Famous Chefs Share Thanksgiving Traditions and Recipes

Emerils Wild Mushroom Stuffing
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Warm Thanksgiving memories are often made when plates piled high with rich, delicious dishes are passed around the dinner table. Whether you stuff your stuffing with oysters or swap out turkey for Cornish hens, everyone has their own recipes for making Thanksgiving Day special, including famous chefs.

From the traditional to the experimental, "Nightline" has collected Thanksgiving recipe favorites for you to try on your dinner table from our Platelist featured reknowned chefs including Guy Fieri, Paula Deen, Daniel Boulud and Dan Barber.

Guy Fieri's Thanksgiving: 'I Cannot Do It Normal'

Growing up, Chef Guy Fieri says his family never had a "normal" Thanksgiving. From lamb to salmon, there was nothing that was left off of his family's Thanksgiving dinner table, not even a barbecued turkey.

"I never heard of barbecuing a turkey, a matter of fact I wouldn't even tell anyone we barbecued the turkey, because everyone else did normal turkey, but not the Fieri's. We barbecued it," he said.


Guy Fieri Thanksgiving

With these wacky food traditions at heart, the host of four Food Network shows says that when it comes to cooking Thanksgiving dinner in his kitchen, he "cannot do it normal." Just like his parents had done when he was a boy, Fieri also makes enough food to feed an army every year.

"Grand Marnier cranberry sauce with lemon zest, deep fried turkey, a smoked turkey, a barbequed turkey, a boneless turkey, a pastrami…There's prime rib, but I can't just do one kind of prime rib, I gotta do it three ways. Ravioli is very key. Ten raviolis last year. I mean crazy raviolis ... I want the eating to go on for days, like a Roman feast!"

Guy Fieri's Tequila Turkey Fettuccini Alfredo

With so much delicious food to get through, Fieri also specializes in how to turn Thanksgiving leftovers into new and mouthwatering meals. One dish that has been a huge hit in his home kitchen and in his restaurant, Johnny Garlic's, is the "Tequila Turkey Fettuccini Alfredo."

"It's kind of a traditional fettuccini Alfredo sauce done with some fresh roasted turkey, some jalapeños, some garlic, deglazed with a little tequila, hit a little bit of cilantro and heavy cream. It's dynamite," he said.


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

Paula Deen's Twist on Turkey: Cornish Hens


Paula Deen Cornish Hens

The queen of savory Southern meals, Food Network star Chef Paula Deen said her fondness for food grew out of being in her grandmother's kitchen, where "there was just nothing she couldn't cook." The Georgia native said Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday, "because it's just about food, family and friends: my three favorite 'f' words."

With a twist on the traditional Thanksgiving bird, Deen said she'll substitute turkey for Cornish game hens -- a favorite dish of her husband, Michael. However, Deen adds that her Thanksgiving meal isn't complete without good old country stuffing, mushroom giblet gravy and creamy butternut squash soup.

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



Daniel Boulud French Home Cooking

Daniel Boulud on the Importance of Home Cooking

Although he grew up in Lyon, France, super-star Chef Daniel Boulud has two scrumptious autumn food favorites that would be a perfect addition to any Thanksgiving dinner table: Swiss chard gratin and stuffed cheese pumpkin.


CLICK HERE for step-by-step instructions to Boulud's recipes

Having moved to Manhattan's Upper East Side over 25 years ago, Boulud's cafes and restaurants pepper New York City. For all the elaborate recipes he may use in his restaurant kitchens, Boulud says he gets the most pleasure from home cooking, or what he calls the "one pot, one pan" meal.

"It connects me back," he said. "Rather than do a complex dish with 20 ingredients and five hours of prep and all that, I like the soul of home-cooking."

The world-famous chef also says he sits down with his family every Sunday for a dinner together, and that he makes sure he is never tardy to a meal no matter where he's eating. These sentiments coincide with values nearly everyone shares at Thanksgiving.

"All my life, I never missed a meal or missed the time of a meal. You cannot come 15 minutes or a half-hour later. You just have to be on time for the meal, because it's a ritual that's so important and sometimes it's a little forgotten here," he said.


Dan Barber Farm Fresh Thanksgiving

Dan Barber's Thanksgiving From the Farm

Executive chef Dan Barber has built a successful business around his belief in farm-fresh ingredients long before it was popular, and the food on his Thanksgiving dinner table is no exception. His favorite dishes for the special day include mushroom-hazelnut stuffing and spicy cranberry sauce.

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

However, the award-winning chef said that when it comes to Thanksgiving, it's the effort behind the meal that's the most meaningful, not the food on the table.

"I don't think the food, ultimately, is the most important. And as a chef, I probably shouldn't be saying that, but it isn't the most important," he said. "The reason for that is 'cause again it's about this context -- you know, to what extent are you creating a taste memory, and memories just in general of being with your family, and memories that stay with you for the rest of your life."

Barber grew up working on his grandmother's Blue Hill Farm in Great Barrington, Mass., and now operates two New York restaurants in the farm's honor. A place where Barber said his family's Thanksgiving traditions were born, the family farm has been preserved as later generations have worked to create Thanksgiving memories for the next generation.

"Thanksgiving -- from the American point of view -- is this one holiday where food is central and food gets that context that feels very powerful," he said. "Thanksgiving for me wraps in all of the things that I think a good restaurant tries to provide every day of the year -- celebration and continuity and tradition and delicious experience."

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