Comfort and Joy: Famous Chefs Share Christmas Recipes

Photo: Nightline Platelist: Gavin Kaysen
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Nothing radiates the Christmas spirit as warmly as holiday food favorites. Whether it's baking sugar cookies with grandma in her cozy kitchen, or gathering the family around the dinner table for a Christmas kielbasa, everyone has their own twist on holiday recipes, including famous chefs.

But it's not just the memories made from making these decadent holiday treats and meals; it's the giving and sharing food that we treasure.

From their kitchens to yours, "Nightline" has collected favorite holiday traditions -- food and otherwise -- from our Platelist-featured chefs: Nigella Lawson, Andrew Carmellini, Gavin Kayson and Joey Campanaro.

Nigella Lawson Cooks From Family Traditions

British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson said she revisited the Christmas traditions she grew up with to write her holiday cookbook, "Nigella Christmas," including her family's most tense holiday moments.

"I come from a very big family," she said. "My mother would cry every Christmas Eve, because she'd taken on too much and everything was on top of her, and it was very high-stress. And I suppose I know how stressful it can be, so I want to try to make a less stressful holiday season."


Nigella Lawson Christmas

Lawson's cookbook hosts recipes for everything from an extravagant Christmas feast to a simple cocktail party, including her delicious butternut squash orzotto. It also comes complete with menus, planning tips and ideas for handling leftovers. The chef also said she fondly remembers the smaller traditions of her childhood Christmases, even if her own children aren't as impressed.

CLICK HERE for step-by-step instructions to Lawson's recipes.

"When I was a child -- and I constantly bore my children with this -- we didn't have huge presents like people get now," she said. "If we were lucky, we'd get a Christmas stocking and it would be mostly filled with satsuma's, as far as I can remember, and a few paper dolls that you dress by putting little tags on, and foil-covered chocolate coins."

Certain tastes and smells from various holiday treats also create nostalgia for Lawson. Some in particular are the ingredients in the British dish, bread sauce.

The Scents of Christmas Bring on Nostalgia

"There's something that sounds so disgusting to non-Brits, which is bread sauce. It's really delicious, I promise you. But really it's like a savory bread pudding. And you cook stale bread in milk that's been scented, you know, just sort of out-of-shell nutmeg and a clove and bay leaf and an onion, and just that smell to me, that sort of milky clove and bay leaf, is the smell of Christmas to me. And I remember that just from probably before I could speak."

Andrew Carmellini's Christmas from the Old County

Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, which he calls "the culinary capital of the world," chef Andrew Carmellini said he was brought up by parents who didn't considered themselves "foodies" but who just "wanted to eat good stuff."

Half-Polish, half-Italian, Carmellini's early memories of eating tasty dishes, such as his marinated chicken alla Griglia with his extended family during the holidays began with preparing foods from the old country.


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