James Beard award-winner Eric Tanaka cut his turkey-day teeth cooking for friends in college.

Eric Tanaka, a James Beard award winner and executive Chef at Tom Douglas Restaurants, is used to cooking at least two Thanksgiving feasts. A typical holiday for him involves making one meal for his family, and another for the Pike Market Senior Center, where he performs his culinary magic act for upwards of 500 people.

In fact, Tanaka’s been in charge of Thanksgiving since his college days at the University of California, Irvine—when he was head chef at “orphan Thanksgiving," a gathering of friends who couldn’t make it home for the holidays.

His approach: A “super classic” feast—turkey, mashed potatoes, rice, squash with marshmallows (the only way to eat squash, in this writer’s humble opinion), and cranberries.

And here’s how Tanaka knows he’ll always serve up a succulent turkey: He cooks the bird upside-down in broth for two hours, then flips it over to brown the top.

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