Thanksgiving Tips from Metro Detroit’s Top Chefs

Take your Thanksgiving to the next level with these tips from local chefs with Wright & Co, Grey Ghost Detroit and others

Moms and dads looking to rule an amazing Thanksgiving table can really change it up this year thanks to some local culinary marvels thought up by metro Detroit’s top chefs.

The main event

No. 1 tip: Brine your turkey! I make a flavorful brine out of oranges, salt, apple juice, water, thyme, garlic and peppercorns, then brine the bird overnight. It’s not always possible with space issues, but if you can, your turkey will be majorly moist and flavorful.

Mark Djozlija, Wright & Co

The stuffing

For a fun twist on stuffing, I like to use corn bread instead of Stovetop or traditional white bread stuffing. Cornbread adds sweetness and some spicy pork sausage is a great way to give your Thanksgiving a little southern flare.

John Vermiglio, Grey Ghost Detroit, fur father of two

Nduja Stuffing is my jam! Add this spicy Southern Italian salami along with toasted ciabatta, oregano, chicken stock and onions for some nice complexity. Put the stuffing inside the turkey and bake into your casserole dish. Don’t forget the wine! Riesling will pair great with this to cut the spice.

Anthony Lomboardo, SheWolf

A pop of color

While it’s easy to grab a can of cranberry, it’s also easy and totally satisfying to make your own! Simply grab a bag of dried cranberries, macerate with sugar and simmer on the stovetop with orange juice, minced apples, shallot and thyme for about an hour and a half. It gives you a much more exciting cranberry sauce/chutney that compliments every dish on your table.

Joe Giacomino, Grey Ghost Detroit, dad of two


My favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving is apple pie, but the crust has to be perfect. Don’t go cheap on the butter, it is the most important ingredient of a good crust. After you make the dough, make sure you let it rest for at least three hours wrapped in the refrigerator before rolling out.

Nick Janutol, Leila Detroit, dad of two

Mise en place (setting up) is the key to success! Most people don’t realize that you can have 90% of your prep work done the day before, allowing you to relax (and more time for football!) Also, switch things up by pickling your cranberries (1 1/3 cup honey, 1 pound cranberries, 2/3 cup red wine vinegar – cook honey over medium heat until caramelized, add vinegar and simmer, then add cranberries ‘til softened).

Andy Hollyday, Selden Standard, dad of one

Looking for even more Thanksgiving recipes? Check out our Kids Holiday Menu, which features six recipes kids can help out with.

Metro Parent Editorial Team
Metro Parent Editorial Team
Since 1986, the Metro Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for metro Detroit families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.


    • Thanks for your feedback, Kelly! We strive to mix up our sources for gender and diversity. This time we wound up connecting with male chefs by our deadline, but we absolutely love the creativity and skill of metro Detroit’s female chefs, too! These tips are definitely for ANY cook, but we’ll be mindful of getting a few mamas in the mix next time!


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