.Kitchen Tips: Holiday cooking advice from a local chef

Holiday cooking can feel like the culinary equivalent of competing in an Olympic sport—it requires years of training, weeks of preparing and a lot of ability to operate under pressure.

But to take the pressure off Marin’s home cooks this holiday season, executive chef and owner of Buckeye Roadhouse, Robert Price, is here to share his wisdom and extensive experience in the kitchen.

Price was born and raised in the United Kingdom. In 1983, he graduated from the City of Bath Culinary Institute—upon graduation, Price found work in a Michelin Star restaurant at The Capital Hotel in London. Price (and co-owner of Buckeye, Peter Schumacher) owns and operates Mill Valley’s most beloved upscale comfort food venue: Buckeye Roadhouse.

When Price first came out to California, he was immediately taken by the vibrancy of all the ingredients the West Coast could offer.

“Right off the bat, it was the colors and freshness of the food that struck me when I came to California,” said Price. “It was like taking the dark sunglasses off…it was just crazy.”

Since then, Price has spent years refining his recipes and learning how to turn all the amazing ingredients around him into edible art. And now, Price is ready to reveal his advice regarding cooking at home for the holidays.

Prepare Ahead of Time

“Do as much preparation and legwork upfront, and don’t leave it all to the last minute,” advised Price.

The most important thing a person can do to take pressure off the holiday meal is to prepare as much as possible before the day of. That means pre-making and freezing pies, having side-dishes ready-to-bake in the fridge and delegating some dishes to guests.

Don’t Try New Things Now

The night of a holiday feast is not the time to get creative or adventurous—stick to tried and true dishes. “Don’t try to cook anything you’ve never tried before; test it out ahead of time,” Price said. “I’ve seen so many people freak out because they’ve never done a recipe before.”

Be Sure to Brine the Turkey

“Brine the turkey; it will keep that meat juicy,” emphasized Price. And he is absolutely right—brining a turkey ensures the bird is flavored all the way through and will help to lock in moisture while also contributing a lovely, golden-brown color to the skin.

Low and Slow Is the Way to Go

For the best results, start cooking the holiday turkey early and keep the heat low: “Make sure the turkey is being cooked on not too high of a heat, because it’s going to make it super dark on the outside and raw on the inside if you do,” Price said.

Enjoy the Evening

The most important part of being the home chef for the holidays is learning how to enjoy the evening. Anyone who has cooked a holiday meal is familiar with the stress of creating an impressive spread—but by preparing ahead and following Price’s advice, hopefully, everyone can enjoy themselves even more this holiday season!

“These kinds of meals are about enjoying family and friends,” concluded Price. “And I highly suggest everybody come in and check out the Buckeye for the holidays— we’re opening through the month of December for Friday lunch, and we’ve just started doing Sunday brunch and are opening at 11am on Sundays as well.”

Buckeye is open seven days a week at 15 Shoreline Highway in Mill Valley. For more information or to reserve a table, visit buckeyeroadhouse.com or call 415.331.2600.

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