Chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen.
Chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen.
Image: Daniela Zondagh

JAN HENDRICK VAN DER WESTHUIZEN – JAN

I’ll be celebrating Christmas with my mother and sister on our farm in Limpopo.

This year I’ll be braaing watermelon steaks topped with pancetta, rocket, feta and drizzled with a 20-year-old balsamic vinegar from France. When it comes to festive favourites, I love minced fruit pies, the smell of anything cinnamon and copious amounts of fruit punch — served in an old glass punch bowl and spiked with something vodka-ish, of course.

KATLEGO MLAMBO – The Marabi Club

I’m usually working, so we do have a small celebration at work with my work “family” - the chefs, front of house, barmen and managers. Once lunch service is over, I’ll go to celebrate with my grandmother, cousins and friends.

Chef Katlego Mlambo.
Chef Katlego Mlambo.
Image: Supplied

I normally do a roast leg of lamb with all the trimmings and go super traditional with a turkey – parsnips, sweet potatoes and a honey glaze. It’s Christmas and I think it should be delicious, not complicated. This year, I’ll be doing some sashimi too – kabeljou, sea bass or Miss Lucy – cured with a spicy, tangy dressing - it’s perfect for summer.

My sweet tooth has really kicked in this year, so I’m looking forward to a range of small sweet eats: mince pies, chocolate tarts and the likes.

And what would Christmas be without wine? Red wine is great as it goes with so many of the traditional proteins.

DAVID HIGGS – Marble/Saint

I’m going to be in Swakopmund, Namibia. We’ll be doing a bit of fishing, so there’ll definitely be fish on the menu - without a doubt it will be on the fire. The rest we’ll work out closer to the time. They grow some beautiful asparagus in the riverbeds there too, so we will include those on the menu.

Chef David Higgs.
Chef David Higgs.
Image: Supplied

Dessert will be a well-alcohol-dosed trifle with a lot of glacé cherries.

KAYLA-ANN OSBORN – The Chefs' Table

I normally work lunch, along with my sister, but then we go home to my mom’s house in Scottburgh for a huge family meal. I normally cart half of Christmas lunch down with me that I've prepped at work. It’s always the full spread. So, avo ritz to start, then a roast of gammon and lamb that my mom and gran make from early in the morning. A deboned turkey (done at work), beans, cabbage, roast carrots, roast butternut, stuffing, peas and three different gravies. It's pretty much heaven.

Dessert is a tiramisu and the traditional fruit pudding.

Kayla-Ann Osborn.
Kayla-Ann Osborn.
Image: Supplied

A funny story - my sisters never fail to bring this up at Christmas lunch - is when I drank the cooking brandy when I was 16 and filled the bottle with water and the pudding wouldn't catch alight on Christmas Day that year.

Christmas favourites include a bottle of heavily peated whisky, the most delicious Christmas roast dinner and gammon and potato fry-up with baked eggs the next morning.

RYAN COLE – Salsify

Chef Ryan Cole.
Chef Ryan Cole.
Image: Supplied

I celebrate with my nearest and dearest; the festive season is always a Cole family affair. It’s a time to relax, unwind, reflect, plan and enjoy great food with the people closest to my heart.

We normally make a chestnut gammon with pineapple and a nice indulgent family trifle. The recipe is a closely guarded family secret and its one of my ultimate desserts. Also, the brussels sprouts, bacon, carrot and onion side - no Christmas is complete without it.

What I enjoy most is the time spent with the family, the timeless Boney M. soundtrack (preferably on CD), with a bottle of Moët  -  it’s a recipe for the perfect start to Christmas. 

ALEX AND ELOISE WINDEBANK – Farro

We always celebrate with family. We are either here in Joburg, drinking champagne in the pool on Christmas Day, or in the UK, playing that game where you have to try and get an After Eight from your forehead into your mouth without using your hands.

Chef's Alex and Eloise Windebank.
Chef's Alex and Eloise Windebank.
Image: Supplied

We always start the day with cheese scones and champagne around the Christmas tree. And then gammon, pigs in blankets, pork stuffing, bacon-wrapped cherries — essentially a celebration of the pig.

FREDDIE DIAS – Basalt

Christmas for me is always spent with family - this year we'll be in Joburg. Sadly, it’s the first year without my beloved mom but we are lucky to have my aunt from Portugal joining us.  Together we'll honour my mom by keeping many of her favourite festive traditions going.

Chef Freddie Dias.
Chef Freddie Dias.
Image: Supplied

This year, our main meal on Christmas Day will be lunch. I'm planning a traditional roast turkey to be enjoyed with a variety of fresh salads and light side dishes.

My family is Portuguese and we honour many traditions at this time of year, including "consoada" on Christmas Eve, which includes dishes such as bacalhau (salted cod) served with potatoes, turnips, Portuguese kale and chickpeas.  It's a very simple, humble meal but it's a Portuguese tradition and a very special time to spend time together as a family, giving thanks and enjoying each other’s company. 

Another personal favourite is “rabanadas", a Portuguese-style French toast, typically eaten as a dessert.  We take day-old bread, dip it in egg and milk, coat it with cinnamon sugar, then fry it. My mom used to make this throughout the day for my brothers and me.  The Dias family has enjoyed rabanadas dating back to the time of my grandmother in northern Portugal. She used to soak hers in a syrup made from Port wine! Now, I make both versions to suit young and old.

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