Mother’s Day 2006: Elevating Mother’s Day Buffets

by Kelly Snowden
May 2006

Biography

Recipe

Mother’s Day is not a holiday with entrenched ritual foods, like turkey on Thanksgiving or lamb on Easter. But there is one traditional part of this Sunday holiday that many restaurants can take advantage of, and that is sons and daughters treating their mothers to a meal out. It is the one day of the year when mothers are supposed to be pampered, and the way most families do that is with a leisurely brunch that can stretch late into the afternoon.

Restaurants can take advantage of this influx of Sunday diners by beefing up their brunch offerings. Café Boulud, in Palm Beach, will offer diners an elegant buffet this year after having uninspiring results from doing pre-set dinner menus a few years ago.

“We found last year that what works good is to have a very nice, sexy buffet,” says Café Boulud Chef Zach Bell. “It is very much a brunch holiday.”

Stereotypes of buffets, with their cold eggs plates and warm fruit, might steer some restaurants away from offering them. But Café Boulud has a system for satisfying diners with the preparation and quality they expect when eating out on Mother’s Day.

“We do buffet, but we do everything on smaller platters,” Chef Bell says. “We cook salmon and halibut and put the garnishes out there. It’s all about extravagance, having everything perfectly cooked and garnished.”

Café Boulud also has small specialty stations, such as one serving fresh homemade mozzarella, stretched to order and served still warm. The kitchen staff works through the whole shift just as if it were a regular serving so that each dish is prepared fresh and is regularly replenished. This also helps keep down costs, with staff preparing almost the exact amount of food needed with minimal waste.