By Alex Redgrave

Published on September 16, 2016

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Photography by MARCUS NILSSON

BOWL BY JIM FRANCO JIMFRANCOCERAMICS.COM

photography by  MARCUS NILSSON
text by  ALEX REDGRAVE
food styling by  CAMILLE BECERRA

Chefs are layering flavors, textures and a rainbow of ingredients, making traditional plating seem so very flat.

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Photography by MARCUS NILSSON

EACH BOWL IS HANDMADE AND ONE OF A KIND. PRICING VARIES. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: CLAM LAB (RADISH), JIM FRANCO (GARBANZO), YUKO (SPROUTS AND SEEDS), ERIC BONNIN (PICKLED FENNEL), FRIEDWOMAN STUDIO (PESTO), CLAM LAB (TURMERIC), HEATH CERAMICS (CHIVE BLOSSOM)

dragon bowl at café henrie

pickled radish + garbanzo beans + sprouts + seeds + pickled fennel + pesto + turmeric + chive + purple radish

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Photography by MARCUS NILSSON

BOWL BY CLAM LAB CLAMLAB.COM

night+market

“Bowls are the best vessel for comfort food,” says chef Kris Yenbamroong. His low-maintenance variation on a Khao Kluk Gapi includes frying up some “day-old rice”

(LEFTOVER CHINESE TAKEOUT DOES THE TRICK)

, finished with avocado, kale, unagi, and egg, and seasoned with ginger and Thai chili.

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Photography by MARCUS NILSSON

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: HELEN NISHI CERAMICS FRIEDWOMAN STUDIO YUKO YUKONISHIKAWA.COM HUMBLE CERAMICS

breakdown of a bowl

Follow these four steps to make your own bowl— no recipe required.

  1. the base

    “Think of the base as foundation flavors,” says Yenbamroong. “You don’t want to pick something that’s going to stand out a ton.” He suggests starting with earthy, nutty grains that can be seasoned with savory flavors, like fish sauce and bitter greens. Chef Camille Becerra combines two grains, such as rice, quinoa, barley, or couscous. “Dry roasting seeds like fennel, mustard, and cumin—added to the pot of grains before you cook them—also creates another dimension,” she explains.

  2. the sauce

    “Choose a simple sauce that enhances all the ingredients but doesn’t overpower them,” explains Yenbamroong. Go for dressings that are creamy and spreadable enough to work throughout the bowl, such as chermoula, tahini, aioli, and yogurt sauces.

  3. the toppings

    When it comes to toppings, balance is best. Chef Alissa Wagner recommends combining a variety of textures—“cooked and raw ingredients will keep things interesting.” Chef Jessica Koslow goes for “a crumbly protein (tofu included), because it can be mixed throughout the dish when stirred.” Acid and salt, such as pickles, is another perfect pairing, she says, to play off the carbiness of the rice.

  4. the presentation

    Color is key. Becerra shaves bright, raw vegetables, like watermelon radish and red cabbage, into her bowls. “Herbs and sprouts make beautiful, easy garnishes,” adds Wagner, “as do some interesting microgreens, if you’re feeling fancy.” Arrange the toppings in neat piles to show off the rainbow of fresh ingredients. Ultimately, though, it’s about how the flavors will taste when mixed together, says Koslow. So get ready to stir it up.breakdown

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Photography by MARCUS NILSSON

BOWL BY HUMBLE CERAMICS HEATHCERAMICS.COM

sqirl

After seasoning the veggies with a simple marinade of grated ginger, lemon juice, and salt, 

“PLACE THEM AROUND THE RIM OF THE BOWL TO MAKE A NICE NEST,”

 explains chef Jessica Koslow. Her yogurt dressing adds a tangy note without being too heavy

brown rice + yogurt + steak + carrots + turnip + beet + mixed herbs

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Photography by MARCUS NILSSON

BOWL BY HUMBLE CERAMICS HEATHCERAMICS.COM

dimes

Chef Alissa Wagner’s seared salmon bowl mixes spices—cumin, ground fennel, coriander, cayenne, Thai chili—with fresh herbs for a

HEARTY YET REFRESHING MEAL.

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Photography by MARCUS NILSSON

BOWL BY CLAM LAB CLAMLAB.COM

café henrie

The base of both the Dragon and Tiger bowls is the creamy-meets-crunchy Coconut Grains, which couldn’t be easier to prep.

“PUT ALL THE INGREDIENTS IN A RICE COOKER AND PRESS PLAY,” 

says chef Camille Becerra. Or throw them in a pot, bring to a simmer, add a lid and let cook on low for 20 to 30 minutes.

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Photography by MARCUS NILSSON

BOWL BY YUKO NAMA-YA.COM/SHOP

rintaro

Chef Sylvan Mishima Brackett suggests preheating your bowl with boiling water and pouring the noodles in straight from the pot to keep everything nice and hot before you crack the egg on top.

udon + egg + ginger + scallion + bonito flakes