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    Top 4 Holiday Dinner Tips from Chef Josh

    The weather outside may or may not be frightful, but there’s no reason your holiday shouldn’t be downright delightful. You nabbed hosting one of the biggest meals of the year and perhaps you’re a tad nervous about pulling it off. Or, you’re completely stoked to show off your culinary skills, but could use a little moral support.

    Josh Fidler to the rescue.

    As our chef-owner, Josh knows a thing or two about feeding the hungry masses. Whether you expect Cousin Sally to be all judgy, want to show off for Mom or are a first-time host, Josh has you covered.

    “The holidays can be a joyous and wonderful time of the year to get together and share time with the family,” Josh said. “It can also be really stressful without proper planning. Here are a few chef secrets to make your holiday entertaining a breeze.”

    1. Stop with the stressing already!

    This is the easiest way to ruin a great time. In commercial kitchens, we deal with stress all day every day and the only way we make it through is by keeping a calm head, making lists, checking those lists over and over, and prepping until every detail is nailed down tightly. Keeping a cool, calm head and making sure to prep ahead of time is going to make your “holiday service” smooth and enjoyable for everyone (that means you, too!).

    2. Plan and prep.

    In order achieve rule #1, it’s imperative that you think like a chef in a commercial kitchen. This means prepping everything you can ahead of time. Make a list of all of the dishes you want to prepare and then make a list of all the ingredients you will need. This will also help you to save time and money when shopping, and eliminate waste. Once you finalize your menu, make sure to start a few days ahead and make anything that can be reheated on the day of the party. Dishes such as stuffing, mac and cheese, and many other side dishes only get better after sitting a few days, so don’t be scared to make your sides in advance. In restaurants, about 95 percent of what you’re getting on your plate has been prepared in advance. This is the only way your beautiful cauliflower puree will make it to your table in a timely manner.

    3. Keep it simple (but don’t be afraid to try something new).

    My favorite thing about holidays is preparing and eating all of the comfort foods that have become traditions. There is a sincerity in cooking these meals. I have all the other days of the year to eat whatever crazy food I want. A perfectly roasted chicken is one of the great wonders of the world. If you have all of your other stuff prepared and the day of all you have to worry about is roasting a chicken—you will nail it. With that being said, don’t be afraid to introduce one new thing into your menu to stay creative and push people’s palates. Try throwing chopped kimchi into your stuffing before baking for a super savory take on a classic.

    4. Sweat the details.

    Ok, there is some anxiety involved in a big holiday meal, but if you sweat the details during planning, there will be no surprises when it comes time to impress your guests, Have you bought wine that will pair well with what you are eating? Do you have enough seats? Do you have enough place settings? When menu planning, keep an eye to the details and make sure that everything is in place. This eliminates any unforeseen problems and allows you to enjoy a glass of wine as you sit back and relax at your own holiday feast.

    A final word: “Food is love, and I’m convinced that there is no greater joy than sharing a well-prepared meal with friends and family—or, in my case, complete strangers,” Josh added. “By simply being diligent in your planning, you’ll practically guarantee a great experience for everyone. A few of my favorite resources for recipes and menu planning are: Serious Eats and ChefSteps."

    We at Fidler & Co. Craft Kitchen & Grocery wish you and yours a food- and drink-filled, happy and healthy holiday season. Cheers from our kitchen to yours!

    Fidler & Co. Craft Kitchen & Grocery, located just outside of historic Gettysburg in the heart of Adams County, in Biglerville, Pennsylvania, was founded as a labor of love by chef and owner Josh Fidler. We are dedicated to providing the best in upscale rustic cuisine, drawing influence from the vast local farmland that surrounds us. We love to cook and cook the things we love. Come experience our farm-sourced fare in a BYOB setting—available for lunchsupper and weekend brunch—and delight your senses in our imaginative chef’s tasting.

    Nina Malone

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