Prepare the perfect festive dinner with Parki’s chef Yves Meersman


Author: Yves MeersmanPublished: 3 December 2015

Parkinson's LifePrep: -Parkinson's LifeCook: -Parkinson's LifeServes: -

Yves Meersman

For many enthusiastic cooks the festive season is a great opportunity to show off their skills. But if one of your guests has Parkinson’s disease, you may wonder: how can I prepare a dinner that everybody will enjoy? Here, Yves Meersman, the chef with Parkinson’s behind the Parki’s Kookatelier cooking project, shares his expert tips for a mise en place that will help you create the complete festive dinner

As a host you dream of enjoying the delicious meal you prepared with so much love and passion in a festive ambiance with your family. But the reality can be different, as too often you find yourself busy in the kitchen – at best you see your guests between the two courses. That’s not the idea!

That’s why I present to you a festive meal with ingredients you can prepare the day before, or ‘pre-cook’ before the guests arrive on the day itself, leaving you only with the finishing touches to add to the festive meal.

Tip: You can adapt dishes to accommodate the chewing and/or swallowing problems of guests by blending or mashing ingredients.

These 12 mise en place rules can be applied to any menu.

1. Order all ingredients and products well in advance.

2. Make sure you have enough storage space in the fridge to keep all part-prepared dishes cool.

3. Pre-cook fish or meat until half done, cooking the rest during the re-heating stage.

4. Parboil all vegetables in advance, cool well under running tap water, drain, pat dry and put in a dish lined with butter. Season the parboiled vegetables just before reheating.

5. Potato gratin can be pre-cooked in the oven until almost done. Put the pre-cooked dish – after cooling – in the fridge. Take out one hour before reheating the gratin.

6. Pre-cook rice and dough products until almost done, cool immediately and reheat for one minute in a hot, well-spiced stock; or toss in slightly heated farm butter or olive oil, just before serving.

Mise en place in the kitchen

7. Cold sauces such as cocktail sauce, tartar or vinaigrette are best prepared the day before to enhance the flavour – store in the fridge. Take out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving to bring it room temperature – again, this will enhance the flavour.

8. Prepare sauces the day before without the trimmings. Warm the pre-cooked or sautéed trimmings and add to the warm base sauce just before serving.

9. Season all warm preparations such as sauces and soups, with a taste booster just before serving.

10. Pre-heat the oven to 180-200°C, but turn down to 140-150°C when reheating as this will improve the cooking process.

11. Cut pre-cooked meat into smaller portions after reheating.

12. Take the temperature of the meat or fish as many times as possible with a thermometer to make sure that it’s fully cooked.

I recommend you try these mise en place preparation tips when making my delicious  saddle of hare fillet recipe, as featured below!

Saddle of hare fillet

Other great festive dishes to try:

Amuse-bouche – bonbons of salmon tartar and mackerel fillet in a velouté of goat’s cheese with a taste experience of horseradish and dill

Bavarois of lobster and Dutch shrimps with watercress and avocado dressing

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