Christmas dinner needn’t be a stressful affair for those on stove duty on the big day. Michael Penaluna, head chef at Jesmond Dene House, shares his top tips with readers for a cracker. KATHARINE CAPOCCI reports
MICHAEL Penaluna, head chef at Jesmond Dene House boutique hotel in Newcastle, says being organised is key to a cracking Christmas dinner.
The 31-year-old believes that applies whether he’s orchestrating a busy food service in the restaurant or pulling together dinner at home on the big day.
Michael, who has been head chef at the three AA rosettes restaurant since April 2011, is sharing with readers his expert tips.
Follow his advice and you’ll have a cracker of a dinner – beautifully moist roast turkey, luscious gravy, crispy roasties, sprouts with chestnuts and zesty cranberry sauce.
He says: “These are some recipes and methods that I use at Jesmond Dene House and at home to help take some of the pressures away from serving one large table all at once.
“Being organised is a key factor in producing good food at the hotel. Thinking ahead of time is a crucial part of my job and trying to eliminate the risks of anything happening during a busy service that could affect anyone’s dining experience.
“I am sharing with you a few tips that will help you execute the perfect Christmas dinner.”
Michael started cooking at the age of 15 on Newcastle’s Quayside after which he moved to London at the age of 18 for two years to further his career. Subsequently, he moved back home to the North East to continue his career in some of the region’s leading hotels.
Later on Michael was employed as sous chef for acclaimed restaurateur Terry Laybourne.
Following four years of working at Jesmond Dene House, he was promoted to head chef.