Christmas In Chicago: A Chef’s Guide

 

In Chicago during December?

Looking for something Christmas-y to do but don’t just want another guidebook hit list?

I’ve asked two iconic chefs from Chicago to splurge and tell me where and what to do during Christmas if you happen to be in the Windy City

Find out where Executive Pastry Chef, Scott Green of The Langham, Chicago gets his sugar fix when he is not in the kitchen whipping up his famous Holiday Afternoon Tea Scones and pastries

 

And where does Executive Chef, Jose Fernandez of The Peninsula Chicago indulge in during Christmas to remind him of his time in Europe?

 

 

Executive Chef, Jose Fernandez of The Peninsula Chicago

 

What are you looking forward to in Chicago during December?

I enjoy the Christmas lights and street decorations which bring the holiday atmosphere to the city. I always look forward to the German and European inspired Christmas Street Market, Christkindlemarket. Not only do they offer festive items, but they have a great selection of street food vendors.

 

Favourite event during Christmas in Chicago?

The Christmas brunch and the Children’s holiday tea at The Peninsula Chicago.

 

Family traditions? what do you make?

My family makes a roasted leg of lamb, seafood soup and braised pork with spinach and pine nut canalonis (a classes Catalan/Spanish recipe).

 

Favorite festive food that you have to eat during Christmas?

I need to be honest, we always have panetone and almond nougat (it is called “Turron” in Spain) at home, one of the best places to fine them here in Chicago is Eataly, they have a great selection of European holiday goodies.

 

The Peninsula, Chicago has some great Holiday festival events going on from now until Christmas with their own ice-skating rink and Holiday Afternoon Tea

 

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Executive Pastry Chef, Scott Green of The Langham, Chicago
What are you looking forward to in Chicago during December?

Downtown Chicago has such a classic holiday vibe, I always look forward to seeing the lights and decorations go up on Michigan Avenue. Just being out, heading to work or taking a walk can put you in the spirit.

 

 

Favourite event during Christmas in Chicago?
For a chef, this time of year is often the busiest, especially for a Pastry Chef, so I don’t get to go out too much to enjoy public events. Most of the events on my radar are happenings at the hotel, and I will say that I always look forward to putting together the menu for our holiday tea service. The flavors, decorations, colors are always a little more special for that menu and my staff and I always like putting those pastries together for our guests.

 

Family traditions? what do you make?
My family is big on traditions during the holidays. During most of the year when I’m home I don’t really bake or make dessert so on the rare occasion when I’ve been able to travel back home for the holidays I always make croissants for my mom. My dad and I will also make a pretty good rum punch we’ve developed over the years, which seems to get stronger and stronger each time we make it.

 

Favorite festive food that you have to eat during Christmas?
Bookbinder soup and a glass of bourbon, neat, at Coq d’Or in the Drake Hotel. The cinnamon crunch old fashioned donut from Do-rite Donuts isn’t too shabby either.

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