Food & Beverage

The secrets, hard work and skill that go into a $524 Christmas meal

The Ritz London

From the glitz and glamour of the West End to the moneyed sophistication of Mayfair, London is home to some of the world's best restaurants and hotels.

And with the holiday season in full swing, they are pulling out all the stops to make sure that diners and guests have unforgettable experiences.

One of the city's most iconic destinations is The Ritz London. Located in one of the city's most exclusive districts, it is renowned for its plush rooms, traditional afternoon tea and fine dining.

While many of us will be tucking in to a home cooked roast turkey and all the trimmings on Christmas day, chefs at The Ritz Restaurant – which holds a prestigious Michelin star – will be working flat out to serve up several courses.

"We offer a six-course menu in The Ritz Restaurant for Christmas day lunch, as well as a four-course menu for Christmas day dinner, Boxing Day lunch and dinner, which will all be fully booked," John Williams, executive chef at The Ritz, told CNBC via email.

The six course Christmas Lunch menu at The Ritz Restaurant costs £425 ($524) and features goose liver, brill and a champagne sorbet. For their main course, diners can choose between a Norfolk Bronze Turkey or that most English of dishes, Beef Wellington. Williams described the Norfolk Bronze turkeys as being "free-range, female and not overgrown." A vegetarian option is also available.

"At The Ritz, it's about the quality of the produce that we use and matching this to the right occasion and the expectations of our clients," Williams said. "We use the finest ingredients and foods in the menus but it's also about the quality of the service," he added.

Duck & Waffle

Elsewhere in London another top restaurant, Duck & Waffle, has been thinking about its festive offerings since around June. Their Christmas Day menu includes bacon wrapped dates, a roasted parsnip soup, braised short rib and a chocolate fondant. Its six courses will cost £85 and, like The Ritz, a vegetarian option is also available.

While the Christmas Day atmosphere in the restaurant – which boasts stunning views thanks to its location on the 40th floor of one of London's tallest buildings – is "special", challenges do remain, executive chef Dan Doherty told CNBC.

"From a logistics point of view, it's quite a long slog for the chefs to plough through the sheer volume of people we are cooking for," he said via email. "Maintaining the consistency is always the biggest challenge, and one would hate to get it wrong on such a happy day."

The restaurant, Doherty said, pays for all of its staff to get taxis to and from work, "but that doesn't mean it's added onto the menu. It's a cost we absorb to make sure the menu is still great value."

Doherty went on to say that for him, sticking to tradition on the big day was "not important at all." Restaurants, he explained, "can offer something different from the norm; an alternative for those wanting a change."

Back at The Ritz, Williams said that preparations for Christmas begin as early as August, when 200 Christmas puddings are made by hand to give them enough time to "mature" before the big day. The week before Christmas, chefs will make a terrine of game and goose liver.

"Christmas at The Ritz is like nowhere else – it really has a special feeling," Williams added.