How the pros raise a toast
You can't celebrate on on empty stomach—especially if you're a chef who's been nominated for a deeply prestigious thing like a James Beard Award, the annual honors given out to the best chefs and restaurateurs in the business. OK, you can celebrate, but the next morning, you've still gotta wake up (or stay up), keep the party going, and sustain yourself for what comes next, which is getting back in the kitchen and cooking your ass off like you always do. This week during the 2017 James Beard Awards in Chicago, we asked some past, present, and hopefully future nominees and winners about how they'd celebrate a post-win breakfast of champions.
Ashley Merriman, co-chef of Prune with wife Gabrielle Hamilton, co-chef of Prune and James 2011 Beard Best Chef NYC winner and 2017 Outstanding Chef nominee
Ashley: I think the breakfast of champions is two cups of coffee and an over-easy egg with the yolk split on buttered, seeded toast. That's the one for me. You should see what Gabrielle thinks I'd say—like The Newlywed Game.
Gabrielle: Me, coffee with half-and-half. What did she say? (Listens.) Oh, that's true. But this is the only breakfast I have.
Steven Satterfield, chef/co-owner of Miller Union and 2017 James Beard Best Chef: Southeast winner
On a normal day I'm like a vegan smoothie, run out the door. That's my daily champion-being of the day. But if I was really going to go all-out I would do a croque madame. Yeah. There's the daily, and then the sit down and soak it in.
Hugo Ortega, chef/owner of Hugo's Restaurant and 2017 James Beard Best Chef: Southwest winner
Oh my god, it's gotta be some chilaquiles! Chilaquiles and fried eggs. Green chilaquiles are fabulous but red ones are a little more bold in flavor. But chilaquiles is the way to go. And with the chilaquiles maybe a michelada or a local beer would be great.
Rebecca Wilcomb, chef de cuisine of Herbsaint and 2017 James Beard Best Chef: South winner
Right now I'm feeling like I should just have some fresh fruit and yogurt and granola, but after drinking all night I'll probably want some soup. I love going to Dove's Luncheonette and getting a big soup. Back home, my big thing is always an omelette with cheese, some bacon, and some french fries.
Marco Canora, chef/owner of Hearth and 2017 James Beard Best Chef: NYC winner
Oh the breakfast of champions? I love that! Here's my breakfast: blanched greens that have been braised in pork ragù, with two poached eggs on it. I do it at work all the time because we have pork ragù, right? And you braise greens in that pork sauce and then add two eggs. It's amazing. If I won I'd eat that, 100 percent.
Michael Solomonov, chef/owner of Zahav and 2017 James Beard Outstanding Chef winner
Au Cheval burgers, hopefully!
Will Guidara, restaurateur Eleven Madison Park and 2017 World's 50 Best Restaurants #1 Restaurant winner
This year when we won World's 50 Best we were in Melbourne and we went to Cumulus and had coffee and crumpets. Back home, breakfast would be a cup of strong coffee and my wife [Milk Bar chef Christina Tosi, who won the 2015 James Beard Best Pastry Chef and 2012 Rising Star Chef awards] mixes me up a delicious bowl of cereal.
Alon Shaya, executive chef and partner at Shaya and 2016 James Beard Best New Restaurant winner
Breakfast of champions, I have two words for you: room service. Enjoy your wife, enjoy your husband, enjoy your family, enjoy the people who have been around you to bring you up to the point where you can achieve something of such greatness. Order some scrambled eggs and some coffee and sit in your room and just enjoy that company because this means more than anything else.
Ken Oringer, chef/partner of Toro and 2017 James Beard Best Restaurateur nominee and Jamie Bissonnette, chef/partner of Toro and 2014 James Beard Best Chef: Northeast winner
Oringer: Posole at Dove's Luncheonette with a double-shot of mezcal.
Bissonnette: I'm gonna second that and I'm also gonna go with some fried chicken with a fried egg on top.
Justin Carlisle, chef/owner of Ardent and 2017 James Beard Best Chef: Midwest nominee
Eggs and bacon. I'm from Wisconsin. It's eggs and bacon. Two to three eggs over easy, six slices of bacon.
Joseph “JJ” Johnson, executive chef of The Cecil and 2014 James Beard Rising Star Chef nominee
Oh shit, I'm having a magnum of Pol Roger, some freshly-squeezed orange juice, and then just the most amazing farm eggs scrambled with cheddar cheese, an everything bagel, amazing not crispy but slightly crispy bacon. And I want to put my feet up on the other chair and just sit there in heaven.