Professional chef shares the secret to the perfect Christmas roast – and it has nothing to do with the meat
- Leigh Hudson from Chef’s Armoury shared his top cooking tips for Christmas
- The professional chef said the most important part is the carving instruments
- He spoke to FEMAIL about the value of choosing the right knives for the meal
A professional chef has shared his top three tips to ensure you make the perfect Christmas roast this holiday season.
Leigh Hudson, from Sydney, is the co-founder of Australis’s first Japanese knife and cookware store, Chef’s Armoury.
He spoke to FEMAIL and revealed that the most important part of Christmas roast is the carving – and there’s an easy way to guarantee even the most amateur chef gets it right.
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Leigh Hudson, from Sydney, is the co-founder of Australis’s first Japanese knife and cookware store, Chef’s Armoury
A professional chef has shared his top three tips to ensure you make the perfect Christmas roast this holiday season
1. Choose the best knife for the job
Pick a knife that is long (24-27cm) and not too deep (2-3cm wide) so that you can carve through dense proteins easily.
A chef knife can also be used – but it needs to be perfectly sharp.
2. Make sure your knife is properly sharp
This could mean getting out the stones and putting some effort to getting the perfect edge.
In addition, Leigh explained that sharper knives are actually less dangerous.
‘A sharper blade needs a lot less pressure to slice through food making it easier to cut, and therefore less likely to make errors. It’s also less likely to slip as it is cutting its own path through the food without using blunt force,’ he said.
The professional added, ‘Also, knowing that you are holding an extremely sharp knife will also make you pay more attention to how you’re cutting and encourage you to keep your fingers out of the way.’
Leigh spoke to FEMAIL and revealed that the most important part of Christmas roast is the carving – and there’s an easy way to guarantee even the most amateur chef gets it right
Top tips for cooking Christmas dinner
1. Be practical
Before planning, take the size of your family and oven into account. Do not bite off more than you can chew in terms of meal sizes.
2. Time management
Is there anything you can make ahead of time and freeze? Perhaps the gravy, or a serving of mashed potatoes made the night before? Always consider what can be done beforehand.
3. Allow yourself time to make mistakes
Christmas is stressful! Cooking a holiday meal can get the best of even the most experienced chefs. Plan ahead and pencil in some time to fix any possible cooking blunders.
4. Don’t plan on roasting everything
Unless you have two ovens, you’ll be pressed for time once the meat goes in. Consider alternative stove-top methods for cooking vegetables.
5. Cook what you will eat
Many consider Christmas to be the time for big, fancy meals – but that isn’t necessarily true. The holidays are for family bonding and rest after a year of hard work. So ensure you cook what you and your family will actually enjoy eating over ‘classic’ dishes you may not even like.
‘A sharper blade needs a lot less pressure to slice through food making it easier to cut, and therefore less likely to make errors. It’s also less likely to slip as it is cutting its own path through the food without using blunt force,’ he said
The perfect Christmas Turkey roast
1 whole turkey
2 tbs sea salt
1 tbs mixed herbs
1 tbs pepper
- Start at least two days before
- Thaw the turkey in the fridge for 24 hours
- Combine salt, pepper, and herbs in a bowl, then rub it all over and inside the turkey
- Place the turkey in the fridge for 24-48 hours to let it brine
- On the day of, preheat oven 250C for 30 minutes
- Remove turkey from fridge and drain away the fluid from brining, but do not rinse the turkey
- Prepare the stuffing and place it in the cavity, then seal it with with the lemon
- Draw the legs together and truss it with kitchen string
- Place the turkey on a rack inside a large baking dish and pour in the chicken stock
- Once in the oven, drop the temperate to 190C and cook for 2-3 hours depending on the size of the meat
- When cooked, place the meat on a plate and cover to rest
- Spoon off fat into a cooking pan and combine it with flour to make gravy, gradually adding in water
- Carve the turkey and serve with mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and steamed greens
3. Bone in, or Deboned?
Carving, especially in front of an audience, is a daunting task – so start with your two options, bone in or deboned.
Bone in is impressive but can be difficult if you don’t knife where the bones are.
Leigh suggested using long slicing cuts with reduced pressure so the knife ‘feels’ where the bones are and the action prevents chipping the knife.
Deboning after cooking is also a safe option.
‘Peripheral bits like legs and wings can be presented on a side plate for good measure,’ Leigh said.
The chef also advised home cooks to do a test run on a smaller roast weeks before the big family Christmas dinner
The chef also advised home cooks to do a test run on a smaller roast.
‘It’s always a good idea to have a practice run, and we recommend practising your skills a couple of weeks out from the main event.’
He added, ‘Of course, there’s no need to cook the full serving – for example, if you are roasting a turkey on Christmas day, perhaps cook a chicken a few weeks out to test your carving skills and learn where the bones are.’