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Chandra Ram

Editor, Plate Magazine

When it comes to planning the perfect holiday meal, Chandra Ram’s got it in the bag. Like, she can do this stuff with her eyes closed, people. And it’s damn good. As the editor of Plate magazine—the gobble-me-up glossy that features practical and innovative culinary ideas for foodies—Chandra is constantly at the ready with what’s new and tasty when it comes to the dining table. We pick her brain in this holiday edition of G&F Spotlight to see what’s cookin’ with this good lookin’ editor. And while this year she may be snacking on fish tacos and ceviche with her husband’s family in San Diego, it doesn’t mean that she’s not used to the tried-and-true traditions of holidays past. And score! We’re linking directly to Plate’s on-line recipes so you can easily snag Chandra’s favorites to whip at home. Try and read this without licking your lips. We dare you. Already have your holiday menu planned? Chandra dishes her beauty favorites, too—and this is one make up drawer we’d happily raid.

Spotlight Chandra Ram BeautyBEAUTY MUST-HAVES>> scent: TOM FORD AZURE LIME // moisturizer: DR. HAUSCHKA ROSE CREAM (for the face) and AVEENO OATMEAL LOTION // concealer: STILA PERFECTING // face: NARS BLUSH IN DOLCE VITA // lips: GIVENCHY ROUGE INTERDIT in BLACK PLUM // nails: ESSIE A-LIST // can’t-leave-home-without: ROSEBUD SALVE

We’re dying to know what’s on your holiday menu?
I love a first course of latkes with different toppings, paired with Champagne, of course. This year, I’m hoping to recreate the rossejat Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp from Sunday Dinner Club made for our wedding rehearsal dinner last spring – we are still talking about that amazing meal! The secret is the super-garlicky allioli you drizzle on top of the rossejat before eating.

Dish It: Secret Weapon Party Pleasers.
When in doubt, have a few easy snacks on-hand to keep guests entertained while you finish cooking dinner. I throw a can of white beans and some fresh rosemary leaves in the food processor with a ton of garlic and olive oil, then spread it on crostini. It takes five minutes and is delicious. For contrast, try something unexpected, like an Indian coconut-cilantro chutney, which is great with potato chips or even served with a roast. Or bacon-butter popcorn is always a big hit as a cocktail snack. Most important is to relax—your family and friends are there to have fun, not grade your cooking.

Any unique holiday traditions?
My mum is Irish, so we always pop Christmas crackers, then put on the paper crowns rolled up in the crackers and read each other the silly jokes inside each one. Drinking bourbon cocktails while you do it makes it fun!

And now for the leftovers—how do you reinvent the meal the next day?
I’ve gotten pretty good at reinventing leftovers, since otherwise they tend to go to waste. My favorite tip is to simmer leftover steak in beef broth with soba noodles and scallions, and add a little soy and chili sauces for an easy Japanese soup. I use Bill Kim’s Belly Fire Sauce and Seoul Sauce to make this soup special.

Enough food-talk, let’s talk gifts. Funniest gift received?
My friends and I do a gift-grab game, so there are always a few gag gifts circling around. Last year I contributed fried chicken and waffles-flavored syrup, with a bottle of good bourbon to make up for it. I’m still trying to figure out how to cleverly re-gift the Snuggie I ended up with (again!) last year!

Get more of Chandra at

PHOTO OF MANHATTAN: Chris Cassidy Photography
PHOTO OF CHANDRA: Geoffrey Smith