By Caitlin Raux
“The future of food is cooking — is all of us cooking,” said Melissa Clark on Monday night to a roomful of guests ranging from food industry pros to zealous foodies at the Institute of Culinary Education. The occasion was the third annual “The Next Big Bite” event presented by Les Dames d’Escoffier, and the question on everyone’s mind: what is the future of food? The prolific New York Times food writer was joined by fellow panelists Padma Lakshmi of Bravo’s Chopped, Kerry Heffernan, executive chef of Grand Banks; Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation; Missy Robbins, ICE graduate and chef-owner of Lilia, and Pascaline Lepeltier, Master Sommelier, all moderated by Dana Cowen, chief creative officer of Chefs Club and former editor-in-chief of Food & Wine. Heads nodded and occasional waves of laughter rippled through the crowd as the panelists explored the future of food.
Keep reading to find out what these culinary thought leaders said about the future of food.
By Michael Laiskonis—Creative Director
In ICE's Chocolate Lab, students get to take part in the bean-to-bar chocolate process, giving them a firsthand education on the importance of ingredient sourcing, refining and selection. Below, I’ve compiled some surprising facts about the different stages of the chocolate making process. These observations may be old hat to professional chocolate makers, but they are rarely — if ever — considered by chefs and consumers.
Read on to learn surprising facts about the chocolate making process.
You’ve probably heard of the “Maillard reaction.” Even if you haven’t heard of it, your food has definitely been affected by it. It’s the chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that gives browned foods their characteristic color and flavor — think of the toasty, golden-brown crust of a crunchy baguette. While the Maillard reaction generally delivers a desired, flavor-enhancing effect, in certain instances, chefs want to avoid it — in order to preserve the purest flavor of their ingredients.
In a new video, ICE Creative Director Michael Laiskonis explains how he uses vacuum cookers to prevent the Maillard reaction when making creative confections like bright, full-flavored raspberry caramels in ICE's Chocolate Lab.
Click below to watch the video and discover how Chef Michael controls the Maillard Reaction.
By James Briscione – Director of Culinary Research
Sous vide cooking is one of the fastest growing trends in modern cooking, among restaurant chefs and home cooks alike. Despite the fact that sous vide was first used in restaurants around the same time that microwave ovens hit the market for home cooks, it’s still viewed as a very new technology. But one thing that has really changed about sous vide over the past 40 years is the price. Sous vide equipment used to carry a price tag (around $1,000) that put it out of reach for most cooks. Today, the average home cook (or professional for that matter!) could be expertly equipped for sous vide cooking for $200 or less. And once you go vac, you’ll never go back. (See what I did there? Sous vide translates to under vacuum. Vac, vacuum...get it?)
I have been teaching sous vide cooking to students, professionals and home cooks at ICE for over five years, and my wife and I do a lot of sous vide cooking at home. If sous vide seems like too much effort for a home cook with a full work schedule and a family, let me persuade you to consider otherwise: With a busy schedule and two kids, the convenience and quality cannot be beat. What's more, the sous vide method is easier than you think.
Additionally, for roughly the same amount of time, I have been part of The Official Jets Cooking School — helping Jets fans (and football fans in general) take their tailgating game to the next level. I’m a lifelong football fan and have always loved a good tailgate. As a chef, I don’t mess around when it comes to the food, which is why I love bringing sous vide to the tailgate. I cook my steak, even bacon — trust me on this — at home a day or two before the game. Then I quickly chill the cooked meat in an ice bath before holding it in the fridge or packing it in the cooler and heading for the stadium.
Keep reading to get Chef James' recipe for the perfect sandwich for your next tailgate.
By Kelly Newsome — Student, Culinary Arts
When you're a lunatic like me, food gets you so excited that you want to do everything. After a lesson on India's curries, I was ready to pack my bags for a sabbatical to diligently tend tandoori ovens and learn from the master chapati makers of the Indian sub-continent. After two weeks learning about the regional cooking of Italy, I was fantasizing about working in the kitchen of an idyllic agriturismo in the Tuscan countryside — perhaps learning the fine art of truffle hunting was in my future? Then there’s my love of writing, cookbooks and teaching — how could that fit into my plans? As tantalizing as these possibilities seem, the reality is equally foreboding — I need to choose one thing, right now, and this decision could determine the direction of my culinary career, forever. It feels like taking the SATs all over again. Adding to this predicament has been my recent experience in Module 4, Pastry & Baking Arts. I’d like to blame it on the butter but the truth is: I love the precision that baking demands. Accuracy, care and diligence almost always result in an excellent final product — and I like that. With all these interesting paths to explore, how should I go about deciding which one to follow?
Read on to discover Kelly's tips for finding the right career direction.
By Chef James Briscione — Director of Culinary Research
The role of a chef goes far beyond preparing food. Be it in a restaurant, culinary school, test kitchen or anywhere else, great chefs find a way to educate, inspire and create connections. They may seem secondary to the job of cooking, but these duties of a chef can often be more important than the meals themselves. As Director of Culinary Research here at ICE, I find myself spending more time in these roles than I do behind the stove. Not that I’m complaining — it’s this part of the job that has taken me around the world, and recently brought me back home.
Since its inception four years ago, my wife Brooke and I have hosted The Wharf Uncorked, an end-of-summer food and wine festival on the Alabama Gulf Coast, right next door to our hometown of Pensacola, Florida. It has become a very important weekend to us for multiple reasons. First and foremost, it’s an amazing event that raises money for local charities. Secondly, it’s a fun day at the beach with a talented group of chefs. Finally, it’s a celebration of Gulf seafood — the food that both my wife and I grew up eating. Ever since an oil spill devastated the fisherman of this area, it has become increasingly important to let the world know that the Gulf of Mexico is open for business. Gulf seafood — shrimp, oysters and fish of all varieties — is both clean and delicious. In fact, the seafood from this region is some of the best I’ve ever tasted. But nothing is more tasty and unique than royal red shrimp, a lesser-known species that’s very popular with local chefs.
Read on to discover Chef James' delish recipe from the Gulf Coast.
On October 20, 2017, ICE will host world-renowned Brazilian chef Alex Atala for the “Recipes for a Delicious and Sustainable Future” dinner to benefit the MAD / Yale collaboration. The evening’s theme will be sustainability — one of ICE’s core commitments — as well as how chefs can be agents of change and, of course, exquisite food. We would be hard pressed to a better proponent of cooking sustainably or a better example of finding one’s culinary voice, than Chef Atala.
Chef Atala, widely considered the best chef in South America, was recently featured on the Netflix series Chef’s Table.
Read on to learn about this exclusive pop-up dinner — and get tickets today!
Recipe by Jenny McCoy — Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
Apples aren't the only fruit we're excited for this fall — it's also cranberry season. If you're looking for delicious ways to mix cranberries into your baking repertoire, Chef Jenny has an irresistible idea or you: a flaky double-crust apple-cranberry pie that’s the perfect mix of tart and sweet — the best of both worlds. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a spoonful of crème fraîche, and let the compliments roll in.
Keep reading to get the recipe for this lick-the-plate delicious pie.
By Emily Peterson — Lead Chef-Instructor, Recreational Cooking
My favorite part of the back-to-school routine is treating myself to a new lunchbox. I haven’t been a student for a long time. Nonetheless, the chill in the air and the tips of the crisp leaves as they start to change justify a shiny, new lunch tote.
I bring my lunch lots of places — to work, on drives lasting longer than an hour or two, to the pool when I have the chance to catch my kid’s swim practice. This doesn’t come naturally to many of us, especially in the age of Seamless and Ritual. Don’t get me wrong: I love skipping the line at Go! Go! Curry as much as the next person. But reserving my dining-out options for truly special occasions means I have more control over my budget, my waistline and ultimately, my happiness. And there’s science to back me up.
Read on to learn why cooking makes you healthier, happier and more satisfied.