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How these local chefs are celebrating Thanksgiving

Next week is Thanksgiving, so we're taking a few minutes to get in the mood.

For Shota Nakajima, chef and owner of the Taku and Kobo restaurants in Capitol Hill, Thanksgiving is about reflection.

"One of the things I do when I wake up is I just try to look for things that are grateful in general," Nakajima said. "And when Thanksgiving hits, I think I try to think of it a little bit more than I usually would."

This year, Nakajima plans to celebrate alone. So he's going non-traditional for his meal.

"I'm going to cook duck. Duck is definitely my favorite poultry. And I can eat a whole roast duck by myself at the end of the day," he said.

Prior to Thanksgiving, he's brining the duck for two days, before letting it blanche in hot water, dry out, and then throwing it into the oven to crisp up.

"I'm gonna stuff it with some mochi rice and some hijiki, which is a type of seaweed, and some veggies and try to do like this Japanese version."

Corie Ratliff is the owner of Mama Corie's Kitchen in Yakima. She said she's looking forward to carrying on family traditions this Thanksgiving by making her great grandmother's broccoli puff recipe. Ratliff described it as being similar to a casserole with breadcrumbs and cheese on top.

"It has been made since I was a little girl within our family, and I'm about the only one that makes it anymore," Ratliff said.

She added that, even cooking every day for work, she still loves cooking for the holidays.

"I love it. I think that's because I'm cooking for the whole family and they get to all enjoy it."

James Lim, the owner of Watson's Counter in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, said he's looking forward to taking the mantle when it comes to cooking this year.

"We always do Korean food and American food," Lim said. "And in the last year, my mom has had health issues. And so this year, I'm a little bit excited that my partner and I get to actually work more on the Korean side of the dishes, as well as the American.

"I still enjoy cooking — I cook for my own birthday and things like that, because ... it's very much instilled in me that my mom cooked as a labor of love," he continued. "My grandma cooked as a labor of love. And so for me to cook is just that — it's a labor of love for community."

The chefs also shared some advice for anyone preparing their first Thanksgiving meal.

"Enjoy cooking," Nakajima said. "Because I feel like when you enjoy and have fun in the kitchen, everyone tends to enjoy."

"Make sure you thaw your turkey properly, otherwise it'll take all day to do," Ratliff noted.

"Keep it simple. Make sure your cook times are on point. Start from raw ingredients and like, everything else will taste fine," Lim offered. "Because it's not all about the food, right? Put your heart in it. Do your best. And everyone will love you for it. No matter how it turns out."