8 Popular Brunch Orders That Make Chefs Roll Their Eyes
Pancakes. Eggs Benedict. Avocado toast. Mimosas and Bloody Marys. What's not to love about brunch? It's a leisurely midday meal combining the best of breakfast, lunch, and the weekend, abandoning all the rules about what you're supposed to eat and drink, and when.
Before you fall into a bottomless mimosa with your avocado toast at your favorite brunch spot this coming weekend, we need to warn you that for many chefs, brunch can be their worst service of the day. They're tired, probably closed the night before and got to bed past 2 a.m., and now faced with hungry hordes of breakfast fans who need to be fed. Of course, all the chefs we talked to said the biggest struggle is making sure every order is the best it can be. They're perfectionists, who just want to make sure you enjoy your meal and come back for more!
We decided to let them share their pain. Read on for what chefs had to say about the challenges of brunch and the requests that make them roll their eyes.
Biscuits and gravy
If you don't want a soggy mess for breakfast, please don't do this. Gretta Platt, chef and owner at Seabiscuit in Boston tells us, "One brunch item we're beloved for is our Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, which is just fantastic when it's eaten here, in our restaurant: Toasted buttermilk herb biscuits slathered in a thick pool of savory gravy. But, people will order it to go, or order it through Uber Eats for delivery. And each time that happens we're like….ehhh, do you think that's such a great idea?"
Another knock against biscuits and gravy, from the chef's point-of-view, is that it can be tough to make it just right during a busy brunch service.
Award-winning Chef Brian Jupiter (Executive Chef at Chicago's Frontier and Ina Mae Tavern), shared his thoughts on the dish, saying, "A brunch dish on my menu that can be challenging would be biscuits and gravy. I absolutely love serving my guests this dish (who doesn't like a good biscuits & gravy?!). Still, the challenge comes with the technical process, especially when you want to ensure that every plate leaving the kitchen is served with the highest quality."
He explained the problem is the process, saying, "Biscuits alone can be tough to make because of the technique that goes into the preparation. The dough needs to be stirred just right, otherwise you can get a dense biscuit. However, if you do not mix enough, you will get a very uneven texture that can come out floury."
If you've tried making a classic French omelet at home, you know it's not easy, even for an experienced chef. Executive Chef Robert Sisca of The Banks and Bistro du Midi in Boston explains, "The brunch order I have always dreaded is the omelet. To make a proper French omelet, it is very time intensive to get it perfect. For years we did a quiche for brunch at Bistro du Midi, but now have the omelet perfected and we serve it classically with spinach, French feta, chives with a side of frites or a salad."
Complicated drink orders
Maybe skip that Paper Plane at 10 a.m., says bartender and cook Paul Kushner. "As a bartender, I want to let you in on a secret: We are all exhausted or hungover from Saturday night's shift, so please don't ask us to make you a custom cocktail at 10 a.m. We haven't had the same hours to prepare the fresh ingredients, and our creativity is running on fumes. Just get the mimosa or bloody mary, I'm begging you!"
Egg white omelets
Kushner is also not a fan of your egg white orders, mostly because without the fat, the eggs aren't easy to work with. He explains, "When I was working as a line cook, my least favorite thing to make was an egg white omelet. It's a diet food, so it inevitably comes with extra requests like 'light oil' or lots of substitutions. It can really throw you off of your rhythm! Plus, the light oil and lack of yolks make the egg extra sticky, messing up your griddle. The lack of fat means that the protein hardens up faster, making the eggs rubbery before any of the fillings have a chance to get fully heated or melted. It's just a hassle and all for a product that is ultimately less tasty."
Chef and blogger Shelly Martin says the sheer volume of making pancakes can be a challenge. She told us, "Being a chef I don't like to make pancakes for brunch. For one, it's a lot of work to make pancakes for a large group of people all at once. I have to be constantly flipping pancakes and making sure they're cooked evenly, which can be difficult when there are so many other things going on in the kitchen. Additionally, pancakes are often served with syrup or honey, which can make them stick to the griddle and become difficult to clean."
Again, this one comes down to volume and the struggle to make sure every dish is consistent, according to Raymond Neil of Trish Devine Kitchen. "French toast is another popular brunch dish, but it can also be a bit of a hassle for chefs," he explains. French toast requires careful attention to ensure that the bread is properly soaked, and that the egg mixture is evenly distributed. Additionally, French toast can take a while to make, especially if you're trying to make it for a large group."
Chef Jupiter also shared that this decadent egg dish that you probably don't make at home because it's complex is also difficult for a professional chef! "The most challenging brunch dish to make, in my opinion, would be eggs benedict. Due to the many steps it takes to prepare this dish, it can be difficult to execute (especially during rush hour!)," Jupiter says. "Although eggs benedict itself isn't challenging, the meal takes more time to prepare than most. The most time-consuming step is the hollandaise due to the technique. From poaching the egg, to toasting the bread, to preparing the hollandaise sauce, an eggs benedict takes time and care to perfect."
Absurd substitutions and difficult allergies
Chefs understand that some people have health issues and allergies. They just want to make sure you have a great meal that is good for you, says Kushner. "Please don't feel bad about asking for your food to be prepared safely! We want you to enjoy yourself and our food, and disclosing a nut allergy for your personal safety is very different than asking us to cook something entirely differently because of 'preferences' or a fad diet. If you have an egg allergy, I'd avoid brunch if possible," he notes. "It is incredibly difficult to avoid cross-contamination at brunch since most items are cooked on the same griddle. A vegan brunch spot might be the best place for you to enjoy a brunch!"