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The menus celebrity chefs are planning to serve up this Christmas

Some will be taking a classic approach to festive fare while others are ringing the changes

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Ken Hom will be bringing a taste of France to Bangkok this holiday season  

17 DECEMBER 2008

Their culinary skills mean that when it comes to Christmas celebrity chefs would have little problem putting together the ultimate Michelin-worthy menu. A surprising number have their hearts set on surprisingly simple fare, however – a good home-cooked meal shared with family and friends. Others take the opportunity to go back to their culinary roots and feast on favourite dishes from their homeland. Here's a look at what some of our favourite chefs will be tucking into on Christmas Day.

Anjum Anand, from the BBC series Indian Food Made Easy, will be trading turkeys for chopsticks this festive season. "I'm in Hong Kong for the holiday so I am looking forward to seeing what is on offer in that part of the world for Christmas,“ she reveals.

For cookery writer and presenter Jo Pratt Christmas is all about getting stuck into traditional fare. “I simply adore Christmas food," she admits. "Canapés and cocktails before the big day, plenty of homemade mince pies, Christmas cake and the best part of all - traditional roast turkey and all the trimmings followed by Christmas pudding with rum sauce."

Sharing Jo's enthusiasm is Great British Menu finalist Michael Caines. The executive chef at Devon's tudor-type country house hotel Gidleigh Park loves a classic Christmas, too. "I look forward to a traditional Christmas turkey dinner," says Michael, adding he also enjoys the fact that he and his family can be together and have relatives over on Boxing Day.

Also subscribing to traditional family option is designer and cookery writer Sophie Conran, who celebrates in a big get-together, with everyone doing their bit to help the load. “Christmas day it is normally a big family get-together, and we all like to help make the lunch special," she explains. "Last year we all went to my mum's and brought different parts of the feast. The house was decorated in all the festive finery and the table heaved with crackers and candles!”

For other culinary whizzes holiday fare represents an opportunity to go back to their origins. Jamaica-born chef and reggae musician Levi Roots has a delicious Caribbean feast planned. On the menu is Saint Jago de la Vega salmon. "Giant cutlets of succulent pink Scottish salmon marinated in Caribbean curry sauce then baked in the oven," explains Levi, who says he'll be serving it up with steamed calaloo – the spinach-like leaves of a type of taro root - and plum tomatoes. Following it will be: "Home made traditional Christmas pudding flamed with overproof Jamaican Rum. Fabulocious!!”

Also favouring her own heritage is Manju Mahli. The renowned Indian chef and tv star is sticking to Indian cuisine on the big day. "For Christmas lunch I'll be preparing a special aromatic fish curry with seasoned rice and onion and potato fritters," she says. Other kitchen maestros are taking the opportunity to bridge the gap between cultures. Ken Hom, the father of Chinese cookery, is to bring a taste of France to the Thai capital this holiday season. "I'll be eating caviar from Istanbul and truffles from my friends," he explains. "However, I will be mixing those ingredients with an Asian flavour as I'll be cooking in Bangkok!"

Chinese Food Made Easy host Ching-He Huang is also thinking of combining flavours from the West with those of the East. “I might do turkey, but with a Chinese style marinade using honey, a good quality yellow bean paste, some light soy, garlic and ginger," she says.

One chef definitely giving turkey a miss this year is Jun Tanaka, head chef at London's Pearl restaurant. "I will be celebrating Christmas in Wales," he reveals, "so there's only one thing I want on the menu and that is a roast rib of Welsh black beef.”

Someone else whose Christmas fare will be affected by location is laid-back Australian chef and restaurateur Bill Granger. Back in his native land for the holidays – which will be sweltering under the summer sun – Bill will be tucking into much lighter fare featuring “glazed spiced ham with fresh mango chutney and grilled Australian lobster with garlic mayonnaise". Also on the menu are a "huge assortment of different salads, fresh cherry trifle and lots of pink champagne.”