A cold beer, coffee that is enjoyed while it’s actually hot, perhaps sleeping to a sensible hour: Let’s be honest, on Father’s Day you can reasonably ask for maybe one of these.
Thankfully, like that emphatic hug from your child, it’s really the simple things that leave a resounding, lasting effect.
We asked several renowned chefs about their Father’s Day plans and the dish that makes them smile.
Many of them looked well past the food and shared that what matters is spending time with the people you love — some of whom make it their life’s work to guarantee you never sleep again and that your toddler negotiating skills are well-honed.
Much like Los Angeles, Lefebvre’s talents occupy a large swath of culinary settings. From the delectable fried chicken doled out at LudoTruck to the whirlwind tour of his pop-up LudoBites to the exquisite Trois Mec, Lefebvre is quintessentially Los Angeles.
The 48-year-old was nice enough to share his thoughts on Father’s Day.
“It is a fun day for me,” the father of 8-year-old twins says. “Out of nowhere my wife, Krissy, cooked fish tacos for me on my second Father’s Day.”
It became an instant Father’s Day classic. “And just like that, it became a tradition. It is really one of my favorite meals of the year. We usually invite over other couples, lots of kids, and really celebrate the day.”
When you hear the name Rick Bayless, you’re immediately transported to a wonderful place where dried chiles become Oaxacan mole and seasonal ingredients become the basis of a great tostada.
But on Father’s Day, the masterful chef heads in a different direction.
“My daughter Lanie has always loved strawberry shortcake, so I love to make it for her when strawberries are in season,” Bayless told HuffPost. “Fortunately for both of us, that’s typically around Father’s Day. That’s right around the time we put it on the menu at Frontera Grill, too,” he said of his Chicago restaurant.
Anyone who might want to kickstart a tradition of their own is welcome to test-drive the recipe, which, of course, nudges parent and child to utilize some Mexican chocolate.
“Top Chef” fans enjoyed one of the more ebullient casts with Season 15, a group of chefs who genuinely seemed to enjoy one another’s company and competition. Flamm took the top prize that season and continues to serve as executive chef of Chicago’s Spiaggia.
Back at home, Flamm is settling into dad life and has big plans for Father’s Day: “I’m running my third 5K that day. Becoming a new father has made me kind of check myself on my health a little, so trying to do more.”
As he notes, there’s always time to treat yourself. “Granted, it’s hosted by Marz Brewing, so there’s beer at the end,”
As for his quintessential Father’s Day meal, he’s keeping it simple and addictive.
“Puppy chow, one of my all-time favorites. I never make it, and purposely have never learned to make it. So when someone makes it for me, it is such a treat.”
It’s hard to think of Dufresne without imagining his kitchen at home being something like Doc Brown’s workspace, perhaps filled with bubbling Erlenmeyer flasks and a cacophony of contraptions in the background.
Dufresne, renowned for his creativity and brilliant technique, brings the whimsy at his popular Du’s Donuts in the New York City area.
“For me, Father’s Day is not about making any specific meal or having any particular experience,” says the James Beard award-winning chef.
“It’s more about time spent with family. I always prefer something simple, like a leisurely day with my wife and daughters in our house in Connecticut, followed by dinner somewhere cheap and cheerful.”
When it comes to a particular food or libation, Dufresne has thoughts.
“I love when my wife makes some delicious baked good for breakfast — scones, muffins or her incredible cinnamon rolls that we can enjoy on the deck. I also love a classic Manhattan, or any brown boozy cocktail, at the end of the day.”
Whether it’s for the Food Network, as a judge on “MasterChef” or as the creator of New Orleans’ Johnny Sánchez, Sánchez works extremely hard to share his passion for food but likes to keep things close to home on days like Father’s Day.
“I love to have a small family get-together on Father’s Day and just do a simple fun brunch or barbecue,” Sanchez says. “I love when family members bring authentic sides or help with the cooking, so it’s a family affair in the kitchen.”
If you want an idea of the food he’s talking about, the chef mentioned a family favorite flauta recipe.
The best way to his heart, however, is ambling away from the culinary comfort zone. Sanchez explains, “I would love if my son would be a little more of an adventurous eater this Father’s Day, that would be the best gift.” He adds, “He’s young, and, even though he’s the son of a chef, he still likes mostly really basic things, like all other kids.”
Fans of “Top Chef’s” seventh season will recognize winner Sbraga, who has also appeared on Fox’s “MasterChef.”
The father of two proclaims to enjoy a more modest celebration: “I have really become a super simple guy.”
When it comes to Father’s Day, this renowned chef likes to keep things sun-splashed and meat-driven.
“A great cookout is ideal for me. It could be fried chicken, barbecued ribs, pasta salad, some sort of green salad, fresh fruit and ice cream. I want to be outside if it is nice out, enjoying the weather and the company.”
Ming Tsai is the author of several cookbooks, the host of the Emmy-nominated PBS show “Simply Ming” and chef of Boston’s Blue Dragon restaurant.
There you will find enticing fare such as ginger-harissa braised lamb potstickers. With family, however, it’s that black nectar of the gods that starts the festivities.
“Coffee followed by breakfast in bed means it’s Father’s Day in my house,” Tsai told HuffPost.
The chef, who is often at Aspen Food and Wine at this time of year, shares one of his favorite parts of the day: “The very first thing I do when I wake up is call my father. I’m so lucky [to have] him around, who will be 90 years old this year. He’s an incredible man.”
The father of two also explains there are some special people preparing the mise en place for dinner.
“More often than not when I get home, I’ll fire up the grill for dinner. My boys will usually have all the prep done and, more importantly, they will happily do all the cleanup. It’s also a great excuse to pick out a good red wine from my wine cellar.”
Gabriel Kreuther of Gabriel Kreuther Restaurant in New York City is the proud papa of a 20-month-old daughter. And you only need keep it short and sweet to make him happy: “I really love a heartfelt card or a simple and thoughtful arrangement of flowers. I always love great-quality chocolates, so those have the power to make the day extra special for me as well!”
Acheson is the chef/owner of four Georgia restaurants ― Empire State South, Five & Ten, The National and Spiller Park ― and is a man who appreciates the most important meal of the day.
“I think Father’s Day should be about a big breakfast of lox and bagels, soft scrambled eggs, a simple frisée salad and great coffee,” Acheson told HuffPost. “That and the company of my daughters sounds like a great start to the day.”
As head chef at Jaleo in Washington, D.C., Meltzer undoubtedly keeps things pristine at the restaurant. But his first Father’s Day is a moment to dig in and appreciate the messier things in life. “Being a Maryland boy, nothing says Father’s Day like steamed crabs and Old Bay.”
Meltzer added, “Growing up, crabs were, and still are, one of my dad’s favorite foods. Getting the family together for a pool party and sitting around picking crabs for hours was always perfection.”
Ripert’s love of food is infectious, and it’s evident throughout his numerous appearances on television and back in New York City at his beloved Le Bernardin.
His menu is the product of decades of tireless effort. His most perfect Father’s Day, however, is simple but intimate. “The perfect Father’s Day is spending quality time with family and sharing a delicious meal together.”
When asked for any specific plans, the renowned chef had some ideas. “I plan to be with my family at our home in Sag Harbor,” Ripert said. “We spend a lot of our family time out there. It is very serene and relaxing.”
Ripert reiterates that the best day is one that includes the family: “Going out for a meal with my son, Adrien, and my wife, Sandra. I usually like to grill at home on the weekends in the summer, but maybe they will surprise me!”
There’s a definite running theme here, one most fathers could agree on.
It doesn’t take a whole lot to make Dad happy. Just supply the man with your company, some hugs and kisses. Of course, coffee and copious amounts of food don’t hurt matters.