Around Northeast Florida, weekend brunch has achieved staple-status as a meal and social gathering. While certain standard dishes come to mind when we dream about that midday meal (eggs benedict, bottomless mimosas, cinnamon rolls), sometimes we seek culinary adventure and explore new taste sensations. We asked some local chefs for insight on top trends and must-haves - they should know, they're on the front line of the brunch revolution.
Chef David Seavy, Executive Chef, NORTH BEACH BISTRO
Must-have: Crab cake eggs benedict and bottomless mimosas.
Trends: Omelets with nontraditional toppings. Also, anything vegetarian.
Chef Sam Efron, Owner/Executive Chef, TAVERNA SAN MARCO
Must-have: A killer omelet and great pancakes. We make lemon ricotta pancakes — a nice alternative to your ordinary flapjacks.
Trends: Fun and interesting handcrafted brunch cocktails.
Chef Tom Gray, Executive Chef, MOXIE KITCHEN + COCKTAILS & TOWN HALL
Must-have: I'm a lover of bubbly, so for me, a brunch must-have is a mimosa …with or without orange juice!
Trends: Brunch is a very social meal and is a fun weekend “splurge” with friends, whether it’s on decadent dishes, like cast-iron French toast, or on a classic, like a biscuit sandwich.
Chef Michael McKinney, Executive Chef, RESTAURANT ORSAY
Must-have: I have never been a regimented breakfast eater, so I have to say that my favorite part of brunch is the friends and family. And, of course, the libations that go along with it.
Trends: Heavily sweet items with over-the-top visual appeal. Soon, I believe, we’ll see a swing back toward the classic brunch items that have withstood the test of time.
Chef Tony Jarvis Owner/Chef, COOL MOOSE CAFE
Must-have: Benedicts — the ultimate comfort food with class. They allow the chef to experiment with different flavors while still incorporating the traditional egg, various sauces for the hollandaise and a carb to bring it all together.
Trends: Chefs are urged to take risks with flavor and texture. They no longer have to stick to the tried-and true of eggs, toast and bacon. Guests are willing to go on that journey with them without hesitation.
Chef George Hoyt, Sous Chef, BISCOTTIS
Must-have: Besides a great cup of coffee, I like a well-executed eggs benedict. A variety of different ingredients can be used to achieve something very simple, yet mouth-wateringly delicious.
Trends: Locally sourced ingredients. Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in the local farms here in Northeast Florida that provide us with a variety of great products, including herbs, grits, vegetables and more. I think people like to know where their food comes from, especially when it’s from their own backyard.
Chef Scott Alters, Executive Chef, RUE SAINT-MARC
Must-have: Our Scotch Egg over Aligot Potato Purée with Roasted Chicken Jus.
Trends: Traditional brunch items done with the chef's creative twists.
Chef John Botkin, Executive Chef, COSTA BRAVA
Must-have: Mimosas and Bloody Marys, plus chef-attended omelet stations and seafood displays for an unexpected twist.
Trends: Hunter’s Boards that boast eggplant, roasted squash, sliced meats, marinated mushrooms, grilled artichokes, an assortment of imported olives and an artisan cheese display.
Dan Howard, Kitchen Ninja, TRASCA & CO EATERY
Must-have: A to-die-for breakfast sandwich or burrito. At Trasca, we’ve taken those two delicious things and smashed them together to create the Panino.
Trends: Comfort is still king when it comes to brunch. We’ve all seen the movement towards local, fresh and healthy, and I think those trends are all here to stay. When it comes to brunch though, people still love to let their hair down, and I think they always will.