December seasonal update

The Staff Canteen

From seasonal vegetables to game and seasonal fruits, read our monthly market report to decide what to feature on your menus this month

Is venison healthier than steak?

Venison is leaner than beef and is therefore generally healthier to eat than beef.

Compared the two meats, an average cut of venison has around half the calories and a sixth of the saturated fats. Venison also has more proteins, vitamins and minerals than beef, adding to it's reported health benefits.

Venison recipes

New Forest Venison & Heritage Carrots
by Alex Naik, Head Chef at Thirteen

Check out Alex Naik's, Head Chef at Thirteen, New Forest Venison & Heritage Carrots recipe!

Why is Cauliflower good for you?

Cauliflower is high in vitamins C and K, and acts a good source of folate, which supports cell growth and is essential during pregnancy.

Cauliflower is fat-free and cholesterol-free, and is low in sodium. One-cup serving contains only 25 calories, 5 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of dietary fibre.

Cauliflower Recipes

Spiced Cauliflower Salad, Belgian Endive
Almonds and Tahini Dressing
by Stuart Gillies, Chef Owner of Bank House

Check out Stuart Gillies', Chef Owner of Bank House, Spiced Cauliflower Salad, Belgian Endive, Almonds and Tahini Dressing recipe!

Is plaice a good fish to eat?

Plaice is an excellent source of lean protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue, as well as supporting overall health and wellbeing.

Due it's protein content, plaice helps regulate blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness, making it an excellent food for those looking to manage their weight.

Plaice Recipes

Fried Plaice with Curry Sauce
by ​​​Anna Søgaard, Head Chef at Bistro Freddie

Check out Anna Søgaard's, Head Chef at Bistro Freddie, Fried Plaice with Curry Sauce recipe!

Is a leek an onion?

Leek is a member of the onion family, but unlike the onion, it does not form a bulb.

With a thick, fleshy stalk is about the same diameter at the base, leek resembles a large green onion without a bulb. Leek are flattened like those of garlic.

Leeks Recipes

Wood Fired Leeks
by Tom Cenci, Executive Chef at Nessa

Check out Tom Cenci's, Executive Chef at Nessa, Wood Fired Leeks recipe!

Is turkey better for you than chicken?

In terms of calories, fat, and protein, turkey breast and chicken breast are similar.

Turkey breast contains about 44 calories, six grams of protein, and two grams of fat per ounce, whilst Chicken breast contains slightly more protein and slightly less fat.

Turkey Recipes 

Leftover Turkey Rillette
by Bernard Dumonteil
Head Chef at Bistro Bleu at the Rugby Tavern

Check out Bernard Dumonteil's, Head Chef at Bistro Bleu at the Rugby Tavern, Leftover Turkey Rillette recipe!

Are mushrooms good or bad for you?

Mushrooms are a low-calorie food and pack a nutritional punch. 

Associated with many health-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they've long been recognised as an important part of any diet.

They are also a good source of vitamin D, an important component for bone and immune health.

Wild Mushrooms Recipes

Grilled Mushroom Toast
by Rishim Sachdeva, Chef Owner of Tendril

Check out Rishim Sachdeva's, Chef Owner of Tendril, Grilled Mushroom Toast recipe!

Is it good to eat beetroot every day?

Beetroot is highly nutritious and loaded with health-promoting properties.

It can support the health of your brain, heart, and digestive system, are a great addition to a balanced diet, boost athletic performance, help alleviate inflammation, and potentially slow the growth of cancer cells.

Beetroot Recipes

Smoked Beetroot Skewer
by Rishim Sachdeva, Chef Owner of Tendril

Check out Rishim Sachdeva's, Chef Owner of Tendril, Smoked Beetroot Skewer Recipe!

Why is pomegranate a superfood?

Pomegranate is high in vitamin C, potassium, low in calories and a great source of fibre.

Vitamin C helps heal wounds, increases absorption of iron and acts like an antioxidant by protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals.

pomegranate Recipes  

Shamandar and Feta Cheese Salad
by Jad Youssef, Chef Owner of Lebnani Restaurant

Check out Jad Youssef's, Chef Owner of Lebnani Restaurant, Shamandar and Feta Cheese Salad recipe! 

How to cook lobster

The two most common types of lobster are American (Maine) and European; the main difference being that the former is bigger. Male lobsters tend to have meaty flesh, whereas females' flavour is more delicate. Lobster roe is bright red and highly flavoursome. 

Lobster can be served whole or halved and can be grilled, baked, boiled or steamed. It is typically paired with a simple lemon butter sauce or mayonnaise, but can be included as an element in more complex dishes, like Aaron Porter's butter poached native lobster with pickled girolles, coco beans, amalfi lemon and vanilla or Nathan Outlaw's smoked lobster with saffron and basil mayonnaise.

Koppert Cress suggests pairing lobster with Atsina Cress. Named after an old North American tribe, the Atsina Indians, it has a sweet aniseed taste and naturally goes well with lobster because of its fennel notes. It also pairs well with mild fish like sea bass, cod, halibut, and wolffish.

 Butter poached native lobster with pickled girolles, coco beans, amalfi lemon and vanilla

Watch John Williams MBE cook butter-poached lobster: 



Turnips are a root vegetable and a member of the cabbage family. Before the introduction of potatoes, turnips were a staple of the British diet. Now largely grown to feed cattle, the smaller varieties are still grown for human consumption. 

Winter turnips are in season in the UK from October through February, often baked, mashed or roasted and paired with other seasonal vegetables like squash or carrots, or cooked with lardons. 

Koppert Cress suggests pairing turnips with hippo tops, an umami-rich microleaf in the watercress family. Its light bitter and sour notes make it ideal to match certain cheeses, crustaceans, fish and vegetables. 

John Freeman's take on turnips is pickled and served with crab, brown bread, butter and yuzu dressing with peanut brittle.

Two Michelin-starred chef Patrick Guildbaud serves glazed turnips with Challans duck: 


How to cook lemon sole

Though not technically part of the sole family, lemon sole is a white flesh flat fish native to European countries, more closely related to halibut and dab than to dover sole. 

Whereas the dover fish is typically served whole, its most classic interpretation being sole meuniere style -(cooked in browned butter), lemon sole is more subtle in flavour and more delicate to work with. 

The easiest way to make the best of lemon sole is to fillet and lightly steam or poach it and serve it with woodland vegetables and seafood. 

However, Nathan Outlaw chooses to cook it whole and serve it with cider onions, tarragon and anchovy butter.

Whole baked lemon sole, cider onions, tarragon and anchovy butter

Koppert Cress suggests pairing lemon sole with BlinQ cress. Of the same family as the company's own brand of cress, BlinQ blossom, the cress is fresh, briny and salty, meaning it goes well with smoked dishes featuring meat or fish. 

When are pineapples in season?

One of the most exotic and unearthly-looking fruits in the world, pineapples are in season from December to March and are a great source of both vitamin C and copper. Discovered in the New World by explorers in the 16th century, pineapples have become a favourite ever since. Most commonly found on Hawaiian pizzas or accompanying gammon steaks, an another popular option is the upside-down cake.

Need pineapple inspiration? Try this pineapple tart tatin recipe by pastry chef Julien Thevenot

Pineapple tart tatin, Coconut & Lemongrass Sorbet by chef Julien Thevenot


Or for a savoury dish, why not try Richard Davies' crab salad recipe with chilli and pineapple?

How to cook turkey

Turkey portions are available the year round, but for a whole turkey December is the best month, which is handy for Christmas dinner. It is similar in many ways to chicken, but the flesh tends to be slightly drier due to its lower fat content so it should be basted regularly when being roasted. Make sure you pay careful attention to calculating the correct cooking time and thoroughly defrost it before it goes in the oven.

Want an alternative to Christmas turkey? Try this Turkey and cranberry pithivier with burnt bread sauce and turkey gravy recipe from Owen Morrice

Slow braised turkey and cranberry pithivier, burnt bread sauce and turkey gravy recipe by chef Owen Morrice
Slow braised turkey and cranberry pithivier, burnt bread sauce and turkey gravy recipe by chef Owen Morrice


When are pomegranates at their best?

Originally native to Iran, pomegranates now grow across tropical Africa, India and other parts of Southern Asia and the Mediterranean. Stuffed with hundreds of juicy seeds, the best pomegranates are found from the end of November through to March. Making grenadine syrup is a great use of pomegranates, or their seeds can be scattered on salads and other dishes.

Try Joudie Kalla's 'Rummaniyeh' Lentil & Aubergine Stew with Pomegranate Molasses recipe:

Pomegranate Molasses
Pomegranate Molasses

What is the best way to cook brussels sprouts?

You can boil, steam, roast or even fry brussels sprouts. These versatile cabbages are a popular side dish, traditionally eaten at Christmas, but in season from October to March. When properly cooked, sprouts should not be too bitter but have a complex flavour and a subtle crunch to them.  They pair well with maple bacon or chestnuts.

What is the best way to cook brussels sprouts; brussels sprouts recipes
Brussel Sprouts with Dried Chilli and Sesame

Are you using any of these seasonal ingredients in your menus? Upload your pics and recipes to our Chef+ mobile app!


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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st December 2023

December seasonal update