Dallas Toques Give Thanks: Five Chefs Talk Turkey

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Hopefully, your turkey will turn out better than Clark Griswold's.
Over the past week, City of Ate has caught up with Dallas-area chefs. We asked them about their Thanksgiving plans and what they're thankful for - because if we have to suffer the same cheesy fate at our families' Thanksgiving, it might be interesting to learn if they did, too. Now, in their own words, five chefs dish about Thanksgiving.

Randall Copeland
-- Restaurant AVA
My whole family will be at my parents that day waiting for me to get off, because the restaurant will be open. My personal favorite is candied sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. At AVA, we're doing a buffet with wood-roasted prime rib, turkey, and all the sides, like stuffing, smoked gouda mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and a lot more. Tons of pies and cakes. I'm thankful for all that.

Jay Jerrier -- Il Cane Rosso
For Thanksgiving, we have a family tradition of doing The Turkey Trot first thing in the morning. We used to actually run it...but now we have 4-year-old and 8-year-old little girls. They have very little interest in running or walking, so we end up going downtown and enjoying the crowds and the activities that are set up. We sometimes take our dogs down with us. It's been a regular tradition of ours since 1997, or so.

We grew up in New England so we typically have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner -- turkey, stuffing, yams, cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes, rolls and brown gravy. One year, I tried to roast a turkey in our wood-burning oven...let's just say I was glad we had a backup. My parents are in town this year, and we are going to have Thanksgiving with them. It's a small group this year so we may actually go out to eat somewhere -- probably the Clubhouse at Heritage Ranch for the early-bird special. I wish I could tell you we were doing something amazing at The Mansion or Fearing's, but we'll have a great and relaxing time. I have a big Cane Rosso event on the Friday after Thanksgiving...so I'll probably end up making dough sometime during the day. Glamorous, right?

I'm thankful that I have such a supportive family. They have been incredible this past year, as I have really tried to focus on building up Cane Rosso. I used to have a generic, soul-sucking corporate-drone job working for the "man," but now I spend my days making pizza. I couldn't have done it without all of their support. We have big things planned for Cane Rosso this year, and I'll be leaning on them the whole time.

Matt McCallister -- Stephan Pyles
I am thankful for my family being in good health and the opportunity to spend time with friends. My Thanksgiving plans are to spend time with my family (wife and daughter), run the Turkey Trot 8-mile. When I get back from the race, I'll go over to our family friend's house to some collaborative cooking. As always, I will make my staples I grew up on: my mom's cheesy potatoes, my mom's stuffing and roast turkey. I will also make something unusual, probably sweet potato panna cotta.

Andre Natera -- Pyramid Restaurant & Bar
After I get out of work, I'm looking forward to spending time with my wife and kids. We're going to have the traditional Thanksgiving meal -- turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, sweet potatoes, everything. I'm looking forward to cooking and relaxing.

I'm so thankful for my family. I work hard as a chef because of them. Growing up in El Paso, my family was poor. My kids deserve to have a better life than I did. I'm thankful that I'm fortunate enough to do something I love and also provide for them.

Janice Provost -- Parigi Restaurant
I'm thankful for my family, my husband and dogs, and my extended family, the staff at Parigi and our regulars. We have people who have been coming in since day one (over 20 years ago). We've become close, tightly knit. I'm blessed to be surrounded by those who love and care for me and for who I care and love.

My husband and I are going to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, with my best friend and his partner for Thanksgiving. Everyone but my husband is from the South and we're going to keep it traditional, turkey, corn bread stuffing -- it's not Thanksgiving without corn bread stuffing -- as traditional as possible. My plan is to pack the things I know I can't get there or that I'm not sure I'll be able to get there. I will be bringing my own cornmeal and sage, though. The only thing that would make it perfect is if my dogs could be there. Unfortunately, we can't travel with them.



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