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Al Roker hit the road this week for TODAY's Turkey Trot series in a quest to find the next Thanksgiving super chef. Joined by star chefs including Bobby Flay, Sunny Anderson and Katie Lee, Al popped up all over the country to surprise home cooks who were secretly nominated by their families and friends.
Al kicked off the series at the doorstep of a TODAY Food fan in Middletown, Maryland, who is known to his friends and family as "Turkey" Tom McLister because of his amazing Thanksgiving deep-fried turkey. Moments later, star chef Bobby Flay (who was hiding in the garage) surprised "Turkey" Tom and shared his tangy turkey dipping sauce recipe.
If you've taken the brave path of deep-frying your turkey, like "Turkey" Tom, you don't want to drown out the bird's crispiness with heavy gravy. Bobby's dipping sauce is the prefect complement to the crispy, juicy bird.
After talking turkey in Maryland, Al headed south to Orlando, Florida, where he met up with Food Network star Sunny Anderson to surprise a culinary school student — while class was in session! Nominated by her twin sister, Sasha Sinjic hopes to one day have her own cooking show and already has a signature dish: creamy brussels sprouts gratin.
Since Sunny's a big fan of the mini cabbages too, she showed Sasha how to make and easy brussels sprouts salad.
Sunny's salad has the big flavors of the holidays — cranberries, pecans, rosemary, nutmeg — while still being fresh and light. It's a refreshing reprieve from all the heavy eating of the rest of the meal.
Next stop: Fairfax, Virginia, to surprise Bonnie McDaniel, an aspiring TV chef whose classic macaroni and cheese is beloved by her friends and family. TODAY Food regular Katie Lee joined in on the fun and shared her own recipe for an easy stovetop mac and cheese that's perfect for Thanksgiving since it doesn't take up precious room in the oven.
Classic mac an cheese is always great, but Katie adds some complexity and depth of flavor to the dish with mushrooms, Dijon mustard, thyme and two types of cheese: Fontina and Parmesan.
Tune in Friday, November 18 to see the final surprise!