If you close your eyes, you can almost smell the Thanksgiving turkey in the oven. Yes, it’s that time of year when we start planning our holiday menus. What side dishes will accompany your holiday bird? Should we serve white or red wine? Chef Adrianne Calvo was kind enough to share some of her Thanksgiving secrets, including her recipe for “Your Best Turkey Ever!” and Evergreen Autumn side dish.

Chef Adrianne Calvo just released a two-volume set of cookbooks, publishing her 100 finest recipes, entitled The A-List: Vol. I and II. Chef Adrianne delves into starters, desserts, and everything in between, revealing some of the very dishes that got her to where she is today. Ever wonder how she makes her famous miso marinated chicken drumsticks? Flip through The A-List to find out. Interested in mastering a perfect crème brûlée? The A-List has you covered. Chef Adrianne’s Maximum Flavor style has never been more prominent than in the clear recipes and stunning design and photography of The A-List: Vol. I and II, making it a must-have if you are looking to take your culinary performance to the next level!

Before you head out to buy your own personal set of The A-List: Vol. I and II, let’s talk turkey with Adrianne.

Sherrie Wilkolaski (SW): What wine would you recommend accompanying a traditional Thanksgiving dinner?

Adrianne Calvo (AC): Your favorite Pinot noir.

SW: What is one tip for maximizing flavor when preparing a holiday meal?

AC: Start ahead, do prep days ahead so you can allot for proper brining and marinade times, which add a ton of flavor.

SW: What is your favorite holiday spice?

AC: Horseradish.

SW: What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory?

AC: I’d heard about how wonderful it was to fry a turkey for thanksgiving. It was all the rage for years. After years of hearing about it, we finally decided to set up camp in front of the restaurant with turkey fryers and fry up the birds. It wasn’t easy and setting up isn’t a walk in the park either. We did all of this in front of a live camera as we were filming for foldable network. 

Chef Adrianne Calvo Thanksgiving

Chef Adrianne Calvo Thanksgiving, Copyright Chef Adrianne Calvo

SW: What is the secret to preparing the perfect turkey? See recipe for “Your Best Turkey Ever!” below.

“Your Best Turkey Ever”

Maximum Flavor style Outrageously Delicious THANKSGIVING TURKEY!

Serves: 15-20


1 25lb Whole Turkey, Organic, Heritage, or Free Range ( if you buy it frozen, thaw in the refrigerator for 4-5hrs per pound)

2lbs Unsalted Butter

1 tablespoon Garlic Salt

1 tablespoon Paprika

1 tablespoon Black Pepper

1 tablespoon Brown Sugar

1 tablespoon Onion Powder

1 teaspoon Cumin

1 teaspoon Chili Powder

1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning

20 slices Thick Cut Apple-Wood Smoked Bacon

1 cup Celery, chopped

1 cup Carrot, chopped

1 cup Onion, chopped

10 garlic cloves, whole

Whiskey Brine:

5 qts Water

1 cup Whiskey or Bourbon

1 ½ cups kosher salt

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

1 cup brown sugar

10 bay leaves


Place turkey in brine for 24 hours. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry.  In a food processor, whip the butter with garlic salt, black pepper, paprika, brown sugar, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, and Creole seasoning to make a compound butter. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. On a clean work-surface, carefully slide the compound butter between the flesh and skin of the turkey being careful not to tear the skin. Start on the breast side and make your way through. Now, use 1/3 of the mirepoix  (celery, onion, carrot, and garlic) and stuff the cavity of the turkey with a few sprigs of fresh thyme.  Cover the turkey with slices of bacon. In a roasting pan, place the rest of the mirepoix on the bottom. Carefully place the bacon wrapped turkey onto the roasting pan and into the center of the oven. Roast for about 6 hours. Halfway through cooking process, remove the bacon slices. Baste turkey every 15-20 minutes. Once it’s ready, allow to sit 20 minutes before carving. Reserve the juices by straining all the liquid in the pan, and then pouring it over the carved turkey.


Roasted Greens and Sweet Potato + Maple and Spicy Mustard Vinaigrette

Serves: 4 

Evergreen Autumn Roasted Greens and Sweet Potato + Maple and Spicy Mustard VinaigretteIngredients: 

2 Sweet Potatoes,  rough cut

2 cups Organic Kale

1 cup Organic Brussel Sprouts, halved

1/2 cup Pecans, chopped, and toasted

1/2 cup Dried Cranberries

1/2 cup Goat Cheese, crumbled

1 tablespoon Maple Syrup

1 tablespoon Spicy  Mustard

1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a small pot of water to boil. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, two mustards, vinegar, and olive oil until well blended. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.  Set aside. On a cookie sheet, add the brussel sprouts and kale. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until they begin to char. Meanwhile, boil the sweet potato chunks for 10-12 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and set aside.  To assemble the dish, place the roasted greens on the plate then dot with the sweet potato. Add the toasted pecans, dried cranberries, and goat cheese. Drizzle with the maple and spicy mustard vinaigrette.

About Chef Adrianne Calvo

Adrianne Calvo is the Executive Chef and owner of Chef Adrianne‘s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar, Host of Maximum Flavor Live on NBC’s 6 in the Mix, author of four cookbooks: Maximum Flavor (2005); Chef Adrianne: Driven by Flavor Fueled by Fire (2008); #MaximumFlavorSocial (2014); and Play with Fire (2015), and founder of the Make it Count Foundation. Chef Adrianne‘s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar opened in 2007 and offers a varied and rotating menu with something for everyone. Monthly, the restaurant holds its signature event, Dark Dining, where guests are blindfolded for a sensual experience eliminating one sense to enhance another, providing maximum flavor. It has won Best Restaurant Miami and Best Chef Miami for 3 years. Chef Adrianne‘s has several appearances on Food Network, and most recently, the Hallmark Channel.