Four of the best festive food tips and tricks from some of the region's top chefs...

“Pipe soft butter underneath the turkey skin before roasting to stop the meat from drying out. It helps for crispier skin, too.”

– Michael Penaluna, Executive Head Chef at Wynyard Hall



“Use turkey bones to make your stock the day before, so you’re ready to go on Christmas Day. Lightly brown the bones off and then simmer for three hours. Leave to cool and chill overnight. Then, on the big day, all you need to do is reheat.”

– Michael Wignall, Chef Patron at The Angel at Hetton 


“Don’t over-complicate things. Do fewer sides and extras, but make larger quantities of each for leftovers on Boxing Day – nobody wants to cook then!”

– Josh Overington, Head Chef at Le Cochon Aveugle 



My top tip for Christmas is ‘get ahead’! Sit down a week before and make a time plan – then anything you can do a couple of days before – (blanching carrots, potatoes, making custard for the trifle, making cauliflower cheese or any sauces that just need reheating) – do it and have it nicely organised in a clean fridge. This is exactly what we do in our kitchens at Rockliffe Hall. On the day, keep your kitchen tidy between each job. If you do the prep in advance and organise yourself, you can just enjoy the day and have a prosecco on the go as you cook and relax with a Christmas CD playing away in the background.”

– Aaron Craig, Executive Chef, Brasserie and New Hall at Rockliffe Hall


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