Who better to join us for the food-friendly month of November than one of LA’s most celebrated chefs? In a month dominated by meal-planning, and culminating in one of our country’s most beloved holidays, we could think of no one better than Chef Josiah Citrin to join us as we celebrate a month of traditional home-cooking for friends and family.
Citrin, who after training in Paris, cut his chops in some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles, including mainstays like Patina, Jiraffe (which he launched himself), and Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois on Main to name just a few, is best-known for his French gem, Mélisse, in our very own Santa Monica neighborhood. Continually topping best restaurant lists around the world, Mélisse was just named one of ‘The Finest Five Star Properties in the World’ by this year’s Forbes Travel Guide. Citrin himself was awarded 2 Michelin stars for his culinary mastery here.
Despite his experience in countless world-class kitchens, Chef Citrin’s biggest inspirations comes from home. With a long tradition of cooking grandmothers and a famously sweet pastry chef for a wife, Josiah retains the home-cooked feel of his dishes using the finest local ingredients. All month long we’re bringing you Chef Citrin’s recipes for perfect Thanksgiving side dishes (and one brilliant dessert) based on fresh, local, organic produce! Here’s the chef…
Dear Chalkboard readers,
It’s a pleasure to have been invited to be a guest editor here at The Chalkboard for the month of November, especially since it happens to be the month of my favorite holiday of the year: Thanksgiving! I have a lot of great memories from Thanksgiving while I was growing up. My mom would make big feasts and my stepdad had this crazy tradition of taking the turkey out into the backyard for one final flight before it eventually became dinner.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. I love that it’s a holiday without a religious connotation, so we can all celebrate together. The only gifts exchanged are great food with friends and family. And sometimes, that’s more than you could possibly need.
I’m grateful to have my family close by, but the nature of the restaurant business makes it tough to get together as often as I’d like. So the day before Thanksgiving, I close the restaurant (we are open on Turkey day), and I invite about 75-80 people and put on my big fat Thanksgiving for friends and family to kick off the holiday season. One night out of the year, it’s amazing to see all my friends and family – and their friends – arrive and start grazing through the appetizers, renewing connections and warming up for the buffet dinner I serve. A little wine and some reacquainting goes a long way. By the end of the evening, kids are running around inside this fancy restaurant and everyone shares hugs. It’s heartwarming.
All of the foods I prepare for that favorite dinner of the year and on Thanksgiving are based on recipes my mother made when I was growing up, so it feels like a traditional, home-cooked meal made with love. My wife Diane bakes all the pies at our house (it’s a four-day process!) and the meal is a great way to honor my mom, who really introduced me to the love and art of cooking. Even though I have tweaked some of her recipes over the years, they stay true to her spirit and intent.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, including best-of-the-season Blue Lake beans, a chopped fall salad, roasted Brussels sprouts and a pear tart with bleu cheese. Stay tuned!
Cook your way through the month with Chef Citrin! We’re offering an organic produce box in partnership with Summerland Produce Co. that includes all the fresh organic produce you need to create each incredible Thanksgiving recipe!