Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

How To Throw a Winning Brunch Party, According to Chef Chris Valdes

Swoon Talent

Filled with savory and sweet dishes, brunch is a delicious special occasion meal best shared with family and friends. However, the endless variety of brunch dishes can also be an intimidating task for many home cooks. Thankfully, help has arrived in the form of Chef Chris Valdes, a brunch expert and author of the new cookbook,

One With The Kitchen

.

Related Guides

Prepare in Advance

cooking playlist
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Brunch is an all-encompassing culinary event, often featuring a variety of fruit, drinks, pastries, and savory dishes. That’s a lot of work. To tackle this, a good piece of advice is to prep your ingredients ahead of time. This could mean anything from whipping eggs and cutting vegetables to setting the table in advance. Not only will these steps save time, but they will also give you a head start when it’s time to cook your brunch dishes.

Another valuable tool is the oven. While many brunch dishes like omelets and French toast requires a stove, the oven can be used to make a variety of excellent brunch dishes. As a bonus, utilizing the oven will free up the stove for cooking and also saves cleaning time. The oven is also great for warming up food. To keep your food at a perfect serving temperature, Chef Valdes recommends an oven setting of 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Finally, brunch should be a time to relax with family and friends. For Chef Valdes, an ideal brunch get together should be tasty, fun and painless. “When I’m making brunch for a crowd,” said Chef Valdes. “I always think of how to make my life, and others’, easier.”

The Menu

Egg Muffins by Chef Valdes. Image used with permission by copyright holder

A great brunch is a exciting balance between hot and cold dishes. For cold dishes, anything from pasta salad, to deviled eggs, to ceviche is great. Most of these cold dishes can also be made the day before to save time. For hot dishes, waffles, Latin style Tortilla Española, and various sausages are all fantastic.

A big reason why brunch can seem very difficult to tackle is the amount of different foods involved. For instance, making customized individual omelets for an entire family is not anyone’s idea of a relaxing Sunday morning. Instead, try making dishes that are meant to be eaten family style like an egg frittata that’s perfect for sharing. After all, the social aspect of brunch is just as important as the food and serving dishes family style is a perfect way to accomplish that.

For Chef Valdes, he prefers making family style egg dishes, like his egg muffins or Tortilla Española in the oven. As a bonus, these can also be made the day before. Simply warm up the dishes in the oven before eating. A great part of a dish like Chef Valdes’s egg muffins (eggs mixed with heavy whipping cream and ham, cooked individually in a muffin tin) is the customization. Like omelets, these egg muffins can be customized with ingredients like prosciutto, cheddar cheese, feta, avocado slices, cherry tomatoes, and even sliced cooked potatoes. These types of diverse egg dishes will mimic the flavor and customization of an omelet without the time-consuming effort of making a different omelet for every member of the brunch party.

Drinks

Millers All Day

One of the best and most fun aspects of brunch is the drinks. Brunch is a perfect canvas for a variety of colorful nonalcoholic and alcoholic drinks. Chef Valdes recommends making drinks like sangria or a Bloody Mary in pitchers for easy self-service.

The classic brunch mimosa or mojito are also refreshing choices. For a fun twist, try making a mimosa or mojito bar. The best part about these drinks is that almost any type of fresh juice will work. Grab pineapple, watermelon, or even guava juice for a fun and creative mojito bar. For nondrinkers, these juices can also be blended and mixed with seltzer water for exciting mocktails.

Editors' Recommendations

Hunter Lu
Hunter Lu is a New York-based food and features writer, editor, and NYU graduate. His fiction has appeared in The Line…
How Harlem Hops, a Craft Beer Bar, is Giving Back to Harlem Students
brands giving back harlem hops craft beer bar founders

When the doors to Harlem Hops opened in 2018, its mission was to bring incredible beers to an incredible neighborhood. Three years later, the gastropub and its owners have become a thriving part of Harlem's restaurant renaissance, with their influence pouring far past the bar glasses and into the streets of the community around it.

After lamenting over the lack of locations uptown where beer lovers could enjoy high-quality, rare, innovative brews, partners Kim Harris, Stacey Lee, and Kevin Bradford turned their passion for pints and philanthropy into the first Black-owned craft beer bar in Harlem.

Read more
The best orange wines for something satisfyingly in between a red and white
Orange wine to try
orange wine

Orange wine continues to dazzle wine drinkers, and it's no wonder that the style sits in a happy medium between whites and reds. The style, a skin-fermented white wine hailing from the Republic of Georgia, is one of the oldest around. And it's also never been more popular, with imports continuing to pour in and domestic producers trying their own takes on orange wine, utilizing a broad range of interesting grape varieties.

Simply put, now's an ideal time to enjoy orange wine. They're coming in from all corners of the global wine map and taking advantage of everything from Gewurztraminer to Marsanne. Most exciting, the best orange wines afford the structure of red wine and the sprightliness of white wine. Like an oxidized Rosé with tannin and sometimes funky and intriguing flavors profiles, these wines are captivating.

Read more
A beginner’s guide to Burmese cuisine
Plus, a recipe to make the national dish
Tofu dish from Top Burmese in Portland, Oregon

When it comes to Asian cuisine, there are several heavyweights. Chinese, Japanese cuisine, and Thai jump to mind, three major cooking styles that have crossed many oceans and created solid footings abroad. But what of the smaller nations and their unique culinary customs?
Burma is one of those Asian countries, roughly the size of Texas and wedged between Bangladesh to the west and Thailand and Laos to the east. It’s important to note that the nation also goes by the Myanmar name, depending on who you ask. Political turmoil over the last several decades has seen not only a tug-of-war regarding its national title but also a struggle to define itself. Generations of British colonialism faded into brutal military rule and several uprisings.
This is the land of large pythons and precious stones. Some 90% of the globe’s rubies come from Burma. Rice is Burma’s biggest export and the landscape is dramatic, with towering mountain ranges, verdant jungles, and incredible old towers from bygone civilizations. Some 100 ethnic groups call Burma home, making the population of more than 53 million extremely diverse.
With tons of coastline, thanks to the adjacent Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, Burma cuisine is unsurprisingly driven by seafood. This is the land of fish sauce and dried prawns. The national dish is mohinga, a breakfast dish made with rice noodles and fish soup. Inland, there's more in the way of pork and beef and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Local Burmese restaurant in the U.S.

Read more