‘Tis the season to prepare the most enticing holiday meals! How would a Michelin Star chef prepare his very own holiday meals with familiy and friends? Today we have the pleasure of sharing with you a very special interview by Michelin Star Chef Christopher Naylor. Currently Head Chef at Michelin Star Restaurant Vermeer in Amsterdam, located inside the NH Barbizon, his culinary vision combines a a challenging, sophisticated and unique cuisine with both French, Mediterranean, Dutch and English influences. Let’s see what his holiday menu has in store!
Preparing the dinner: when should we go shopping for Christmas dinner? Should we wait till last minute to buy the freshest food?
You should plan ahead for the Christmas dinner and know beforehand what you will make, it’s important to buy the freshest quality ingredients and the last moment possible but then the shops are at their busiest. Home delivery from a specialized supplier can help solve the last minute stress.
What appetizers would you recommend to our readers?
You need to serve dishes that you are confident with, do not try anything new and prepare as much as possible in advance. For appetizers, choose dishes that are served cold that can be prepared in advance.
Would you go for a balanced meal or a feast?
For me defiantly a feast, over indulging is Christmas!
Should we offer both hot and cold plates?
Yes you should offer cold and hot dishes, this is important in the balance of a menu.
Any tips on cooking a big bird?
I would always suggest 1st poaching the bird then roasting afterwards, this way you can guaranty that the bird remains juicy.
How would you recommend cooking fish?
Most importantly ensure that you have the best and freshest possible fish, then cook it very lightly until it’s just cooked. Never over cook fish!
What should we avoid at all costs?
Never let your guest know that you have made a mistake! And try not to stress, your family will not complain!
What shouldn’t be missing on our dinner table during the holidays?
Your friends and family!
How can we make it something to remember?
You have to cook to your abilities and try not to make the meal too complicated, as a chef you also need to be able to sit and enjoy yourself.
Can we have a fancy dinner without burning a whole in your wallet?
Defiantly, good cooking does not need to be expensive, good cooking does not need to be with the most exclusive ingredients.
How can we make sure everybody is satisfied?
Just do your best!
How can we go for a healthier Christmas dinner?
Christmas for me is the one time that you need not worry about diets and healthy eating, do not worry about it for one day!
I am a traditionalist, each Christmas dinner is very similar to the year before. Keep it simple and cook dishes that you have made before.
Can I cook a more kid-friendly dinner?
I think that the children should eat with the whole family and that you should not make any special menus. Everyone should eat the same thing.
What about drinks? Wines, champagne, spirits?
Everything and plenty!
Any tips for the ‘last-minute guy’?
Go to a restaurant!
What about dessert? Any not-too-complicated ones to impress our guests?
I always like the French bouche de noel, not difficult to make and it always looks great.
What is Restaurant Vermeer serving for Christmas Dinner/Lunch
We serve traditional menus, seven courses with wines and coffee
Any British/Dutch Christmas treats we should all be enjoying?
From England we always have Christmas crackers with the meal, they contain a hat, present and a stupid joke. In Holland you have the Christmas stol bread – a fruit bread with almond which is eaten at breakfast.
Do you cook Christmas dinner at home? What are you having?
I am celebrating Christmas dinner with my Dutch family, each person will bring a course, this year I will make a chocolate tart for dessert.
Are you into social media? personal/professional use?
Yes for both.
Do you mind people instragramming your food at all times? Do you do it?
I do not mind people taking pictures of my food, it’s their cameras! I personally do not do it, food is just a moment and then it’s gone.