Cooking with Jason Landers: Treating breakfast like royalty | SteamboatToday.com

Cooking with Jason Landers: Treating breakfast like royalty

Alexis DeLaCruz

All it took was a little push from his wife, Kelly, for Chef Jason Landers to enter the culinary world.

The former painter and drywaller set down his toolbelt for whisks and a griddle in 2003, when he and Kelly bought the popular Creekside Cafe on 11th Street.

“It’s a very exciting atmosphere,” Landers said about his most recent profession. “We have a very small kitchen where we have to turn out a lot of food for people.”

Unlike chefs who have spent much of their lives in and around kitchens, Landers’ first foray came after he agreed to go into the restaurant business. He says the opportunity “sprung up” as a result of Kelly’s commitment to turning the cozy restaurant into a local breakfast empire.

To the Landers, having a delicious and filling breakfast is just as important as any other meal.

“People go out to dinner because they’re hungry,” he said. “People go out to breakfast for a treat, and that’s what we try to provide. We have a running joke that we look at every plate that comes out and say, ‘Would you serve this to your mom?’ If you would, then we send it out, knowing it’ll be the best breakfast they’ve ever had.”

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Creekside Cafe’s menu has changed over the years according to customers’ tastes, though favorite items such as the breakfast burrito and the 15 varieties of eggs benedict remain the most popular dishes.

During its busiest week, the cafe that can seat 40 people in the winter and 140 in the summer cracks about 8,000 eggs. Normal weeks see about 3,000 eggs.

Sauce Hollandaise, the key ingredient to every good eggs benedict, is made fresh every day at Creekside Cafe from a recipe Landers “broke down and built up.”

Hollandaise is a French butter sauce that is considered one of the five “mother” sauces from which most modern sauces stem, he said.

“Creating the emulsion – the task of combining the unwilling components of water and oil – presents the true challenge,” he said. “Practice and patience are two key ingredients which are nevertheless left off the recipe.”

Landers said his favorite breakfast item is the spicy Mexican twist on the classic dish “huevos rancheros.”

To Landers, preparing a fresh meal and setting it in front of a customer is only half the battle. Working with his staff, which he likens to a second family, and serving the “bread-and-butter locals” of the community is what it’s all about, he said.

“We’re always going to go out of our way to serve this community,” he said. “Our goal is to spoil everyone, every day. There’s no reason you can’t have a good breakfast.”

Eggs Benedict

Best served with your choice of home fries, grits or fresh fruit and toast.

Sauce Hollandaise

1 tablespoon warm water

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 large egg yolks

1/4 pound clarified butter, cooled to room temperature

Tabasco

Other ingredients

Poached eggs

Ham

Steamed baby spinach

Grilled tomato wheel

English muffin

Method

In a thin mixing bowl, combine the water, lemon juice and egg yolks. Using a wire whisk, beat the yolk mixture over a double boiler being certain not to allow the mixing bowl to come in contact with the water. When the yolks begin to resist the whisk, remove from heat. While whisking briskly, slowly drizzle in the butter. Thicken the sauce by adding more butter or use a touch more warm water to thin out the sauce if necessary. Finish with a dash of Tabasco.

Assembly

Assemble the benedict by splitting and toasting an English muffin. Top each half with ham, steamed baby spinach, grilled tomato wheel, a poached egg and finish with the wonderful Sauce Hollandaise.