Chef John Currence is a believer in the power of the morning meal. At his Big Bad Breakfast restaurants in Oxford, Mississippi, and Birmingham, Alabama, the New Orleans native awakens diners with plates of eggs with Andouille sausage and grits, pain perdu, and a behemoth known far and wide as the Pylon—a mountain of griddled hot dog, chili, slaw, cheese, onions, and jalapenos heaped on top of a waffle. Now, with his new cookbook, Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day, the James Beard Award–winning chef is spreading the gospel of a made-from-scratch breakfast to home cooks everywhere. “We’re told our whole lives that breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” Currence says, “but we don’t ever treat it with that sort of respect.”
In his trademark unfiltered (and sometimes a bit salty) voice, Currence aims to change that, beginning with his breakfast commandments—“Thou shalt slather with butter,” for instance, and “Try the yolk runny, people.” His recipes are playful, too, from homemade pop tarts to sausage cinnamon rolls to a spicy michelada paired with a shot of tequila, a combo that saved him after a particularly long night in Mexico (“I might not be here today if it hadn’t been for that drink that morning,” he writes). Want to try your hand at one of his standbys? The Big Bad Breakfast Egg Bake highlights one of the chef’s favorite tricks—pile all ingredients into a single bowl. You could even call it slightly healthy since it’s baked and not fried, and it’s sure to feed your soul over the long weekend. “I love the idea of a one-pot meal where you just dive in,” he says. “The flavors of bacon, eggs, and grits are in each bite.”
“In an attempt to create something that was arguably ‘healthy,’ we came up with this little gem. It is a wonderful spoonful of everything that’s great about breakfast, but baked, rather than fried. (Keep in mind that the public perception of health and actual healthiness, as far apart as that can be, makes serving a ‘healthy dish’ both a challenge and a great sleight of hand.) We use a tinned Charlotte mold for this dish, but an 8-ounce, ovenproof ceramic cup works just as well.” —John Currence.