By Carly DeFilippo

 

Last night, ICE students and recent graduates cooked with the culinary stars at the James Beard Awards. Among the hundreds of volunteer opportunities we organize each year, these annual awards stand out as one of the most exciting, providing students with the chance to cook alongside such influential chefs as Grant Achatz, Michael Mina and Marcus Samuelsson.

ICE President Rick Smilow and Culinary Relations Manager Virginia Monaco pose with a trio of hardworking student volunteers.

ICE President Rick Smilow and Culinary Relations Manager Virginia Monaco pose with a trio of hardworking student volunteers.

Often referred to as the “Oscars of food”, these annual awards are among the most elite honors in the culinary field. This year’s theme was, fittingly, “Lights, Camera, Taste”, a celebration of the long-standing relationship between food and film. The sentiment was perhaps best expressed by Outstanding Restauranteur winner, Maguy Le Coze, who exclaimed, “Let’s say it; it’s Hollywood now!”

The event was held at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, overlooking the famous plaza of the performing arts center.

The event was held at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, overlooking the famous plaza of the performing arts center.

Each dish at the awards gala reception was inspired by cinema, with such inventive offerings as Grant Achatz’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Cocktail”, which required giant fish tanks of seaweed-infused liquor. But the most talked about dish of the evening seemed to be Nate Appleman’s “Royale with Cheese”, an upscale slider that sated the discerning palates of the industry attendees.

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Student Jonathan Horn cooked alongside Chef Nate Appleman, preparing the event’s most buzzed-about dish.

It was a thrill to see our students’ excitement at serving such celebrated personalities as Martha Stewart, Jacques Pépin, and Daniel Boulud. The evening’s plates surpassed the challenging setting, and we are extremely proud of all the ICE volunteers who helped make the event a success.

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Student Jenny Wong helped prepare Chef Aarón Sánchez’s Lamb Enchiladas with Mole Negro.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners, and thank you to the James Beard Foundation for yet another memorable ceremony. We look forward to cooking with you again next year!

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