Charlotte-based celebrity chef shares top Thanksgiving recipes

CHARLOTTE — Chef Kevin Winston has made a splash on Charlotte’s culinary scene after his work with big name clients like H.E.R., Justin Bieber, the late Nipsey Hussle, and Fantasia.

But, after deciding to raise his two sons in the Queen City, the Kansas City native tells Channel 9 he wants to be known for more than his client roster.

“We all have a responsibility to give back in some way,” he said. “You don’t have to do it in a traditional way. You can do it in a way where you’re giving your talents.”

>> Wednesday on Eyewitness News beginning at 5p.m., see what makes Chef Kev “Carolina Strong” as he shares his talents with deserving families working their way up in the Queen City.

As part of giving back to the community this season, Winston wanted to make sure his neighbors were prepared for the big meal by sharing some of his most acclaimed holiday recipes. Many of which pay homage to his late mother and grandmother, as the family passed down recipes through the generations.

And his top key to a successful holiday meal: get as much done in advance as you can.

Chef Kev’s Signature Collard Greens

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Servings: 10 to 20


  • 2 pounds collard greens, washed and chopped
  • 1 pound smoked turkey wings or ham hocks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


  1. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  2. Add the smoked turkey wings or ham hocks to the pot and cook until browned.
  3. Add the collard greens to the pot and stir to combine with the onions, garlic, and meat.
  4. Pour in the chicken broth and season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using).
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour, or until the collard greens are tender.
  6. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Serve hot as a side dish.

Chef Kev’s Signature Cornbread Dressing

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30-35 minutes

Servings: 5-8


  • 1 package cornbread mix
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and grease a baking dish.
  2. Prepare the cornbread mix according to package instructions and let it cool.
  3. In a large skillet, sauté the celery, onion, and bell pepper in butter until softened.
  4. Crumble the cooled cornbread into a large mixing bowl and add the sautéed vegetables.
  5. Stir in the beaten eggs, chicken broth, dried sage, dried thyme, salt, and pepper.
  6. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
  7. Transfer the mixture to the greased baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
  8. Serve warm as a delicious Thanksgiving side dish.

Chef Kev’s Signature Sweet Potato Pie

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 55-60 minutes

Servings: 8-10


  • 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 unbaked pie crust


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, melted butter, beaten eggs, milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well until smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie crust and smooth the top with a spatula.
  4. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the pie is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow the pie to cool completely before serving.
  6. Serve chilled or at room temperature, optionally topped with whipped cream.

About Chef Kevin Winston

Born in Missouri and raised in his family’s renowned Kansas City BBQ joint, Chef Kevin Winston was innately drawn to a career in the kitchen. The classically trained chef and father of two has worked in kitchens from coast to coast. Chef Kev’s down-home upbringing paired with his classical culinary training resulted in a cooking style that’s accessible and artful. His cooking philosophy is simple: healthy eating can, and should, be delicious and satisfying.

Every day, there are people across the Carolinas doing extraordinary things. They’re giving back, they’re helping each other, and they’re making a real difference. We’re highlighting the best in our community in our series, Carolina Strong.

Know somebody who’s making a positive impact? Let us know here.

Madison Carter

Madison Carter, wsoctv.com

Madison is an investigative reporter and anchor for Channel 9.

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