Many students in ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts career-training program are amazed at the skill of ICE Chef Instructor Michelle Tampakis. Chef Michelle was named one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America by Dessert Professional in 2010. She has competed on Food Network Challenge and been a judge in professional pastry competitions. She is the Director of ICE’s Center for Advanced Pastry Studies. She has been quoted in The New York Times, CBSNews.com and Reuters as a renowned chocolate expert.

What students may not know is that in addition to all that, Chef Michelle is very active in her community, acting as the Chairman for the annual Greek Festival of Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Brooklyn. For 32 years, the church has created a weeklong outdoor taverna on the block outside the church for the first week of June.

The festival is a never ending parade of food — spit-roasted lamb, spanakopita, octopus, pastitsio, baklava, and so on. Chef Michelle has been the helm of the festival’s food for five years. She oversees the production and service of all the food, starting work weeks in advance to be sure that everything is ready.

Chef Michelle works with her team of volunteers for days on end to prepare the food and praises them for their hard work. One of her favorite thing about the festival is that it brings the community together and gives everyone a chance to reconnect. Plus it’s all for a good cause — the festival raises funds for A. Fantis Parochial School.

We’re already dreaming of what treats Chef Michelle is going to cook up next year!

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