Reflecting back on my first Thanksgiving holiday in Shanghai, I recall I decided to host an elegant Thanksgiving dinner for my international group of friends, as many of them were unfamiliar with this traditional American holiday.
I wanted to offer them the best, so I planned my dinner party at the award-winning New York chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Shanghai restaurant. His first signature eatery outside Manhattan, this branch is located in Three on the Bund, a 1916 neo-classical building.
Yes, the restaurant is known for its French cuisine, but the chef on this occasion was American-born Eric Johnson, so I knew he’d understand just what was called for.
I owe thanks to the then General Manager, Frenchman Jacky Goergler, for helping me find just the right setting for an intimate “family dinner” feel—an alcove off the bar. I decorated the long dining table with a holiday theme: a cornucopia of seasonal fall flowers, candelabras, and votives.
After sipping French Champagne in the bar area, we sat down to an elegant version of the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner: Warm Mushroom Ravioli with Parmesan Broth and Herbs; Slow-Cooked Salmon with Celeriac Puree and Black Truffle Vinaigrette; Roasted Organic Turkey with Chestnut-Sourdough Stuffing; Cranberry; and dessert tastings. To accompany the menu, I chose California wines, in support of my friends in Napa Valley.
My guest list reflected how international a city Shanghai has become. I was joined by friends from mainland China and the U.S. as well as Taiwan, France, Germany, England, Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Hong Kong, and Japan.
In my toast, I remarked that though we were from different countries, the fact that we were all in Shanghai showed we had kindred spirit.