Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske have two decidedly different restaurants on New York City's Lower East Side, Contra and Wildair. At Contra, you're committing to a prix fixe tasting menu, while more casual wine bar Wildair, which debuted this year, is à la carte and riffs on bistro classics.
But one constant remains between the two: stunningly beautiful plates of food that will blow your mind before you take your first bite. The two young chefs (Stone is 31; von Hauske, 27) recently showed us some of their plating magic at the high-top tables in cozy Wildair.
Wildair's seared diver scallop
"We don't manipulate things too much," Stone says as he plates a seared diver scallop topped with Asian pear, celery root and sorrel leaves. "A piece of steak looks like a piece of steak."
But, he adds, "We'll layer things, so you have to taste this leaf, say, with this vegetable, so not everything is in a pile."
"We keep the desserts simple and unassuming," von Hauske says as he places a cube of blackberry and sweet cream parfaits swirled atop blackberry jus."We're simple and spare in what we do, so that when people dig in, they get the flavor and complexity."
Both chefs move fluidly as they plate, as it's obviously second nature to them. Watch the video above, and you may get some inspiration for your own home cooking.
As Stone says, "When I cook at home, I go with the presentation that looks really savory; you're working all day, you come home and you want to make food that you just want to dig into. Here at the restaurant, we do things that make eyes pop."