Itâ€™s the most wonderful time of the year, but also the most hectic. Busy professionals are trying to wrap up end-of-year projects and plan for 2015, all while navigating a calendar full of holiday invitations from colleagues and clients. If youâ€™re doing the hosting, how do you make your event stand out in a sea of seasonal gatherings?
Chef James â€śJRâ€ť Robinson, founder of Washington, D.C.-based private chef and catering company KitchenCray and a contestant on the most recent season of Gordon Ramsayâ€™s Hellâ€™s Kitchen, suggests turning that calendar upside downâ€”with a holiday brunch.
Brunch, says Robinson, is a fresh way to mix it up. And itâ€™s the antidote to too many late nights spent at holiday cocktail parties. In the District, KitchenCray does both a weekly Sunday brunch and day party at Cities Restaurant & Lounge and a bi-monthly Saturday midnight brunch at Park View Patio.
Robinson, whose love of cooking started in his grandmotherâ€™s kitchen, is a fan of taking favorites that elicit feelings of comfort and nostalgia and reimagining them to create memorable new dishes. â€śYou can take classic recipes that your grandmother made and add a twist; take dishes you had as a kid and take it to another level. Sweet potato pie is my favorite. It reminds me of the holidays. Thatâ€™s why I did sweet potato waffles.â€ť
Here are more ways to throw a holiday brunch theyâ€™ll still be talking about next year:
Donâ€™t serve the same olâ€™ things. Especially at this time of year, guests may be tired of eating the same handful of traditional holiday foods. â€śYou have to have your own specialty dishes. They donâ€™t want the same boring stuff. They want something new, something exciting,â€ť Robinson says. â€śGet creative. Play around with classic dishes. Thatâ€™s what I did with the waffle.â€ť