We’ve all been there. When the turkey’s overcooked, the Brussel sprouts are too soggy and there’s not enough mince pies for everyone.
Christmas dining can sometimes feel like a logistical nightmare, needing military precision to be able to ensure everyone is happily fed around the table, without forgetting to include yourself. Here at The Arden Hotel, we try to create a ‘perfect Christmas’ for every guest and always try and make our experience extra special around Christmas.
To help you feed your loved ones this year, we’ve enlisted the skills of our hotel’s Head Chef, Don Hilario with his tips on how to make your Christmas dining preparation stress-free…
As the saying goes “ time flies when you are having fun” and I cannot agree more. Most chefs lose track of time even if they have cooked a dish 10 or 20 times. Organisation must be the most important tip of all. I recommend you plan your menu in advance, set goals and deadlines. I always make sure we achieve our goals and work to the deadline at The Arden, as you don’t want to be doing everything on Christmas Day itself.
We always make sure that we have everything we need in advance, such as turkey, vegetables, sauces, gravy and pigs in blankets. I also check we’ve got enough oil, salt and pepper as even little things like that can ruin our ‘perfect Christmas’.
Preparation is key
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. It’s all about mise en place. There are plenty of things you can do that will save you a lot of time and less mess on the day such as pre-cooking potatoes and peeling your vegetables in advance. It’s also a good idea to pre-make sauces and gravy as this takes time to prepare and cook. Why not get little ones involved in helping to prep and peel, to help build on their excitement for Christmas?
Check your equipment
Many chefs ignore the fact that we all need to check our equipment regularly, especially around Christmas time. This includes making sure you have enough plates, serving dishes, pots, pans and also things like cling film.
Double check your oven and cooking equipment is all in working order – it can be a nightmare if something breaks and you have to pay a hefty amount for a call out or even worse…no-one is available.
Timing is everything
As part of our planning and action plan at The Arden Hotel, we identify how long everything takes to cook. For example, what time are we going to put the turkey in the oven or what time are we going to cook the vegetables? It’s very important to get the timing right as you don’t want to cook the turkey hours in advance but the potatoes are still raw! Writing down a timed order of preparation and cooking on the day will really help and ensure your family are all fed at the same time.
A completely stress-free meal
Alternatively, why not skip the food preparation altogether, including any washing up, by booking your Christmas dining experience at The Arden Hotel for a magical festive meal.
Whether you choose to join us for delicious Christmas dining or are looking forward to putting Don’s tips into practice at home, we hope you enjoy a stress-free Christmas!