Festive eats and treats: Grand Hotel executive head chef Keith Mitchell

Christmas at the Grand Hotel
Christmas at the Grand Hotel

Creating the perfect Christmas dinner with all the trimmings or baking beautiful festive treats can be intimidating for many people. The pressure of producing the main meal of the big day will often be shrouded in stress, especially if it is your first time attempting such a huge task.

Here I give some of my top tips for producing fantastic results in a stress free environment so you can wow your guests.

Planning and preparation are key to successful cooking. Being organised will help to eliminate errors and allow for unforeseen situations. Writing up a shopping list in advance will pay dividends.

Of course, this doesn’t just include required ingredients but should also allow for ensuring you have the appropriate cooking utensils e.g. correctly sized roasting tin. Remember, the more people you are hosting, the more time you will need to prepare the meal.

Working backwards from the time you would like to serve the main course is a great way to plan for when the turkey should be going into the oven or when the potatoes need to be peeled.

It is very sensible to remain as clean and tidy as possible throughout the preparation process. An orderly kitchen help to keep your mind clear and remove stress factors such as lack of available work space. Washing up used utensils, storing ingredients as you go and regularly wiping down work surfaces will allow you retain control and ensure you are fully focused on the task in hand without

being flustered or bothered by mess.

Consistently tasting your food throughout the preparation process will ensure that it is well seasoned and reflects the flavour you want to produce. Trust your instincts and your pallet. If you think more salt is required then add a pinch extra. Remember to restrain from adding too much seasoning as it can be difficult to rectify once you have gone too far! It is better to add small amounts, stir and taste at regular intervals until you reach the desired result.

Traditional festive treats like turkey with all the trimmings and chocolate Yule log always go down well. Your guests will enjoy the comfort and familiarity of being served with well-known treats during the festive period. However, don’t be afraid to put a twist on classic dishes and have a bit of fun. Here at The Grand a festive themed Afternoon Tea is served to our guests throughout December, which includes miniature stollen and baby mince pies – this is a great alternative to a huge heavy meal and perfect for a pre-Christmas get together or post-Christmas treat.

For more information about the restaurants at The Grand Hotel Eastbourne please visit http://www.grandeastbourne.com/eastbourne-restaurant