In The Kitchen: Chef Mel aka ‘The Happy Chef’ shares her tips on Christmas cooking

ABC Radio Perth

Broadcast Wed 6 Dec 2023 at 2:30pmWednesday 6 Dec 2023 at 2:30pm

ABC article source

Listen Now.

A smiling woman with blonde hair stands in a kitchen with her hand on her hip.
Mel Alafaci aka The Happy Chef.

With Christmas lunch looming around the corner, you might find yourself wondering if you can start prepping things early. 

Chef Mel told Michael Tetlow on Afternoons, that “we should not be cooking and stressing on Christmas Day”– thankfully, she shared her best tips on how to prepare early. 

Known as The Happy Chef, Mel Alafaci believes in quick, easy and no fuss food.

Woman in her forties with blonde hair wearing a blue dress standing in a kitchen smiling dircetly at the camera.
Chef Mel aka The Happy Chef

“If it’s desserts, I can do some gorgeous ice creams, and pop them into the freezer now 19 days before Christmas,” she said.

“And then on the day, you just pop them out. And everyone is dazzled and amazed that you look so calm and relaxed and excited about the day.”

She said her aim was to reduce stress for the host, and impress the guests with trendy foods such as individual salad jars. 

“I’m going to be taking a layered salad in a little jar for each person yet,” she said “salads can actually be exciting.”

“And everyone’s impressed that it’s so colourful and so gorgeous. And you can take all the credit, but you did it all the day before and you’re terribly relaxed and not stressed about it.”


  • Pates and terrines: these can be made up to a month before and then frozen. They freeze remarkably well and can be placed in the fridge the day before to defrost overnight.
  • Stuff the turkey: and glaze the ham up to 48 hours before. All you need to do on Christmas Day is pop them in the oven. 
  • Salads and sides: can be made the day before, and all you have to do is dress them on the day. Never add the salad dressing in advance. 


Broadcast 6 Dec 2023