It’s difficult to overstate the importance of preparation when it comes to cooking a delicious meal. Something similar can be said about developing a great food feature story in the magazine—for the finished product to be edifying, prep is key.

In our November Behind the Lines discussion, we speak with the two staffers most intimately involved in preparing for and then executing our cover story: food editor Pat Sharpe and executive editor Kathy Blackwell. Beginning as far back as May, the two started scheming on how to provide subscribers and readers with some new ideas for holiday cooking. They wanted  to reflect modern Texas, but also nod to dishes we grew up on. And to do so they turned to chefs from around the state for ideas to shake up the tried-and-true, traditional holiday recipes.

And here was where preparation really showed its value. There’s no one who knows the Texas culinary scene better than Sharpe, who regularly criss-crosses the state scouring restaurants old and new for the most inventive and reliable dishes and the most capable chefs. She and Blackwell picked five chefs to approach for this package, and to Pat and Kathy’s delight, all five immediately said yes.

Austin chef Maribel Rivero, Dallas’s Stephen Rogers, Houston’s Kiran Verma, Fort Worth’s Denise Shavandy, and San Antonio’s Steve McHugh each chipped in, enthusiastically, with feasts inspired by their past but with some modern twists. Below, listen in as Sharpe and Blackwell talk through how the final product all came together.

Listen to our conversation, exclusively for Texas Monthly subscribers, below.

See the full Feast Around the World collection here.