Ask A Chicago Chef: Best Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes

May 8, 2013 7:00 AM


By Elizabeth SanFilippo

Rather than take your mom out this Mother’s Day for brunch, impress her with your culinary skills and make her brunch. These recipes hail from two restaurants and chefs that know how to put spins on classic brunch dishes. Whether you’re looking for a dessert, a delicious salad or a hearty entree, these chefs have you covered.



Chef Jeffrey Mauro
Jam Restaurant
3057 W. Logan Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 292-6011

Chef Jeffery Mauro got his start in the culinary world with a scholarship to Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. Instructor and Certified Master Chef Alfonso Constrisciani offered him a position at Opus 251 upon graduation. After just one year, he was promoted to sous chef. He’s worked with many masters of American cuisine, including Charlie Trotter, Bradley Ogden and Bruce Sherman. A decade later, in 2009, Chef Mauro opened Jam, a Logan Square restaurant known for its brunch.




Dough ingredients:

  • 1 lb cold butter
  • 1 1/4 lb all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water

Royale ingredients:

  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 8 whole eggs
  • Salt to taste

Quiche ingredients:

  • 7 ounces cured whitefish
  • 3 ounces pickled onions


  1. For the dough, cut all wet ingredients into flour and mix together. Then roll out 15 ounces of dough and line one buttered loaf pan. Dock and bake with a pie weight at 350 degrees F until it is golden brown (about 35 minutes).
  2. For the royale, whisk all the ingredients together.
  3. To make the quiche, pour half the royale mixture into the shell and bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour.
  4. Spread onions and fish in one layer and then top with remaining royale.
  5. Cover the quiche with foil and bake until it is completely set.

Buckwheat Waffles

  • 8 ounces rice flour
  • 8 ounces buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 ounces browned butter
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 whole eggs


  1. Bring milk to a boil and pour over butter to melt.
  2. Temper the eggs into the milk/butter mixture.
  3. Fold all the wet ingredients into the dry.
  4. Let rest for at least 1 hour.
  5. Pour the batter in a heated waffle iron.
  6. Drizzle with syrup.

Related: Best Brunch in Chicago

(Credit: sola restaurant's facebook)

(Credit: sola restaurant’s facebook)

Chef Carol Wallack
Sola Restaurant
3868 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 327-3868

Chef Carol Wallack found her calling while at the beach, where she met a chef for the original Spago. After working for her, Wallack worked as a sous chef in Los Angeles at Camelions, as well as as a private chef on a Hollywood set, cooking for James Garner and Jack Nicholson. Once in Chicago, she opened the acclaimed Wrigleyville restaurant Deleece, and later opened Sola, which features contemporary American cuisine with Hawaiian and Asian influences. Chicago magazine named her one of “Chicago’s best chefs” and Sola “best new restaurants.” Wallack also won “best dish” at the Food Arts Share Our Strength barbeque in 2007 and 2009, as well as “best potatoes” at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival’s Burger Bash.

Chocolate Balsamic Salad

  • 1 cup simple syrup (equal part water and sugar by weight)
  • 1 heaping tbsp of coco powder
  • 1/2 cup cream of balsamic
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces arugula
  • 1 tsp candied ginger
  • 1 tsp shallot
  • 1/2 tsp coco nibs


  1. In a large bowl, combine the arugula, candied ginger, shallots and coco nibs.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Make the chocolate balsamic dressing by combining simple syrup, coco powder, cream of balsamic and rice vinegar. Drizzle in oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Lightly drizzle the salad with the chocolate balsamic dressing.

Banana Ice Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 4 ounces sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup banana puree (approximately 3 medium bananas); don’t puree bananas until ready to add the cream mixture the next day
  • Pinch of salt


  1. In a sauce pot on medium heat, combine cream, half and half and 2 ounces of sugar with vanilla bean. Bring to just below a boil. Remove from heat.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add remaining 2 oz sugar, salt and 4 egg yolks. Whisk until pale yellow. Add the cream mixture to yolk mixture a little at a time, whisking to temper, making sure the yolks don’t cook.
  3. Return to the sauce pot on medium heat, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula, until thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon.
  4. Strain and chill overnight. Puree bananas and add to ice cream base. Spin in ice cream maker to manufacturer’s instructions.

Related: Family Guide to Chicago Brunches

Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at

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