Top festive tips from Head Chef, Simon

The team here at The Red Lion are super busy hosting awesome Christmas parties with locals catching up, friends and work colleagues coming together from near and far and our festive decorations, twinkling tree and friendly staff creating the perfect ambience.

As we get ever closer to the big day, and it feels as though time is running out, we thought it would be a good time to pick up some top tips from Head Chef, Simon to make your Christmas day seamless and stress-free.

As our pub (and our sister pubs) will be closed on Christmas Day to ensure staff can enjoy this special time of year with their families, Simon is looking forward to spending Christmas morning with his family over a delicious breakfast of freshly baked croissants (he is a chef after all!), smoked salmon, fresh fruit salad, freshly brewed coffee and champagne…and will be practising what he preaches with the following tips:

In advance


  • Plan your menu in advance and compose a shopping list of everything you need.
  • Stock up early and take advantage of special offers on items such as choccies, crisps, condiments, bin bags, tin foil, cling film, roasting trays (check your turkey fits your tray / buy disposable trays to save the dreaded wash up), wines, ports, liqueurs, frozen goods.
  • If you love leftovers as much as us, cater for 50% more than you think you will need.
  • Ensure all frozen items being cooked on Christmas Day are taken out in advance to defrost.
  • Invest in a good meat thermometer… this will be your saving grace!
  • If you have the family descending on you, delegate. Get auntie to bring the pudding, grannie to bring the port and cheese etc. This will not only save you money but will also help everyone to feel a valued part of the day.

Christmas Eve


  • Prepare as much as you can the day before, peel and chop your veggies, make your stuffing and Yorkshire pud batter, wrap your pigs in blankets and make the bread sauce.
  • For the tastiest roasties, don’t cut the potatoes too small, around the size of a cricket ball is perfect.
  • Lay the table – who will sit where and do you need to be closest to the kitchen? Put the glasses and cutlery, table centres, crackers and name tags out.
  • Ensure the bubbles and booze are chilled and you have plenty of ice and mixers.
  • Get an early night, you will need the energy to get you through the day!

The more you can get done the day before, the more relaxed you will find the day itself, leaving you time to enjoy the morning’s festivities.

Christmas Day


  • Start your day early with a hot shower, make time for breakfast and, as it’s Christmas, perhaps enjoy a Bucks Fizz or two (try not to get too drunk before the food is ready!).
  • Jazz up your veggies using nuts and spices, examples include roasting parsnips in maple syrup and pecans or roasting your carrots in caraway and cumin.
  • Never cook turkey as long as the instructions on the packaging tell you, this will always lead to an overcooked bird! Use your meat thermometer ensuring it hits 70° and/ or prick the thickest part of breast and thigh to ensure juices run clear.
  • Always let your meat rest before carving.
  • When carving the meat, look at the way the sinew moves and slice against it for the perfect slicing.
  • Don’t get stressed, it’s just a meal… that you and your loved ones are together is all that really matters

Once it’s all over, have some pre-planned ideas for leftover meals and snacks including festive sausage roll, Boxing Day pie, quiche and bubble & squeak fritters…

Our opening times over the festive period will be slightly different than normal, so please do check ahead before travelling out to join us. These hours are advertised in-house at the pub, on our website and here. If we don’t see you beforehand, on behalf of all the team here at The Red Lion, may we wish you a wonderful Christmas.