By Michael Laiskonis—ICE Creative Director

 

The final steps in processing our bean-to-bar chocolate make up the longest phase of the manufacturing process—a waiting game where the true essence of the bean, its complex flavor and its silky texture are unlocked. At this point, we focus on physically breaking the bean’s coarse texture, revealing subtleties beneath its bitter astringency and liberating its cocoa butter. Though we add ingredients at this stage, there is also an aspect of elimination—the refining stage is followed by conching, which peels away unwanted volatile flavors.

Sifting the Finished Chocolate

 

My last post dealt with handling the roasted bean—crushing it into nibs, separating its shell, grinding it into fluid cocoa liquor and extracting pure cocoa butter. During this final stage, the chocolate maker faces the challenge of tasting a bean’s full potential and identifying the subtle nuances within. While the goal of the “craft” chocolate maker working primarily in single origin batches is often to enable the expression of that bean’s inner essence, an industrial manufacturer’s typical aim is to create consistency from batch to batch, from year to year. Neither approach is qualitatively better or more difficult—just two possible approaches employed in the final stage of chocolate making.

Refining 

Different kinds of machines can carry out the task of refining (stone melangeurs, roller refiners, scraped-surface refiners, etc.). In the lab, our coarse chocolate liquor enters a 10-kilogram capacity ball mill—a temperature-controlled tank that contains roughly 60 pounds of hardened steel-grinding media (ball bearings, essentially, in two sizes). With agitation, the steel balls begin breaking down the fairly large particles in the liquor, refining them down to a target of around 20 microns—in terms of scale, one micron (µm) is one-millionth of a meter (or one-thousandth of a millimeter). More accurately, true particle size in chocolate will lie along a curve, or a distribution, some smaller and some larger than our target. Looking closely at the structure of chocolate, it is simply very small solid particles (cocoa solids, sugar and sometimes milk solids) dispersed in fat—cocoa butter. Because the threshold of perception of a particle on our palate is in the neighborhood of about 35µm, a smooth, creamy mouthfeel depends upon breaking down the solids below that mark. Particles that are too small (below 15µm), however, will create too much surface area for the available cocoa butter, thus adversely affecting the flow properties of the chocolate with increased viscosity.

 

Keep reading to learn more about this vital stage in the chocolate making process. 


By Caitlin Gunther

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
 That’s the question Chloe Vichot (Culinary Management ’16) heard when she was interviewing for admission to business schools after graduating from high school. Though she didn’t say it aloud, in her head the answer was clear—owning a restaurant. A successful career in finance and an ICE Culinary Management diploma later, the Paris native is on the cusp of realizing that dream in New York City. This fall, she will open the doors to Ancolie, a Greenwich Village grab-and-go eatery, where glass jars will be the eco-friendly packaging of choice. Serving fresh takes on the seasonal, home-cooked meals she grew up eating, Chloe is sharing her culinary voice with downtown Manhattan.

Ancolie_Chloe

In the midst of juggling the roles involved in opening a restaurant, Chloe sat down with us to answer the ICE alum questionnaire. 


Keep reading to discover how this ICE alum decided to open up a restaurant in NYC’s Greenwich Village.

 

By Lauren Jessen—Student, School of Culinary Arts and Culinary Management

 

Mastering the art of purchasing can make or break your restaurant. What do I mean when I say purchasing? Purchasing is part of restaurant operations and entails buying enough food and beverages to meet the demand of the restaurant’s customers. It requires organization, planning ahead, diligence, creativity and consistency. As a restaurant, buying more food than you need means inventory and money going to waste. However, if you buy too little of an ingredient and it sells out, you’re faced with unhappy customers and a potentially expensive problem to solve.

Roam Halls-015-300dpi

In my Culinary Management program, the topic of purchasing is an entire unit because of its complexity. By now, I could write a book (or two) on the topic, but for now I’ll share the key things that I’ve learned in class to keep in mind when purchasing for your restaurant.

 

Keep reading to learn Lauren’s tips for mastering the art of purchasing for restaurants. 

 

ICE’s Center for Advanced Pastry Studies (CAPS) is excited to announce an upcoming course on July 17, led by food stylist Junita Bognanni (food stylist for Chef Jenny McCoy’s “Desserts for Every Season“) and food photographer Steve Legato (photographer for Chef Kathryn Gordon‘s “Les Petits Macarons“). Participants will learn trends in food styling, observe and analyze food styling by Junita and a photography shoot by Steve, then have the chance to try their hand at styling food themselves. In advance of this highly anticipated course, we sat down with Junita and Steve and asked them about their respective crafts. 

food photography fish and chips

Junita Bognanni


How do you approach each job to make it unique?

 

One of the things I love about food styling is that each job is one-of-a-kind. Not just the work—the client, the location, the team and subsequently the mood of each photo shoot—are different every time. I don’t have to do much to make each job unique, because that’s the nature of the business!

 

What is one of the most important lessons you have learned along the way?

 

After a job is finished, people remember how it was to work with you almost as much as they remember the work itself. A positive attitude goes a really long way in this business.

 

What’s the biggest mistake you have ever made?

 

I can’t recall a colossal mistake, but I know from experience that small mistakes happen to the best of us and it’s usually the result of rushing. Whether it’s reading a recipe incorrectly, forgetting to set a timer or buying the wrong cut of pork, there’s almost nothing that can’t be fixed if you keep a cool head about you.

 

Read on to learn more about Junita and Steve, as well as what participants can look forward to learning in the class!

30. June 2016 · Categories: Alumni

 

“If you want to succeed in the culinary industry, it’s going to take time, and you’re going to have setbacks and some heartache but ultimately if you have it in you, you’re going to be able to make it happen,” said Food Network Star finalist and Mac Truck owner Dom Tesoriero, an ICE alum who, judging by his successes thus far, has it in him.  

Keep reading to learn about this ICE alum’s unique culinary voice, which has led him from food trucks to food television. 

 

By Chef Jenny McCoy

 

As the Fourth of July approaches and we eagerly anticipate colorful firework displays and backyard barbecues, why not celebrate with a red, white and blue sprinkle-covered confetti cake? This delicious lemon-almond cake, filled with fresh strawberries and blueberries and layered with cream cheese icing, is sure to be a crowd pleaser. With layers in red, white and blue, DIY confetti and loads of sprinkles, it’s so spectacular, it just may distract your guests from the fireworks!

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Keep reading to learn how to make this festive holiday cake!

By Chef-Instructor Ted Siegel

 

Chef Charles Ranhofer cookbook The EpicureanWith the imminent closing of The Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City next month, I have been reflecting on the profound influence this restaurant has had on the North American dining scene and restaurant industry since its opening in 1959. The Four Seasons Restaurant was heralded as the first modern American restaurant (post World War II) to promote North American regional ingredients and seasonally driven menus—a quality that is lauded in today’s food culture. Historically, however, another great New York City restaurant that opened in 1823 was the so-called “Godfather” of this trend—Delmonico’s.

 

By the middle of the 19th century, Delmonico’s was considered to be the greatest restaurant in the United States. To put it in perspective: the way we think of Thomas Keller’s French Laundry today is the way Americans spoke of Delmonico’s back then. The key date in Delmonico’s history was 1862, when a great French chef from Alsace named Charles Ranhofer took over Delmonico’s kitchen. No discussion of North American regional cuisine, including the recent farm-to-table and locavore trends in menu concept and execution, are complete without a discussion of the impact of Chef Ranhofer and his revered cookbook, The Epicurean.

 

Read on to learn about the influence of Chef Ranhofer and The Epicurean on the culinary world as we know it.

24. June 2016 · Categories: Recipes

 

By Caitlin Gunther

Toasted-Almond and Coconut Ice Pops recipe

With the sun shining and the mercury rising, just the thought of baking can seem ludicrous. What’s the lover of sweets to do? The answer: break out those ice pop molds. These sweet treats on a stick have endless flavor potential and are the perfect way to indulge your sweet tooth throughout the summer.

 

In celebration of Popsicle Week 2016, we’re sharing recipes for toasted-almond and coconut ice pops from In a Nutshell: Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds, by ICE chefs Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. They’re so tasty you’ll gobble them up before they have the chance to melt.

 

Read on to get the recipes for these sweet treats! 

 

By Caitlin Gunther

 

In 1975, fresh out of college, Chef David Waltuck landed his first cooking gig at Empire Diner, the legendary late-night haunt in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. The young grad had recently decided not to pursue a career in biological oceanography, his college major. Little did he know that this opportunity at a diner would lead to a celebrated culinary career that would span four decades, earn him two James Beard Awards, multiple glowing New York Times reviews, two acclaimed books and, his latest venture, a role as director of culinary affairs at ICE.

Chef David Waltuck | Director of Culinary Affairs | Institute of Culinary Education | Restaurant Chanterelle

Growing up in the Bronx, no one in Chef David’s family worked in the restaurant industry. In fact, as he explained, “Food in my home was not a big deal.” For Chef David, however, a passion for food and restaurants was innate. “My parents loved to go to the theater or concerts,” he recalled, “and when I was old enough, I got invited to come along. It pretty much always involved dinner at a restaurant beforehand—and that was much more compelling to me than the theater or a concert.”

 

Read on to learn about Chef David’s illustrious career and what inspired him to become an instructor at ICE.

ICE is thrilled to announce the newest addition to our faculty—the celebrated Chef David Waltuck, formerly of Chanterelle, as the school’s first-ever director of culinary affairs. In this new role, Chef David will bring his talent, insight and years of experience to ICE students.

David Waltuck - Culinary Arts Chef Instructor - Institute of Culinary Education

Chef David has enjoyed an illustrious culinary career. During his 30-year tenure as executive chef and proprietor of Chanterelle, he and the restaurant received two James Beard Awards, including Best Chef NYC in 2007 and Best Restaurant in America in 2004 (not to mention another 10 nominations) and two four-star reviews from the New York Times (1987 and 1993). Heralded for its innovative blend of French and New American cuisine, Chanterelle introduced a then-unknown type of fine dining to downtown Manhattan.

Read on to learn more about how Chef Waltuck will provide inspiration and guidance for ICE students.

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