Another Broken Egg Chef’s Brunch Will Give You a Buzz
By: Nicholas Upton
Published: August 27, 2021
What do you have to be drinking to come up with rum-soaked French toast made from spiced rum cake? Great rum, obviously.
Another Broken Egg Café Chef Jason Knoll is the brain behind that dish. It’s the middle path of his menu update cadence. The Orlando, Florida-based concept is known for breakfast and brunch at its 70-plus locations, so there’s a lot of eggs, bacon and pancakes, but Knoll has some space to play across the menu and in the full bar.
“I get three items each menu cycle: one safe, one somewhat conservative and then one that is crazy-fun aggressive,” he said.
The safe item for the latest cycle was a cookie dough waffle. Cookies, waffles—it’s a sure win that will keep the waffle maker going non-stop. The French toast is the “somewhat conservative” item for the French toast obsessive.
“I attack French toast from a very methodical, almost engineering standpoint. Everyone loves French toast, but your bread interior and your toppings are your areas to shine. I had the in-house bakers create a rum cake,” said Knoll as he described the dish’s foundation that is battered, topped with grilled pineapple, fresh berries and a spiced rum butter glaze that requires an ID. “The rum is not cooked off. Two of these, you will get a buzz,” said Knoll.
He suggests pairing it with a spiced rum cold brew coffee (and you may as well cancel your post-brunch plans lest you get a DWI on your riding lawnmower).
As for the crazy-fun one?
“It’s almost too crazy,” said Knoll. “Everyone loves chicken piccata, so I did a piccata benedict: focaccia, with a lightly breaded chicken breast, an egg on that and a light, lemony caper sauce.”
He said the flavors work really well and customers are buying it. He already knows it’s coming back next year.
But it’s not all moonshots or safe bets in the kitchen. Knoll said his culinary fun is informed by a lot of research, data and trend reports. Keeping up with the massive, fast-paced world of food is a big part of the role.
“It’s significant, I’m probably spending only half my time in the kitchen. The remainder of the time, looking at the data,” said Knoll. “I think the days of the conceited chef who pounds their chest and says, ‘This is my food,’ is over. That’s not me, I’m cooking for the consumer.”
There are three key filters for the research: what’s in season, how does that match trends and do the commodities make sense. The latter is tricky recently, but Knoll said it’s easier with new items from vendors. He spends a lot of time in the middle, looking at trend reports, checking out independent chefs and scrolling through Instagram for inspiration.
“There are some great publications out there, Technomic and Datassential. They are just massive compilers of data. They sort it out for you and tell you on a large scale what are the large- and small-scale trends,” said Knoll. “They call it the max cycle. We like to play just after inception, in the proliferation window. We stay out of the ubiquity.”
That’s a good place to play for Another Broken Egg Café. Its customers trend toward foodie and adventurous eaters; they’ve probably heard of the unique flavors, but when big-chain QSR grabs hold of a trend, they are looking for something else.
Sometimes, there are duds. Luckily Another Broken Egg Café has a full bar.
“That’s where the rum and beer and wine come in, just drown your sorrows,” joked Knoll. “No, but I do take it a little personally when things don’t work. But at the same time if you don’t try and don’t innovate, you’re going backward.”
One such dud was a savory cheesecake inspired by famous New Orleans restaurant Jacques-Imo’s Café.
“I thought it was amazing and did a spin on it with a spinach side. I think we probably sold less than one a day,” said Knoll. “But what might be a failure now might be a success two or three years from now.”
Just wait, a savory breakfast cheesecake may wind up being the “somewhat conservative” thing Knoll cooks up in a few years.
Read the full story at: www.franchisetimes.com