Kelly Liken is the chef/owner of Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail, Colo.
"I grew up in Pittsburgh and my family did a really traditional Eastern Thanksgiving, but since I've been living out West my menu has changed a lot. Mostly, I'm psyched to do the sides — I always make, like, 20 of them. At that time of year in Colorado we're still getting really beautiful beets grown under cold frame and carrots and parsnips, so I like to roast them and make a hearty room-temperature salad. Everyone thinks of Idaho potatoes, but Colorado also grows some of the best potatoes in the world — so I like to put them in the spotlight with a simple dish like boiled red skin or fingerling potatoes dressed simply with just herbs and butter. I'm also a big fan of apple and sausage stuffing with lots of onion and celery. I use cellared Colorado apples and toasted pecans and sourdough bread that I've diced and dried out for a couple days. It gets this amazing texture when it bakes: crunchy on top and custardy like a bread pudding inside."
Serve with: "At the restaurant, we make a pumpkin pie martini from roasted pumpkin puree, maple syrup and pie spices shaken with a Colorado bourbon-style whiskey and topped with champagne. It's such a nice way to start the meal — you get the flavors of pumpkin without the heaviness."
Pro tip: "Lists, lists, lists! Last year I cooked Thanksgiving with my mom and sister, which I hadn't done in probably 20 years — so I speak from experience when I say you have to make a list and a multi-day plan. If you don't think about it a week ahead, you're shooting yourself in the foot."