Chefs choose sides

In their own homes, what do these culinary artists prepare for a holiday feast?

Day in and day out, they run some of the most sizzling kitchens in Baton Rouge. In their own homes, what do these culinary artists prepare for a holiday feast? inRegister asked several chefs which side dish they couldn’t do without for Thanksgiving, and what makes it so special.

Nothing makes it feel more like holiday season than cooking my grandfather’s oyster dressing recipe. After years of trying to reproduce it, I finally learned the secret, and I will share it with you. If you can find them, use unwashed oysters. You want that great salt taste to add flavor to your dressing; Peter Sclafani, Ruffino’s

My favorite holiday memories are of Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparents’ home. The highlight was always my grandmother’s fresh stewed green beans. I prepare this dish every holiday for my family, and every bite takes me back; Joey Daigle, Juban’s

When I think of the holiday season, the first thing that comes to mind is a cranberry-orange relish. My mother made one every Thanksgiving and kept it at room temperature for dinner. As I moved through different kitchens I learned many things, and I decided to change her recipe slightly—adding Grand Marnier to get a stronger orange flavor. I have been making this every Thanksgiving morning since. My wife loves it so much that I make extra, and in the days following she uses it as a topping for vanilla bean ice cream; Guy Sockrider

I cannot imagine Thanksgiving dinner without dressing. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner at the James Beard House last year and made a modified version of my mother’s classic: a duck, andouille and oyster dressing soufflé filled with foie gras “dirty sauce.” (Basically giblets gravy made with foie instead of chicken livers.) This was the side to sous-vide compressed fried turkey and quail; Scott Varnadoe, Restaurant IPO

My favorite Thanksgiving side dish is dirty rice—using my late uncle’s recipe. It’s a labor of love that takes two days to prepare and requires a pressure cooker plus chicken livers and gizzards (don’t make that face) along with ground chicken and pork. He also made a custom spice blend to season the dish that includes ground bay and file. All my childhood memories are of food, and this dressing is my most delicious recollection; Anne Milneck, Red Stick Spice Co.

I will never forget the first time I tasted cornbread dressing with oysters. I was 13. My family had recently moved south from Michigan, and oysters were completely foreign to me. The marriage of those two flavors was unbelievable. My wife and I have our own small celebration a few days before or after the holiday, and I make it every year without fail; Michael Jetty, Maison Lacour

My must-have side dish combines two of my favorite things in the world: green beans and bacon. We take 3 or 4 fresh green beans, a pat of butter, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and then wrap them in bacon and finish them in the oven; Brad Andries, Stroubes

My mother was a fantastic home cook and always enlisted my help prepping, peeling and chopping. One of my favorite dishes from holiday gatherings, which I duplicate today, was her praline sweet potato casserole topped with a marshmallow bourbon gratinee. (A little bourbon for mom and a few marshmallows for me.) I’d stir the sweet concoction with brown sugar, Steen’s Syrup and lots of butter; William Wells, Culinary Productions

This cheese log is a staple at my parents’ house during the holidays. Among favorite holiday recipes, this one makes me feel at home. I enjoy nibbling on food more than sitting down for a full meal. This cheese log is perfect for that! In addition, its preparation is very simple and can be done a day in advance; Drew England, The Edible Event

My favorite side dish is herb-roasted sweet potatoes with a savory bacon pecan topping. To keep them sugarless, I make them marshmallow free. Herb roasted and finished off with bacon and pecans, they’re rich and full of flavor; Kathy Mangham, Gourmet Girls

I would say my favorite Thanksgiving side dish would be my mother’s oyster dressing. I remember her buying French bread days before she planned to make it and having it stretched out everywhere to get stale. It was definitely a process with a rewarding end result. This dish is not only a dressing but can be used as stuffing for several items;  Ryan Andre, Le Creole

My favorite Thanksgiving side dish would have to be cornbread dressing. This dish brings back fond memories of my grandmother and our family get-togethers in New Iberia and will always hold a special place with me; Chris Motto, Mansurs on the Boulevard

I have worked Thanksgiving Day for the last 18 years, so our family celebrates the Sunday before the holiday. It is a mix of traditional and nontraditional dishes, and crawfish étouffée is always on the menu; Jeremy Langlois, Houmas House Plantation

One of my favorite side dishes is butternut squash soup with nutmeg cream. I love butternut squash. You don’t see people use it much around here, but I think it adds an unexpected flavor to your Thanksgiving menu, and it pairs nicely with more traditional side dishes; David Dickensauge, Bin 77

My favorite holiday side dish is my mother’s delicious cornbread dressing. It is epitome of comfort food for me. I only get it twice a year—each time reminds me of family and the comforts of home; Margo Bouanchaud Hayes, Margo E. Bouanchaud Inc.

My all-time favorite Thanksgiving side dish is my momma’s cornbread dressing. It’s truly a ‘labor of love’ passed through the generations. I’ll be preparing the recipe as always this year, but I will deeply miss my momma being here to enjoy it, as she passed away in July. Here’s to you, Momma; Don Bergeron, Chef Don Bergeron Enterprises