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.


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, NYU graduate, and Iraq veteran. His fiction has appeared in The Line…
10 smoky scotch whisky options to make those fall campfires magical
Our favorite smoky scotch whisky brands for late-summer drinking
Campfire whisky

The end of summer is barreling toward us like a pumpkin spice-fueled locomotive. Depending on where you live, you’re likely already seeing some signs of fall. The leaves are beginning to change color, the days are getting shorter, and Halloween candy is already on grocery store shelves. Fear not, even with the eventuality that is the end of summer, we still have until September 23 to enjoy all that the season has to offer. For us, it means as many backyard campfires as possible before the weather grows colder. It also means we only have weeks left to pair our fires with a glass of warming Scotch whisky.

Nobody will blame you for complimenting the smoky fire by drinking a complex, non-peated single malt Scotch whisky. For those confused about the spelling, most of the world omits the 'e' when referring to whisky. You also might be wondering the difference between Scotch and whiskey. Well, in the simplest terms, Scotch is a kind of whisky (Americans and the Irish still use the 'e'). So that should put an end to the Scotch vs. whiskey debate once and for all.

Read more
Berries going bad too fast? Try this amazing viral TikTok hack that actually works
This viral TikTok hack shows you how to keep your berries fresh for up to 10 days
Mixed berries

Berries are a fan favorite in the produce section. These juicy little delights are a vitamin-packed fruit that's great for baking, snacking, making fruity cocktails like sangria, and even brightening up your weekend charcuterie boards. If you're someone who loves berries, you know how frustrating it can be when they start going bad too quickly.
But worry not! A viral TikTok hack has been making waves online, promising to keep your berries in tip-top shape for longer. We'll walk you through how to keep berries fresh using this amazing hack that actually works.
Say goodbye to wasting money on spoiled fruit, and hello to spoiling yourself with fresh, juicy berries whenever you want!

How to keep berries fresh with water and vinegar
Berries tend to spoil quickly due to their high water content, delicate texture, and the growth of mold and bacteria between them in their store-bought produce cartons. Exposure to moisture, heat, and air can also accelerate the ripening (or spoiling) process.

Read more
Take a break from pumpkin beer: The best Oktoberfest beers to drink this fall
These delicious drinks are perfect for crisp fall days
Pint of beer

There are at least a handful of holidays (especially drinking centered holidays) that many drinkers don’t really know the true origins of. We know these are special days in which we drink tequila and Mexican beer (Cinco de Mayo), Irish whiskey or dry Irish stouts (St. Patrick’s Day), and giant pints of malty, refreshing German beer (Oktoberfest). And while we’ll get into the other two when the time comes, it’s Oktoberfest’s time in the spotlight.

Oktoberfest is more than simply a day to wear your grandfather’s lederhosen, drink Marzen, eat schnitzel, and listen to oom-pah music. It’s a two-week festival (the actual party is in Munich) that’s celebrated each fall to remember the wedding of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810.

Read more