Christmas: tips for professional chefs
The streets and shop windows are adorned with lights and decorations. Homes and balconies are decorated and Christmas is in the air. The time has come for business dinners and evenings spent with friends and family in restaurants exchanging greetings and gifts. Horeca professionals cannot be unprepared for what is perhaps the most important time of the year!
Christmas is a great occasion for conviviality, a time when people rediscover the pleasure of being together at the table and enjoying traditional dishes. This year, after a Christmas spent apart, the desire to get together and celebrate with friends and relatives will certainly be stronger.
When we talk about Christmas, it is good to remember that there are some dishes that can, more than others, take us back to the Christmases of our childhood, dishes that have the taste of family and conviviality, and that can be excellent ideas for designing the menu to propose to our customers. Antonio Cuomo, Culinary Advisor Debic, for example, as a man from Campania, confessed to us that "what was never missing from my family's table was the famous Capitone (eel). It was not a simple dish but rather a ritual, a celebration! It all started with the purchase on the 23rd December, strictly at the 'fish market' and strictly at night, right up to the preparation. That's why, from then until today, Capitone has never been missing from my Christmas menu''
At this time of year, restaurants have always represented a meeting place where one can feel at home, a place for carefree dinners and good intentions for the coming year. Try to give a new "Christmas look" to your restaurant with decorations and lights or, simply, by choosing tablecloths, napkins and table centrepieces suitable for the occasion. Christmas, therefore, is not only a time for conviviality and rediscovered intimacy but also an interesting business opportunity for restaurant owners and chefs. A time to propose the great classics of traditional cuisine that everyone expects, perhaps adding some interesting innovations. However, we must not forget that it is important to try and try again the dishes that we intend to propose to our customers so as not to have any uncertainty in the execution. It is no coincidence that chef Luca Montersino reminds us that "before approaching a menu that is perhaps a little more complex for Christmas, we must do the necessary tests and experiments the months before, so as to arrive prepared for an important meal like that of 25 December. Training and study are the basis of all success, including gastronomic success!”
A sustainable Christmas
We mustn't forget that even though Christmas is the feast of abundance par excellence, a focus on sustainability is a must on these days, so leftovers and waste become interesting ingredients for making new dishes, as Luca Montersino teaches us: "in the kitchen you rarely throw food away. There is always an alternative way to use it. Think of bread, for example, which can be used the next day as the base for a soup or a cake (perhaps bread and apple pie), or panettone itself, which can be used instead of sponge cake to make a dessert such as tiramisu. Made with panettone soaked in coffee it's a real pleasure.” Chef Antonio Cuomo is of the same opinion: "I suggest looking for new recipes and textures starting with what we are used to throwing away. For example, potato skins, which we are used to discarding, can be used to prepare an excellent broth for traditional tortelli.” Free creativity, with a touch of wit and imagination, leftovers and waste can be given new life and value.