The Houston-based brand’s second event, the “Bourbon St. Brunch,” brought the Mardi Gras experience to Houstonians with plates instead of a parade.

It’s often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If so, then perhaps re-invention is the key to sanity and the key to success as well. Brunch has become a “thing” for millennials and for young Black professionals, especially. What used to be just a holdover menu for folks who got up too late to enjoy breakfast but still wanted breakfast food for lunch, has evolved into an event in the 21st century. Brunch is as much a place to be seen at as it is a place to eat. You go for the food but you stay for the people, for the ambiance, for the energy in a given venue.

Elmo Parker, Houston-area cook, founder of EWs Catering and co-founder of the former Kim’s Kitchen, was all too familiar with the market for brunch. After all, he was as much a participant in the good eating across the country as much as he was a curator of his own good eats. The challenge was making something unique out of brunch, in a city that has far more brunch options than one can count.

So Parker partnered with RaeDell’s Kitchen and other associates to establish The Elite Palate, a new Houston brand that doesn’t just “host” brunch but elevates it. Their mission statement on Instagram reads, “(we) remove the walls between the customer and the art that takes place in the kitchen!”

And maybe that’s a critical element, too. Unlike most restaurants where the food is prepared and then brought out to customers, The Elite Palate’s brunch events have Parker and his team cooking in front of them, in the spirit of cooking shows where the food is prepared before a live studio audience. Participants can see the artist at work, witness plates transformed into canvases, and get a REAL appreciation of what happens in order to make the good food possible. However, there’s also limited seating, which allows for an intimate, almost-exclusive experience, as well.

After “debuting” themselves on New Year’s Eve 2018 with “The Smokehouse Brunch,” a BBQ-themed take with various grilled options and even chicken and waffles, The Elite Palate rolled out the next installment of their Brunch Series last month, with their “Bourbon St. Brunch.” Marrying a Louisiana-style menu with an overall Mardi Gras theme right down to masquerade masks and purple-yellow-green decorations, the Bourbon St. Brunch served as a nice kick-off to Mardi Gras season and was a nice alternative for those who wouldn’t be able to make it to festivities in New Orleans the following weekend.

Upon entry, every guest was required to take a shot of clear liquor by the welcoming hostesses. They could then choose to follow that up with a “chaser” breakfast shot of orange juice and bacon bits. Guests were then seated at tables covered with Mardi Gras beads, masks, and various other “party favors” that they could take with them. With DJ Green Villain providing sounds to start the day off, Parker and his team immediately went to work on the first two of four courses – crawfish beignets & sliced smoked boudin; and a crawfish bisque served with garlic bread. “Bottomless” mimosas and signature themed cocktails (like hurricanes) were also provided, so that guests could maintain the vibe… or their buzz… or both.

DJ A-Plus took over the reigns of the music for the second half, kicking things up a notch with a New Orleans Bounce mix as The Elite Palate team went to work on the latter two courses – Louisiana BBQ Shrimp & Grits, and a “Brunch on the Bayou” stuffed po-boy. The food was exceptional, to say the least. And while some might knock the idea of “swag surfing between your eggs at brunch,” no one was going to complain about Wobbling with their shrimp and grits… not in an environment that welcoming and upbeat. It was utterly impossible not to enjoy yourself.

With two spectacular events under their belt and with catering services available for others’ events as well, The Elite Palate is steadily making themselves a brand to look out for in the city of Houston. One can only wonder what lies ahead and how they’ll further improve in future installments of their Brunch Series.

You can keep up with The Elite Palate by following them on Instagram here.