Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.
Of all the meals we consume on a daily basis, breakfast is arguably the one that changes the most from the weekend to the workweek. While mornings off can be spent lingering over pancakes and mimosas, many of us lean toward convenience and speed on a workday, meaning that breakfast translates to a simple bite that can be scarfed down quickly in the car or on a train. But eating on the go doesn’t have to be a sad affair. We asked several chefs to divulge their top secrets for homemade breakfast sandwiches.
Chris Lusk, Executive Chef at Silver Whistle Café at Pontchartrain Hotel, New Orleans
For Lusk, nothing says breakfast sandwich like the unbeatable duo of salty and sweet. His top pick? A halved biscuit stuffed with breakfast sausage drenched in jelly. “My pro tip is to use blackberry jelly for a great balance of sweet and tart,” says Lusk. “The blackberry-sausage biscuit has been a favorite of mine since childhood, when my grandfather would make them for me to eat on our fishing trips.”
Robyn Guisto, Executive Chef at Old Village Post House Inn, Mount Pleasant, S.C.
When making a must-have breakfast sandwich, Guisto insists on including one morning staple: meat of the porcine variety. “For me, the key to a great breakfast sandwich is lots of bacon,” Guisto says. Like Lusk, she recommends pulling in a sweet ingredient to balance the salty pork flavor (think brown sugar, maple syrup or a sweet pepper relish).
Rick Horiike, Executive Chef at Ganso Yaki, Brooklyn
A longtime chef of Japanese cuisine, Horiike likes to add some international influence to his breakfast sandwiches, in the form of kurobuta sausage. “I love kurobuta, which are Japanese ‘black pork’ sausages that look like cocktail weenies but are deeply porky, smoky and amazing,” he says. Horiike slicks a fresh kaiser roll with a Japanese brand of mayo, then piles on American cheese and sunny-side-up eggs, which are the key to making it all blend together. “The runny yolk is like a rich, delicious sauce, plus they’re the easiest eggs to cook,” Horiike notes. “I don’t like to work too hard first thing in the morning!”
Jamie Lynch, Executive Chef and Partner at 5 Church, Charlotte, N.C.
Lynch takes his breakfast sandwiches seriously. He really thinks about how the style of egg will blend with the other ingredients. First, there’s the type of bread to consider. “Will it be crispy, chewy or a hybrid? Open-faced?” Lynch muses. Then there are the rich (aka fatty) ingredients to ponder. “I say cheese it,” he recommends. “But keep in mind you can add a creamy texture with an avocado spread or creamy sauce or even a fine olive oil.” Lynch’s all-time favorite breakfast sandwich brings together warm crab and lightly seasoned heirloom tomato with an over-easy egg and creamy avocado. Buttery pumpernickel bread holds it all together.
Blackberry-Sausage Biscuit photo courtesy of Chris Lusk