Tampa Bay Chef Gary Moran’s Thanksgiving Menu

November 24, 2012 8:00 AM

(credit: wimaumafoods.com)

(credit: wimaumafoods.com)

(credit: wimaumafoods.com)

Gary Moran
4205 Macdill Ave. S.
Tampa, FL 33611
(813) 498-0494

Since opening Wimauma earlier this year, Chef Gary Moran and his wife Amy said they end up spending “the vast majority” of their time in the new establishment. Fortunately, their children don’t seem to mind their parents’ occupation, often helping with small tasks around the dining room and waiting patiently for the kitchen to close. As a result, the Morans usually pass the holidays, like most other days, in the restaurant, which they also did for Thanksgiving this year. Amy’s parents joined them, so it resulted in a festive and familial-style gathering that mixed family, friends and customers.

Chef Moran shared his 2012 Thanksgiving menu, which includes an assortment of dishes derived from Wimauma’s normal à la carte menu, combined with some creative and innovative twists. In fact, since this Thanksgiving was the first for the restaurant and because Moran declares himself “like most chefs,” not the biggest fan of turkey, he decided to serve duck, leg of lamb and whole-roasted filet of beef or wild-striped bass. In his opinion, these types of dishes give off a more decadent and celebratory vibe.

Related: Best Year Round Fresh Farmer’s Markets In Tampa Bay

As far as format, Moran chose to create a three-course menu with individual wine pairings. He sees it more appropriate to serve a multi-course, formal meal rather than the traditional buffet service for a holiday such as Thanksgiving. In his words, he “hate[s] when the peas touch the carrots” – apparently a view shared by many chefs who discourage the idea of the all-you-can-eat buffet. Food should be savored over time and in a convivial atmosphere, rather than stuffed down one’s throat in a race for more. Finally, in addition to his role as chef, Moran also holds a level one sommelier certification, so he takes great pride in designing custom wine pairings for his culinary creations.

Wimauma’s Thanksgiving menu 2012 included the following:

Course One

Fried green tomatoes with crispy country ham, watercress and buttermilk ranch vinaigrette
served with Joel Gott Chardonnay 2011

Crispy fried Florida oysters with guacamole, cilantro and smoked tomato jam
served with Penfolds Thomas Hyland Riesling 2008


Roasted beet salad with homemade cottage cheese, candied pecans, wild arugula and orange blossom honey vinaigrette
served with Loredona Pinot Grigio 2010

Course Two

Pan-roasted duck breast with braised red cabbage, parsnip puree and pomegranate emulsion
served with M.Chapoutier “Bellerouche” Syrah 2009

Smoked turkey breast with giblet gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, oyster and sausage stuffing and cranberry chutney
served with Handcraft Pinot Noir 2010


Country ham-wrapped monkfish on Brussels sprout risotto with roasted kabocha squash and honey mustard sauce
served with Anselmi Soave, San Vincenzo 2010

Course Three

Chocolate-bacon brownie served with butter pecan ice cream and chocolate ganache

Salted caramel pie with pretzel crust served with chocolate ganache and basil chantilly


Five-spice pumpkin pie with ginger-snap crust and sucker punch sauce

All desserts were paired with a flute of Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux 2010

Related: Best Tasting Menus In Tampa Bay

Aaron Phillips has experience in marketing and journalism. Recently back to his hometown, he’s excited to discover and share what Tampa has to offer. His work can be found at Examiner.com.