6 Recipes From Renowned Local Chefs to Make for a Holiday Party

Holiday meal inspiration from our fantasy kitchen lineup of six local celebrated-to-celebrity chefs and bartenders.


Marko Tomovic

If you’ve ever indulged in one of Marko Tomovic’s concoctions, you know why he’s on our guest list. It’s true some of the pours he serves may be as aged as he is, but the 28-year-old’s time in the industry doesn’t equate to his mastery of mixing. He started building beverages in Chicago, at places like Drumbar, before coming to Miami Beach as head bartender for the Faena Hotel where he crafts drinks that aren’t just pretty, they’re experiential. They’re so inventive, in fact, that when David and Vanessa Cardaci, the couple behind Rhythm & Vine, set out to open The Wilder in downtown Fort Lauderdale, they tapped Tomovic to be the “minister of beverage.” There, he whips up cocktails like the “Don’t Sleep on Me,” a lavender, frothy vice with rum, vanilla and bubble tea.

Shades of Autumn cocktail

Serves 1

2 ounces Santa Teresa 1796 Rum

¾ ounce fresh lemon

½ ounce pomegranate

½ ounce honey syrup

3 fingers of loose chai tea set in an infuser

Mix all ingredients. The chai sets in after a couple minutes from the infuser.

Clay Conley 

Palm Beach knows him for his Buccan restaurant, which opened nearly a decade ago. But Clay Conley’s kitchen career started when he was 13 and washing dishes. Or perhaps before that, during the years he spent on his family’s farm in Maine. After attending college in Florida, Conley returned to New England to work for celebrity chef Todd English, rising through the the ranks to culinary director for 18 international restaurants. Before he settled in Palm Beach County, opening Imoto and Grato after Buccan’s success, Conley garnered clout as executive chef at the Mandarin Oriental. A four-time James Beard award semi-finalist, Conley has been acknowledged in the New York Times and Travel + Leisure, and been featured on Food Network and Cooking Channel.

Seafood Newburgh

Serves 4

4 tablespoons butter

¼ cup shallot, minced

2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika

¼ cup dry sherry

1 quart lobster stock

½ cup cream

1 tablespoon chives, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped

2 1.5 pounds lobsters, cleaned and diced

4 large sea scallops, seared

8 shrimp, seared

Melt butter in sauce pot over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft. Add paprika and sherry and boil. Add cream and reduce until thick at least by half. Add herbs and seafood and just warm through. Serve with puff pastry vol-au-vents.

Lobster Stock

¼ cup EVOO

4 lobster bodies, gills and guts removed, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

1 bulb fennel, chopped

1 head garlic, sliced cross section

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 bay leaf

5 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme

2 cups dry white wine

1 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes Cold water to cover Salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy-bottom stockpot heat oil over high heat until smoking. Add lobster bodies and cook until bright red. Add onions, fennel, carrot, bay leaf and thyme and sauté until vegetables are soft. De-glaze with white wine and bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour. With potato masher, smash bodies and vegetables and strain.

Sherry Yard 

There’s winning a James Beard Award; and then there’s winning three James Beard Awards. Renowned pastry chef Sherry Yard is of the latter. Her expertise qualifies her as a judge on ABC’s “The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition,” which airs on Dec. 6. She’s also appeared on shows like “Top Chef: Just Desserts,” “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “Cake Wars Christmas,” and even “Oprah.” Yard got her start in Los Angeles working for Wolfgang Puck restaurants. During two decades, she made a name for herself and landed gigs providing pastries for the Grammy Awards, the Emmy Awards and the Academy Awards’ Governors Ball. Building on her movie experience, she joined iPic Entertainment, redefining the dine-in experience and creating menus for the theaters’ dining outposts, like Boca’s Tanzy restaurant.

Latke Fries

Serves 16

16 pounds Idaho/russet potatoes, peeled/halved

8 eggs, beaten

1 cup garlic oil

2 cups potato starch

1 tablespoon thyme, chopped

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

¼ cup kosher salt

1 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground

1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon chives, minced

2 ounces applesauce

Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add halved potatoes and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Drain water and let cool in refrigerator. Place potatoes into a robot coupe fitted with the shredder attachment (7 mm). Shred into a mixing bowl, making sure not to break down the strands too fine. Place the rest of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until incorporated. Combine the shredded potatoes into the mixing bowl and gently mix with hands. After potatoes are well coated, place into a parchment-lined 2-inch deep pan. Repeat with second 2-inch deep pan and press down firmly to ensure even product. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes. Allow to cool at room temperature. Refrigerate. Cut 4.5-inch-by-¾ -inch thick “fries.” Each pan should yield four rows, approximately 18 pieces per row. Place 10 pieces of latke fries into a 350 F deep-fryer for 3 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Remove from fryer and shake off excess oil. Season with kosher salt and place into a parchment-lined bowl. Place housemade applesauce into a 2-ounce ramekin. Sprinkle minced chives on top, or replace it with caviar. Serve immediately.

Geoffrey Zakarian 

If Geoffrey Zakarian were to try to condense his resume onto one page, he’d have a hard time doing so. Luckily for the Food Network’s “Chopped” judge, most people know who he is without one. Zakarian, winner of the fourth season of “The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs,” is co-host of talk shows “The Kitchen” and “Top 5 Restaurants.” He also hosts the primetime series “Cooks vs. Cons.” But of course before TV appearances, Zakarian put in the work, mastering the science of food at Le Cirque in 1982. In 2001, he opened his first restaurant. Then he opened another. Then he wrote a book. And then he opened three more restaurants in the same year. For the sake of space, we’ll summarize that he’s the guy behind many successful concepts around the world, including  Point Royal at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood.

Duck Confit

Serves 6

4.34 ounces duck confit, pulled

8.68 ounces sweet potatoes, oblique-cut, and steamed

8.68 ounces yukon gold potatoes, oblique-cut and steamed

1 ounce red onion, julienne

2.9 ounces red and green pepper, julienne

1.44 ounces celery

.11 ounce duck rub

.3 ounce salt

.3 ounce pepper

2.9 ounces roasted corn

½ ounce herbs (finely chopped parsley, chives and chervil)

2 ounces leeks, white part

6 organic eggs

2 ounces cilantro aioli

In a hot pan add a drizzle of oil and cook the onion, leeks, pepper and celery. Season with grilled rub, salt and pepper. Cook until wilted and caramelized. Add the corn and duck, and quickly saute them together. Remove from heat and set aside. Meanwhile, in a pot of simmering water, poach the eggs and set aside on another hot pan with oil. Pan fry the yukon and sweet potatoes until golden. Strain excess oil, add the duck mix and toss with the rest of the ingredients (adjust seasoning if necessary). Put the mixture in your preferred vessel and place the poached eggs on top and drizzle with the cilantro aioli.

Duck Rub

10 ounces kosher salt

8 ounces sugar in the raw

4 ounces brown sugar

1 ounce granulated garlic

1 ounce granulated onion

3 ounces paprika

2 ounces chili powder

5 ounces cayenne pepper

1 ounce thyme

1 ounce ground nutmeg

¼ ounce ground black pepper

¼ ounce oregeno

¼ ounce ground fennel seed

½ ounce ground coriander

Combine all ingredients.

Duck Confit

10 ounces duck fat

20 ounces duck legs

1 ounce duck rub

Sprinkle the duck legs with the rub and place in a non-reactive container. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours, up to 24. Preheat oven to 275 F. Place in 4-inch deep pan in single layers, and cover each layer by 1 inch of duck fat. Cover the pan with foil and place on the flat top to come to a simmer. Once fat has simmered, place in the oven to cook for about 3 hours, or until legs are very tender. Remove and allow the legs to cool in the fat at room temperature.

Cilantro Aioli

3 ½ ounces egg yolk

.2 ounce raw garlic

1.6 ounces fresh lime juice

.3 ounce lime zest

½ ounce salt

3 ounces cilantro picked

4.2 ounces blanched spinach

12.3 ounces grapeseed oil

1 ½ ounces olive oil

Mix first set of ingredients together. Reserve. Blend together second set of ingredients in blender on high speed for 1 minute. Reserve. Before serving, slowly mix the herb oil together with the egg base.

Lindsay Autry 

There’s no one we’d trust more than chef Lindsay Autry to bring the pie to our dream dinner party. The queen of Southern soul food was a finalist on Bravo’s ninth season of “Top Chef,” and this year she received her first James Beard Foundation nomination. The North Carolina native known for fusing comfort foods with Mediterranean classics worked at notable restaurants in South Florida and Mexico before conceptualizing her West Palm Beach culinary venture, The Regional Kitchen & Public House, two years ago.

Betty’s Pecan Pie

Serves 8

1 cup white corn syrup

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup melted unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 orange; zest removed with a microplane

3 whole eggs

1 cup chopped pecans

1 9-inch savory pie shell or pie dough; unbaked

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, melted butter, orange zest and vanilla extract. Whisk well to combine. In a separate small mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs and add to the sugar mixture. Pour mix into a 9-inch pie shell, unbaked, and sprinkle pecans on top. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until set. Let cool completely and serve.

Paul Niedermann 

Paul Niedermann has cooked for the likes of Tyra Banks, Hilary Duff, Rob Dyrdek and now, dwellers of Delray Beach’s Atlantic Avenue. He’s also charmed the taste buds of chef Gordon Ramsay, who selected Niedermann as the season nine winner of Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen.” At the time only 27 years old, the Davie native won placement in the kitchen at BLT Steak in New York. But, the Sunshine State claimed him back in 2015, first at Hudson at Waterway East, and now at SALT7 in Delray Beach.


Serves 6

2 2/3 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch salt

5 3/4 tablespoons butter (melted)

1 zest orange

1 zest lemon

2 3/4 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons Grand Marnier

3 eggs


10 1/2 ounces Loxahatchee honey

1/4 cup slivered almonds toasted Sprinkles to taste

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, the baking powder and the salt, then add the butter, orange zest, lemon zest, sugar and Grand Marnier. Start to combine with a fork until crumbly. Add the eggs one at a time and mix to combine. When almost combined, move the mix to a lightly floured flat surface. Add an extra 1 1/2 tablespoons flour and knead together to form a soft dough. Cover with a clean tea towel and let rest 30 minutes. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into thin ropes 1/4 inch in diameter. Cut to make small cubes and roll each cube into a ball slightly smaller than a marble. Try to make them all the same size. In a medium pot add 2 to 3 inches of oil and heat to 350 F. Add the struffoli (in batches), turning a couple of times and when golden, drain on a paper towel-lined plate and let cool. While struffoli are cooling in a large pan on low/medium heat, heat the honey until warm and slightly watery. Add the cooled struffoli and mix to coat, then add sprinkles and slivered almonds. Then form the honey balls into desired shape. Let the finished struffoli sit until the honey solidifies (approximately 1.5 to 2 hours), and then serve.

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