High season: Shaun Hergatt adds an artistic flourish to Juni’s summer menus
It’s not very often you find a restaurant serving up food that’s both technically precise and adventurous at the same time (or rather, makes the combination work), but then Aussie-born Shaun Hergatt is not your average chef. His Midtown Manhattan restaurant, Juni, was awarded its first Michelin star last year; since then, its reputation has been ascendent.
Hergatt’s latest Herbivore, Omnivore and Chef’s Tasting summer menus are a particular highlight. Juni roughly translates as ’the heart of the season’, which sets the tone for the culinary proceedings. ’To make it onto the menu, produce has to be at its very ripest... and having grown up on a farm where I learnt how to cook straight from the earth, "ripeness" comes as second nature to me,’ explains Hergatt.
Inspiration is the main tool of the chef’s trade, and Hergatt’s comes from wherever he can find it: childhood memories of his hometown of rural Queensland, art, nature, and, of course, the city on his doorstep. The theatrically designed ’Cherry Ripe’, for instance, takes its name from the Australian chocolate bar he used to devour as a child. Composed of spherical shaped foie gras mousse, coated in cherry gelée and finished with chocolate tuile, this is edible art at its very best.