By Stephen Zagor—Dean, School of Business & Management Studies

 

As many New Yorkers already know, bed bugs are everywhere—subway cars, offices, department stores, movie theatres, everywhere. But of all the places they hide, hotels—with their never-ending flow of new overnight guests—are one of the most likely places for the little creatures to hop a ride to your home on your clothes or bags.

Credit: Jason Kuffer

Yet, as a hospitality professional, my initial disgust regarding bed bugs quickly turned to curiosity—and the data I found was shocking. According to the Bed Bug Registry, the list of affected hotels encompasses everything from Economy Inns to $700+ per night luxury suites. Not only are these little critters a customer service issue, but they are also a public relations nightmare for any hotel unlucky enough to be under attack.

 

So what’s a hotel to do? It’s basically impossible to prevent bed bugs from entering, given that travelers are an easy transport mode for the creatures. That leaves proactive initiatives as the best course of action, specifically in two areas: Inspect to Protect and Damage Control.

 

By Carly DeFilippo

 

“Everyone comes into a room with a history,” says Chef Gerri Sarnataro, and it’s sure that Gerri herself—the owner of a successful cooking school in Umbria and a member of ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts faculty—is no exception. Like many professionals in the culinary field, Gerri’s career path was not a straight one; it was a combination of many parallel pursuits.

2319After entering into the culinary field as a 30-year-old career changer, Gerri made a name for herself as a chef and caterer for New York City’s fashion elite. Yet, as her reputation continued to grow, her personal interests increasingly pulled her across the Atlantic. She spent the first 15 years of her career rigorously exploring the culinary riches of France, but it wasn’t until she turned her attention to Italy – the country of her ancestors – that Gerri’s entrepreneurial imagination kicked into high gear. Soon enough, Gerri happened upon a small workshop for sale in Umbria. It was there that she founded Cucina della Terra, an intimate school where she now shares her passion for local products and traditional techniques with other culinary enthusiasts.

 

Today, Gerri’s career is truly international, spending three months at a time with career students – like alumni Clarisa Martino and Zac Young - in ICE’s pastry kitchens, then jetting back to Italy to lead gastronomic tours and locavore cooking classes. Her schedule may be just as grueling as the days when she served such fashion stars as Oscar de la Renta, but now, the menu is created entirely on her terms.

 

By Grace ReynoldsCulinary Management Student

 

As a general rule of thumb, the anticipation of a new experience comes with a heavy dose of expectations. Be it your first trip to a foreign country, a new job or a first date, it’s easy to construct a romanticized notion of “what could be” before even setting foot in the airport, office or restaurant. But how often does reality actually meet our expectations?

Restaurant Consulting Empire State

Personally, I try not to get too excited about new opportunities. My optimistic daydreams have resulted in disappointment on many occasions, some worse than others. So in the days leading up to September 29th (my first day in ICE’s Culinary Management program), I made every effort to keep my expectations in check. Even as ICE alums raved to me about their experience in the program—how it helped them reach their professional goals, changed the way they think, gave them the tools to succeed in the restaurant industry—I tried to stay pragmatic. If this program was really the professional game-changer they suggested, it would still have to prove itself to me first.

 

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.

Spaghetti with eggplant and brussels sprouts, styled by ICE students.

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 raw ingredients makes a talented food stylist’s skill—and speed—even more valuable. That’s why ICE was thrilled to offer a food styling workshop with Food52’s own Executive Editor (and ICE Culinary Arts alum!), Kristen Miglore and Freelance Stylist, Kristy Mucci.

 

By Carly DeFilippo

 

In our increasingly global food scene—where we can access ingredients as diverse as octopus, chicory and passionfruit, where our shelves are lined with cookbooks celebrating Italian, Filipino, Middle Eastern or South American cuisine—what is the value of regional cooking? It’s a question that ICE Culinary Arts alum Vivian Howard and an evolving community of chefs are exploring by revisiting the flavors of their ancestors, celebrating the ingredients and dishes of regional American cuisine.

JOSH WOLL_S5A5274

Acclaimed for both her work as chef/co-owner of Chef & The Farmer and her acclaimed PBS show A Chef’s Life, Vivian was presented with a Peabody Award in 2014 and has been nominated twice for the James Beard “Best Chef Southeast” award. But beyond these honors, Vivian’s cooking and storytelling are breathing new life into the culinary traditions of eastern North Carolina, inspiring a new generation of chefs to explore their own roots and celebrate the taste of home.

 

What were the highlights of your time in culinary school?
I liked ICE’s approach, and I felt it was a well-rounded program that would help me discover what direction I wanted to go in. My first instructor was Alex Guarnaschelli, who was such a great storyteller, a passionate teacher and—of course—a woman chef. She really set the bar for my experience. I also remember Chef Ted; he was very intimidating, but turned out to be one of my favorites—so knowledgeable, very open and just knew everything. All my teachers were great. I never popped up so easily in the morning as when I was in culinary school.

 

By Jenny McCoy, Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts

 

Alright readers…here we are. Part five. The last post in my, “So You Want to Write a Cookbook,” series. We’re almost at the end of this exciting, grueling, rewarding process—I hope you’ve managed to stay tuned!

 

As I write this post, I’m in the midst of my latest cookbook project. I recently signed a cookbook deal with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which means I’m knee-deep in developing a fresh batch of recipes—so what better time to coach you through that very process?

cisse-3138

 

Creating Your Recipe Roadmap
As a first step, I drafted a working list of the recipe ideas I’d like to feature in my cookbook. My new book is contracted to have six chapters and 80 to 100 recipes in total. If you do the math, that’s about 13 to 16 recipes per chapter. So I started by creating a list of 15 ideas per chapter.

 

Why the extra work? Once I begin to test these recipes, I know that some will be tossed, others will morph into entirely different ideas, and a few will remain exactly the same. My list will constantly evolve—and even more recipes ideas will pop into my head during the testing process—but I’ve found that having a game plan at the outset is the best way to start. 

 

By Michael Laiskonis, ICE Creative Director 

 

Earlier this month I had the honor of cooking for an American icon: chef and author Jeremiah Tower. The dinner was part of the second annual Imbibe & Inspire conference in Chicago, the broad theme of which was “The Roots of American Food.” Jeremiah was the guest of honor, celebrated as a luminary who refined and redefined our understanding of American regional cooking during his groundbreaking tenure at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse in the 1970s. By rejecting any product he considered inferior and focusing on the idea of local (which was surprisingly difficult in those early days), his efforts made possible the farm-to-table relationships that are so prevalent today. In the 80s and 90s, with his Bay Area restaurants Santa Fe Grill and Stars, Jeremiah set in motion many ideas which were ahead of their time, both in the front- and back-of-house. His efforts helped evolve the cultural status of chefs back when the food “scene” we know today was still in its infancy.

Jeremiah Tower's first cookbook; Jeremiah at the Imbibe & Inspire conference (Credit: Hugo Juarez)

Seeking inspiration for the dinner at Chicago’s two Michelin star L2O, I returned to Jeremiah’s important (and, sadly, out-of-print) first cookbook, New American Classics, published in 1986 (thanks to the lone copy held in the archives at Kitchen Arts and Letters). It was the books of this era that comprised my own stitched-together culinary education, and revisiting this one made me realize just how fresh Jeremiah’s perspective remains today. Through Jeremiah and his contemporaries, I began to discover the underlying stories connected to food and cooking, the sense of place that heightens our appreciation of ingredients. Jeremiah often relates the frustrating hardship in finding things as simple as fresh herbs and olive oil back in the 1970s—staples that we take for granted today. Just as we now can’t imagine the world without the Internet, it is increasingly difficult to imagine contemporary cooking without the bounty of high quality ingredients we either ship in from overseas or forage in nearby fields.

Foie gras. Pâté. Offal. These niche food items may be familiar to us today, but in 1985, these products were unknown to many Americans. That is, until Ariane Daguin launched D’Artagnan, an inspired idea that became one of the largest and most trusted specialty meat distributors in the country. In celebration of the company’s 30th anniversary, we recently invited the visionary founder and CEO to ICE as part of our Meet the Culinary Entrepreneurs series.

mrswheelbarrow.com

Born in the Gascony region of France to a family with a seven-generation culinary legacy—including a chef father with 2 Michelin stars to his name—it was clear from early on that Ariane had inherited a passion for the food industry. Yet, Despite growing up with this gastronomical heritage, her original career ambition was to become a journalist, a dream she pursued by enrolling as an undergraduate at Columbia University.

 

During her summers off from school, Ariane worked the retail counter at Les Trois Petits Cochons, which was—and still is—one of New York’s finest French pâté producers. When she suggested to the owners that they should sell their products wholesale to the city’s fine food shops, amazingly, they presented her with the opportunity to develop this concept within their existing business.

 

By Carly DeFIlippo

 

Some of us are just born with the industry in our blood. Tony Trincanello started off as a busboy at 16, and by age 20 was already staging at a winery in Veneto, Italy. After graduating from ICE and externing at the legendary Le Cirque, Tony launched a successful catering company, worked as a wine consultant and eventually became the Food & Beverage Director at Santa Monica’s Huntley Hotel. His latest venture, The Roost at LA Farm revitalizes one of the region’s classic culinary landmarks.

Tony Trincanello 1

Take us through a typical day in your working life.
A typical day begins at about 5:30 am with a quick surf session (I did move out here to live on the beach!) or a trip to the gym. Then I’ll play with my daughter for a bit and head to the restaurant around 10. There, I’ll meet with Chef Johnny, go over the menu changes for the day, reservations, events, check on staffing, then execute a busy lunch service. At lunch service, I’m on the floor almost the entire time, making sure tables are bussed and food is served efficiently. Then I try to sit for quick lunch with Chef and our other partner Laura—but I often get interrupted by someone trying to sell me a new bottle of wine!

 

Then, before the dinner service, we go over menu changes, service notes and I’ll usually open up a bottle for the staff to taste and discuss. Dinner starts with a pretty busy happy hour in the bar/lounge, so I’ll usually get behind the bar to help out and try out some new cocktails or wines on our guests. Then I’m back to working the floor, talking to guests, selling wine and helping out wherever I’m needed. (I usually just describe my job as a glorified busser!) But, in truth, even when I’m helping bus, it’s because that’s a more natural way to interact with guests, rather than bouncing from table to table asking the hollow question “How is everything”? Then I sit down for dinner around 10, finish the bottle we opened before our dinner shift and head home around midnight. They’re long days, but this is the life I’ve chosen.

 

By Steve Zagor, Dean of Culinary Business

 

Man with Machete Robs Upscale Chelsea Restaurant,” read the headline. Another terrible crime in the big city? Yes, for sure. Thankfully no one was hurt.  But reading the story—and realizing that the incident occurred just a few blocks from ICE—made me reflect on certain safety procedures we often ignore restaurant operations.

stavos.nl

While restaurant employees are trained to be vigilant about sanitation, food safety and other methods of protecting their guests, unfortunately many restaurant professionals are unprepared for robberies. Such unfortunate events happen all too frequently and the losses can be substantial, whether the criminals are employees, guests or an unknown perpetrator. Are there precautions that can be taken to prevent these incidents?