There is a reason that the Empire State Building is shining yellow and orange today! This year marks the 25th anniversary of the James Beard Foundation and to commemorate his legacy, the foundation has released a new book, The James Beard Foundation’s Best of the Best: A 25th Anniversary Celebration of America’s Outstanding Chefs and last night they honored these chefs as well as friends of the foundation at the iconic James Beard House in Greenwich Village.

The special evening featured James Beard-inspired hors d-oeuvres prepared by students here at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) along with a diverse group of ICE chefs who included Andy Gold (pictured above), Michael Laiskonis, James Briscione and Chris Gesualdi. After a month of reviewing legendary recipes, the team began prepping a menu reflective of the rich history of James Beard. Many of the students at ICE had a hand in testing, prepping and preparing for this special night.

The chefs and students from ICE arrived at the James Beard House yesterday afternoon and prepped for the guests of honor. When entering the James Beard House, you have to walk through the kitchen before reaching any other room, so not only did the students and chefs prep the food but they were the highlight of the evening. Chef Thomas Keller entered the kitchen and hopped right in to help a student put the finishing touch on a bite size BLT. It was an honor and unique experience to cook the food for this crowd and also receive their feedback right there in the kitchen.

Last night was just the start of the celebrations. Tonight the industry will come together at Lincoln Center for the much anticipated annual James Beard Awards. And from what we’ve heard, we haven’t seen the last of the James Beard-inspired hors d-oeuvres.  We’ll find out more tonight and share it all with you tomorrow.

Hats off to our students and chefs for a job well done! See below for just a few of the great appetizers served:

The Chicken and The Egg
Brined and pressed fried chicken with buttermilk and egg yolk sauces

Sweetbreads and Peas
Veal sweetbreads, morels, bacon, pea puree and red ribbon sorrel

Smoked and caramelized bacon and onions with crème fraîche and mayo, tomato and lettuce coulis

Blood Orange Gazpacho with White and Green Asparagus
Gelée of gazpacho with asparagus and pepper confetti on endive chip

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