How to make Taverne Bernhardt’s chef Zachary Kolomeir’s juicy, herb-slathered heritage turkey

How to make Taverne Bernhardt’s chef Zachary Kolomeir’s juicy, herb-slathered heritage turkey

Food styling by Carol Dudar; prop styling by Suzanne Campos

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Turkey often gets a bad rap—even from those who have fond memories of eating it all their lives. “I hate turkey,” says Dreyfus and Taverne Bernhardt’s chef and co-owner Zachary Kolomeir. “At least the mass-produced birds you find at the supermarket. They’re pumped with so much moisture that they basically boil as they cook.” There are better options out there. That’s why he swears by a heritage bird for his holiday turkeys. This isn’t the style of turkey the chef grew up eating in Montreal, where his family often celebrated with smoked turkey and potato kugel. It’s Kolomeir’s trusted Banquets of America method—a culinary school requisite— which all but guarantees a juicy, flavourful bird every time. The secret? Something Kolomeir calls a “mayonnaise shirt.”


For the turkey
1 8-to-10-lb. turkey, spatchcocked
3 cups Hellmann’s mayonnaise
3 garlic cloves, grated
6 sprigs thyme, chopped
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp dry white wine
2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt

For the brine:
1 scant cup kosher salt
1 heavy sprinkle black pepper
3 cloves garlic, smashed
4-5 litres water

Note: heritage turkeys can be sourced from Sanagan’s Meat Locker, Chantecler Boucherie and other specialty butchers.

Serves 12


1. Politely ask your butcher to spatchcock your bird. Spatchcocking—basically cutting out the backbone and flattening the turkey like an open book—results in faster, more even cooking, and a juicier bird.
2. In a large saucepan, make the brine by combining water, salt, black pepper and garlic. Whisk until the salt dissolves.
3. Place the turkey into a brining bag set inside a high-sided roasting pan or other container, and cover with the brine. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight. (You may need to move some things around in your fridge.)
4. The next morning, remove the turkey from the brine, pat dry and return to the fridge for two to three hours to allow the skin to dry.
5. For the mayonnaise marinade, combine the Hellmann’s, garlic, thyme, rosemary, Dijon, salt, black pepper and wine.
6. Rub the turkey—skin side only—generously with the mayo mix. (Kolomeir recommends wearing a glove or using a basting brush.)
7. Place the turkey back in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes. This, according to Kolomeir, allows “the mayonnaise to set itself up as somewhat of a shirt for the turkey.”
8. While the mayo-shirted turkey chills, preheat the oven to 425°F.
9. Place the turkey in the oven on a roasting rack set inside a baking sheet for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350°F. Bake for another hour, or until the thickest part of the breast and thigh joint reach an internal temperature of 155°F. Let rest for at least 25 minutes as the bird will continue cooking.
10. Carve the turkey and serve with carrot tzimmes, potato kugel and other hearty sides.