By Carly DeFilippo
When you’re an executive chef in one of the nation’s hottest food cities, holidays become just another day at work. So, who better to ask for their Thanksgiving tips than the professionals who reinvent holiday flavors year after year?
ICE Culinary Arts alum Anthony Ricco leads the kitchen at Jean Georges’ Spice Market —which means infusing an all-American holiday with Southeast Asian flavors. Whether it’s gingered cranberry sauce, chestnut-sausage stuffing with Chinese dates or sweet potato purée with cardamom marshmallow meringue, Anthony has reinvented every classic dish several times over.
By Michael Laiskonis, ICE Creative Director
Preparations are well underway as ICE staff and students anticipate the move from our 23rd Street facility to Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan. As construction hums away, the lines set down on paper blueprints are turning into reality, revealing an immersive, state-of-the-art atmosphere for cooking and study. In addition to dedicated rooms for culinary technology, charcuterie, mixology and wine studies, I’m excited to announce that the new facility will contain an artisanal chocolate studio, complete with a full range of “bean to bar” equipment.
The vision for the 550 square ft. studio is to approach chocolate from a holistic perspective. Truly unique in the realm of culinary education, this chocolate studio will provide knowledge and inspiration across a broad spectrum of hands-on applications—for our career students and recreational cooks, as well as for established pastry chefs and professionals seeking to learn the finer points of artisanal chocolate production. An underlying spirit of research and development into the technical science and the mystical art of chocolate will drive the wide array of program offerings.
By Grace Reynolds—Student, School of Culinary Management
It’s been a busy five weeks since my first blog post. In class, we’ve covered topics ranging from menu planning and finding a location to restaurant finances and branding. What’s more, it seems like we’re meeting a new food entrepreneur each time we come to class! Visits from the innovators at Chipotle and Sixpoint Brewery and field trips to Daniel and Blue Smoke have been a few of the highlights. The end result is information and networking overload. While that might sound intimidating, it’s actually the intellectual equivalent of stuffing yourself on Thanksgiving: though you can barely fit another bite, you keep on eating—or in this case, learning—because it’s that good.
While we’ve covered a wide range of subjects, my favorite thus far has been restaurant psychology. I’ve always been fascinated by human psychology—though honestly, who isn’t? Understanding how it transforms the dining experience, however, is particularly eye opening. Think you chose that filet mignon of your own free will? Think again. From interior design to menu item placement, successful restaurants use psychology to influence customers’ perceptions and decisions. Read on to discover four insider strategies for restaurant success.
By Jenny McCoy—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
Early on in my career, while working in New Orleans for Emeril Lagasse, I was tasked with creating inventive variations on the ever-popular bread pudding. My menu at Delmonico in New Orleans featured a seasonal bread pudding, which I changed monthly. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, this sweet potato bread pudding with cashews proved to be a favorite. Served with a dollop of marshmallow meringue, what was once a classic side dish is easily transformed into dessert.
Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Crunchy Cashews (from Desserts for Every Season)
Makes 8 to 10 servings
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1 cup whole milk, divided
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons whiskey
- Finely grated zest of ¼ orange
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 cups (about 8 ounces) soft white bread, cut into ¾ inch cubes
- ½ cup (about 2 ½ ounces) whole cashews, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- 1 recipe Marshmallow Meringue (optional)
By Hillery Wheeler, ICE Admissions Department
This month, ICE was thrilled to host an event for the some of the most important career mentors for aspiring chefs and hospitality professionals: school counselors. Nearly thirty educators from across the tri-state area joined our admissions staff for a firsthand look at ICE’s unique brand of culinary training. Over the course of the night, the counselors learned about culinary career opportunities for their soon-to-be-graduates while testing their hand at the art of pasta making with Chef James Briscione, Director of Culinary Development.
To kick off the evening, Chef Richard Simpson, Vice President of Education, provided insight into the various programs the school offers and shared stories of his own experiences in professional kitchens through the years. Maureen Drum Fagin, Director of Career Services, also spoke about the various resources that are available, both to ICE students as they pursue their externships and the ongoing support provided to ICE graduates as they move through their careers in the food and hospitality industries. Finally, Brian Aronowitz, Chief Marketing Officer, shared the exciting details about ICE’s forthcoming move to Brookfield Place, our brand new waterfront facility in Lower Manhattan. The counselors then stepped into the shoes of culinary students, as Chef James led a hands-on class in crafting artisanal pasta dough and shaping the perfect ravioli.
By Carly DeFilippo—Student, School of Culinary Arts
As I round the corner on the last lap of culinary school, it’s amazing to consider how far my classmates and I have come. Less than eight months ago, many of us didn’t know how to tell the difference between oregano and marjoram. Today, we’re tackling the recipes of the greatest chefs of our time.
After working through a seemingly endless array of techniques, our class has arrived at the point in our program where we spend five days crafting menus by five incredible chefs: Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Rick Bayless and Ming Tsai. Yet, despite the caliber of these culinary leaders, I didn’t initially feel excited about these lessons. Of course, I have immense respect for all these chefs, but, as a student, I have typically found that I learn more by studying a general concept than by following a recipe.
But oh, how I was wrong. Just like any line cook who has worked under a truly great chef, “merely following a recipe” turned out to be quite the lesson in and of itself.
By Stephanie Fraiman
When it comes to building a successful restaurant or food business, who better to turn to than the expert consultants and Culinary Management instructors at ICE? In this four part video series, created in collaboration with American Express, we invite aspiring and current restaurant owners to explore the world of restaurant management with tips, advice and insider information that can help ensure your success.
From breaking down menu costs to learning the secrets of preventing bar or retail theft, get a leg up in this highly competitive industry. Offering their expertise are instructors from ICE’s School of Culinary Management: Dean of Culinary Business and Management, Steve Zagor; instructors Vin McCann and Brian Buckley; Director of Beverage Studies, Anthony Caporale; and public relations consultant, Cindi Avila. Videos include:
- Recipe for Restaurant Profits
- Restaurant Success: How to Sizzle and Not Fizzle
- Preventing Bar and Retail Theft
- Building Your Marketing Plan: Public Relations, Social Media and Advertising
By Victoria Burghi—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
The holidays bring out a little extra style and glamour in all of us. In the same way we like to decorate our homes and dress up for our celebrations, we should create festive desserts to match the allure and the magic of the season. When deciding what to serve at a holiday gathering, I take into consideration a few factors: how easy it is to prepare a dessert, flavors I want to highlight, my budget and—of course—how much I want to impress my guests!
In terms of flavors, I like to keep holiday desserts within the seasonal range. Nothing says the holidays like cranberries, pumpkin, sweet potato or eggnog. After all, we have the rest of the year to make apple pie, don’t we?
Holiday celebrations are also the time to splurge on expensive ingredients that we might avoid otherwise, from nut pastes (pistachio, almond and praline) to expensive chocolates or liqueurs. As far as impressing guests, a beautiful presentation is key. There are some obvious options, like silver and gold dragées, but with a few easy tips, you can make any sweet more glamorous and festive.
If you would like to learn first-hand how to create show-stopping desserts, I will be teaching a Holiday Baking class at ICE on November 14th. In anticipation of the class, I’m sharing one of my favorite creative holiday treats: White Chocolate Bûche de Noël with Cranberry Marmalade.
By Carly DeFilippo
October is always an exciting time for food events in New York City, and this year, ICE was at the forefront of all the biggest gatherings. From the NYC Wine & Food Festival to StarChefs International Chefs Congress to City Harvest’s annual Bid Against Hunger, our alumni, faculty and student volunteers were rubbing elbows with industry leaders and showing their ICE pride.
At this year’s New York City Wine & Food Festival, not only did 55 student volunteers help headlining chefs serve thousands of festival attendees, but ICE’s own Director of Culinary Development James Briscione was among the featured presenters at the festival’s Grand Tasting event. With the help of three Culinary Arts students, Chef James wowed the crowd with his ancho chili lamb—and more than 2,500 cheddar biscuits.
By James Briscione, Director of Culinary Development
Throughout the past 20 years, the “food scene” has emerged as an integral part of popular culture. Chefs have gone from hiding behind closed kitchen doors to serving as the restaurant’s main attraction. Gone are the days of dinner and a show. Today, dinner has become the show. Restaurant reservations are badges of honor and every year, more and more sauté pans flash and sizzle on your television screen. Even feature films are increasingly set in the kitchen!
In my personal experience as a chef, the public’s growing interest in food has created professional opportunities that I never imagined when I started cooking in 1996—from appearances on competitions like Chopped! to teaching America cooking tips on the Today Show. However, for those entering the industry as newcomers, these shows often fail to reveal the day-to-day grind of the kitchen, a slow and steady process of career growth that takes years—not merely 12 episodes. Today, as a chef and a culinary educator with one foot firmly in both the pre- and post- television food scene, I’d like to share a few thoughts on choosing a career in the kitchen.