Giving Thanks with Recipes from Award-Winning Chef Michel Nischan

By Lisa Gosselin, "Giving Thanks," November/December 2011

Chef Michel Nischan is showing Americans a new, healthier way to celebrate the harvest by making farm-fresh fruits and vegetables accessible, affordable and, thanks to these easy recipes, utterly delectable.

"What a fantastic menu. We made everything except the celery root puree. The result was the easiest, most delicious Thanksgiving dinner we've ever had. Nischan has a gift for making recipes that deliver. We've been to the Dressing Room...

Thanksgiving dinner at chef Michel Nischan’s Connecticut home starts like this: As the brined heritage turkey rests and aromas of cornbread stuffing and celery root puree rise from the sideboard, there is a quiet moment at the table. “Usually, my five kids are home, plus their friends, and we go around the table, each talking about what we are thankful for. It can be big things or something as simple as my 13-year-old, Andrew, saying, ‘We don’t have school today,’” he says with a laugh.

For Nischan, there are many reasons to give thanks. Dressing Room, the Westport restaurant that he and the late actor Paul Newman launched in 2006, has been a steady success. Nischan has a regular gig on the diabetes cooking show dLife on CNBC. He has served the Dalai Lama and has won two James Beard Awards. But what is Michel Nischan most thankful for? The foundation he co-founded in 2007, Wholesome Wave, now has programs in 26 states allowing low-income families to get Double Value Coupons, doubling their federal food-benefit dollars when they shop for fresh produce at local farmers’ markets.

“Growing up in Illinois, we were poor, but both my parents were raised on farms so we had a garden and we always had fresh fruits and vegetables on our table,” says Nischan. “Sometimes we had two meals a day, sometimes we only had one, but my mom said we should always share with our neighbors and we did.”

Photo Credit: Joshua Paul Photography

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