The Two Holiday Traditions Michael Symon Follows

After decades of hard work, Michael Symon has established himself as a successful restauranteur and celebrity chef. Before attending the Culinary Institute of America, the Cleveland, Ohio native got his start in the industry working as a cook at Geppetto's Pizza and Ribs. In an interview with Thrillist, Symon recalls the all-nighters he would pull to cook ribs with his friends during the annual "Rib Burn-Off." They would start after the restaurant closed at 10 p.m. and work until 8 a.m. the next morning. "For me, there was nothing frustrating about it," he shared. "I was so instantly, spontaneously in love with the business that every day was fun for me." 

Like many of us, Symon learned a lot at his first job, including that "the harder you work, the luckier you get." It certainly seems like that lesson paid off. Today, Symon has multiple restaurants and has been awarded numerous honors. Symon's restaurant Roast, a steakhouse in Detroit, Michigan was named "Restaurant of the Year" by Detroit Free Press, while B Spot a beloved burger chain, was included on Bon Appétit's list of "Top 10 Best Burger Joints" (via Food Network).

Anyone who is familiar with Symon knows that he is a big meat lover. "The Next Iron Chef" victor hosts a cooking show called "Burgers, Brew & 'Que'" and also has a cookbook entirely dedicated to carnivores. It is no surprise that two of Symon's traditional holiday dishes revolve around a meaty protein.

Symon's family loves meat-heavy dishes during the holidays

Whether it's a homemade stew or a comforting casserole, every family has favorite foods that they gravitate toward during the holiday season. Every year, families gear up to host their annual festive feasts, and Symon's family is no different. In an interview with Food Sided, he shared that the two beloved dishes that his Sicilian and Greek mom makes every year on Christmas Day include lasagna bolognese and roasted prime rib. From a family of meat-eaters, we would expect nothing less!

The one dish that Symon is always in charge of? The boated prime rib. The Food Network veteran likes to baste the ribs in complementary Diplomático rum, "which makes for a very rich, celebratory, wow-kind-of-dish that feeds a lot of people," he shared with Food Sided. And for dessert? Symon told the Food Network that he opts for hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies as his holiday treats of choice.

While no one can deny that the holiday menu is an important part of Christmas Day, Symon believes that the people around the dinner table are far more important. Going into the holiday season, the talented chef is channeling sage advice that he was given by his grandfather. "My grandfather would always say 'listen with an open mind and an open heart,' and I try my best to live by it." Well said, Michael!