Geoffrey Zakarian reveals his must have items for easy holiday meal prep

Geoffrey Zakarian on easy holiday meal prep, photo provided by Harry & David
Geoffrey Zakarian on easy holiday meal prep, photo provided by Harry & David /

From the highly anticipated Thanksgiving meal to holiday parties, everyone is hungry for a delicious feast. While celebrated chefs make all that holiday meal prep look effortless, the reality is that those chefs have a few tricks of the trade which makes it easy. Geoffrey Zakarian has a few must have items that will make any home cook feel like a master in the kitchen.

Over the years, many people have turned to both Zakarian’s cookbooks, The Perfect Pantry and The Family That Cooks Together to find approachable culinary inspiration. While the flavors in each recipe might taste elevated, the approach is one that any home cook can master.

This holiday season Geoffrey Zakarian has curated a special collection with Harry & David to simplify holiday entertaining. From a Pantry Essentials Starter Kit to cheese, charcuterie, or anything from the curated Collection, these ideas can turn any party into a festive soiree.

Geoffrey Zakarian on easy holiday meal pre
Geoffrey Zakarian on easy holiday meal prep, photo provided by Harry & David /

What does Geoffrey Zakarian recommend for holiday meal prep?

In a recent conversation with Harry & David, Chef Zakarian shared the following:

"As much as I wish I only had three must-haves during the holidays, the truth is, I have many holiday-feast essentials. I really rely on having a properly stocked pantry. Just to name a few, you need good olive oil, red wine vinegar, champagne or white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, kosher salt, high-quality finishing salt, black pepper, dried spices that aren’t passed their expiration date, plenty of dried pasta, rice, and beans. The list goes on! Hors d’oeuvres and snacks are always laid out on the table so that when guests arrive, I can concentrate on any finishing touches for the big dinner.”"

That idea of a well-stocked pantry is something that any home cook can adapt. Understanding what is and is not in the pantry when the shopping list is made is key to keeping the food budget in check. In addition, it is a way to see how certain ingredients can be used in various ways. Adaptability is a key skill for any cook.

With all the ingredients stocked, Zakarian referenced another key to a successful holiday meal, the actual meal prep. Since no one wants to run around feeling frazzled when guests arrive, the chef suggests allowing sufficient time to handle the to-do list.

Zakarian said, “People don’t realize that the prep work is really what takes up most of your time. You have to get organized well before you begin so that the process is seamless. Plus, you will be able to spend more time with loved ones, rather than doing all the cooking.”

In the end, preparation is key for any and every celebration. From easy holiday meal prep to a Sunday family dinner, having a plan can be the first step to a delicious meal. That tasty tidbit might be the best gift to share this holiday season.

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