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Scottish chefs and producers share their Christmas dinner plans, as well as some festive food tips

See what these experienced cooks are up to this Xmas

Published: December 8, 2021
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We ask Scottish chefs and foodies who’s cooking on Christmas day, what they’re eating and if they can share any tips. 

Giovanna Eusebi, owner of Eusebi, Glasgow, www.eusebideli.com

Who's cooking? My brother, Eddie, and I are cooking for our mum and respective families. Hopefully, we’ll still be talking by the time starters are served.

What’s on the menu?

Our table is a nod to our Italian heritage and Scottish roots. We will kick off with some oysters from Lindisfarne and a few glasses of Bellavista Franciacorta. We always have antipasti and salumi to start. There will definitely be some homemade crab ravioli from the restaurant, then free range turkey from St Brides Poultry in Strathaven. This year we’re also having Gigha Halibut.

Any tips?

My brother’s mother-in-law, Mimi, is an exceptional cook. She makes a side dish of finely sliced roasted peppers topped with breadcrumbs soaked in a red wine reduction. It’s traditionally eaten in their village in Italy. My mum makes fried pizza dough knotted into bows in the morning which is typical of her Italian village. These traditional recipes keep us connected to our ancestors.

Peter McKenna, chef and director of The Gannet, Glasgow and Edinburgh, www.thegannetgla.com

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Who's cooking?

I hope to be cooking with my mum in Ireland. She’s a fantastic cook and it’s always a pleasure to spend time chatting and sharing a glass of wine with her. It’s also nice to be able to shoulder some of the workload as she always takes on far too much.

What’s on the menu?

I’ve got into the habit of getting a good aged rib on the bone, which is great on the day and even better on Boxing Day sandwiches with pickles and mustard.

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Any tips?

Spike the potato bake with Mont d’Or and fresh truffle.

Larah Bross, Pic: Marc Millar

Larah Bross, founder of Bross Bagels, Edinburgh, www.brossbagels.com

Who's cooking?

Scotland's Larder: Laura Sutherland of The Glasgow Pickle Co

Normally it's my Nana, but this year we're staying in Edinburgh, so Mama Bross will be doing all the stuffing and cooking.

What’s on the menu?

A full-on turkey with stuffing, roast potatoes in goose fat, roast carrots and parsnips in honey glaze, wee willy winkies wrapped in bacon, sprouts, cranberry chilli jam and of course, non-lumpy gravy. Growing up with Jewish traditions at home and celebrations of Hanukkah, we never did Christmas dinner, so now I have my own family, I’m making up for it.

Any tips?

I steam sprouts, cut them in half and sauté them with garlic and bacon lardons.

Dan Ashmore

Dan Ashmore, executive head chef at Bread Street Kitchen, Edinburgh, www.gordonramsayrestaurants.com

Who's cooking?

We will be doing it as a family. My eldest, Charlie, likes to get involved so I’ve no doubt he will want to do some peeling.

What’s on the menu?

Chicken Balmoral from our local East Lothian farm shop. I’ll be working up to Christmas Day so won’t have any prep time. Bang them in the oven and 40 minutes later, they’re ready!

Any tips?

For the best roast potatoes, simmer them in salted water until they’re almost cooked, drain and let them go cold. Fluff them up in a colander, add to a tray of hot duck fat or vegetable oil and cook until golden, only opening the oven to turn them over. 

Chris Niven, executive chef at The Lawn, Marine North Berwick, www.marineandlawn.com

Who’s cooking?

It won't be me, as I will be in the kitchen at the Marine North Berwick, so it will be my mother-in-law cooking for the family.

What’s on the menu?

I’ll sit down with my team at 11.45am before Christmas Day service and we'll serve St Brides turkey with apricot and sage stuffing and all the trimmings.

Any tips?

We will also be serving carrots baked in hay with lavender and cider. It's not as complicated as it sounds - you can pick meadow hay up from a pet shop quite easily.

Nick Sinclair, owner of the Edinburgh Butter Companywww.theedinburghbutter.co

Who's cooking?

I spend Christmas with six women, so the kitchen is my sanctuary. Also, it allows me to drink mimosas at an unregulated rate so that’s never a bad thing. 

What’s on the menu?

Fosse Meadows chicken, then we'll do a ham too and a nut roast for the veggie. For sides, we'll have Brussels sprouts shredded with pancetta and butter, parsnips, tatties, and red cabbage. The starters are super important, the absolute best is Tobermory Smoked Trout on brown bread, butter, black pepper, and lemon.

Any tips?

Ottolenghi’s mustard cauliflower is the best side dish ever.

Amy Elles of The Harbour Cafe, Elie, www.theharbourcafe.co.uk

Who's cooking?

We’re visiting my husband’s parents this year. We all get involved, but it’s a mad scramble on the day!

What’s on the menu?

We enjoy veering off tradition and eating duck or goose, but it’s organic turkey this year.

Any tips?

Cut and marinate the vegetables then wrap them in foil with some butter, herbs and honey ready to cook on the day. Soak cranberries in rum two days in advance for the sauce.

Rosie Jack

Rosie Jack, food events manager at Bowhouse, Fife, www.bowhousefife.com

Who's cooking?

As soon as my sisters and I could peel potatoes we became the Christmas dinner power house. I am normally on trimmings and Delia’s crispy parmigiana parsnip.

What’s on the menu?

Turkey with stuffing and chipolatas sourced from the Butchery at Bowhouse. I live on the farm where the pigs and cattle are reared for the butchery and know how much work the farmers put into getting it just right for both the environment and the quality of the meat.

Any tips? Delia’s crispy parmigiana parsnips are next level.

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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