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A Taste of Luxury


Secrets of a Grand Thanksgiving

As families throughout the US prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving we ask Belmond’s leading chefs from across the country to share their top tips.


It’s universally agreed that a plump, succulent turkey is the cornerstone of any successful Thanksgiving feast. Chef Michelle Weaver of Charleston Grill ensures hers is flawless with a very traditional recipe. She makes sure to slather the meat both inside and out with a paste of unsalted butter and fresh rosemary, sage and thyme. Adding fresh quartered lemons and onions before roasting adds a depth of flavour to the meat from the inside. This is completed with a rich, classic gravy, enhanced by more fresh herbs, kosher salt and a cup-and-a-half of turkey-pan drippings.


However, the bird doesn’t have to be the star of the show; a selection of delicious side dishes can elevate your dinner to top-tier culinary perfection. Chef Weaver makes her menu truly unique with classic Southern specialities, a surefire way to impress guests at Charleston Grill. Her delicious cornbread stuffing is made even more tantalising with the addition of diced bacon and toasted pecans. Scallion peppercorn biscuits, made with buttermilk and parmesan, are the perfect hearty accompaniment to soak up the delicious gravy.


To get the fullest flavours, all of our chefs advocate opting for seasonal and locally-grown ingredients to truly pin your menu together. The Executive Chef at El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel, Santa Barbara is a true champion of locally-sourcing all the parts for his renowned Thanksgiving menu. Guests at the hotel can expect organic pumpkins from nearby Santa Barbara farms in the sinfully delicious Three Layer Pumpkin Pie, while smoky pecan brittle and savory notes in the latte custard perfectly balance the sweetness. Diners can also spoil themselves with a festive large format bottle of Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir, which pairs perfectly with the hotel’s Diestel Farms Traditional Turkey dinner.


Ultimately, our chefs advise that the best Thanksgiving is one where you can relax and savour the company of your guests. The best way to ensure this is to plan ahead and prepare as much as you can in advance. “Plan your menu ahead of time and take your time prepping everything correctly” advises Chef Weaver, “this will result in not only stress-free cooking, but in a thoroughly enjoyable dinner.”

However, cooks should not to shy away from seeking help where they can. It helps strengthen the sense of community among friends and family, and also ensures the cook gets to enjoy the holiday as well. Whether it’s with decoration, beverages, or serving; if you are the one doing all the cooking, make sure you also have time to enjoy and celebrate the day.

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