Our mouths are watering! Just in time for the holidays, Richard Blais shared his pro tips for planning the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.
“We always have people over for Thanksgiving. One of my go-to specialities is cooking two turkeys on the day, one that’s more traditional and another that’s perhaps more creative,” the Top Chef star, 45, tells Us Weekly exclusively, noting that two of his recipes will be featured for fans to try on Morton Salt’s new app, Morton Brine Time. (The app was created in partnership with Amazon Alexa to make cooking easier during the holidays). “People can talk to Alexa about the two types of turkeys that will be cooking at my house … Quite amazingly, Alexa will walk you all the way through the cooking process … She’ll give you basic ratios for brining which is very confusing for the average at-home cook.”
Blais advises Us to start the brining process well in advance to create the ideal result. “The brine process, especially with the dry brine, starts a couple days before and you want to be at least a day before on the wet brine, that’s one of my tips for Thanksgiving,” the celebrity chef explained. “The brining process is so important so you can season correctly, so you don’t have to worry about salting things in the moment. Keeping your turkey moist and tender is hard.”
The TV personality, whose Thanksgiving specialities include a smoked turkey and a Chinese-spiced turkey, also shares his go-to side dishes. “I’m mostly about the turkey. I could eat a whole one, but my wife is almost vegan so we have a lot of vegetable sides,” he tells Us. “We love mashed rutabagas; they’re my family’s favorite. It’s a traditional family recipe. It has a great grit to it and we add a bunch of butter and mash them up. We like to have multiple sides. My thought is that if you don’t have leftovers for the whole week ahead, you’ve done something wrong.”
As for decor? “I’m more into that than most people think,” Blais admits. “I’m a naturalist in that way. I go for a long run that morning on Thanksgiving and there’s a lot of nature around our house, so I grab twigs, branches and some dried fennel I find on a hike. We like to have a naturalist center piece, but it’s a day that’s all about food, so a nice big wooden table with some florals on them.”
The restauranteur also teased the forthcoming 15th season of Top Chef. “The guest stars this season are really exceptional. I love the franchise and this season is really going to be extra amazing,” he gushes, adding that he’d describe the latest installment of the series as “wild” and “bold.”
Top Chef season 15 premieres on Bravo on Thursday, December 7, at 10 p.m. ET.
Reporting by Travis Cronin.