Christmas. It’s a time of sugarplum fairies, reindeers, and stockings by the fireplace.
It’s also a day for sharing food with family and friends. And on that day, it’s even common for chefs at restaurants to hang up their aprons and go home to cook and share a holiday meal with family.
We wanted to find out about some culinary traditions among Milwaukee chefs and learn what goes on in their kitchens on Christmas:
Chef and Owner Jaime Gonzalez: Botanas Mexican Restaurant- Walker's Point.
“A lot of Americans don’t know about Posole. Posole, it’s just a big soup of hominy corn, pork [or other meats] and different sauces."
"There’s posole verde, posole rojo, posole blanco. There are different varieties of posole," he explains. "Hominy corn is a bigger corn. They kind of soak it for awhile and when you cook it, it explodes like popcorn. It tastes very good."
"We were 11 children, [growing up]. My mom made big dinner, and we would decorate [our chile en nogada]. When we were done, she would reheat everybody's known which one was theirs. It's a great tradition."
Odell Robinson: Husband of Chef Gloria Robinson at Nino's Southern Sides in Shorewood
- Southern Sides
"Our specialties are collard greens, macaroni and cheese, yams, and cornbread dressing...My wife may cook five or six meats. You have your regular ham, and your turkey, she may have some other favorites like roast beef, Cornish hens. We kind of mix it up.”
Peter Carini: head chef and owner of Carini's La Conca D'Oro in Shorewood
- Fruitti di Mare and all types of Seafood
"In the Sicilian tradition they go all out. Especially seafood. We use like seven different kinds of seafood for Christmas Eve. I would go with the fruit de mer, we call it La Conca d’Oro, we got mussels, clams, shrimps, scallops and calamari, it would be almost like a cioppino, but we use it over pasta…in a tomato sauce."
Milunka Radecivic: co-chef at the family-run Three Brothers Serbian restaurant in Bay View.
Serbs are Eastern Orthodox and generally celebrate Christmas on January 7. Radicevic's mom is of Irish-Lithuanian descent so her family also celebrates Christmas on December 25
"My mother makes these very little Polish pastries like the chruściki, these little nut cookies, so I look forward to the desserts that she makes. She makes those Palačinke that are filled with savory cheese. The crepe is so thin and the cheese is so creamy that it literally quite melts in your mouth."