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Step Up your Brunch on Mother's Day with Michelin-Star Chefs' Secrets

Breakfast, especially on a weekday, is usually an afterthought. A stray banana as we run out the door, a quick bowl of cereal before the morning commute, maybe some avocado toast if we›re feeling fancy. 

But as we continue to spend time at home, breakfast has become a bigger part the day. And after a couple of weeks, it’s easy to get bored of that usual bowl of oatmeal.

We reached out to Michelin-starred chefs from around the world to see what they’re cooking for breakfast, and learn their tips for making the first meal of the day as delicious as the rest.

From lemon ricotta pancakes to tortilla Española, these dishes are sure to bring some excitement to your mornings.

Chocolate Waffles

Kevin Meehan, the owner and chef of Kali Restaurant in Los Angeles, said that he has loved making these waffles with his kids. 

The batter is simple and can be made with ingredients that are likely already in your pantry. Meehan mixes cocoa powder with flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and eggs, and then throws the batter into his waffle press. He also makes a simple homemade whipped cream to top it all off. 

“It’s a simple four to one ratio of cream to sugar,” he said. “You whip it up and, at the last minute, I like to take orange zest and zest it in there — a lot of it.” 

Meehan often freezes his leftover waffles, which just need a quick pop in the microwave or toaster before they’re ready to go again. He’ll also often add a fried egg on top, which he said his young daughters love. 

“It’s a no-brainer, the recipe is super easy to do,” he said. “When you have a big fat waffle, it’s a special thing.” 

Upgraded Pancakes

Lemon ricotta pancakes have been a popular breakfast dish in New Zealand chef Josh Emett’s house.

“There has been a real focus around our morning routine in our house while in lockdown,” Emett, who recently released his cookbook “The Recipe,” told Insider. «Breakfasts are often made and eaten in a huge rush in the morning while trying to get the kids out to sports or to school, but at present we have the luxury of perfecting some of our favorites.» 

“Lemon ricotta pancakes are something we make often, so we’ve been trying quite a few different recipes to find the perfect version.” 

Emett said that the key to getting the pancakes right is making sure to rest the mix “for a couple of hours” and using powdered icing sugar instead of caster sugar to “make them a little lighter.” 

“The cooking also needs to be controlled and slow to get the perfect color and crispness,” he added.

The French Omelette

Ryan Ratino, the chef behind Bresca in Washington, DC, told Insider that he often turns to omelettes for breakfast.

“As often as I can, I like to cook omelettes for the simple reason that I absolutely love eggs,” he said. “A true and classic French omelette is incredibly simple, you just need eggs and good butter.”

“It’s a simple combination that yields a subtle and nice tender texture, and rich comforting flavor.”

Ratino also recommends making scrambled eggs and toast with Kerrygold butter, a European-style butter that he loves pairing with eggs. 

“It has much more butterfat content than regular butter, which makes dishes have a richer flavor and creamier texture,” he said. “Then top the eggs with your favorite sweet jam for a sweet and savory contrast, and bundle it up between two pieces of toast!” 

Refrigerator Clean out Frittata

David Shim, the chef at Cote in Manhattan, told Insider that he loves cooking frittatas when he needs to use up leftover ingredients at home. 

“There might be half an onion, a few peeled garlic cloves, some spinach,” he said. “You can mix meat, something that’s leftover from the night before or that you have in your fridge. I always use bacon and spinach, that’s my go-to.” 

“Sauté them in a pan, put in five to six eggs, and let it bake in the oven. It’s a quick 15 to 20 minutes, and you can save some for the next day.” 

Tortilla Espanola

Tortilla Española, also known as Spanish omelette, is a signature dish from Spain that features eggs and potatoes. 

“Tortilla Española is a little bit heavier than a frittata,” Shim said. “I put some sort of sweet potato or regular potato with some bell peppers, so it’s a bit more of a meal.” 

Shim said he first whips the eggs so that they’re ready to go, and then boils or blanches the potatoes for a couple of minutes. 

He sautés some bell peppers and then adds the eggs and potatoes before throwing the pan into the oven and baking it for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Once it’s done, Shim tops his tortilla Española with some cheese or reduced tomato sauce. 

The Perfect Egg Sandwich

“Obviously everyone is on their sourdough thing, everyone’s got a bunch of bread,” Meehan said. “What I’ve been doing is making a fried egg sandwich with sourdough, and I’ve been doing that a lot.” 

To make his perfect fried egg sandwich, Meehan first toasts the sourdough bread and then puts some homemade chimichurri sauce on top. 

“Chimichurri sauce is an Argentinian-based sauce with parsley and garlic,» Meehan said. «It›s really easy to make and you can make a big batch of it. The longer it sits in your fridge, the better it is.» 

Meehan then fries his egg in olive oil and slides it on top of the bread. 

“I kind of just cut into it too,” he added. “So the egg breaks open.” 


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