Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Celebrity Chefs Dish on Christmas Culinary Traditions with Family and Friends

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Celebrity Chefs Dish on Christmas Culinary Traditions with Family and Friends

Article excerpt

Celebrity chefs dish on Christmas traditions

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TORONTO - Tradition is one of the most important aspects of the Christmas season for Ricardo Larrivee.

"Whatever your parents were doing, try to do it again, and if you have no tradition, create some and stick to this year after year and eventually it becomes something that means something to everyone," says the Quebec celeb chef, who is married with three daughters, ages 17, 15 and 12.

Along with turkey and all the trimmings, an important component of the celebration is transferring family lore to the next generation. In his home, all the children sit at the same table as the adults for the Dec. 25 feast.

Larrivee disagrees with feeding young kids a different menu at a separate table or even in another room, so he's devised a way to encourage youngsters to linger with the adults.

"I create these nice cookie houses. Every child has a gingerbread house in front of (them) full of candy, so as soon as they're done eating, then they will stay at the table with us and they will just enjoy themselves decorating these houses and just having fun at the table," Larrivee explains.

"You don't want them to run away from these conversations. You want them to hear the same stories ... year after year you'll come back with things that happened in the year, you'll celebrate what's to come and (create) memories."

The evening of Dec. 24th is devoted to a party with neighbours and close friends.

"I use the wood-oven pizza stove outside. It can be a storm, can be minus 30, we don't care," says Larrivee.

Down Under, Christmas Day can be hot and sunny, giving rise to a number of different food traditions for Australians.

"We have a mix usually because we're English colonial background so a lot of people still do traditional Christmas -- which on a 35-degree (Celsius) day can be challenging -- with a swim at the beach in the middle of it," says magazine editor and food stylist Donna Hay. …

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