24 December 2020

8 celebrity chefs on the Christmas foods they look forward to all year

Do you dream of turkey? Long for Quality Street? Wait every second of the year for the moment you can have cranberry sauce on EVERYTHING?

We all have our favourite Christmas foods, the morsels we look forward to endlessly, so we asked celebrity chefs and food writers to name theirs…

1. Michel Roux Jnr loves a good Christmas pudding

“I think we should eat Christmas pudding all year round,” says Michel Roux Jnr, whose restaurant Le Gavroche has 2 Michelin stars. “I don’t know why we don’t! I love Christmas pudding. I make a Christmas pudding, it’s an adapted Mrs Beeton’s recipe, and it’s got Guinness, lots of Guinness in it. And lots of brandy.”

2. Kim-Joy is all about Yorkshire puddings and a nut roast

“I’ve been really into Yorkshire puddings recently, they’re not necessarily Christmas, but they kind of are,” muses the former Bake Off contestant, and author of new cookbook Christmas With Kim-Joy (Quadrille). “I’ve been really into making them because when you make them homemade, they’re massive. They’re just so good homemade.

“And then Mary Berry’s veggie nut roast. It’s really good. I have issues with a lot of nut roasts, but Mary Berry’s is so good. It’s got a lemony taste and there’s aubergine that you put around it. It’s really, really nice.”

3. James May cannot wait for turkey

“I actually like Christmas lunch and I like it to be turkey and sprouts and bread sauce and parsnips, all the usual stuff, a pot of cranberry sauce, Christmas pudding, I like all that,” says Grand Tour presenter James May, who has recently joined the world of food via his debut cookbook, Oh Cook! (Pavilion).

“A bit like weddings, Christmas is supposed to be a bit chintzy and tacky. I like it like that. Even in the run up to Christmas, I try not to have the turkey. I want to save that for Christmas Day as a real treat. A big slice of turkey breast, blob of cranberry – I’m thinking about it now and getting quite excited.”

4. Tom Kerridge genuinely appreciates sprouts

“I love sprouts and I don’t care what anybody says,” announces Tom Kerridge – who is celebrating 15 years of his restaurant The Hand And Flowers, with a cookbook of the same name (Bloomsbury Absolute).  “Sprouts are amazing and they’re great all the way through Christmas, they’re brilliant in January.

“And sprout tops – Brussel sprouts, they’re grown on stalks, and on the stalks there are these sprout top leaves which are amazing. They’re like really irony, rusticy cabbage leaves – like the outer leaves of Savoy cabbage or spring greens, and they’re lush with loads of butter and salt – absolutely delicious.”

5. Gizzi Erskine can’t pick – she wants it all

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“The whole lunch: that’s what I want to eat every day,” states Gizzi Erskine, author of new sustainably focused cookbook Restore (HQ). “I really can eat Christmas lunch all the time. That’s my favourite meal. And actually, I like a Christmas sandwich.”

6. Clodagh McKenna cherishes her traditional potato stuffing

“I love stuffing. I love potato stuffing in my turkey – a traditional one I grew up with,” explains Irish chef Clodagh McKenna, who wrote her latest cookbook, Clodagh’s Weeknight Kitchen (Kyle Books) during lockdown. “And I just can’t change it. It’s just really simple potato stuffing with sage and thyme and I can’t.

“I’ve tried many years putting different things into it and I do regret it. It’s one of those types of tradition, isn’t it? I jazz up other things around it. I’ll do the red cabbage different ways. And I’ll do the Brussel sprouts in different ways. But my stuffing has to stay the same.”

7. Kate Young would eat Christmas cake all year round if she could

“Christmas cake, 100%. It’s my favourite thing,” buzzes Kate Young, the writer behind The Little Library Christmas cookbook (Head of Zeus).

“It was my birthday in May, and my best friend cooked me a Christmas cake. I went and saw her in June and sat in her garden and she made Christmas cake. It was a very odd birthday celebration, but when the first copies of my book arrived, I actually had a slice of Christmas cake on my counter that I could eat while I looked through the book, it was a joy.

“I know you can eat fruit cake year-round but there is something about calling it ‘Christmas cake’ rather than fruit cake that makes it special, and to have the marzipan, to have all of it. That’s what I want.”

8. Joe Wicks cannot wait for pigs in blankets

“I love pigs in blankets,” says Joe Wicks, whose latest book is called 30 Day Kick Start Plan (Bluebird). “I love stuffing. I’m not a massive turkey fan, I normally do like a lamb or chicken for Christmas, like a roast leg of lamb or something. And I love all the chocolate – I love chocolate.”

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