By Robert Laing—CEO, Farm.One


Have you been to a fine dining restaurant in, oh, say, the last twenty years? If so, you may have wondered about the mysterious ant-sized leaves carefully placed on top of your dish—probably using tweezers and perhaps some under-the-breath cursing. Where did they come from? What are they? Are they grown using smaller seeds? Are they grown in tiny pots? Are they harvested by children? If I’m paying $38 for a main course, why is everything on the plate so small? Unless you haven’t read the title of this blog post, you won’t be surprised to learn that these leaves are called microgreens. Whoever christened them had a wild and fanciful imagination. But seriously, microgreens are very cool—the nuttiness of arugula packed into a tiny, pretty leaf; the bold pink color of an amaranth petal; a note of basil with just the right intensity to balance a bite of tomato. No chewiness, all flavor. You can see why they’re so popular among chefs.


Read on to discover the secret to growing, harvesting and using these tiny green flavor bombs!


Introduction by Robert Ramsey—Director of Advanced Culinary Center
Interview by Caitlin Gunther


John Rooney, sportscaster and master of catchphrases once said, “The quickest way to become an old dog is to stop learning new tricks.” For so many cooks and chefs, that mantra rings true as we progress in our careers and strive to gain more culinary know-how. That’s why ICE established the Advanced Culinary Center—a series of continuing education classes to enable culinary professionals and aficionados to pick up new tricks in the kitchen. We’ve got a few exciting classes in store, beginning with a chance to learn pickling and fermenting from one of the most successful and innovative pickle packers in the country.

Brooklyn Brine at ICE

On October 3rd, Shamus Jones, founder and “executive briner” at Brooklyn Brine, will be at ICE to dive deep into the vats of vinegar with students in his one-day workshop, The Modern Pickle: Preservation Techniques with Shamus Jones. Shamus will guide the class through the process of making all varieties of pickles, from brined to fermented to “quick.” Students will also develop new and unexpected flavors on the spot, using herbs freshly picked from ICE’s hydroponic garden. The course will also cover processes for proper canning of pickles and the science behind it all. Attend this class and you will take away the foundational knowledge and techniques needed to produce pickles and incorporate them into your culinary repertoire. This class is open to professional and aspiring chefs, food professionals, entrepreneurs, bloggers and anyone interested in discovering more about specialty food products. Shamus will also share the story of how he built his career and company from the ground up. Not only will you make pickles, you’ll also have the chance ask Shamus all of your questions about how to make it in the handmade, artisanal food business.


Read on to discover the craziest thing Shamus ever pickled and more! 


By Caitlin Gunther


With the heart of a globe-trotter and a passion for lifelong culinary education, Lourdes Reynoso (“Chef Lorrie”) is always up for an adventure. Whether she’s stationed in St. Petersburg for a three-month teaching residency or exploring the best parrillas in Buenos Aires, Chef Lorrie is continually feeding her voracious appetite for foods and cultures of the world. She shares both her global perspective and her expertise in international cuisines with the culinary arts students at ICE.


Chef Lorrie comes from a big, food-loving family in the Philippines. Seven of the nine Reynoso siblings, including Chef Lorrie, work in some facet of the food industry. In fact, her sisters, pioneers of their time, founded a culinary school in Manila in the 1960s. Today, the Sylvia Reynoso Gala Culinary Art Studio counts among the most well-known culinary schools in the Philippines. As Chef Lorrie explains, “In Manila, my family is more or less synonymous with culinary school…and good food.” After receiving a bachelor’s degree in world history, Chef Lorrie earned the prestigious Grand Diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She remained in Paris to study the French language at Le Sorbonne and art history at the Louvre museum, before returning to Manila to join the teaching staff at her sisters’ culinary school. Her ultimate career path came as no surprise to her family. “Even when I was in high school, I was teaching children’s baking courses during the summer,” says Chef Lorrie. Teaching in the kitchen was her calling from a young age.


Keep reading to learn how Chef Lorrie went from teaching in Manila to the kitchens at ICE! 

16. September 2016 · Categories: Alumni


By Caitlin Gunther


On a Tuesday evening in the midst of September Fashion Week in New York City, I meet Thea Habjanic (Pastry Arts ’10) at La Sirena, the buzzy new restaurant in the Meatpacking district of Manhattan where Thea leads the sweet side of the kitchen as executive pastry chef. Given the restaurant’s location and the unseasonably warm weather, it will no doubt be a long night for Thea. Still, she seems poised and unhurried as I have her stand for a handful of portraits in her kitchen attire.


In a professional pastry kitchen, where technical skill is only half the battle, it takes a certain personality type—one that can stay focused on the details through an onslaught of tickets, demands and the occasional snafu—to truly succeed. Thea has the qualities to thrive in the restaurant world—though that wasn’t always her career path. She graduated from NYU with a degree in journalism and worked for several years as an entertainment writer before deciding to enroll in the Pastry & Baking Arts program at ICE.


As her recent kitchen roles can attest, Thea has the demeanor and the work ethic suited to fast-paced restaurants. Said ICE Creative Director Michael Laiskonis, who hired Thea for her first pastry gig at Le Bernadin, “Last year, I signed on to create the pastry program for the newest Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich restaurant, La Sirena. When it came time to hire a pastry chef for the upscale and busy restaurant, I immediately thought of Thea. Her previous experience in both fine dining and high volume made for a perfect match. She has played a vital role in crafting La Sirena’s desserts, earning critical praise. She runs the hectic pastry kitchen with that positive, can-do attitude that initially impressed me!”


Keep reading to learn about Thea’s path from ICE to one of NYC’s hottest restaurant kitchens!


At ICE, we’re falling for fall. The cozy knits, the bounty of apples, the fall-spiced beverages and, of course, the pumpkins—what’s not to love? The below pumpkin-centric dessert comes from chef and cookbook author Melanie Underwood, who will be teaching the upcoming recreational baking course, Fall Desserts, at ICE. The kitchen classrooms, which are outfitted with BlueStar ovens, are the perfect playgrounds for recreational cooking and baking. Says Chef Melanie, “BlueStar ovens are beautiful and they work great in home kitchens.”


Students in Chef Melanie’s autumnal baking course will try their hand at this recipe for pumpkin whoopie pies. “Pumpkin and maple are two of my favorite autumn flavors and they pair wonderfully with this fun, easy dessert that both kids and adults love,” says Chef Melanie.


Keep reading to get Chef Melanie’s recipe for this scrumptious fall dessert!

14. September 2016 · Categories: Recipes

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


Drinking vinegars, also known as shrubs, have become increasingly popular. Restaurants like Pok Pok NY in Brooklyn are now bottling drinking vinegars and selling them in grocery stores across they country. Even though not everyone knows about shrubs, drinking vinegar for health purposes has been done for a very long time.


Long ago, the Romans and Babylonians were mixing vinegar with water. The word “shrub” is derived from the Arabic word “sharbah,” which translates as “drink.” Even sailors from the 16th-18th centuries drank shrubs to prevent scurvy! Today, they are infused with every flavor one can imagine and lauded for their health benefits, some even claiming weight loss.

Shrub cocktails at Spoon University

Keep reading to discover Chef Jenny’s method for making drinking vinegars and her recipes for shrub cocktails!


In today’s culinary world, food sourcing is more important than ever. Locally-sourced produce has become the standard, rather than the exception. To stay at the forefront of this industry-wide movement, ICE built a state-of-the-art indoor hydroponic garden in its new Brookfield Place facilities. The garden gives ICE culinary students access to the freshest herbs and produce, plus the opportunity to take part in the latest urban agriculture trends. By instilling in students the importance of quality ingredients while allowing them to participate in innovative growing practices, ICE ensures that each student receives a holistic culinary education.


Keep reading to watch the video and get a peek inside ICE’s Hydroponic Garden.

09. September 2016 · Categories: Recipes


By David Waltuck—Director of Culinary Affairs


In July of 2004, I was working on a new menu at my Tribeca restaurant, Chanterelle. The summer Olympics in Athens were about to begin, which naturally got me thinking about Greek food. I decided to tap into memories of traveling in Greece, and also of cheap meals in cafeteria-style restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen, where I lived in the 1970s. It was while in Hell’s Kitchen that I came up with the following dish, in which a marinade suitable for shish kebab is applied to lamb loin, and the typically hearty casserole moussaka is reworked as a small and elegant dish. Fresh marjoram is substituted for the more aggressive oregano that is common in Greek cuisine.


I’ll be serving this dish as one of several courses at A Night at Chanterelle, an exclusive dinner I’ll be cooking at ICE on September 23rd to showcase some of my favorite autumnal recipes. Hope to see you there!   


Keep reading to get the recipe for this Olympics-inspired dish.

By ICE Staff


The Institute of Culinary Education is dedicated to making sure that graduates get the most from their ICE education. That’s why we forged a partnership with Excelsior College that gives Hospitality Management grads the opportunity to apply their diplomas toward an associate degree from Excelsior. With an immersive campus experience in NYC and an online associate degree program that’s flexible and affordable, the new program truly gives aspiring hospitality professionals the best of both worlds.

ICE and Excelsior

Keep reading to learn about this exciting new partnership between ICE and Excelsior. 

By Lauren Jessen­—Culinary Arts/Culinary Management ‘16

As a student enrolled in a dual-diploma program at ICE, I juggled a schedule for both the Culinary Arts and Culinary Management programs. Three days a week, I had management classes from 8AM to 12PM and then quickly I’d have to change for my 1PM culinary arts class, which ran until 5PM. On the days I didn’t have management classes, I would spend my mornings working on reading and classwork for management, and then the remainder of my day honing my cooking skills in class.

lauren jessen culinary student institute of culinary education

Once my Culinary Arts program ended, I had one month left of my management classes. The catch? I had just two weeks until I had to start my externship in a fast-paced NYC restaurant. This meant I had to build my management class business plan—the culmination of the Culinary Management program—with a full work schedule. My externship schedule was anything but lax. I worked in the restaurant’s kitchen five days a week—being smart with my time was more important than ever. While I had reading, presentations to deliver and business plans to develop for my management class, I also wanted to do a great job at my externship.

Keep reading to learn Lauren’s tips for balancing your work + class schedule. 

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