Good food has a way of bringing everyone together. That’s why Chef Josh House, executive chef at Parkers Blue Ash Tavern, is so passionate about his palate-pleasing plates.
House began in food world at the young age of 15 making pizzas at a neighborhood pizza parlor. He left for college to study business, but he found himself back in the kitchen to pay the bills. “During this time, I realized working in the kitchen was my true passion and quickly made the change to culinary school and spending all of my time studying chefs, restaurants and cooking,” he recalls.
Since then, he’s gained his fair share of experience, working in a variety of kitchens from hotel banquets to fine dining in cities, such as Louisville, Phoenix and now Cincinnati. “Working in such a wide variety of positions has enabled me to be comfortable with most cuisines and any situation that may arise in the kitchen,” he explains.
House’s style has evolved over the years. He now uses a simplistic approach by using the best ingredients available as well as the proper, proven techniques. “Thanksgiving is a perfect example of this,” he says, “as we will take vary classic dishes using quality ingredients and use the techniques from our mothers and grandmothers to hopefully make a great meal for everyone.”
House offers some of his top tips for making a delectable turkey dinner if the task is up to you this year. “A lot of pressure can come with cooking the Thanksgiving meal,” he explains, “but it doesn’t have to.”
His first tip: Avoid doing it all yourself. “Allow and encourage people to bring specific dishes to help you out,” he says. “Taking on the task of hosting Thanksgiving is a big deal in and of itself, so if anyone is willing to offer assistance then it will help to make things a whole lot easier.”
Josh House, Parkers Blue Ash Tavern executive chef
Picking out the turkey you’re going to cook can feel like a daunting task, especially because you want to get the right one, and enough for everyone. “A quality turkey is well worth the additional money,” he explains. “It’s best to look for something locally raised and fresh, if possible.”
Although, you may have to purchase a frozen bird. If that’s the case, you’ll want to get it well ahead of turkey day so it can thaw under refrigeration. House says cooking a frozen turkey is no fun at all. You also want to avoid adding the stress of not having everything finished in time before Thanksgiving Day hunger sets in.
One way to cook your turkey is to brine it, House says. “As long as you review the process and recipe for brining a turkey, you’re sure to be amazed by the results,” House explains. “It is a simple step to help assist you in developing flavor and keeping your turkey moist.”
Although you may feel encouraged to try something new during this special holiday, House says it’s best to go traditional. “Thanksgiving is not the time to try your new five-spice sweet potatoes with kimchi and fried egg on top,” says House. “While I’m all for trying new things, it’s a good idea to keep it simple and do it right on a holiday with so many traditional classics.”
If you’d rather leave the cooking up to someone else, that’s also an option. “We’re one of the few restaurants that’ll be open on Thanksgiving Day,” he explains. “We’ll open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., serving a buffet-style meal complete with all the traditional favorites plus a few of the staff’s personal favorites.” Reservations are required, House adds, as he’s expecting more than 1,000 people throughout the day.
To learn more, visit their website www.parkersblueash.com, “like” Parkers Blue Ash Tavern on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter. You can also follow House on Twitter at @chefjoshhouse. “Feel free to send me any questions you may have about Thanksgiving,” he adds. “I’d be happy to help.”