Chefs' Thanksgiving Horror Stories Slideshow

Michael Mina, Michael Mina Restaurant

"On Thanksgiving, my wife will follow me around and clean as I’m cooking. So one time I had out a pot of water on the side of the stove, and my wife thought that the pot was dirty so she moved it and put soap in it. So I took all of the drippings, you know the gold when you’re cooking turkey, and poured it all into the pot after cooking the turkey for two hours. All the juice was in the pot with soap. And that, that sucked.

When I started stirring it I was like, 'Wow there’s a little liquid in here.' And I put the flour in and I started stirring it and I was like, 'That doesn’t look right.' I tasted it and I was said, 'Diane? Did you put soap in this pot?' I had to start all over again. I had to take some of the bones off the turkey, brown them, basically make a quick turkey gravy. It wasn’t the best."

Richard Blais, The Spence

Jessica Chou

"I think everyone has a story, and I do as well, of grandma leaving the turkey in the oven too long. We haven’t had a literal fire but we’ve been pretty close, especially with the turkey drippings coming out of the roasting pan and falling to the bottom of the oven. The smoke alarm goes off, a few people are running into the front yard. And usually, because I’m the chef of the family, I have to deal with the emergency relief."

Sandra Lee

"Once we went to an island in the Caribbean and we ordered a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving. I ordered a very specific 10-pound turkey and they brought me the turkey, thank goodness it was plucked, God bless America — we were not in America — and we put it in the oven. It was not a 10-pound turkey, it was a 20-pound turkey. We had Thanksgiving dinner at about midnight. All the kids were up, and it was quite the evening."

Spike Mendelsohn, Good Stuff Eatery

“In my family, everyone is always kind of whispering and goes back to the buffet table to see whose dish has been eaten a little bit more, which one was left untouched. For us it’s a little more competitive than if you come from a family without a food background. There’s no shortage of food egos in my family.

My worst thanksgiving ever, it must have been like five years ago. My sister had the oven on for the turkey and we thought it was roasting the entire time but it just wasn’t. We literally had no turkey for Thanksgiving, so we’ve decided to do fried turkey every Thanksgiving since then."

Sarah Simmons, City Grit

"Three years ago I was trying to do a blow-out Thanksgiving, multi-course meal, making 12 different things. I had a schedule. For a week I prepped, and Thanksgiving morning I woke up and was like, I got this. And then I was brining the turkey and I broke the brine bag all over the refrigerator and all over the kitchen floor. So I had to disinfect everything and basically start from scratch on the stuff that I already cooked and prepared. I still pulled it off, but it was frenetic, like this crazy person running around the kitchen.

I was so tired and I remember that night, going to sleep and my legs were tingling, just from the anxiety and having to redo everything. Everything I did in four days I had to redo in six hours. But if you really put your mind to it I think something can happen. It’s like how moms can pick up cars to like save their baby? Not on the same level, but similar."