25. September 2017 · Categories: Alumni

 

By Danielle Page

 

It's no new news that New York City is known for its incredible eats. Manhattan's restaurant scene is a constantly evolving mix of avant garde concept restaurants, storied and respected, high caliber eateries and hidden, hole-in-the-wall gems. And while each borough offers up something unique, every few years or so a new section of the city experiences a fresh wave of restaurants, bringing a resurgence of inventive new fare to the area.

 

New York City's latest restaurant hotspot? The East Village. No longer are the village's best eats limited to the quick, cheap grub on St. Mark's Place. With restaurants opening by seasoned and up-and-coming chefs alike, getting a reservation in the East Village (which would have been an oxymoron not long ago) is quickly becoming a challenge.

 

Not surprisingly, many chefs and owners behind the latest and greatest East Village openings got their start at ICE. Here are just a few ICE graduates who are at the helm of these noteworthy eateries in the neighborhood.

Simone Tong

Keep reading to discover which ICE grads are making a culinary destination of the East Village.

 

By Robert Ramsey — Chef-Instructor, Culinary Arts

 

Earlier this year, on a trip to Guatemala, I found myself sitting in the secret tasting room of a local mezcal producer in the colonial town of Antigua. My friend Adam and I had walked through a bookstore, which opened into a bar, then crawled through a tiny door in the back and perched on low stools. There, we sampled tastes of the smoky and complex tequila derivative, mezcal, poured by an exceptionally knowledgeable barkeep. Months later, as the summer wanes and the cool autumn temperatures move in, my mind has been wandering back to the colonial charms of Antigua — the tastes and smells of local cuisine, the incredible volcano hiking, and the relaxing and inspiring Lake Atitlan. With each adventure in the beautiful country of Guatemala, new flavors emerged.

mezcal carrot cocktail

Read on to learn how you can mix Chef Robert's Antigua-inspired cocktail. 

20. September 2017 · Categories: Alumni

 

By Caitlin Raux

 

“During the Qin Dynasty, a scholar was studying for an exam. He went to a park on an island to study. The scholar’s wife wanted to bring him noodles for lunch and she had to cross the bridge.” Simone Tong (Culinary Arts, Culinary Management ‘11) was filling me in on the legend behind “crossing the bridge noodles,” also called mixian (mee-syan), the Yunnan province specialty that New Yorkers are eagerly slurping at Simone’s new East Village restaurant, Little Tong Noodle Shop. “She discovered, because she was very smart — smarter than her husband, obviously,” Simone continued, with a chuckle, “that a layer of chicken fat covering the broth would keep the noodles hot while she crossed the bridge. And then she cooked the raw food in the broth once she arrived.”

 

Ingenuity, it turns out, also finds its way into the kitchen of Little Tong, where Simone’s impeccable technique and reverence for each ingredient is met with her own brand of creativity and humor. The result is dishes like the “Lijiang old town grandma-inspired” Grandma Chicken Mixian: an addictive combination of light chicken broth, tender chicken confit, black sesame garlic oil, tea-steeped eggs, house-made fermented chili and pickles, finished with a smattering of bright flowers. Simone, who cooked with Chef Wylie Dufresne at wd~50 for nearly five years, explained, “I want my food to be seriously tasty, but also have a hint of elegance, a hint of humor and a hint of surprise.”

Simone Tong

On a recent Wednesday morning, while the shutters of Little Tong were still drawn, Simone and I chatted about her path from the kitchens of ICE to wd~50 to her own bustling downtown restaurant.

What inspired you to enroll in culinary school?

The first real inspiration came from my mom. My parents are art dealers, so they had a lot of beautiful paintings. My mom had the idea to create a restaurant where they could hang some of their paintings, mostly renaissance period, and she could sip coffee all day. She had no idea what owning a restaurant entailed, so she hired a chef and opened a restaurant called Café Firenze. One day a French chef walked past the restaurant and he thought the restaurant was decorated in good taste, so he wanted to become the chef. I was home from college for the summer, so I helped translate his French-accented English to my mom in Sichuanese. He went into the kitchen and started cooking these beautiful, classic French dishes like tomato concasse. That was my first inspiration.

 

Then after I graduated from college, I saw a show called “After Hours with Daniel.” Chef Daniel Boulud would visit different restaurants, talk to the chefs and bring his own ingredients. The first episode of the first season was wd~50 with Chef Wylie Dufresne. I was so wowed by it — the combination of art, science, cooking and food. It seemed so fun to be a chef. You get to sit around, drink, talk about food, taste food.

 

Read on to learn how Simone followed her culinary aspirations to ICE. 

 

By Michael Laiskonis — Creative Director

 

While it’s back-to-school season for most, class is always in session at ICE. More to the point, cooks are perpetual students for whom the learning never ends, no matter our level of skill or experience. Ideas and inspiration that fill our social media feeds are at our fingertips 24 hours a day, but I still rely on — and often prefer — books and magazines. The autumn publishing season also means a shelf-load of new releases. Below are a few of those just-published books I am looking forward to, as well as one or two that I’m finally catching up on.

Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Scoop
By Dane Cree

 

Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean ice cream season is. Dana Cree’s book is a revelation on two fronts — in addition to creative frozen dessert recipes, it was one of the first books of its kind to make accessible the technical approach to ice cream that professionals employ. A well-traveled pastry chef, Dana presents the material much in the same way she approaches high-end plated desserts: serious, but with a playful ease.

 

Continue to the full post for all of Chef Michael's recommended reads.

 

By Rick Smilow — ICE President

 

This past August, some of my family members and I went on a Baltic cruise. In every port and country where we stopped, I was curious about the local cuisine. We had taken several tours, but it was only in Helsinki, Finland that we took a dedicated food tour. Here’s a “road trip report” of what I learned - and in many cases ate — in this lively seaside city and country capital.

Based on its geographic location and history, the influences on Finnish cuisine come from the east and the west. From the west (western Europe and Scandinavia) come dishes and ingredients like pickled fish, hard bread, cheese and smoked meat. From the east (Russia and Ukraine) come foods like blinis, sauerkraut, curd cheese, Karelian pastry, sour milk and mushrooms. Perhaps one of the most unique local foods I tried was poro — that’s reindeer.

Helsinki market

Read on to discover the many faces of Finnish cuisine. 

 

By Chef-Instructors Ted Siegel and Cheryl Siegel

 

One of the most beautiful cities in North America is Quebec City, which sits on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Canada’s Quebec province. The city’s historic district was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. Of all the cities in North America, Quebec City is as French as a city can be without actually being in France.

 

During a recent trip to Quebec City, we experienced firsthand a new trend that’s sweeping the food culture in Quebec: using indigenous ingredients, similar to those found in the Nordic climate. We noticed an emphasis on foraged ingredients, such as sea buckthorn, salicornia, cattail, fir, Nordic berries, wild mushrooms, wild fish and shellfish, with a focus on foods with high levels of monounsaturated, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

Laurie Raphael

The chefs who are the major proponents of the new Nordic Quebecois cuisine are Daniel Vézina of restaurant Laurie Raphaël (Quebec City and Montreal) and Jean-Luc Boulay of restaurants Chez Boulay and Saint-Amour.

 

We have enjoyed meals at Laurie Raphaël in Quebec City several times, for both lunch and dinner. 

 

Keep reading to get the Siegels' rundown on this vibrant culinary destination. 

 

By Bill Telepan — Director of Sustainability

 

As the world’s population continues to grow, urban, hydroponic farming seems an increasingly viable option for feeding the world well and nutritiously. With just light, water and few other little factors, you can grow a tremendous amount of food indoors vertically — meaning growing crops upward, rather than in the ground, which exponentially increases the available surface area for planting.

 

Providing nutritious food is important to me; not just for me personally, but also with respect to a program I work with called Wellness in the Schools, an organization dedicated to exposing school children to nutritious, better quality food. Some of our schools have “tower gardens,” which are 6- to 8-foot structures that we use as indoor teaching gardens. It makes sense to start teaching our future chefs about hydroponic farming, too — which is what we’re doing at ICE.

Bill Telepan hydroponic garden

Keep reading to learn why ICE students are learning hydroponic farming. 


By Carly DeFilippo


In the realm of culinary careers, food styling has historically gotten a bit of a bad rap. From mashed potatoes standing in for ice cream to marbles boosting the hearty look of a soup, it’s a profession that was once better known for trickery than honest beauty. Thankfully, recent trends in food media are pointing toward the less polished look. Among the media outlets popularizing this more natural approach to food styling? The celebrated source for all things cooking, Food52.

food styling social media

Yet, however more appealing it may be, this approach to styling isn’t without its challenges. Narrowing your primary tools to good lighting, beautiful props and high quality ingredients makes a talented food stylist’s skill — and speed — even more valuable. That’s why ICE asked Food52 creative director (and ICE Culinary Arts alum!) Kristen Miglore and food stylist Kristy Mucci to share their top food styling tips in our recreational course Food Styling with Food52. Starting with the premise that every dish must be both beautiful and edible, here's how the pros style food.


Keep reading to unlock the secrets to styling mouthwatering food photos. 

06. September 2017 · Categories: Recipes

By Jenny McCoy — Pastry & Baking Arts Chef Instructor

 

It’s hard to truly determine who ought to be credited for the first brownie. One version of history credits Bertha Palmer, a Chicago businesswoman and socialite, for inspiring the sweet that is about as American as apple pie. On a recent visit to Chicago, I took a walk down one of the brownie’s memory lanes.

Palmer House brownie

Bertha was the wife of Potter Palmer, a wealthy businessman who was very much involved in the development of downtown Chicago. They were introduced by a mutual friend and Potter’s former business partner, Marshall Field (whose department store acquired and popularized Frango chocolate truffles, by the way). As a wedding gift to his bride, Potter gave Bertha an extraordinary gift — The Palmer House hotel. Under the couples’ ownership, largely directly by Bertha, The Palmer House became the epicenter for entertainment amongst socialites in Chicago and well-heeled travelers worldwide. In 1893, for the World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition, an event that would draw influential people from around the globe, Bertha entertained the notion of creating a small confection that has since become beloved all the world over.

 

Keep reading to discover the rich history of the brownie.

 

By Kathryn Gordon and Jeff Yoskowitz

 

ICE chefs Kathryn Gordon and Jeff Yoskowitz recently visited South Korea with ICE alumnus Heejin Lho, who wanted to share with the chefs the traditional foods and culture of her country. While Chef Jeff found his favorite meal (surprisingly) in a food court and learned how to navigate intensely hot kimchis, Chef Kathryn was impressed by the elegant, edible flowers like gardenia and magnolia. Below is a conversation between Chef Kathryn and Chef Jeff that took place during the latter half of their visit.

Korean Temple Food Center

Chef Kathryn: Jeff, to start this off, what have you liked best so far?

 

Chef Jeff: Many things fascinated me this week. I liked making songpyeon — the half-moon shaped rice cakes made with pine needles and dough from sticky and non-glutinous rice [in the Songpyeon Rice Cakes class hosted by the Tteok (Rice Cake) Museum in Seoul]. The dough was counterintuitive in terms of its dryness level. If it was too wet, you couldn’t form the cakes because it stuck to your hands.

 

Read on to discover the highlights of their journey through South Korea.