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Eating Off Duty with Fabián von Hauske Valtierra

We explore what celebrated chefs eat outside their kitchens.
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Fabián von Hauske Valtierra is the chef and co-owner of Contra and Wildair in New York City's Lower East Side. This spring, von Hauske Valtierra joined forces with Anthony Mangieri to bring the beloved restaurant Una Pizza Napoletana back to New York City.

Originally from Mexico City, von Hauske Valtierra studied at The French Culinary Institute (now The International Culinary Center) in New York where he met his co-founder Jeremiah Stone. Prior to starting his own mini empire, his experience includes pastry at Jean-Georges and stages at Noma in Copenhagen and Attica in Melbourne. In 2016, von Hauske Valtierra was named Food & Wine's “Best New Chef” and awarded a Michelin star for Contra. His first cookbook, A Very Serious Cookbook: Contra Wildair with his partner Stone, debuts later this month.

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What was the last thing you ate?
For breakfast I made myself some scrambled eggs with porcini mushrooms, which I had leftover from cooking dinner over the weekend. Quickly sautéed the mushrooms and then added the eggs and some butter and scrambled them in the pan.

It's your day off. What do you order for breakfast and where? (Outside of your own restaurants.)
A BLT sandwich from the corner deli.

Controversial question: Do you believe in brunch?
No, I tend to wake up late on the weekends so by nature really don't enjoy cooking in the mornings. Also brunch wasn't a thing growing up in Mexico City, so I never got into it.

What is your 2:00 a.m. food order or favorite spot?
Sunny and Annie's. I usually get their PHO #1, which is essentially the Vietnamese dish minus the broth in a sandwich.

What is your local coffee shop?
Ninth Street Espresso—double espresso all the time. That's where I meet Euni, our assistant, before we go to the gym.

Where do you go when you travel to your favorite city?
In Mexico City, my favorite restaurant is El Venadito. I usually get the campechano, which is all the parts of the pork chopped up and thrown into a fresh tortilla with lime and salt. I also like the raw salsa verde they make.

What is the "laziest" meal you put together for yourself this past week?
I made myself some toast with butter and ketchup. I had this really nice Irish butter my girlfriend brought me back from where she is from and I had this really nice ketchup that God knows why was in my fridge. This is something I used to eat as a kid and I don't know why I thought it was a good idea recently … sadly it wasn't.

What is your favorite snack food and why?
Stacy's Jalapeño Pita Chips, they are so spicy and addictive.

What is your guilty pleasure and why?
Hawaiian pizza. Reminds me of tacos al pastor in a strange, twisted way.

Photo by Matty Yangwoo Kim.

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