Tips for a stress-free Christmas

Tips for a stress-free Christmas

1st December 2020

Tips for a stress-free Christmas

When chefs prepare for the Christmas rush, there’s a few things they do to make it go more smoothly. And surprisingly, you can apply some of these things at home too. We’re going to share some tips to help you this holiday season.

Chefs prepare pre-service briefs.

How can you apply this? Write out an itinerary for the day and share it with friends and family. This lets everyone know what time things are happening. It doesn’t have to be very complicated. A simple one like this will work a treat.

12pm – Arrival and prosecco welcome with canapes

1pm – Christmas lunch

2pm – Gift exchange

3pm – Aperitif and selection of desserts

4pm – Departure and takeaway lunch boxes

Pre orders on tables over 6 people.

How does this help you? If you’re having more than 6 people over, you need to plan out your shopping and account for any dietary restrictions. The last thing you want on the day is an Aunt who can’t stomach dairy poo-pooing all your dishes.

If you’re calm at the top, it will flow down.

Can you use this advice? Are there times when you’ve lost your cool and everything has gone from bad to worse? If you are organised and collected, the whole day will run much smoother. If you’re feeling stressed, take a few minutes to step away and breathe deeply.

Chefs conduct morning fridge checks and tastings.

Why should you do the same? There’s nothing worse than being out of a key ingredient. On the day, very early, check every single ingredient is there. That way, you can send someone to the shops if you have to. (You wouldn’t believe how often butter is forgotten.) Also, do test runs of your dishes before – if you can – that way you know how they should turn out. A big event is not the time to experiment.

And now for a delightful brussel sprout side dish that you can try this Christmas:


500g brussels sprouts (blanched and cut in half)

50g shallots, peeled and sliced

200g streaky smoked bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

2tbsp Dijon mustard


Add bacon to pan over medium high heat and cook till bacon is just starting to brown.

Add shallots and cook another 4-5 minutes.

Add brussels sprouts and cook another 5 minutes till sprouts start to brown on edges.

Drain off fat from pan and take off heat.

Add mustard and mix to coat.

Serve warm.

Read more on our 'Clapham food guide' blog

Read more recipes from Chef Scott. Keep up to date with recipes and everything going on at our Clapham bistro and restaurant.

No3 Blog