Search Results for: Chefs Congress

 

By Chef James Briscione

 

As a chef, there are few annual events that are more exciting or anticipated than the Star Chefs International Chefs Congress. This year, I was surprised and honored to be asked to lead an interactive sous vide workshop at this global conference. After studying this modernist technique with European masters in Venice, I have been teaching sous vide classes at ICE for a few years and have shared my sous vide creations on this blog. Yet to have the honor to be counted among the ranks of the “Star Chefs Presenters” was both thrilling and terrifying.

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Chef James explains the concepts behind sous vide.

Thankfully, I had the opportunity to work with my good friend and brilliant chef Anthony Sasso, who also happens to be an ICE alum.  If you don’t know Anthony, he is the Chef de Cuisine at Casa Mono, where he crafts inspired food that pulls from the traditions of Spanish cuisine. But when it comes to sous vide, Anthony is admittedly—and proudly—an old school chef. There is no modernist equipment of any sort in the kitchen at Casa Mono.

 

So what does Anthony’s classic style have to do with sous vide? When talking through concepts for the workshop, we realized that we cooked our favorite dishes the same way. We both coaxed exciting flavors and textures out of our food with a slow, gentle cooking process—the only difference was that Anthony’s food was sealed beneath a layer of fine Spanish olive oil, while mine was sealed in a heat-proof plastic bag.

 

Together, Anthony and I decided to tell the story sous vide and how it evolved over time. Low temperature cooking—the essence sous vide—is the key to many of the greatest dishes throughout the history of cuisine. From a classic duck confit, to barbeque, to modernist short ribs that cook over a matter of days, slow and low is the key.

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Chef Anthony prepares the salt cod pil pil.

The workshop kicked off with a mix of old and new. Anthony prepared cod cheeks pil pil, a classic dish of the Basque country in which tender nuggets of cod are gently cooked in olive oil and fish stock with chilis and garlic. The result is tender, sweet and spicy. I prepared a cylinder of roasted garlic to be served with it, first pureeing roast garlic with paprika and sherry vinegar. To that mix I  added gellan, a hydrocolloid that, once gelled through heating, will not melt (chef-nerds call it thermoirreversible). We poured the mixture into tubes, placed them inside a water bath and cooked until set. Once cooled, the mixture could be unmolded and reheated while still holding the perfect cylinder shape. (It’s a concept that serves many purposes, as in this dessert I created for Dessert Professional Magazine.)

 

Next, we discussed how a classic preparation can be revolutionized through the use of sous vide. Anthony prepared crispy goat confit, simmering partially cured goat meat on the bone in giant, olive oil filled pans in carefully tended oven. I countered this technique with the option of the duck confit we make at ICE, which requires that one cup of duck fat to be sealed in a bag with the duck legs, left to cook in a circulating bath overnight.

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Sous vide venison with butternut squash puree and pickled, diced butternut squash.

Finally, we shared one the dishes from ICE’s new plating curriculum for career students. To begin, venison rack is cooked sous vide to a perfect medium rare, then finished on the grill. This is accompanied by a fine dice of butternut squash, pickled by vacuum sealing with spices, vinegar and sugar. We also flash marinated maitake mushrooms with soy, ginger and garlic, before being finishing them on the grill. The final element was crisp pears, infused in gin syrup, a nod to the classic pairing of venison and juniper.

 

 

We took care with each recipe to evoke sensible, modern uses for sous vide, creating a dialogue about the technique and the ways in which it can be put to best use. Countering this in-depth look at sous vide with classic, rustic cooking was an important reminder that, while technology is certainly a powerful tool, it’s not the only route to a beautiful dish. The point we all need to remember is this: food is better when slow down, whether you’re cooking or eating.

Career Services Advisor Jessie Craig at the ICE Booth

ICE had a special role in StarChefs.com’s sixth annual International Chefs Congress this week. Over 3,000 savory chefs, pastry chefs, restaurant managers, sommeliers and other industry professionals gathered at The Park Avenue Armory for the three-day conference packed with demonstrations, workshops, panels and seminars on current industry topics. This year’s theme, “the sixth sense,” explored the role of intuition, emotion and experience in dining. ICE was the official culinary school partner this year and the breadth and depth of our involvement was an incredible experience for everyone involved.

Over the three days, at least 90 ICE students, 10 ICE Chef Instructors and 15 ICE staff members participated in conference. More »

We’re gearing up for what promises to be one of the most exciting events of the culinary calendar for 2011. This year, ICE is working in partnership with StarChefs.com to help at their sixth annual International Chefs Congress on October 2 through October 4. The three-day conference is an incredible symposium where more than 80 of the world’s most influential and innovative chefs, pastry chefs, mixologists and sommeliers will present the latest techniques and culinary concepts to their peers.

ICE will be working with an incredible roster of chefs to give chef demonstrations, hands-on savory, pastry and mixology workshops, as well as participating in wine and business seminars and career counseling sessions. The 2011 ICC lineup includes preeminent figures in the food and beverage industry including Grant Achatz (Alinea), Andoni Luis Aduriz (Mugaritz Restaurant), Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana), David Burke (David Burke Kitchen), François Chartier, Sang-Hoon Degeimbre (L’Air du Temps), Curtis Duffy (Avenues), Pierre Hermé (Pierre Hermé Paris), Bill Kim (Urbanbelly and Belly Shack), Paul Liebrandt (Corton), Tony Maws (Craigie On Main), Ron Paprocki (Gordon Ramsay at The London), Gilles Verot (Gilles Verot), and Chris Young (Intellectual Ventures). More »

How do we define the creativity of chefs? This week over 1,000 savory and pastry chefs, restaurant managers, sommeliers and other industry professionals gathered at The Park Avenue Armory for the 3-day International Chefs Congress (ICC), organized by StarChefs.com. I had the opportunity to attend two of the many presentations that discussed this year’s theme, an exploration of the debate Craft vs. Art.

I attended a presentation by “Shock-o-latier” Dominique Persoone (The Chocolate Line) and gastronomical scientist Bernard Lahousse (Sense for Taste, FoodPairing) about how emotions and memories affect taste, as well as El Bulli’s Albert Adrià’s presentation taking us deeper into the contents of his books Natura and A Day at El Bulli. What did I take away from these two presentations? Both, at the core, focused on three things: Simplicity. Technique. Fun.

In terms of simplicity, what these chefs shared was completely in line with my lessons in the Pastry & Baking Arts program at ICE. Chef Nicole advised us to use only three flavors maximum in a dessert. “Keep it simple,” she said. Adrià also shared, “If I can only put three, I’m not going to put six.” Chef Scott reminded us how important it is to choose a color that makes sense for your dessert. Adrià agreed, “If it’s pistachio, and it’s not green, there’s something wrong.” When it is the same color as the product, the aroma and the taste to follow will be in line and good. More »

By Carly DeFilippo

October is always an exciting time for food events in New York City, and this year, ICE was at the forefront of all the biggest gatherings. From the NYC Wine & Food Festival to StarChefs International Chefs Congress to City Harvest’s annual Bid Against Hunger, our alumni, faculty and student volunteers were rubbing elbows with industry leaders and showing their ICE pride.

ICE's chefs, students and alumni took the city by storm this season. Scroll down for more photos of the festivities the school participated in this fall.

ICE’s chefs, students and alumni took the city by storm this season. Scroll down for more photos of the festivities the school participated in this fall.

At this year’s New York City Wine & Food Festival, not only did 55 student volunteers help headlining chefs serve thousands of festival attendees, but ICE’s own Director of Culinary Development James Briscione was among the featured presenters at the festival’s Grand Tasting event. With the help of three Culinary Arts students, Chef James wowed the crowd with his ancho chili lamb—and more than 2,500 cheddar biscuits.

James also led the charge at StarChefs annual industry conference—with ICE as the event’s official culinary school partner—serving as the opening day emcee for talks with such celebrated chefs as Dan Barber and George Mendes. Alumnus Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats led a “Whole Hog” workshop at the savory stage and wowed the crowds with his harissa smoked chicken, while fellow alumni Marita Lynn of Marita Lynn Catering (and the recently opened restaurant Runa in Red Bank, NJ) was on hand representing the cuisine of Peru. On the sweet side of things, ICE alumnus Tiffany MacIsaac, served the signature macarons, cookies and hand-dipped candy bars from her new D.C. bakery Buttercream Bakeshop. Five additional alumni—Angela Maris, Denise Latella, Dave Nagel, Emily Peterson and Hadar Aviram—worked behind the scenes as prep cooks for the conference’s culinary presenters. Finally, student volunteers were on hand to provide additional help to industry leaders and also enjoyed the opportunity to listen in on the conference’s innovative panels.

“Thank you for the amazing opportunity of working at this year’s StarChefs ICC. It was definitely a great experience and I was able to network with a lot of people who have been in this industry for many years!” – ICE alumnus, Angela Maris 
 

Last but not least, at City Harvest’s annual Bid Against Hunger charity gala, ICE was proud to stand among the organization’s primary supporters. Moreover, we were thrilled to see such alumni as Marc Murphy (Benchmarc Restaurant Group), Ivy Stark (Dos Caminos), Matthew Riznyk (Great Performances), Kamal Rose (Tribeca Grill), Rick Mast (Mast Brothers) and Matt Hyland (Emily) donating their time and talents to the cause. Our current students also enjoyed the opportunity to network with these inspiring alumni and other successful chefs, all while helping raise $1.4 million for the charity.

 

For more information about these and other exciting volunteer opportunities for students, click here.

 

 

 

 

By Carly DeFilippo

 

When Michael Laiskonis got hired for his first job, scooping ice cream in Detroit, he probably never imagined that he would one day be teaching ICE Pastry & Baking students about the complex chemistry of frozen dairy products. In fact, Michael never intended to enter the food industry. Rather, he fell into it by accident, after deciding to abandon formal studies in fine arts and photography for what he describes as an “earn while you learn” approach. And so he entered the business, working the overnight shift at his roommate’s brother’s bakery.

Michael, teaching a petit four class at ICE's School of Professional Development.

Michael, teaching a petit four class at ICE’s School of Professional Development.

Soon enough, Michael discovered he had a certain talent for pastry and wanted to find a more structured environment to further his skills. He found it in Emily’s, a small kitchen with only four chefs. Starting out as a savory cook, Michael gradually absorbed more and more pastry duties, proving his merit until his boss agreed to make him the full-time pastry chef—the first time he would see his name on a restaurant menu.

 

In 1996, Michael moved to Tribute, starting as a line cook and moving up the ranks until he was again named pastry chef in 1999. The restaurant was at the epicenter of Detroit’s culinary scene, named one of the nation’s best by the New York Times in 2002. In 2003, it became one of only two Detroit restaurants to have garnered a coveted James Beard Award. But by 2004, Michael was looking to test his hand in one of the nation’s culinary capitals, and was referred by a friend to Chef Eric Ripert. After a single 90 minute meeting, Ripert offered Chef Michael the chance to come on as Executive Chef of renowned New York institution, Le Bernadin.

Parsnip brulee and sponge, hazelnut cream, browned milk solids. 2013 "Pastry Pop Chef" at the Star Chefs International Chefs Congress.

Parsnip brulee and sponge, hazelnut cream, browned milk solids. 2013 “Pastry Pop Chef” at the Star Chefs International Chefs Congress.

Making a move to Le Bernadin was no small feat. Michael’s predecessors included one of his idols, François Payard, as well as acclaimed chefs Florian Bellanger, Herve Poussot and Oscar Palacios. But over the next eight years, Michael more than proved his talent, helping the restaurant earn three Michelin stars and four stars from the New York Times. Celebrated for his use of modern techniques to reinvent classic desserts, Michael was also awarded the coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2007.

 

In 2012, Michael joined the Institute of Culinary Education as our first ever Creative Director. “After a successful 20 years in some amazing kitchens,” Michael explains, “I’d earned a lot of opportunities—and I chose to join the team at ICE. I have always admired ICE, and education is the perfect opportunity for me to give back, to inspire the next generation of chefs to enjoy and excel in a career in culinary or pastry arts.” He has already instrumented significant progress in our kitchens, providing pastry students with a more in-depth look at the science of their craft, and teaching a number of both public seminars and advanced pastry classes in our School of Professional Development.

michael blow torch

Looking back on his career, Michael notes that his path was most unusual in that he stayed in nearly every position for more than five years. He recommends that young chefs only move on to a new position if they feel that they have taken everything they possibly could from that position (including what not to do moving forward). In large part, he credits Chef Takashi from Tribute for establishing his belief in never making a lateral or inferior move, in only moving on if it’s a step up. As for how to judge when it’s time to move on, Michael says, “The day you go into work without a pit in your stomach is the day you start looking for a new job.”

 

It’s this sense of curiosity and constant pursuit of furthering his own education that has kept Michael at the forefront of his industry. Outside of the rigorous constraints of a restaurant schedule, teaching has provided Michael with the ability to work on innovative research projects and to pursue his lifelong interest in the arts, film, reading and writing. (To date, he has contributed to publications including GourmetSaveur, The Atlantic and a range of professional pastry journals.) Whether in his public demonstrations, writing or other creative endeavors, it’s clear that Michael has developed a newfound appreciation for teaching. After learning so much from others, he insists, “You don’t keep secrets. You have to share.”


By Lizzie Powell—Student, School of Culinary Arts 

3c33c63Hi! My name is Lizzie Powell. I’m a public relations professional turned ICE Culinary Arts and Culinary Management student from Atlanta, Georgia. As I make this major shift in my career path, many people have asked why I chose to “take the leap” and go to culinary school. The answer is simple: for me, going to culinary school seems like the best way to gain both valuable skills and feel more confident in my decision to change professional direction. While I’m not sure if my future will lie in catering, a restaurant or food media, I know one thing will stay constant throughout my time at ICE: my passion for food and a desire to learn new things. Over the next seven months or so, I’ll be diving into various cooking methods, international cuisines and even baking techniques. So join me as I share my experiences with you on ICE’s blog.

On my first day of the Culinary Arts program, my mind was racing: What would my instructor be like? Would my classmates be more experienced than me? How would I memorize all of the culinary terminology? And, worst of all: would I cut myself?

Lo and behold, I’m two weeks into class and all these worries have faded into the background. Aside from feeling like I’m on Chopped every time I present my julienned carrots, paysanne potatoes or small diced tomatoes to Chef Ted for review, I’ve learned that culinary training isn’t nearly as intimidating as I expected. In each lesson, before I ever pick up a knife, the ICE instructors give detailed demonstrations and explain each technique carefully. As a result, in a matter of weeks, I’ve learned core knife skills, important details of food sanitation and how to fabricate fish and seafood, as well as how to properly caramelize onions and purée potatoes. The most surprising thing about everything I’ve learned to-date is how precise you have to be with your knife skills. The average person may not notice if her potatoes are cut into perfect half-inch cubes, but in the culinary world, this precision is taken very seriously. After cutting many “trapezoidal” potatoes, as Chef Ted says, I discovered that the slightest adjustment to the angle of my knife could make a world of difference.

Life as a Culinary Student - Lizzie Powell - Knife Skills

Outside of class, I’ve also made sure to do my homework—and I’m not just talking about the reading or writing assignments given to us by Chef Ted. Whether you’re thinking about going to culinary school, are a current student or are already working in the industry, here are a few lessons I’ve learned so far on how to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the food world.

  • Read, read, read. The food industry is constantly changing, and the easiest way to keep up with trends is to read industry news. To do this, subscribe to local and national food news publications (like Eater and Tasting Table), read the New York Times Dining and Wine section and follow leading food magazines (like Edible and Bon Appétit) on social media. I’ve personally found that reading these publications has helped me learn about key industry professionals, food trends and restaurant news—all of which are important when you have a stake in the industry’s game.
  • Volunteer as much as possible. Volunteer events are a great way to network and gain exposure to culinary leaders from across the country. If you’re an ICE student, the weekly newsletter is always chock-full of upcoming opportunities to get involved! I recently had the chance to volunteer at the StarChefs International Chefs Congress, a trade show for culinary professionals and vendors, and the connections I made there were incredible. Not only was I able to assist food vendors with prep work and their products, but I was able to meet such reputable chefs as Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth of Root and Bone. Plus, I got to listen to lectures from industry leaders, like Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns. For me, this conference was the first experience I’ve had where I was thrown into the thick of the culinary networking world. While it was intimidating at times (like when I was standing right next to Marcus Samuelsson), it was great to be surrounded by such successful chefs and to be so submerged in the culinary culture.
Life as a Culinary Student - Volunteer - Lizzie Powell - Star Chefs

Working at Star Chefs with a fellow student.

  • Attend demonstrations and lectures. I also had the opportunity to attend a free presentation and tasting with Urbani Truffles, one of the world’s most respected truffle producers, at ICE. Not only are these events open to students, but alumni can attend for free as well. Click here for the upcoming schedule!

Throughout the next few months, I’ll share more interesting facts, challenging techniques and helpful tips I’ve picked up in class, as well as personal stories about day-to-day life as a Culinary Arts and Culinary Management student. If you have any specific questions about my experience, feel free to ask in the comments below!

When it comes to the benefits of an ICE education, no one can tell you more than our students. Click here to read more of their stories!

 

By Carly DeFilippo

 

When Michael Laiskonis got hired for his first job, scooping ice cream in Detroit, he probably never imagined that he would one day be teaching ICE Pastry & Baking students about the complex chemistry of frozen dairy products. In fact, Michael never intended to enter the food industry. Rather, he fell into it by accident, after deciding to abandon formal studies in fine arts and photography for what he describes as an “earn while you learn” approach. And so he entered the business, working the overnight shift at his roommate’s brother’s bakery.

Michael, teaching a petit four class at ICE's School of Professional Development.

Michael, teaching a petit four class at ICE’s School of Professional Development.

Soon enough, Michael discovered he had a certain talent for pastry and wanted to find a more structured environment to further his skills. He found it in Emily’s, a small kitchen with only four chefs. Starting out as a savory cook, Michael gradually absorbed more and more pastry duties, proving his merit until his boss agreed to make him the full-time pastry chef—the first time he would see his name on a restaurant menu.

 

In 1996, Michael moved to Tribute, starting as a line cook and moving up the ranks until he was again named pastry chef in 1999. The restaurant was at the epicenter of Detroit’s culinary scene, named one of the nation’s best by the New York Times in 2002. In 2003, it became one of only two Detroit restaurants to have garnered a coveted James Beard Award. But by 2004, Michael was looking to test his hand in one of the nation’s culinary capitals, and was referred by a friend to Chef Eric Ripert. After a single 90 minute meeting, Ripert offered Chef Michael the chance to come on as Executive Chef of renowned New York institution, Le Bernadin.

Parsnip brulee and sponge, hazelnut cream, browned milk solids. 2013 "Pastry Pop Chef" at the Star Chefs International Chefs Congress.

Parsnip brulee and sponge, hazelnut cream, browned milk solids. 2013 “Pastry Pop Chef” at the Star Chefs International Chefs Congress.

Making a move to Le Bernadin was no small feat. Michael’s predecessors included one of his idols, François Payard, as well as acclaimed chefs Florian Bellanger, Herve Poussot and Oscar Palacios. But over the next eight years, Michael more than proved his talent, helping the restaurant earn three Michelin stars and four stars from the New York Times. Celebrated for his use of modern techniques to reinvent classic desserts, Michael was also awarded the coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2007.

 

In 2012, Michael joined the Institute of Culinary Education as our first ever Creative Director. “After a successful 20 years in some amazing kitchens,” Michael explains, “I’d earned a lot of opportunities—and I chose to join the team at ICE. I have always admired ICE, and education is the perfect opportunity for me to give back, to inspire the next generation of chefs to enjoy and excel in a career in culinary or pastry arts.” He has already instrumented significant progress in our kitchens, providing pastry students with a more in-depth look at the science of their craft, and teaching a number of both public seminars and advanced pastry classes in our School of Professional Development.

michael blow torch

Looking back on his career, Michael notes that his path was most unusual in that he stayed in nearly every position for more than five years. He recommends that young chefs only move on to a new position if they feel that they have taken everything they possibly could from that position (including what not to do moving forward). In large part, he credits Chef Takashi from Tribute for establishing his belief in never making a lateral or inferior move, in only moving on if it’s a step up. As for how to judge when it’s time to move on, Michael says, “The day you go into work without a pit in your stomach is the day you start looking for a new job.”

 

It’s this sense of curiosity and constant pursuit of furthering his own education that has kept Michael at the forefront of his industry. Outside of the rigorous constraints of a restaurant schedule, teaching has provided Michael with the ability to work on innovative research projects and to pursue his lifelong interest in the arts, film, reading and writing. (To date, he has contributed to publications including GourmetSaveur, The Atlantic and a range of professional pastry journals.) Whether in his public demonstrations, writing or other creative endeavors, it’s clear that Michael has developed a newfound appreciation for teaching. After learning so much from others, he insists, “You don’t keep secrets. You have to share.”

Even before the big announcement last October detailing my intentions to leave Le Bernardin at the end of the year, I had already begun to consider a number of directions my post-restaurant career might take. For some time, I’d been entertaining the idea of a path toward education. I was inspired by the one-on-one interaction with cooks I’d come to enjoy in the kitchen, but also by a new generation of chefs that seemed to be pushing the possibilities within a traditional culinary school environment. And as Eric Ripert and I reflected on what I had achieved and where I might go next, we both realized that moving in that direction made perfect sense.

Within days of the announcement, I’d have my very first meeting with ICE President Rick Smilow and his team, knocking around ideas on how I might be able to apply nearly two decades of industry experience — sweet and savory — in an educational setting. After years of working with ICE as an Advisory Board member and occasional guest instructor — not to mention the numerous student externs that have been through Le Bernardin’s pastry kitchen — I was certain it would be a good fit. I knew that I didn’t necessarily want to limit myself to the classroom alone, and Rick agreed. More »

Toasted Almond Ice Cream Float Jenny McCoy

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

Just days into official summer, we’ve already had some sweltering temperatures in NYC, and all I can think about are frozen desserts. Ice cream, gelato, sherbet, soft serve, sorbet…there is an explosion of frozen options available in my neighborhood —from a Häagen-Dazs pint at the corner store and pretzel waffle cones piled with Blue Marble fresh mint ice cream to homemade gelato from old-school Italian sweet shops. The popularity of frozen treats is nothing new in the U.S., and is certainly not specific to New York. We are in the midst of a “frozen renaissance,” so here’s a few scoops of history and science to inform your ice cream adventures this summer.

American Ice Cream History
President George Washington spent about $200 for ice cream in the summer of 1790, according to the records of a shopkeeper in Manhattan. Today, that would be equivalent to about $5,000 in ice cream purchases. President Thomas Jefferson loved ice cream so much that he adapted recipes brought back from France for ice cream, one of which is said to have been an 18-step procedure for something similar to a Baked Alaska. His personal recipe for vanilla ice cream is even in the Library of Congress! Do you think Washington and Jefferson would rise from the grave for a scoop of Chocolate-Chile from NYC’s il Laboratorio del Gelato? I do.

What is the difference between ice cream and gelato?
Speaking of il Laboratorio, on a recent visit to the shop with my ICE pastry students—which involved sampling 16 different flavors of gelato—the topic of the difference between gelato and ice cream came up. Many of us think gelato is just the Italian word for ice cream—and it is, but it’s also much more.

Gelato may have a richer texture than standard ice cream, but that’s actually not because it has richer ingredients. Rather than cream and egg yolks, it’s made with regular old milk. That doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense until you consider what happens to gelato during the churning process. I like to use the reference of a glass of milk versus a bowl of whipped cream. When you blow bubbles in a glass of milk, they pop fairly quickly. However, whipped cream holds its light and fluffy shape for hours at a time. It’s the fat in cream that allows it to hold air, as compared with the lack of fat in milk. In short, when a gelato base is churned, it doesn’t have much air whipped into it. This gives it a very dense texture, which has a richer mouth feel.

Chef Jenny McCoy - Blueberry Almond Cream Tart, Lemon Thyme Ice Cream, Fresh Honeyed Blueberries, Port-poached Blueberry Compote, and Sea Salt

 

American ice cream, on the other hand, is usually made with more cream than milk. Because of the higher fat content, up to 50% of the volume of ice cream consists of air that has been churned into it. (Think about that when you purchase your next scoop of ice cream—50% of what you’re buying is air.) The air whipped into gelato or ice cream is called the overrun. Gelato has almost no overrun and ice cream can have up to 100% overrun.

Yet despite the economic benefits of selling ice cream, many chefs—like me—prefer gelato. But that doesn’t mean it’s more popular with the masses. Just take a quick look in the ice cream aisle of your grocery store and tell me just how many more types of ice cream you’ll find than flavors of gelato.

Because gelato has less fat than ice cream, the flavors of gelato are typically stronger. When fat coats the tongue, it interferes with your taste buds’ ability to truly taste the flavor of your ice cream. So, as a chef, if I want to add a bold punch of flavor, gelato is a great vehicle. Additionally, gelato is traditionally made with natural ingredients like fresh strawberry puree, whereas strawberry ice cream is often made with a combination of artificial strawberry flavor and real strawberries.

Ice Cream Chef Jenny McCoyWhat about the different styles of American ice cream?
Have you ever looked closely at the label on your favorite ice cream? U.S. law classifies ice creams by their percentage of milk fat content.

Super Premium has the most fat—between 14% and 18% and can have as low as 20% overrun. This is because it is traditionally made with more cream or in the French style of ice cream—custard made with egg yolks. You’re most likely to find this style in small, handmade batches at a local ice cream shop or a high-end restaurant.

Premium usually has 11% to 15% fat and around 60% to 90% overrun. Examples of premium ice cream are the more expensive gourmet or specialty pints found in your grocery store. (By the way, the pint, quart or gallon-sized containers of ice cream are called “hard-packed” ice cream.)

Regular ice cream is much less dense. It has 10% to 11% fat and a lot more air, upwards of 90% to 100% overrun. These are the basic flavors made by larger manufacturers, such as chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and mint chocolate chip.

Economy contains exactly 10% fat, which is the minimum USDA standard, and has 95% to 100% overrun. Anything with less than 10% fat cannot be considered ice cream, without being labeled “light.” Essentially, this is the least expensive variety of ice cream available, and I wouldn’t recommend eating too much of it.

And as for frozen custard, Philly-style and soft serve…?
Frozen custard, sometimes called French-style ice cream, is made of a cooked custard base that incorporates eggs. It is significantly richer than ice creams made without eggs, which is also reflected in its premium price.

Philadelphia-style ice cream is made without eggs, which is the standard or regular ice cream in certain regions of the U.S.

Soft serve is molecularly similar to regular ice cream, but is served at a higher temperature that allows it to be extruded into a soft swirl, and gives is a lighter, softer texture. Soft serve also has a lower fat content but a much higher overrun, which also attributes to its super light and creamy texture. Fun fact: its warmer temperature actually allows your taste buds to taste the ice cream better.Sherbet Sorbet Chef Jenny McCoy

So Where Do Sherbet and Sorbet Come In?
Sorbet is made from water and fruit puree or juice. It contains no milk, cream or eggs, and is one of the oldest forms of frozen desserts known. Records of frozen sorbet-like desserts date back to the ancient Romans and Chinese, where they were made with snow, fresh fruit pulp and sweetened with honey.

Sherbet is not quite ice cream and not quite sorbet. It is made with fruit and water, but also has the addition of dairy—usually milk or buttermilk. This gives it a slightly creamier texture than sorbet, as well as a lighter, pastel color. By law, sherbet must have less than 2% fat in it.

Let’s Not Forget About Frozen Yogurt
With shops found all over the country, frozen yogurt is the U.S.’s extremely popular attempt at making ice cream healthier. However, the marketing is quite misleading. While yogurt is certainly healthier than cream, the sweeteners added to frozen yogurt often cancel out the health benefits. Not to mention that the healthy bacteria found in yogurt is killed when frozen, so there goes those probiotic benefits. One item worth noting is that yogurt has a higher freezing and melting point than milk. So on an extremely hot day, that yogurt will melt very quickly!

Ready to learn more about ice cream science? Enroll in our Pastry & Baking Arts program.