Two days before Thanksgiving, Chef Ameera Muhammad is preparing a meal for Actor Damson Idris and Hollywood Unlocked founder Jason Lee. She’s far from stressed as she prepares the meals. Idris wants a fried turkey, and Lee requested a roasted turkey.

The first step for Chef Muhammad is to brine the turkey she plans to roast.

“I’m going to brine it, and then tomorrow, I’m going to put some salt on the skin so we pull all the moisture from it,” she tells Travel Noire. “I’ll remove that salt and put some compound butter underneath the skin. The butter will have all your herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, shallots, smoked paprika, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and I’ll pack that underneath the skin and on the top before roasting.”

Chef Muhammad has traveled all over the world and spent more than a decade cooking for Hollywood’s elite. Her impressive clientele list includes Angela Bassett, Kenya Barris, Ye, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, and Kelly Rowland. She’s also cooked for Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan with the Los Angeles Clippers, Common, Little Wayne, corporate brands, and more.

When it comes to the holidays, her clients don’t want anything special. They prefer a taste that feels comforting or, in other words, like home.

The Holiday Menu For Celebrities

Whether Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other holidays, one of Chef Muhammad’s most sought-after dishes is her vanilla bean yams. She has one rule regarding her yams: only use white sugar.

“Brown sugar has molasses in it. I don’t like molasses because it has a particular flavor that I don’t like in my yams,” she says. “I use vanilla bean paste because it adds a little razzle-dazzle.”

But that’s not the only reason her yams are popular among celebrities. She’s not afraid to add citrus and salt.

“Another little secret is oranges because they create a party in your mouth when you combine the sugar. I add some lemon zest and salted butter to balance it out, so it’s not too sweet.”

For Idris, Muhammad is adding what she calls a “bougie touch” because he’s from the United Kingdom. In addition to fried turkey, he requested fried chicken, roasted duck, cornbread, mac and cheese, cornbread stuffing, honey butter biscuits, vanilla bean yams, and peach cobbler.

Lee’s menu is the same, except he asked for ham and salmon.

“I do use brown sugar for the ham,” she says. “I also have a mustard glaze; I roast it, and then I take my torch and fire it so it adds a little crisp.”

Lee also requested potato salad, dinner rolls and butter, tender collard greens with smoked turkey, smokey braised cabbage, sweet potato pies, and a banana pudding.

Chef Muhammad says when she cooks for celebrities, it’s a reminder to keep things simple.

“What I find during the holidays is clients like to keep things classic,” she says. “It’s okay to try one new dish, but remember, people are looking for nostalgia when connecting with friends or family. It’s how we connect.”

You can find her recipes and what she’s cooking by following her on Instagram.