While those in the hospitality industry are often subject to working holidays and other "off-hours", many chefs are giving themselves a break this year for Christmas to spend the day with loved ones (and a bottle of Scotch, for some). We asked a bunch of Chicago chefs their plans for the holiday this year, here's what they're doing:
Doug Sohn, Hot Doug's:
"The Christmas plan is the same as usual: close up shop and surround myself with Scotch bottles."
Matt Troost, Three Aces:
"For the first time in a few years, I won't be eating a duck at Sun Wah on Christmas Day. I will be relaxing at my girlfriends house and doing my best to stay out of the kitchen. I will still get my duck—but most likely on Christmas Eve."
Susan Goss, West Town Tavern:
"I will be celebrating Christmas at my home in New Orleans. Christmas Eve will be a seafood feast followed by a car trip to Vacherie to see the bonfires. Cajuns light bonfires to light the way for Poppa Noel. Midnight champagne and caviar will end the evening. Christmas day will find us roasting oysters in the courtyard grill and drinking Brandy Milk Punch. After lunch, we will make the rounds of friends' homes to raise a glass of cheer. After the sun goes down, we will roast chestnuts in the courtyard firepit and drink some old Bordeaux we have been saving."
Sandra Holl, Floriole:
"I will not be cooking a thing! We will go straight from the bakery to my family's Christmas Eve celebration at my brother's house. On Christmas Day, my dad makes the most amazing Swedish pancake breakfast, then we will celebrate my daughter's fifth birthday later in the afternoon. Once that is done, we will race back to Chicago to pull out croissant dough and sticky buns for Monday morning at the bakery."
Steve McDonagh, Hearty:
"After our son opens gifts on Christmas morning we'll take a drive out to our weekend place in Michigan and have some friends for an overnight. We're planning on bringing a Crown Roast for dinner which we'll pair with sparkling Rose'. It'll be an evening in the woods with Rye cocktails and board games by the fire."
Chrissy Camba, Vincent:
"For Christmas Day, I will be heading home to Hoffman Estates to spend time with my family. My mom always orders too much Filipino food (she doesn't cook!), a ham and other various goodies. It's pretty nice to not have to cook for the holiday. Also, I have to do my yearly 'find a patch of ice, lace up my skates, attempt a single axel.' It hasn't worked yet. One of these days."
Dale Levitski, Sprout:
"I honestly do not have any plans for the holidays. Usually it is movie marathons and laundry. I'll rack up my On Demand, catch up on laundry, play with the dogs, and hit the gym. One of the things I love about the holidays in this business is the fact that it is a true day off—it's like hitting a pause button."
Melissa Trimmer, C-House:
"Hopefully I'll be spending Christmas at home under the tree with my two kids and husband. However, we're running a special holiday menu at the restaurant so there's a distinct possibility I'll be spending part of it at work."