Restaurant Style Thanksgiving

Written By: Heather Lee Gordy | Photos By: Lisa Chambers Photography

Meet Executive Chef, Jameson Chavez, and Executive Pastry Chef, Rebeca Edelmira Alvarado-Paredes—two talented chefs from the freshest restaurant in Wilmington, manna. Since opening November 3, 2010, manna has kept a positive reputation and held true to their commitment to “buy as local as possible” changing their menu frequently to always use the freshest ingredients. manna celebrates their 6th anniversary this month taking pride in their accomplishments so far, as they should.

Last year, manna received the AAA Four Diamond award, being the first restaurant to ever receive the award in Wilmington. With less than 20 AAA Four Diamond awarded restaurants in the state, manna is proud to have maintained the award this year as well. This award recognizes how much effort the manna team contributes as a whole to enhance the dining experience. Their attention goes beyond providing authentic, fresh meals, and this is shown in every manner.

As you step through the door, you’re introduced to an elegant, warming environment. You’re greeted with honest hospitality from the start to the end of your night. Time and creativity is shown in the presentation of each course. Overall, you’re impressed, and that’s as simple as you can put it. In an interview with the owner of manna, William Mellon, I asked what was manna’s most authentic quality.

“At the core of all of this,” he said, “we are all people from different backgrounds who have a common love and respect for food, wine, and hosting friends.”  

The manna team works hard to keep hospitality first, to empathize and grant customer’s requests, and to stay true to who they are. I had the pleasure of seeing manna’s hardworking team in action as they prepared two courses with a hint of Thanksgiving taste. Lucky for us, they were willing to provide both recipes for all to enjoy this Thanksgiving. Be sure to go out and experience manna for yourself. These recipes are only a fraction of what the chefs are able to cook up in the back.

Written By: Rebeca Edelmira Alvarado-Paredes

Semolina Pudding Cake


2 cups milk
2 cups cream
¾ cup Semolina flour
¾ cup sugar, and an additional 2 cups of sugar set aside
¼ cup almond paste or 2 teaspoons almond extract
¼ cup brown butter
4 eggs
1 vanilla bean
A pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Line and butter a standard deep cookie tray or casserole dish. Caramelize 2 cups of sugar and pour into bottom of pan. Set pan aside. Combine milk,  cream, almond paste, and vanilla in large pot ,and bring to a boil. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk together eggs, sugar, and Semolina. Pour in milk mixture while slowly whisking together. Once mixed well, return to stove top and cook while whisking until thick. Add in brown butter and salt. Whisk until smooth and pour into prepared pan. Spread evenly with offset spatula. Bake in water bath for 1 1/2 hours. Chill and invert onto dish.

Written By: Jameson Chavez



3-4 scallops per person depending on size (u-10, u-12, 10/20)
4-5 fall/winter squashes depending on size (1-2 lbs each)
2 cups banana peppers
2 cups arugula
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
2-3 apples
2 ½ tablespoons butter
2 cups olive oil plus extra for saute, roasting, etc.
2 cups sorghum syrup
1 teaspoon chopped chipotle in adobo seasoning (use more if desired)
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400℉.

Peel squash and scrape out seeds and pulp. Set aside seeds and pulp for making stock for the reduction. Cut squash into desired shapes (rings, cubes, batons). Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon oil. Coat squash evenly with butter/oil mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place on lined baking sheet, and bake until brown and soft.  Rotate, or flip if necessary. Keep warm or chill until ready to use.  


Slice peppers in 1/4 rings. Reserve seeds and membrane for stock. Cook over medium-low heat with a pinch of salt and oil to coat. Cook slow and on low heat until soft and cooked through. Check seasoning and adjust if needed. Keep warm or cool until needed.


Take reserved vegetables for stock and place in stock pot. Add water until vegetables are completely emerged. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to just below a full boil and reduce again by half.  Strain and discard pulp and seeds reserving only the liquid. If more than 2-3 cups remain, chill what is not used and use just as one would use vegetable stock. Combine 2 cups stock, sorghum, and chipotle, then reduce to syrup consistency. Season with salt and add a splash of vinegar of your choice.


In a food processor, combine pumpkin seeds and arugula. Process until fairly smooth, and then stream oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If too thick, it can be thinned with a little bit of water until it is desired consistency.


When all other preparation is ready to go and warm, season scallops with salt. Sear scallops in pan over high heat until golden brown, then flip. Make sure to sear scallops in small batches, or use multiple pans to avoid crowding which can prevent getting a great golden sear. Remove pan from heat for 10-15 seconds to cool slightly, then add 1/2 tablespoon of butter and baste scallops for 1-2 minutes until cooked. Be careful not to overcook. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.  


Plate as desired, either individually or family style. Garnish with fresh sliced apples.