“Another great tip as well is to always treat pots and pans like they’re hot,” the food expert suggested. “You always want to grab pots and pans with towels or potholders just in case, so you don’t end up burning yourself. Because one thing that always happens is somebody slips, or gets hurt, because of carelessness in the kitchen. Safety is always the best thing.”
In terms of laying your table, Chef Ingraham offers an innovative method of turkey presentation.
“One of the things I have implemented as of last year is not to carve the turkey in front of everybody. Have the turkey out, let it be presented, say grace, then take the turkey back into the kitchen and carve it up, then bring it out,” he emphasized. “It eliminates the long lines while everybody is waiting for the turkey to be carved. It’s nice for everyone to see the turkey carved correctly, instead of a big carcass, which is the old school way, where you had all the meat being picked off the bones. That’s not too pleasing to the eye. It’s really all about presentation.”
After slicing the meat, garnishing it with an orange slice for decoration can further enhance your serving style.
In addition to cooking and serving, Chef Ingraham insists that the most important thing to remember this holiday season is to take the time to engage with your guests, something a harried cook might forget. Ironically, the acts of chopping, slicing and baking might be just the perfect last-minute activities that help you bond with loved ones before you chow down around the holiday table.
“Engage your guests in helping in the meal as well. It strikes up extra conversation,” the chef told theGrio. “You may be able to pair up with the aunt you haven’t talked to in a long time, and catch up while you’re preparing some things, sharing recipes with each other — all of that comes in.”
These tips can also be applied to your Christmas and even New Year’s gatherings. What’s Chef Ingraham’s favorite holiday dish this season?
“My favorite Thanksgiving dish would have to be my mother’s candied yams. Those right now are my favorite,” he mused. “What I’ve done with the candied yams is added Grand Marnier or brandy, and given it another little flair. Or even some orange zest at times, just to try to take it up a little. There’s not really much I can do to my mom’s recipe to make it any better. Yet, being a chef, you want to be creative so… I try to put my own flair to it. But she still holds the title.” (Click below for the instructions, then try the chef’s take on his mom’s masterpiece.)
Chef Richard Ingraham’s star as a celebrity chef is certainly rising. In addition to working with Wal-mart, he will continue working with high profile clients in the new year — and is ready for wherever 2013 will take him.
“Right now, I’m working with some major league baseball players, designing meals for them during the off season,” he stated about his next steps, “getting Dwyane healthy, so that we can bring another championship back to Miami, and just spending time with my children and my family hopefully throughout the holidays. Whatever God has next for me, I’m ready.”
Check out Chef Richard Ingraham’s recipes for No-Bake Chocolate Mousse and his mother’s Candied Yams below. Will you be adopting his last-minute Thanksgiving tips and recipe ideas?