News, Culture & Society

What CHEFS are cooking this year for Christmas

Chef Patron of Texture, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Marylebone, London Agrri Sverrisson, revealed what he eats on Christmas Day back in his native country of Iceland. 

Agrri Sverrisson says he has a traditional Icelandic Christmas dinner of roast lamb (centre), red cabbage (top left), leaf bread (top right), peas (left) and a white sauce with potatoes (right)

Aggri Sverrisson is chef patron of Michelin-starred Texture

Aggri Sverrisson is chef patron of Michelin-starred Texture

We open all the presents on the 24th, not the 25th. We love our drinking, but we don’t drink on the 24th — no way. It’s very serious, even people like who love a drink or two don’t drink on the 24th. 

Most people are in the kitchen all day cooking, listening to Christmas music, eating chocolate and helping each other. A typical start would be herring, smoked salmon and gravlax to start with, then the lamb, then you always have risalamande [a cold, rice pudding dish] for dessert.

For Christmas Day we prepare smoked leg of lamb with red cabbage, white sauce, potatoes and leaf bread. This is what we’ve been eating for hundreds and hundreds of years back in Iceland, and we only ever eat it at Christmas — not at any other time. And I love it, it’s amazing. The smoky scent of the lamb is always Christmas to me. When I start making the white sauce too, the smell that comes from it — all sweet and sour — it’s delicious. We serve it with a bit of leaf bread, which is very thin, deep fried bread. It’s all very traditional. It has a very special place in my heart.

Other flavours which come out include ginger cake, we do a lot of ginger cake. Chocolate is everywhere too. Anything sweet basically. When you’re cooking the risalamande you can put cinnamon, apple compote or vanilla in it. We also do cinnamon gingerbread houses, everybody does one of those. The mothers and kids do them together in advance, and they can get very competitive and elaborate — they can be massive. They’ll decorate them with icing in all sorts of colours and with sweets too, of course.