Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge winner created the ultimate Thanksgiving feast


Only one chef will be the Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge winner. Who created the ultimate Thanksgiving feast that impressed the Food Network judges?

While everyone is preparing for their own holiday feast, three chefs are vying for the Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge title. Which chef earned the Food Network crown? More importantly, what recipes will you borrow for your own feast?

In the first challenge, the three chefs had to create a dish inspired by the special person that they are most thankful for. In addition, the dish had to feature a particular squash. With just 30 minutes, this challenge required smart recipe choices. 30 minutes isn’t a lot of time to cook squash.

Eric’s dish was a homage to this finance. His acorn squash oyster Rockefeller. While the squash and crab stuffing had a lovely nod to Thanksgiving, the oyster was a little too much. In a way, this dish would have been better without the oyster (or at least a smaller oyster).

Christian suffered from a common Food Network cooking competition error. He forgot the point of the challenge, making squash the star of the dish.

While Christian’s dish was tasty, it wasn’t a squash dish. It was a salmon dish with some squash.

Robin really grasped the challenge. His simple butternut squash salad was not only visually stunning but featured the squash best. Overall, the dish felt like Thanksgiving. With his balance of flavors, it was clear that Robin would win the advantage.

With $25,000 on the line, that advantage was vital. Robin received 15 minutes of sous chef help. Given the difficulty of the challenge, the three-hour time frame and the twist, this few extra minutes of assistance could make a difference.

For the final Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge feast, the three chefs had three hours to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner. In addition to a whole turkey, they had to create two sided. Plus, the mid-challenge twist of a pie for dessert. These chefs really had to deliver for the $25,000 prize.

One key tip that any home cook watching needed to learn was that the chefs broke down the turkey. Three hours to cook a whole turkey is impossible. But, by breaking down the turkey, the chefs got it done.

As home cooks prepare their own Ultimate Thanksgiving feast, breaking down a turkey can be helpful to get the bird cooked more quickly. Remember, the more surface area equals a more quickly cooked bird.

Looking at the three chefs’ dinners, they were very different. Robin took a traditional Americana approach. This idea was far different from his dishes all season long. He mentioned that Thanksgiving was the day where his family embraced American cooking.

Overall, his dinner went big. As the judges’ said, it was almost Martha Stewart-esque. From the two types of turkey to the cranberry sauce, it was as American as his apple pie for dessert.

The biggest win from his dinner was the gravy. By using all the turkey pieces and the turkey broth, it was bursting with flavor.

Unfortunately, his mac and cheese was a miss. It needed more creaminess to be successful.

Eric really wanted to win the Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge. His final meal was a homage to his parents. From the marsala gravy to the pesto, it was a lovely nod to the blending of traditions.

The biggest takeaway from Eric’s meal was the hassleback sweet potatoes. Anyone who loves sweet potato flavor, but doesn’t like those marshmallows on a casserole needs to copy this recipe. It is simple, yet bursting with flavor. It was definitely a win for him.


Unfortunately, Eric had a few mis-steps. His pie crust was overbaked and his squash was a little under. Even though he had highlights, those errors cost him with the judges.

Christian took a unique spin on this Thanksgiving feast. He blended where he had been with where he is now. It was a good representation of how different flavors can be incorporated into a Thanksgiving feast.

Overall, Christian’s meal was Creole forward. The biggest star of his feast was the turkey. The butter and brown sugar under the skin created both flavor and texture. (This idea is definitely a trick that a home cook could borrow.)

Looking at all three Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge feasts, Christian’s dinner was probably the most cohesive. All the flavors stood on their own but worked with each other.

Additionally, Christian nailed the pie. The vinegar pie with the graham cracker/pretzel crust was a huge hit.

The winner of the Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge was Christian. Based on the Thanksgiving feast as a whole, the judges crowned him champion.

Overall, there were many tips and tricks that the home cook should remember from this finale episode. From getting more flavor in your gravy to a new twist on a sweet potato recipe, this episode could bring your Thanksgiving feast to the next level.

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What did you think of this season of the Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge? Did the judges choose the right winner?