Ask a chef what his or her favorite dish is to make, and it will almost always be something connected to family.

Enchiladas Sonorenses
Photo courtesy of El Charro

The kinds of dishes we tend to make at the holidays—elaborate, indulgent things that serve a crowd, like roasts and fancy bûches de Noël—can sometimes feel like they demand a level of skill bordering on the professional. So did you ever wonder what pros serve for Christmas dinner? 

We got curious and asked a few that very question, and their answers were as interesting and varied as the places they are from. Las Vegas chef Carlos Cruz-Santos makes a mole recipe he got from his mother. Chris Brugman, who cooks at a resort in Arizona, favors a rich, crispy Puerto Rican roast. And Chef Diep Tran, whose family brought us Red Boat fish sauce, shares a turkey recipe that’s probably unlike any you’ve ever had at a holiday table before.

These are just a few of the recipes we’re lucky enough to have gathered from the food professionals we spoke to. The common denominator? Well, there really isn’t one. And that’s the beauty of the holidays—they are all about tradition but you get to decide what those traditions are for you and your loved ones. 

Cook Like a Pro This Christmas

(You can do it! These recipes are just as sophisticated as you’re imagining, but not nearly as difficult.)

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This Story Came From the 2020 Home & Hearth Issue

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