet potatoes, among other fixin’s.
“The staff loves the fact that we prepare a special meal for them on Thanksgiving. It’s an opportunity for all of us to sit together and enjoy a meal. We don’t ask the staff to bring anything. However, some of our team members bring ethnic foods from their home country that they wish to share with the rest of the staff. It’s a very happy time!” states Genao.
Lavo, also located in Midtown Manhattan, will close its behemoth restaurant for the holiday for an employee turkey dinner as well. "We give out about 5,000 turkeys a year to our staff, and now we give everyone a coupon so they can choose whatever kind of turkey they prefer. It's our way of saying thank you to our employees and their families for all they do," says chef Ralph Scarmardella of TAO Group.
Thanksgiving has become an official family holiday for owner Alfredo Sandoval’s staff at Mercadito in Chicago—friends and family are invited to the restaurant for a feast that includes chipotle-glazed turkey and sausage stuffing with chipotle/sage honey.
Executive chef Christopher Molyneux and chef de cuisine Ali Goss of Parallel Post in Trumbull, Connecticut, serve up a staff meal featuring family favorites, like Hudson Valley herb-roasted turkey breast with sage/giblet gravy, “Mom’s” tri-herbed sourdough stuffing, “Grandma’s” creamed spinach, and a selection of pies and cobblers.
In San Diego, Manchester Grand Hyatt’s staff also receive turkeys. And those who work on Thanksgiving are offered a staff meal, including roasted turkey (carved to order), cornbread stuffing, lavender/honey glazed yams with toasted marshmallows, apple/walnut salad, and, of course, pumpkin pie.
Chef/owner Matt Jennings in Providence, Rhode Island, always prepares a New England–inspired turducken stuffed with cornbread, sausage, broccoli raab, and quahogs at his Farmstead, Inc. restaurant.
Following a busy evening of service on Thanksgiving Eve, the staff at Lark Creek Steak in San Francisco sit down for a full spread served family-style, consisting of the dishes they’ve been serving guests all night. This year’s menu includes Maine lobster ravioli with black cardamom, maitake mushrooms, and micro shiso; roasted squash soup with allspice crème fraîche, pickled butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, and micro basil. Mains will feature Mary’s free-range roasted turkey with fennel sausage/cornbread stuffing, gravy, baked Brussels sprouts, and cranberry sauce; and Certified Angus prime rib with whipped potatoes, roasted root vegetables, and natural jus. Desserts will include pumpkin cheesecake with pumpkin cake, caramel sauce, candied pumpkin seeds; and caramel pecan tart with vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate sauce.
Chef Dena Marino of MC Kitchen in Miami is offering a Thanksgiving-to-Go menu to her staff, as well as those South Florida residents who would like to enjoy their Turkey Day without the work. Dishes include a heritage breed turkey stuffed with prosciutto di Parma and roasted garlic, olive oil whipped potatoes, and baked panettone bread stuffing.
Sharing something special with your staff this Turkey Day? Give us your menu on Food Arts' Facebook page.