David Burke, Dale Talde, and Damon Wise (and Others) on Their Thanksgiving Memories: Interviews Part 2

Smiley Apple/Flickr
Do chefs prefer the classic turkey and stuffing, or do they make fancy fare?

Yesterday we spoke with several New York City chefs about their upcoming Thanksgiving plans and learned all about the unique dishes they'll be making, from Todd Macdonald's White Castle-stuffed turkey to Josh Capon's hundreds of chicken lollipops. Today we hear from another batch of toques about how they'll be celebrating on Thursday.

Photo courtesy David Burke
David Burke, Fishtail, David Burke Townhouse, and David Burke Kitchen

What are you thankful for this year? 

I'm just thankful for being healthy. 

Who does the cooking at your Thanksgiving? 

My mom and sister usually do all the cooking, but this year chef Larry Baldwin of David Burke Fromagerie will be preparing it.

What is your favorite dish on the Thanksgiving table?

Scallops and Brussels sprouts to start, sausage stuffing, vanilla bean sweet potatoes, pumpkin blinis, cranberry sauce, and hot pecan pie with bourbon vanilla bean ice cream. All of these dishes are comforting to me and simultaneously remind me of home and of the dishes served at my restaurants. 

Do you have any unique Thanksgiving traditions or funny memories? 

I grew up in a family of mostly boys. I remember putting stuffing on my brother's seat before he sat down. Then there were the football games outside as we waited to eat. You know how a lot of players pat each other afterwards, saying "good game"? Well, we'd grab more handfuls of stuffing from the kitchen and leave a nice smear on each other's pants in the process. It was great.

Thanksgiving midnight snacking: yes or no? 

Yes. I enjoy making dark-meat turkey-cheddar melts. 

Photo courtesy Mauro Maccioni
Mauro Maccioni, Le Cirque

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

Spending time with my daughter Stella and taking her to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Who does the cooking at your Thanksgiving?

My mother cooks a turkey for us with an Italian spin because the stuffing has sausage and porcini mushrooms. The full list of stuffing ingredients are chestnuts, porcini mushrooms, bread, apples, and sausage. Porcini mushrooms are my favorite, and what I like about the stuffing is the fusion of American and Italian ingredients.

Do you have any unique Thanksgiving traditions or funny memories from Thanksgivings past?

[When we served] corn to my uncle, who was a farmer from Tuscany, he said, "Corn is chicken feed, humans should not consume it." In our house we didn't always have the traditional American turkey for Thanksgiving. Sirio [Maccioni] doesn't eat turkey, and in Italy they do not have Thanksgiving, so naturally turkey isn't very popular. Sirio's favorite bird to eat is pigeon. Growing up we always had pigeon on Thanksgiving instead of turkey, and we thought that was normal. It wasn't until we started school that me and my brothers found out that pigeon wasn't the normal Thanksgiving traditional meal. We asked Sirio if we could eat turkey instead of pigeon like all the other kids we knew, and that is how we adopted the American traditional turkey dinner.

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