Chefs Share: Thanksgiving Traditions

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Thanksgiving is a time for family, feasting, football, and traditions ranging from secret recipes passed down between generations, to waking up at the crack of dawn to participate in turkey trots. Every family has their own traditions and sharing what makes Thanksgiving special to you is a fun way to celebrate the holiday. In the true spirit of the season, we spoke with some local San Diego chefs to get the inside scoop about their family turkey day traditions!

Executive Chef Colten Lemmer, of Union Kitchen & Tap

Gaslamp Union Kitchen and Tap_Chef Colten Lemmer

We don’t think we’ve heard a more endearing family tradition than Executive Chef Colten Lemmer, of Union Kitchen & Tap in the Gaslamp. Chef Colton remembers celebrating Thanksgiving as he grew up with his mom having everyone write something they were thankful for on a little strip of paper. She would then roll each into a croissant and bake them to perfection. During the big Thanksgiving dinner, everyone would open one of the rolls, read the paper out loud, and then the family would all try to guess who it belonged too – what a wonderful family holiday tradition.




Executive Chef Kevin Templeton, barleymash

Kevin Templeton of the Gaslamp District’s iconic barleymash is a pro when it comes to cooking a delicious and filling Thanksgiving feast. Like his style as Executive Chef at barleymash, Kevin strives to incorporate fresh ingredients and unique flavors in every bite. The key to a successful turkey day meal, according to Chef Kevin, is prepping as much as possible ahead of time so that you don’t have to be running around on Thanksgiving Day. You’ll have more time to kick back with the fam. When asked about his favorite holiday tradition, he simply stated that his family likes to have plenty of wine on hand and we could not agree more!

Chef Quinnton Austin, Louisiana Purchase

Louisiana Purchase Chef Quinnton

There is a ton of excitement behind Grind and Prosper Hospitality’s newest project, Louisiana Purchase, which is set to open in early 2019. And some of anticipation stems from Chef Quinnton Austin, who recently made the trek from New Orleans out to San Diego for this culinary adventure. Chef Quinnton (who goes by Chef Q), let us know one of his favorite family Thanksgiving traditions was actually getting away from tradition, in that they scrapped the turkey and enjoyed a full-on barbecue feast! Chef Q’s family, along with family friends and neighbors would come together with different dishes and form a type of buffet line, where they dined on ribs, bbq chicken and all the fixings, instead of the typical turkey meal.

Chef Daniel England, OMG Hospitality

OMG Hospitality Corporate Chef Daniel England has been in the restaurant industry for 20 years and typically finds himself working during the Thanksgiving holiday. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a tradition he looks forward to each year! Chef Dan makes sure to have a nice family meal for all his staff working on turkey day, especially as this can be a busy day of the year for restaurant workers. With locations such as Waterbar and Pacific Beach Alehouse, a spot that serves a traditional Thanksgiving buffet, the staff will be hard at work on November 22nd. Chef Dan also likes to squeeze in a little football watching when he can as well!

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