Chef's Table: With Colin Mackay On Christmas
As Christmas traditions are embraced and tablescapes become warm and festive, the celebrated chef and restaurateur, Colin Mackay, reveals what his ideal Christmas is going to look like. Even though he’s far away from his homeland, Scotland, Sala and Blackbird’s main man is sticking to his good ‘ol traditional British customs.
Philippine Tatler: When it comes to traditional Christmas feasts, what is your style (i.e. turkey with stuffing and all the trimmings? Holiday Ham? Queso de Bola?)
Colin Mackay: My Christmas table is a traditional British one with a roast turkey or goose, chestnut stuffing, bread sauce, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and more. I make a Christmas pudding earlier in the year, which arrives flamed with brandy at the table accompanied by thick custard and more brandy butter. It is all rather rich and indulgent.
PT: What is a Christmas table tradition you embrace year after year?
CM: Christmas crackers. A novelty-filled festive treat that opens with a bang and includes a paper hat symbolising those worn by the Wise Men and a traditionally awful Christmas joke.
PT: What will Colin Mackay’s Christmas lunch (or dinner) spread comprise of this year?
CM: The main event is the traditional turkey as above. To start, we’ll probably have some caviar or gravadlax and blinis.
PT: What are your favourite festive ingredients? Or what foods/ingredients are always in your Christmas menu?
CM: Root vegetables, stone fruits , berries, game birds, spices, honey and Stilton – the king of British cheese.
PT: Favourite Yuletide drink?
CM: The meal is very versatile when it comes to wine pairing and as it’s a festive time we try new or special wines. Rioja, Bordeaux or robust Rhône reds are all good choices.
PT: Who are your favourite Christmas guests?
CM: Good friends visiting Manila for the festive season who we don’t get a chance to see enough of throughout the year.
PT: What’s on your merry playlist (either at your restaurants or at home) now?
CM: Each of the restaurants has a different Christmas playlist. I am especially enjoying the one in Blackbird which features an eclectic selection from Blossom Dearie to Eartha Kitt with Peggy Lee and Nina Simone remixed for good measure!
PT: What was the best Christmas present you have received to date?
CM: The memory of a really wonderful day of good conversation and fine food with friends we don’t get to see as often as we should.
PT: What’s on your Wish List this year?
CM: Mundane things…some quality cooking pans that actually work on my new induction hob at our country house!
PT: Any New Year’s resolutions?
CM: To actually abide by the ones I made last year.