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Happy Chefsgiving: Danyele McPherson

by Steven Doyle

Thanksgiving is upon us once again and all the gobblers are running for cover. To get you in the mood for a little fun and relaxation we asked a few chefs around Dallas several questions so we get our dinner cooked just right. We will run their answers both today and tomorrow, so check back often to see how your favorite chef weighs in on the holiday.

Danyele McPherson is the feisty Chef de Cuisine behind The Grape on Lower Greenville. She is slugging it out using her favorite knives on the tenth season of Top Chef, and attended the Culinary Institute of America. Today Danyele sends thanks and answers a few of our silly Thanksgiving  questions.

Do you have any industry secrets on a perfect Turkey? 

Brining.  It’s the best way to make sure you have a perfectly seasoned and moist turkey.

Canned or fresh cranberry sauce? 

We never had either growing up.  No room on the table for anything sweet unless it was the canned pumpkin in the pie.  Now I’m going fresh cranberry.

What is the best Thanksgiving dish you had as a child? 

Every holiday meal at the folks involves some pre meal snacking.  My favorite thing my mom makes is a celery stick filled with cream cheese mixed with chopped green olives and pimento.  Might not sound amazing, but I love those things.  It’s a good interlude between port wine cheeseball and summer sausage.

Share an easy dish to take to a pot luck Thanksgiving dinner. 

Obviously that awesome cream cheese and olive celery thing I was talking about!

What’s plan B after burning the bird? 

Cook up the Steak-umms that are surely in Mom’s freezer and pretend like it’s turkey.  Everyone is more interested in the gravy and sides anyways.

Tell us your favorite holiday tradition. 

My family always puts the Christmas tree up the day before Thanksgiving so we can maximize our viewing pleasure.  If my mom is going to spend 4 hours assembling and wrapping the tree in lights, we’re going to be checking it out on Thanksgiving.

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