III Forks Executive Chef Tommy Nevill Talks Thanksgiving Dishes, Traditions And More


Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a chef on Thanksgiving? Do they prepare their meals like they would at their restaurants? What traditions do they hold near and dear to their hearts?

We were curious about these questions, and decided to ask three local chefs in the Palm Beaches how they like to celebrate the holiday. They also shared their favorite Thanksgiving recipes with us so that you can cook like a true professional this year.

Keep reading to find out why Lee Morris cooks salmon instead of turkey, how to make Clay Conley’s apple streusel and what Marco Barbisotti’s favorite things are about the fall season.

Main Course: Mustard-Crusted Cedar Plank Salmon

Photo courtesy LibbyVision.com

Recipe courtesy of Lee Morris, 1000 NORTH

“As a kid, we did the traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey, both at my house and at my grandmother’s in New Jersey. We spent a lot of time on the coast, so our stuffing was oyster stuffing. My dad, who was the family foodie, would make it using either cornbread or brioche,” says Morris. “When the family moved to South Florida in 1993, Dad decided to lighten things up. He started cooking cedar plank salmon on the grill for Thanksgiving. So, that became the family tradition. At Thanksgiving, the main dish is still salmon at our house.”

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

2 tablespoons Grey Poupon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons local honey (run under hot water to make it easier to work with)

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

1 salmon side with skin, trim the tail piece about 6 inches from the bottom and save for lunch on another day (that piece overcooks and burns easily, and should not be used for this dish)

1 cedar grilling plank

Soak the plank in water for one to two hours before grilling. Keep it immersed with a plate or something heavy. Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal grill. Stir together the mustards, honey, rosemary and zest. Season the flesh of the salmon liberally with salt and pepper.

Using a rubber spatula, spread the mustard mixture on the flesh side of the salmon, and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Put the salmon skin-side down on the plank. Grill covered with lid down until the salmon is cooked through and the edges are browned (about 13 to 15 minutes).

Note: If the plank catches fire, do not panic. Let the fire extinguish on the grill with the vents closed.

Use a spatula to carefully remove the salmon from the grill. Keep the salmon on the plank. Let the salmon stand on the plank for five minutes before serving. Dish serves well with a glass of white wine.

Side Dish: Sweet Potato With Caramelized Apple

Photo courtesy LibbyVision.com

Recipe courtesy of Marco Barbisotti, Sant Ambroeus

“I really love this time of the year when the season changes and colors turn to fall,” says Barbisotti. “Especially here in the U.S., it’s ideal for spending some time with your family picking pumpkins and having a wonderful dinner together.”

8 sweet potatoes

4 apples

250 grams butter

Juice from 1 orange

Salt and pepper

Five-spice at your taste

Cook the potato unpeeled in the oven until it’s soft, then cut in half and scoop out the potato with the spoon. Put the potato in the food processor with butter, some orange juice, salt, pepper and the five-spice and work until smooth. Peel and core the apple and cut into eighths, then sauté in the butter and sprinkle with five-spice. Top the sweet potato purée with the buttered apple and enjoy. 

Dessert: Grandma Millie’s Apple Streusel

Photo courtesy of Buccan

Recipe courtesy of Clay Conley, Buccan

“We had a large apple orchard at our house in Maine as a kid,” says Conley. “I remember my grandma, Millie, making some version of this and letting me ‘pinch’ the streusel on top and it brings me back fond memories of her.”


1 homemade or store-bought pie crust

Blind bake the crust in a 350-375 F oven. It is best to use immediately when the dough is still hot.


1 cup flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon corn meal

6 tablespoons butter, softened 

Combine all ingredients with a fork until crumbly texture is achieved.


2 tablespoons butter

2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Zest of 1 orange

Pinch of salt

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt butter in a large sauté pan. Add apples, sugar, cinnamon, zest and salt, and sauté until soft. Add the cranberries and continue to cook until apples just start to break down. Remove apples with a slotted spoon, leaving juice behind. Add the cream and reduce until thick and nape. Combine with apples.

In warm, partially baked pie crust spread apple filling in shell. Top with pinches of the streusel and then bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.

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