Chefs' 50 Best Thanksgiving Tips

Food Network Magazine turned to seven reigning Iron Chefs—and dozens of past competitors—for some holiday advice.

Category:
Thanksgiving
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31. For big groups, don't be afraid to use place cards. Strategic seating allows for better conversation by placing the extroverts in the right spot. No one wants to be stuck at the boring end of the table.
Spike Mendelsohn
Good Stuff Eatery, Washington, D.C.

32. As my Thanksgiving crowd grew, I started doing the meal as a buffet. I put the food out in the kitchen and people walk through and take what they want. They gather in different areas to eat and mingle, and it's so much fun.
Marc Vetri
Vetri, Philadelphia

33. If you've never had a fried turkey, try it. It's delicious.
IRON CHEF Marc Forgione

34. I like to shave root vegetables and make a light and refreshing salad to offset the richness of the turkey and stuffing.
Chris Cosentino
Incanto, San Francisco

35. Serve your meal in cast-iron pans or other heavy-duty cookware to keep things warm.
Paul Virant
Perennial Virant, Chicago

36. Create a different experience for your guests by incorporating food from other cultures into the meal. I grew up in Sweden, so I add lingonberries to my cranberry sauce.
Marcus Samuelsson
Red Rooster, New York City

37. My favorite gadget for Thanksgiving is a mini blowtorch. I pass it around for do-it-yourself brûlée on the individual pumpkin crème brûlées I make. People love playing with fire.
Judy Joo
Playboy Club, London

38. My favorite side dish is Brussels sprouts. Fry them in oil, and instead of adding salt, add a little soy sauce and citrus. It's the best way to cut the grease.
Gavin Kaysen
Cafe Boulud, New York City

39. If you're making a salad as part of the meal, serve it during the main course instead of as a starter. It helps with digestion.
Joey Campanaro
The Little Owl, New York City

40. It's always fun to have one main dish that isn't typically served at Thanksgiving, like a whole fish.
Dale Talde
Talde, Brooklyn