Christmas Culinary Magic: Leeds Chef’s Secrets to Wow Your Guests with Simple yet Spectacular Tweaks!

As Christmas is a time of giving, Executive Head Chef at Craig Rogan at The Collective, Craig, shares what he is calling ‘achievable tweaks’ that will elevate traditional elements on a dish and leave guests wondering how even the most novice of cooks managed to pull off a festive feast to remember.  

Starting with a firm favourite, the humble Yorkshire Pudding. Craig says, “there’s no denying a Yorkshire Pudding should take pride place on the plate – so why not dress them up for the occasion.”

He continues, “Instead of using standard oil in the Yorkshire Pudding tray, make a simple switch to black truffle oil which will give your puddings a slight hint of truffle – then for that extra special Christmas touch, fry off some shallots to create a crispy and delicious topping for your puddings.”

Sprouts scream Christmas, but they are also often the butt of the joke at Christmas – until now.

“Serving sprouts whole, in a bowl without showing them any love is the reason this token tradition gets a bad rep.” says Craig. 

“Firstly, why serve them whole? My tip is to quarter them and instead of boiling them in water, part-boil them in chicken stock to enrich the flavour. 

“Next, dice smoked pancetta and fry it off in hazelnut butter. Once cooked, throw in the quartered sprouts, and toss them in the smokey, buttery mix – heat through and then serve.”

Finally, no Christmas Day dinner is complete without gravy, which should be meaty and morish, whilst not overpowering the plate. 

Craig says, “the ultimate gravy to accompany any turkey is a combination of chicken stock and turkey juices.

“As Christmas Day can be somewhat manic, a good chicken stock tastes even better if it’s made the day before, ready to combine with the turkey juices and a mix of red wine, red wine vinegar and unsalted butter on the day.

“The result will be a richer, fuller gravy with bold and deep flavours that will certainly wow guests this Christmas.”

Appointed Head Chef at The Collective, a unique retail and restaurant space on Boar Lane, Leeds, Craig has been serving up a Sunday lunch menu since he took over the kitchen in September 2023. 

Craig Rogan at The Collective is launching an 8-course Christmas taster menu, where guests can expect a variety of Christmas classics with a modern British twist using locally sourced ingredients. Completing the menu is Craig’s take on a classic After Eight desert set to take guests on a trip down memory lane.

Christmas with Craig Rogan at The Collective launches on Monday 4th December and booking is essential. 

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