I have spent sixteen thanksgivings in London and each and every one has been entirely different from the next. It’s one of my favourite holidays of the year and the kick off to the entire festive season, really. My first few Thanksgivings, I was alone and, I’m not going to lie, it was a sad state of affairs. I would sit at my desk at work with a Pret Christmas Sandwich and say out loud what I was thankful for at that time, just like we used to do around my family dinner table on this day for so many Thanksgivings before. I’d eat my sandwich, take twenty minutes to think about what my family and friends were doing to celebrate at home, and then get on with my work day. Back then, Thanksgiving wasn’t a thing in London. No restaurants were really doing much of anything to celebrate and the only people that were putting on dinners were expats with big families and circles of friends to celebrate with. God, that makes me sound sad. It’s all just to say that I felt like a pretty lonely American on that day, years ago. But, as the years passed and more and more Americans moved to the big city, the restaurants started to pick up on the opportunity to recreate the feast for the ex-pat community. When I started FFG, and people clocked onto the fact that I was an American abroad, I was invited to a different Thanksgiving each year. So, for the past decade, I’ve had Thanksgiving in a different location every year. I’ve sat in Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, fine dining traditional British boltholes, hotels and more. I’ve run the gamut. But this year, well this year is like none other before it. For 2019, I helped curate a Thanksgiving feast that is not only the tastiest I have had since moving over here, but also one that is served with the most iconic London view in existence.
It all started when three American girls sat down and decided they wanted to do something special for the holiday. My dear friends Jess (you might know her as @jessonthames on Instagram) and Christina, from Aqua Shard, met me for breakfast one morning. The chat turned from the beauty of Aqua Shard and the unrivalled London view to how amazing it would be as a backdrop to a special meal. Thanksgiving came up and a plan was hatched. I didn’t know how we would pull it off or if it would work, but the three of us decided to try and make a Thanksgiving meal that we could offer to anyone who wanted to experience the holiday for the first time, or anyone who wanted a taste of home on a rather important holiday. So a Thanksgiving lunch was born. We worked with the talented chef, Anthony Garlando, to craft the perfect three course meal that incorporated a nod to British foods, while still paying homage to the traditional holiday servings. The end result was something too tasty not to share ahead of the big day. So, yesterday, we invited a group of 24 women to come to lunch. We set up three round tables in Aqua Shard’s private dining rooms, popped bottles of champagne to celebrate the occasion and waited patiently for our guests to arrive.
In the moments before the guests walked through the floor to ceiling glass doors, Jess and I looked out over Tower Bridge, from the 31st floor of The Shard, and did a little dance, honouring our ten year old selves. How on earth had two kids from America ended up organising a Thanksgiving in London with a view like this? There are pinch me moments and then there are these, where you ask someone to slap you across the face so you know it’s all real. What a special day it was and with such wonderful company. And we did it all so that we could share pictures with you of what a Thanksgiving lunch/dinner at Aqua Shard would look like, because it wasn’t just for us. This is a meal that’s being served the week of Thanksgiving. So, if you like what you see, get booking!
Visit https://aquashard.co.uk/experience for more information or to book now!
Note: Fashion Foie Gras worked in collaboration, as previously mentioned, with Aqua Shard to create this Thanksgiving experience.