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27 November 2014

Behind the scenes with Chef Peter Hermantas

By Demitri Awwad


Thanksgiving is one of those feel-good holidays in which families gather to enjoy a nice meal, generally a turkey and laugh at each other's expense while the little ones run around the kitchen table trying to grab a slice of the pecan pie before serving the main course.

As is customary, the last Thursday of each November is a time for family gatherings, and while Thanksgiving celebrations occur in the United States and Canada, Bethlehem University's Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism felt that it wouldn't be such a bad idea to gather staff and faculty members for this occasion. The De La Salle Brothers, many of whom come from the U.S. certainly weren't opposing the idea; it reminded them of home.

"We work very hard, our students, the staff, and cooks put a 101 percent effort into this day, to make every bite count, always wanting to improve from the previous years. A good cook doesn't just stick to one recipe; they always try to add and subtract ingredients, aiming for the best each time." Chef Peter Hermantas, Chef & Cooking Instructor, was also thankful for the good turnout of staff and faculty members who were present for the luncheon.

As we left from the interview with Chef Peter Hermantas, we thought we would leave something for the readers of this article, because if you didn't enjoy the lovely meal, at least you will have Chef Hermantas' recipe handy!

First, brine the turkey (meaning put it in a huge pot and cover it with salt and water) and add a bouquet garni, celery, carrots and onions and leave it for three days.

Remove the turkey and wash it with fresh water. Season with salt, white pepper, and chicken spices. Do this both inside and out.

The last part - the chef indicated the importance of this - set your oven to 150 degrees and place the turkey in the oven for five hours. Every 30 minutes we take out the turkey and brush it (marinate it) with sweet paprika, olive oil, honey and a cranberry syrup. The marinating part gives it the dark golden look.

We are sure and know for a fact that it is too late to use this recipe for this year, and so perhaps you can use it the next, meanwhile, why don't you send us a photo of your families' Thanksgiving gathering for this year. We will choose one photo and place it on our Facebook page at You can email the photo to

Bon appetit and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

You also may want to read about our #GivingTuesday campaign, click below for more.


Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine