From delicious feasts to festive music, sparkling lights and spending time with your family and friends—not to mention presents and double (or triple) helpings of dessert—there’s a lot to love about Christmas. It’s also a time for family traditions, and what’s special is that every family will have their own. Here, Executive Chef of BLACK Bar & Grill, Dany Karam talks about his family traditions growing up in Lebanon and what his all-time favourite dish is to cook on Christmas Day.
Christmas holds a very special place in my heart, and it’s a period of time that has helped shape and define who I am today, as a person and as a professional chef. Growing up in a Lebanese family we always ate fresh seasonal produce—never anything from a can. My dad grew all our fruits and vegetables and would harvest them when they were perfectly ripe. My mother would then prepare amazing meals using everything and making sure nothing was wasted. One of my favourite Christmas traditions is breaking bread with my mother and father, and extended family and friends. We usually do this around the festive season and it always reminds me of my childhood.
For a special occasion, and at Christmas time, my favourite meal to cook is a Lebanese BBQ featuring an array of dishes, dips, breads, meats, vegetables, and pickles. We would usually start with different types of hot and cold mezze, including my mum’s traditional hummus, and then move on to a selection of delicious grilled fish and meats, and finish up with Lebanese sweets.
My favourite dish on BLACK Bar & Grill’s Christmas menu would have to be the rump cap served with asparagus, charred baby leek, parsley, and oxtail sauce. Our beef is hand-selected and is lightly smoked to infuse the sweet delicate flavour of cherry wood ash before being grilled over high-heat Australian Iron Bark on the wood-fired grill. The unique slow-burning wood and combustion allows the full flavour of the steak to develop, and the combination of these techniques accentuates the best qualities of Australia’s finest produce. Plus, I love meat, and the rump cap we use from David Blackmore Wagyu is just full of umami flavour.
If you’re inviting guests over this Christmas and festive season and would like to impress, I would recommend choosing high quality produce-from seafood to meat, fruits and vegetables. Also, be sure to keep it simple and let your natural ingredients shine.
BLACK Bar & Grill is open this Christmas Day, and chef Dany Karam and the BLACK team have prepared a beautiful fine dining feast for the whole family to enjoy. Plus, there’s a complimentary glass of sparkling on arrival to help you start your Christmas celebration.