Thanksgiving Dinner – How to Carve a Turkey

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,757
    Chef Tony Conte demonstrates his technique for carving a turkey.

    Tony Conte

    In July of 2006 Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj was pleased to announce the appointment of Antonio (Tony) Conte as Executive Chef of the Oval Room, the elegant 100-seat main dining room and 40 seats al fresco dining restaurant located one block from the White House on 800 Connecticut Ave., NW. Already receiving accolades at The Oval Room, Chef Conte was named “Rising Culinary Star” in 2006 by Star Chefs. Chef Conte brings a wealth of culinary experience to his position, having worked as the executive sous chef at four-star Jean Georges. Conte joined Jean Georges in 2003, and he was responsible for menu innovation, research and development, product management, assessment and culinary training, as well as purchasing and food costs. Chef Conte’s impressive resume also includes a stint as the chef de partie at JoJo, a contemporary French restaurant also owned by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and a turn as executive chef and co-owner of Pesce in Branford, Connecticut, where, during his tenure, the restaurant earned Connecticut Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant 2002” and Taste of Nation’s “Golden Fork Award” Best Food in Show 2001. Born and raised in New Haven, CT, Tony Conte received his A.O.S. Culinary Degree from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He spent the early part of his career honing his skills close to home at notable restaurants such as Sole e Luna Ristorante in Westport and then advanced to the position of executive sous chef for the Greenwich Country Club and after, the Belmont Country Club in Belmont, Massachusetts. The Oval Room features modern American cuisine and offers three dining rooms for daily lunch and dinner service Monday-Friday, and dinner service on Saturday with menu items ranging from $7 to $29. For reservations please call 202-463-8700 and visit

    Tony Conte: Hi my name is Tony Conte. I'm the chef at the Oval Room restaurant in Washington DC. We are showing you how to cook Thanksgiving dinner and in this segment we are going to show you how to carve the turkey. It's been cooking for five to six hours and that looks wonderful. We are going to need to check it for doneness. Ideal temperature is a 185 degrees and I'll like to check it right by the leg to make sure that it is still cooked and there it is, 185 degrees, we are going to want to let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before we carve, so that all the juices remain inside the turkey and don't run all over the plate and the turkey becomes dry. It's very important that we let it rest for 20 minutes in a warm place.

    So, our turkey has come out of the oven, it's rested 20 minutes and now we are going to carve it. We remove the thermometer that was stuck in the breast and we are going to remove the legs. So, let's release the strings from the drumstick. This is our leg, for the breast we come to the center and then right along the cavity with the knife, trying to keep the knife right against the bone, so we get as much meat as possible. So, keeping the knife against the body, we are just going to peel the breast right off in one whole piece just like that, here is our breast, here is our leg.

    So, now I'll show you a couple of slices. We will peel back the skin, so we can slice the meat, okay. Breast, there for the leg, split the leg from the thigh, that is our thigh, excuse me, that is our leg. For thigh, peel back the skin, so you can get to it and just cut away the meat, crispy skin for those who want it, and this is how you carve your turkey and for this demo, we have only carved half of it, obviously, you want to carve the rest of it and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner.