Is Brunch B.S.? 10 Chefs Weigh In
"If you like to drink, brunch is good."
Brunch gets a bad rap from plenty of people on both sides of the kitchen door. There are the hungover crowds, the early hour, the boring old Benedicts. But brunch also has its share of boosters who live for sanctioned daytime drinking, an excuse to see friends, and—of course—avocado toast.
At the recent South Beach Wine and Food Festival, Extra Crispy rounded up 10 of our favorite chefs to ask a crucial question: Is brunch bullshit?
Amanda Cohen: Dirt Candy, New York
Brunch is basically lunch with eggs, so I think the name leaves a little bit to be desired. But I think it's amazing. I'm always so jealous when I see people going out to eat brunch like when I'm working. Like, "Oh why don't I have that many friends who want to eat breakfast with me?"
Kelly Fields: Willa Jean, New Orleans
I used to think that brunch was bullshit, but now, no. I am in the business of feeding people and nourishing people and providing that experience all in one, in all the different ways that means. Brunch is a celebration still and it's one of the few meals that consistently every week is a celebration. That's what the fuck we do.
Michael Gulotta: MoPho and Maypop, New Orleans
If people are having fun then it can't be bullshit. One morning I was walking into one of my restaurants and a guy walking his dogs said, "Hey, I haven't been to your spot yet, what's it like?" I'm like oh, we do this dim sum brunch. He's like, "Man my girlfriend, she just loves brunch." The chef side of me is like, uggghh. Nobody really wants to be at brunch when you're working it because I think you'd rather be at brunch.
I would feel terrible going to brunch. On a Sunday morning you know the cooks want to be in bed right now. You're caught between wanting to be a good, hospitable person and being like, God, I hate brunch. It's brunch. People love it. It's one of those things that's never going to go away.
Ashley Christensen: Death & Taxes, Poole's Diner, and more, Raleigh
I love brunch. Brunch is an escape from the bullshit. Brunch is a time when people on the same rhythm choose to take a break from all the stuff they have going on and everything else they are thinking about. They look to this ritual that is shared between people who have never met before. I think brunch is sort of anti-bullshit. I think brunch is THE shit.
Sarah Grueneberg: Monteverde Restaurant and Pastificio, Chicago
Wow. I like brunch. I think it's a fun time. We call lunch at our restaurant "brunchy lunchy." It's pasta and a little bit of breakfast food, which is just what I'd want to eat.
Matthew Jennings: Townsman, Boston
Brunch serves its purpose as a revenue driver for the end of the week. And if you can do it as a way to add a little bit of extra gravy to your revenue and also have fun doing it, then it's kind of a win-win for everybody.
Matt Abdoo: Pig Beach and Pig Bleecker, New York
It's a great opportunity to have the in-between menu. You want some breakfast stuff, but you want some lunch stuff. You can have a burger and some eggs. Whatever you're in the mood to eat is what I love to cook. My main goal is to put a smile on people's faces, so if they want avocado toast, if they want a frittata, if they want a burger with a sunny-side egg on, it I'm happy to do it. I don't think it's bullshit. I think it's an incredible culture that's very strong in New York City and it's really great to see how New York people embrace it and they go wait in line.
It's also great for the restaurants that are always trying to scrape by and need the extra revenue to keep the place ticking.
Rebekah Brooks: Dizengoff, Miami
If you like to drink, brunch is good. If you don't like to drink, it's bullshit. It's all about the booze for me. I hate mimosas. The orange juice kills the Champagne. Down here they do a lot of mojitos. I feel like brunch mojitos are right.
Shane McBride: Maysville, New York
Brunch is a great meal and believe it or not, I actually like working it. When the chef works brunch, it gets the staff to show up. They know I'm always there. It's a challenging shift. The logistics of doing eggs and stuff like that is what cooking is all about. I always say we control moisture and flavor and repeat. That's what we do. Eggs are a big challenge.
Justin Carlisle: Ardent, Red Light Ramen, and The Laughing Taco, Milwaukee
Brunch is hard. Some people love it. I don't love it at all. I like eating it and going out. I don't like the "b-word" as we call it. Usually we're off at that time, so it's a completely different flippin' shift for us. Nobody's used to it. It's fast, quick, and a grind.