For restaurant chefs, every day presents an opportunity to create a new dish, an inspired combination of flavors, textures and ingredients to wow their guests.

As the holidays approach, however, professional chefs have more in common with the home cook. Creativity gives way to nostalgia as these chefs turn to traditional recipes or remember the special dishes of their childhood.

We asked some Connecticut chefs to share recipes for festive dishes that either will appear on their restaurant menus or reflect a family favorite. Most opted to look to their past, to their family celebrations and the matriarchs who ruled the kitchen. Some have created their own holiday traditions, presenting food as a gift.

Here are their recipes:


Mill at 2t, Tariffville

Kelleanne and Ryan Jones, owners/chefs

Kelleanne and Ryan Jones, the creative culinary team behind the Mill at 2t in Tariffville, make sure that their friends and family enjoy a special breakfast on Christmas morning. On Christmas Eve, the couple distributes ceramic dishes of French Toast Crème Brulee, ready to be popped in the oven the next morning.

The tradition began in 2001 when the Joneses celebrated their first Christmas together. “It’s an easy but delicious recipe, and one that our friends and family look forward to each year,” Kelleanne says, adding that last year, “We made a record 45!”




French Toast:

1 pint heavy cream

1 pint half & half

9 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch salt

1 loaf challah bread, cut into 1-inch cubes