If you’re like me, breakfast can get a little repetitive—eggs, toast, bacon, repeat. Even when I add buttermilk pancakes on special occasions, I do only so much with the rest of the ingredients.
Eggs are typically scrambled or fried. The toast is—well—toasted. And the pancakes, although homemade, are still basic. So, when I stumbled across this video from Epicurious, I was shocked at all the amazing things that could be done with even the most basic breakfast fare.
A home chef and a professional chef were asked about their favorite breakfast ingredients. The professional chef, Chris, planned to make an American/Chinese-style breakfast complete with scallion pancakes and, of course, caviar. In total, the ingredients for the professional chef cost $143.
The home chef, Emily, asked for very basic ingredients. Eggs, bacon, jam, butter, and sriracha were her ingredients of choice, costing a whopping $14. However, the chefs were thrown for a loop when they were given each other’s ingredients.
The Home Chef
The home chef’s mission was to make wok-scrambled eggs with caviar, bacon, scallion pancakes, and egg drop gravy. (Just another Tuesday morning, right?) Emily had access to all the right ingredients, but she had no real instructions on what to do with them.
Luckily, a food scientist—how does one get that job, anyway?—named Rose came to Emily’s aid. To start, Emily prepared the scallion pancake dough. The process is relatively simple, starting by mixing flour and hot water into a basic dough. Once rested, it is rolled out, brushed with fat (in this case lard, butter, and seasme oil), sprinkled with scallions, and rolled once more.
While I would consider this a job well done and time to eat, Emily kept going. She then steamed the cured and dried Chinese bacon for about ten minutes. She made chicken stock for her egg drop gravy, which consisted of chicken stock, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, oyster sauce, MSG, and egg.
Her souped-up scrambled eggs contained Chinese chives, heirloom eggs, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil. Emily quickly prepared the eggs before returning her focus to the scallion pancakes in the wok. After she scrambled the eggs, it was plating time!
The Professional Cook
Chris’s new ingredients seemed pretty straightforward. Still, he elevated the heck out of the normal American breakfast fare. All the ingredients looked familiar, but the result was far more decadent.
First, he turned white bread into dumpling wrappers and used half the bacon to create the filling along with poached eggs. The other portion of bacon was coated in the strawberry jam and baked for a simple but tasty treat.
Chris also made a sriracha meringue, which sounds more like a fever dream creation than an actual delicacy. But in the end, this spicy topping had rave reviews from Emily. Once the dumplings were seared in a hot wok, the dish was plated and ready to serve.
In the end, it seemed as though both chefs appreciated the other’s work. Chris’ creation of bacon and runny egg toast dumplings with candied bacon and chili meringue got rave reviews.
Emily, on the other hand? Well, she did her best. She flipped her scallion pancakes in the wok to the crew’s delight, but Chris’s cuisine took the cake. (Not to mention, it was also around $130 cheaper to make.)
The culinary challenge shows that you don’t need to splurge on fancy ingredients to create a five-star meal. Even the blandest of the bland—runny eggs, white bread, and plain bacon—can be made into a Michelin Star-worthy dish. Who knew?!