We did the full works for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is our biggest cooking day of the year, and here's how it went down
Yesterday was Thanksgiving, typically our busiest day of the year. That's partly because a lot of the companies we feed here in London came across the pond from America. But it's mostly because we love any excuse to cook the most extravagant roast dinner we can, and Thanksgiving is one heck of an excuse.
Thanksgiving planning really begins over a week before, when we settle on a menu. In many ways it's the traditional set up, but we make sure every item is made a little bit special.
We decided we'd brine the turkey in citrus and finish it with a maple glaze, slow cook the red cabbage so it was properly melt-in-the-mouth, put caramelised shallots in with the sprouts and green beans for a hint of sweetness and mix some star anise in with the cranberry sauce to add some subtlety. Meanwhile as a vegetarian option we went for a truly seasonal pumpkin, kale and chestnut wellington, because everyone likes pastry. And for dessert? Pumpkin pie and maple cream, of course.
On Thanksgiving week itself, it's not just about getting the food ready. Two days before the big day the decorations started arriving. We had real pumpkins, marrows, squashes and other vegetables supplied by our friends at County Supplies London (don't worry, they're not just window dressing - they'll find a good home).
The office was also piled high with wicker baskets, lights, flowers, autumn leaves, acorns and pine cones. The marketing team burrowed away in the meeting room to get everything ready, only emerging bleary eyed on Thursday morning to show off their result. (Okay, not really. They found some time to sleep at some point.)
Meanwhile, in the kitchen on Wednesday, some of the slower food was being prepared. The turkey began its overnight soak in the citrus brine and we prepared the cranberry and star anise sauce and slow cooked red cabbage, to give the flavours time to really soak in.
When Thursday came, the chefs arrived at 7am, same as always. Jason, our head chef, had planned and scheduled service to a tee. The time between 7am and 10am, when the deliveries start going out to our clients, is always intense, and this was a typical morning turned up to 11. Stirring, roasting, chopping and frying happening everywhere you look.
The food all set out on time, and by the time it reached its destination, the decorations were already up and ready. All that was left to do was finish garnishing the food and put it out, ready to serve.
We always love seeing our food polished off by our customers, and yesterday's Thanksgiving lunch went down a storm. We couldn't be happier. Not that we get that much time to savour the moment - as soon as the food goes out our doors, our chefs are straight on to prep for the next day's menu.
Did you grab a taste of our Thanksgiving menu? What did you think? Let us know @JustHospitality.