Search Results for: amy

How does an aspiring marketing professional become one of New York’s top bakers? Like many of our students, Amy Scherber was a career changer, motivated by her passion for food.

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Amy introduces ICE Culinary Management students to her Chelsea Market store.

In the 1990s, New York was far from the bountiful paradise of bakeries that we find today. When Amy’s Bread opened in Hell’s Kitchen, it was a pioneering force in a bread wasteland, a powerhouse concept that has flourished over more than twenty years of business. It’s no wonder that when Culinary Management instructor Alan Someck decided to take his Culinary Management students on a bakery fieldtrip that Amy’s was the obvious choice.

After a brief tour and tasting at Amy’s Chelsea Market outpost – including her signature semolina bread with golden raisins and fennel seed – students got to ask the nitty-gritty questions. As it turns out, Amy had just signed a lease for another space when the opportunity to open in Chelsea Market came on her radar. She lost money in the deal, but knew that the then-empty warehouse would provide the opportunity to fulfill her vision: to open a bakery where customers could see the bread-making process. Today, most of Amy’s baking has been outsourced to a large space in Long Island City, but she intends to maintain this transparent mission. The oven from her original Hell’s Kitchen location was recently installed in the Chelsea Market space, and her staff will resume on-site bread baking in the near future.

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Shoppers look on as Amy takes ICE students behind the oversize windows of her signature store.

Amy also shared insight into the trials and joys of expanding her business. Certain products, like her olive twists, were as much a product of exhaustion and accident as proactive innovation. That kind of exhaustion can fuel creativity, but many bakers fail to overcome such odds. As Amy explained, the price margin in bakeries is much smaller than in restaurants. For example, her strawberry shortcake – made with high-quality ingredients such as greenmarket berries – can only retail for a meager $4-5, whereas a restaurant might charge $12 for the same product. Moreover, starting a new small business is more expensive than most owners anticipate, as it takes time to build credit.

In addition, Amy explained that it’s important to know your stores. Her West Village customers buy the most coffee, Chelsea Market moves the most bread and Hell’s Kitchen is a hotspot for sweets. But where other owners might stop there in calibrations, Amy strategizes to the day. If Wednesday afternoons show a trend toward increased sweet consumption, but Monday is more of a morning bread crowd, she adjusts and re-adjusts to fit her customers’ needs. And let’s not forget – on top of retail customers, she has over 300 wholesale accounts to attend to.

When asked expressly for advice, Amy urged Alan’s class of budding entrepreneurs to spend time working in the type of business they would like to open themselves. While aided by her study of Economics in college and time baking in restaurant kitchens, Amy admits she wishes she had spent more time working specifically in bakeries before starting her business. Last but not least, she underscored the importance of a coherent concept. Even if someone has a fully-developed business idea, it is essential that the consumer can effortlessly grasp it – from the name to the decor, the service style, the product, etc.

class w amy

ICE Culinary Management students, Amy Scherber and Professor Alan Someck.

Looking out onto the eager eyes peeking into Amy’s oversize windows, it’s clear that she applied this final lesson early on. Her famous oversize windows breed a connection between staff and those they serve, an honesty and intimacy that has been an underpinning of Amy’s philosophy from day one.

ICE offers one of the country’s largest recreational cooking programs. With over 1,500 cooking classes and over 26,000 students each year, there is something for every cook looking to learn new techniques in the kitchen. This month, Amy Roth of the blog Minimally Invasive, took Sustainable Meats with Dan Honig from Heritage Foods and ICE Chef Instructor Erica Wides — a rare chance to learn about the unique challenges and benefits of cooking pastured, grass-fed heritage meats.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed when you’re first browsing the recreational course catalog at ICE. I certainly was. But then I started thinking about what might provide the most value in my day-to-day life, what I could learn that would make a real difference in how I cook. Though I don’t write about it much, two topics I care passionately about are animal welfare and the food system, so ICE’s Sustainable Meats course jumped out at me right away. While it may sound paradoxical to eat meat yet love animals, these two positions can co-exist without too much cognitive dissonance. I’m quite content to be an omnivore, provided I’m buying grass-fed or pastured meats from animals that live healthy lives and meet their ends humanely.

Enter Chef Instructor Erica Wides, who is committed to educating the public about real food and nutrition, and who taught our course last Friday. After a brief overview, she turned the floor over to Dan Honig from Heritage Foods USA, who supplied the truly astounding bounty of meats we cooked with in the class. Dan briefly walked us through Heritage Food’s strategy to bring heritage breeds back into the market by partnering with smaller farms in the Midwest. Their production is just a drop in the bucket compared to the largest factory farms, but they’re dedicated to paying farmers a living wage while sustaining these breeds for us to enjoy. More »

Yesterday, ICE alum Amy Eubanks, the Executive Chef at BLT Fish, returned to ICE to demonstrate some of her favorite fish dishes and discuss life in a restaurant kitchen for ICE students.

Eubanks graduated from the Culinary Arts program in 1999. She started working with Laurent Tourondel as an extern at Cello, where she ended up staying for two and a half years. While there she spent a year as poissonier, no small feat considering that the famed restaurant specialized in seafood. Because she wanted to learn how to cook meat, she then went to Cafe Boulud, where she worked with Daniel Boulud and Andrew Carmellini. When Tourondel opened BLT Steak in 2004, he hired her as a lead line cook, followed by a promotion to sous chef. Because of her strong seafood skills, she became sous chef of BLT Fish upon its opening, then chef de cuisine in 2006 and executive chef in March 2010. In 2010, she was inducted into the ICE Alumni Hall of Achievement for her accomplishments. More »

Every year, ICE’s Culinary Management program hosts a one-of-a-kind series of lectures called Meet the Culinary Entrepreneurs, during which a wide range of successful culinary business leaders and luminaries share their expertise with students and guests. Yesterday, Amy Scherber of Amy’s Bread came to ICE to discuss her experience founding what is now a nationally recognized bakery specializing in handmade traditional breads with the Culinary Management students.

After attending the New York Restaurant School, Scherber worked at Bouley. She called it an incredible experience, “I was a sponge after culinary school and it was a great place to be since it had only been open for a month. I learned so much.” Scherber then trained in France in three bakeries before returning to New York to pursue bread baking. She baked bread and pastries at Mondrian where she worked closely with Tom Colicchio to perfect the texture and taste of her bread recipes. While working there, she would take her one day off each week to work on her business plan for her bakery and going on the hunt for a suitable space for her project. More »

By Lauren Jessen — ICE Graduate + Blogger, A Dash of Cinema

When the weather outside is frightful, there’s nothing better than curling up next to the fire with a cup of hot tea. What’s the perfect treat to go with? Chocolate biscuits. These chocolate biscuits, which are essentially a British take on cookies, are inspired by the classic Christmas romantic comedy film Love Actually.

Chocolate Biscuits

Love Actually explores more than a dozen intertwined stories during the month before Christmas in London. While several characters overlap, each of their stories are unique. One of the characters is the newly-elected Prime Minster, played by Hugh Grant. The Prime Minister enjoys his daily tea and chocolate biscuits, an unbeatable pairing.

I initially became more curious about food from different cultures during culinary school at ICE, where many of our culinary lessons were region-focused. From France to Japan to Mexico, each week in Module Three consisted of learning new techniques and working with various ingredients. Working with new types of foods and learning how to prepare international recipes in class gave me more confidence to try it out on my own at home.

I’m a big fan of American biscuits, but I was intrigued to explore making this English version. The key is to make thin disc slices so that they crisp up when baking. Also, be careful to keep a close eye on the biscuits when they’re in the oven — they only need about 10-12 minutes of bake time since they’re so thin. Drizzle the chocolate biscuits with white chocolate to add a bit of extra sweetness.

Chocolate Biscuits

If you plan on enjoying any type of hot beverage this season, consider pairing it with these crisp chocolate biscuits. They’re easy to make, won’t require too much time and are a sure crowd pleaser.

Chocolate Biscuits with White Chocolate Drizzle

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted, softened butter
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup caster sugar
egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup white chocolate

Preparation:

  • In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, mix the butter, light brown sugar and caster sugar until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the egg white and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  • In a different bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda.
  • Add the flour mixture to the sugar and butter mixture, and mix until combined and a soft dough forms.
  • Roll the dough into a log (once chilled, you will cut this into slices which will be the shape and size of biscuits, so make this as big or small as you prefer your biscuits). Wrap the dough log in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  • While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F. Once chilled, slice the log into slices 2-3 centimeters thick. If you prefer perfect circles, use a round cookie cutter once you’ve cut the slices off the log. Transfer the discs to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the discs for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  • While the biscuits are cooling, microwave the white chocolate chips for 45 seconds and mix together until smooth.
  • Using a piping bag and a #2 round decorating tip, drizzle white chocolate over the cookies. Allow the white chocolate to harden, then enjoy!

Master biscuits and much more in ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts career program — learn more today.

By Michael Laiskonis — Creative Director

If I were to ask you to describe the physical characteristics of chocolate, chances are you might think of a dark, shiny and brittle bar that slowly melts in the mouth. Perhaps you might immediately associate its rich flavor baked into a brownie or concealed within a creamy bonbon. You wouldn’t be wrong, of course, as chocolate has found its way into countless applications — a sweet shape shifter that pairs perfectly with our favorite flavors. That hasn’t always been the case. For much of its history, chocolate wasn’t something we would eat out of hand or find in a dessert recipe.

Hot Chocolate

Aztec woman pouring chocolate

An Aztec Woman Pouring Chocolate

The modern chocolate bar didn’t emerge until the mid-1800s, when technology and inventiveness converged. When Casparus van Houten developed the cocoa butter press in the 1820s, he was originally after the pressed solids — the cocoa butter (the fat that makes up over 50 percent of a cocoa bean) was merely a by-product. It would be many years before a chocolate maker (most likely the Fry family in England) would come up with the idea to add some of that extra cocoa butter back into ground cocoa beans and sugar. At this point, chocolate began to resemble what we think of today, and its texture and flavor would evolve further as the industrial revolution continued in the decades to follow. Before that breakthrough? When one mentioned chocolate, they were really referring to a beverage.

We can trace the history of chocolate back thousands of years to the Olmec, Mayan and Aztec cultures of present-day Mexico and Central America. These early chocolate makers cultivated the cacao tree, ultimately rendering the seeds of its fruit (the bean) into a drink. What these cultures enjoyed, however, bore little resemblance to a package of Swiss Miss. For starters, it wasn’t served hot, and most likely unsweetened, rather made with water and flavored with spices and flowers, then made frothy by repeatedly pouring from one vessel into another. The beans themselves were of great value and a significant staple crop, though most historians suggest that it was only enjoyed by a few, and not necessarily a part of the average person’s diet, rather used primarily for medicinal and ceremonial uses. Most culinary applications — even savory mole — appeared much later.

After the Spanish conquered the birthplace of chocolate in the 1500s, it would undergo further changes as it made its way to European drinkers. The first to adapt the Aztec beverage were likely the missionaries tasked with “converting” the indigenous people. By the time chocolate took hold back in Spain, it would evolve into something recognizable today — served warm, sweetened and whipped to a froth using a wooden molinillo. It remained, however, a treat for nobility, as it slowly spread throughout Europe. This growing taste for chocolate, which would become a beverage on par with tea or coffee, also led to its cultivation in European colonies in tropical zones throughout the world. For two centuries, its popularity surged but remained something not to eat, but to drink.

Huylers Bean-to-Cup Chocolate Trade Card

Huylers Bean-to-Cup Chocolate Trade Card

When van Houten sought to remove cocoa butter from the preparation, his goal was to make a lighter beverage, with much of its fat removed — what many at the time referred to as digestible cocoa. Soon after, digestible cocoa became increasingly accessible to a wider audience, taken in the morning or in the afternoon as a pick-me-up. Chocolate would also be touted for various health benefits and considered a gentler alternative to its cousin, coffee. As chocolate culture progressed, it did of course find its way into bar form (and then confections and baked goods) in the mid-1800s. By the turn of the 20th century, cocoa and chocolate were firmly embedded into our daily regimen. My own research into chocolate history has led to some interesting discoveries: colorful Victorian-era cocoa tins decorated with imagery of cacao pods, and even references to “bean-to-cup,” foreshadowing the “bean-to-bar” term we now use more than a hundred years later.

All of this research of chocolate’s history has renewed my own interest in its drinkable form. I’ve been studying both ancient recipes and its more familiar adaptations. As the weather turns, I can’t think of a better way to warm up than with a frothy cup of hot chocolate, while quietly considering the complex journey this magical bean has made over the centuries. Below, my favorite modern recipe, inspired by Mexican-style chocolate prepared today, is deep in chocolate flavor with subtle accents of unrefined sugar, warm spices and a touch of heat from dried smoked chile.

 

Hot Chocolate
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

1 quart (950 grams) whole milk
¼ cup (60 grams) heavy cream
1 cup (200 grams) grated panela, piloncillo, or light brown sugar
½ teaspoon (2 grams) salt
2 sticks whole cinnamon
2 pieces whole star anise
½ teaspoon (2 grams) powdered chipotle morita (or to taste)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
7 ounces (200 grams) dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Preparation:

  • Combine the milk, cream, sugar, salt, spices, and the vanilla bean in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and hold at a bare simmer, stirring occasionally, for five minutes.
  • Whisk in the chopped chocolate and continue to simmer an additional five minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and the whole spices. Blend well with an immersion blender to create a froth and serve immediately.

Want to get in the chocolate lab with Chef Michael? Learn more about ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program.

By Robert Ramsey — Director of Advanced Culinary Center

Searching for inspiration for your holiday table? ICE Chef Robert Ramsey, a specialist in Southern cuisine, is sharing three sides so good it almost hurts to call them “sides” — because, really, any one of these could easily steal the show: creamy sweet potato soup with brown butter, sorghum syrup and sage croutons, Southern-style collard greens with black-eyed peas, grilled Chesapeake Bay oysters smothered in garlicky, bacon-y butter… hungry yet? Keep reading to get the recipes. Your holiday guests will thank you.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup With Brown Butter, Sorghum Syrup and Sage Croutons
Servings: 8

This soup is luxuriously smooth and creamy without being overly sweet. It’s the garnish, however, that really sets it apart. When I was living in Tennessee, I discovered sorghum syrup — it’s maple syrup for Southerners. The taste is fantastic and it’s an authentic Southern specialty. There are a lot of brands out there, but I prefer the sorghum syrup from Muddy Pond (about halfway between Knoxville and Nashville). Like its cousin, maple, it’s a perfect complement to the sweet potatoes.

For the soup

Ingredients:

2 ounces unsalted butter
3-4 sweet potatoes, totaling about 2.5 pounds, peeled and chopped
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
1 quart whole milk
1 pint vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch nutmeg
Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • In a large stockpot melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, celery and carrot and season with a good pinch of salt.
  • Cook, stirring often, until the onions turn translucent, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the nutmeg, brown sugar and sweet potatoes and continue to cook until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the vinegar and cook about 3-4 minutes to reduce.
  • Add the milk, stock and cream and bring to boil.
  • Immediately reduce to a low, gentle simmer and allow everything to cook until tender, stirring often, about 30-40 minutes.
  • When all vegetables are tender, carefully transfer the soup to a Vitamix blender and purée until completely smooth, working in batches. Reserve.

Note: It’s best to make the soup 24 hours in advance and chill it overnight to allow the flavors to come together.

 

For the garnish

Ingredients:

½ bunch sage, leaves picked from stems, minced
4 ounces butter
½ loaf stale sliced bread, crusts removed, diced
1 cup sorghum syrup
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 275°F.
  • In a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter until it begins to foam and turn brown. Turn off the heat immediately and reserve.
  • Add sage to the butter while it is still hot — it should sizzle and pop a little.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add stale bread, browned butter, sage and a little salt and pepper to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook the croutons until dry and crisp. Reserve.

 

To serve

Preparation:

  • Reheat the soup gently, stirring often to prevent scorching. If the soup is too thick, adjust with a touch of milk and taste for seasoning.
  • Ladle the soup into warm bowls and top with croutons. Drizzle some sorghum syrup (and crème fraîche if desired) on top of each and serve.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

Southern-style Collard Greens with Black-Eyed Peas
Servings: about 6-8

This dish is a classic for a reason and one of my favorite ways to enjoy greens in the cold weather months. Other greens like mustard, turnip and kale will work just as well in this recipe, though they each have a distinct flavor.

Ingredients:

2 bunches collard greens, washed thoroughly, stems removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 quart chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
6 ounces salt-cured country ham, diced
2 ounces unsalted butter
3 springs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
2 medium Spanish onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Salt to taste

Preparation

  • In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Add the diced country ham and the onions and cook until the onions turn translucent, stirring often, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and thyme and cook one more minute.
  • Pour apple cider into the pot to deglaze the mixture, scraping the bottom of the pan, then increase heat to medium-high and reduce the liquid by about three-quarters.
  • Add the collard greens, black-eyed peas, chicken stock and smoked paprika and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and allow to cook until the beans and greens are tender, about one hour.
  • During the simmering process, the beans may absorb a lot of liquid. If this happens, add warm water, about ½ cup at a time, to keep the consistency of a stew.
  • The finished dish should not be dry, nor thin like a soup, but somewhere in between.
  • Season to taste with a pinch or two of salt.

Note: This dish is best made a day or two ahead, chilled and reheated gently before serving. This will allow the flavors to come together. Be careful not to scorch the bottom when reheating by stirring often.    

 

Grilled Chesapeake Bay Oysters
Servings: a dozen oysters

Big, plump, sweet Chesapeake Bay oysters are at their best during the holiday season, when the water is cooler. Specifically, I prefer Rappahannock, Stingray Point or Olde Salt oysters. At ICE, we pile them with smoky compound butter flavored with bacon and garlic. If you put just too much butter on top, don’t worry — the butter will drip over the shell into the flames below, creating a lot of smoke and flavor — and this is a very good thing.

Ingredients:

12 Chesapeake Bay oysters
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 small bunch chives, thinly sliced into rounds
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Fresh juice from ½ lemon
4 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp
1 small pinch of salt
1 dash Tabasco sauce

Preparation:

  • Shuck the oysters, being careful to retain as much of the oyster liquid as possible. Leave the oysters in the cupped half of the shell and discard the flat half of the shell. Reserve.
  • Mince the cooked bacon until it resembles bacon bits you would use on a salad.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the minced bacon with all the remaining ingredients except the oysters. Beat the mixture together using the paddle attachment until well-combined, about one minute on medium speed.
  • Spoon the butter mixture onto the oysters, dividing evenly.
  • Place the oysters in the shells directly on a preheated grill, using tongs to move them to the hottest parts.
  • Cook 4-6 minutes or until the butter is melted and bubbling and the oysters have plumped. Serve immediately.

Vitamix is now offering special discounts on their popular Vitamix models: C- and G- Series, Certified Reconditioned S30, and Certified Reconditioned Standard Programs Machine. Use the URL and discount code below and find your culinary voice with Vitamix. Vitamix is now offering special discounts on their popular Vitamix models: C- and G- Series, Certified Reconditioned S30, and Certified Reconditioned Standard Programs Machine. Use the URL and discount code below and find your culinary voice with Vitamix.
www.vitamix.com/CSP

Promotion Code: ICEVitamix21216
Expires: December 31, 2017

Want to master these Southern specialties and more with Chef Robert? Click here to learn about ICE’s Culinary Arts program.

By Caitlin Raux

There are many lessons you might expect a pastry chef to teach students: have patience; read a recipe in its entirety; opt for the highest quality ingredients. For Chef Carmine, ICE’s newest Pastry & Baking Arts instructor, his most important lesson is simple: stop saying no to yourself. Because, according to Chef Carmine, a former military sergeant who trained as both a ranger and paratrooper, confidence is the most crucial ingredient for success. Once students pass that barrier, Chef Carmine believes that the rest — from French pastries to truffles to fondant cakes — comes naturally. Chef Carmine’s own careers, both military and culinary, are marked by instances of overcoming self-doubt to achieve success — with plenty of hard work and perseverance in between.

ICE Chef Carmine

Chef Carmine Arroyo in the kitchen classrooms at ICE

Born in the Bronx to a Sicilian mother and Puerto Rican father, Carmine was exposed to two distinct cultures and cuisines throughout his childhood. In Puerto Rico, or “the island” as Carmine calls it, where he moved at the age of 10, food was mostly prepared by his grandmother and aunts, who made family-style, traditional Puerto Rican cuisine. “It was a big household. Everyone would show up throughout the day and take a little bit of this and that,” he recalled. For Carmine, who enlisted in the army soon after graduating from high school, cooking was yet to become a passion. Even so, his military experience laid the foundation for the culinary career path ahead. At boot camp in Fort Knox, Kentucky (in the middle of a harsh, snowy February, no less), he developed the physical stamina, the discipline and the demeanor that would later serve him in the pastry kitchen.

It wasn’t until after boot camp, when Carmine moved back to the Bronx to care for his aging Sicilian grandmother, that Carmine took an interest in preparing food himself and learned the importance of high-quality products. At a time when “urban agriculture” was barely known, Grandma Santa Caruso had a flourishing garden in the backyard of her Bronx home, filled with tomatoes, figs, grapes, zucchini, fresh herbs and more. “She grew up on a farm in Sicily,” Carmine explained. “If she could have had animals in the backyard, she would have.” It was also at this time that Carmine got his first restaurant gig, working as a counter person at a Greek diner on 238th Street. Eager to work and undaunted by long hours, Carmine also took the graveyard shift at a nearby bakery. If a cook or baker missed work, he pulled the old put-me-in-coach and with time, worked his way up through the ranks. Drawn to the rigor and artistic aspect of pastry, Carmine found his stride in that small bakery in the Bronx. “In my teenage years, I had taken painting classes. My father was an artist and I enjoyed it a lot, too.” Over the next several years, Carmine advanced on two career paths, splitting his time between military training and bakery gigs. Then, when he was on the cusp of focusing his efforts on the pastry kitchen, 9/11 happened. Carmine immediately called his commanding officer to volunteer. Two weeks later, he was deployed to Afghanistan.

After serving for seven months overseas, Carmine was finally ready to pursue his baking passion full-time: enter culinary school. “Once I got into culinary school, things completely changed,” says Carmine, who enrolled at the Art Institutes in Manhattan. “Even though I had worked in bakeries for years, I had no clue about the refined side of the industry.” Exposed to a new world of flavors and technique, Carmine excelled under the instruction of his chef-instructors and honed his craft as a pastry chef. While in school, he landed an externship in Amy’s Bread, the renowned NYC bread bakery. Upon graduation, Carmine went back to Puerto Rico to train alongside local bakers and master the breads and pastries of the island. After a year and once armed with a new repertoire of pastry skills, Carmine returned to New York and gathered experience in a range of pastry kitchens — from the Union Square Hospitality Group restaurant Tabla to head chef at Ellabess, where he helped design and launch the kitchen.

When Carmine joined the pastry kitchen of The Chocolate Room, a popular Brooklyn dessert café known for their handmade chocolate treats, he was instrumental in both truffle production and teaching. Carmine mentored both junior pastry chefs and students sent to apprentice vis-à-vis City as Students, a program connecting struggling students with local businesses to gain non-traditional educational experience. Carmine found himself connecting with and motivating the young apprentices. In short, Carmine realized his passion for teaching. Said Carmine, “It gave me a huge level of satisfaction showing people how to do something and watching them succeed.” His leadership training in the military played no small part in his ability to teach effectively, and he continued to work with students throughout his tenor at The Chocolate Room. It comes as no surprise that when an opportunity arose in the Pastry & Baking Arts program at ICE, Carmine jumped on the chance to combine two of his passions: pastry arts and teaching.

Less than a year into his run as a chef-instructor at ICE, Chef Carmine has already found success in the classroom. Students are captivated by his strong presence and down-to-earth style. Asked about his favorite part of the teaching day, Chef Carmine says that it’s getting students to achieve things they never thought possible. In his words: “We are all capable of so much more than we tend to tell ourselves that we are. In the end, a lot of our limitations come from us. We put the wall up. When I joined the military, I was underweight, I was weak, I was afraid of heights. I ended my career as a paratrooper and a ranger. Once you learn how to knock down those walls, it’s life changing. If you can get these students to have the confidence, the rest of the stuff comes naturally, right? I think so.”

Want to study the pastry arts with Chef Carmine and our other expert chef-instructors? Learn more about ICE’s career training programs.

By Robert Ramsey ­— Culinary Arts Chef-Instructor 

With the heat of August ushering in peak tomato harvest, I came up with a few recipes to get creative with summer’s favorite fruit, beginning with a rich, creamy cold soup from the Andalusia region of Spain called salmorejo. Everyone has heard of Spain’s most famous soup — the cold, refreshing gazpacho. Think of salmorejo as gazpacho’s velvety cousin: it’s rich with tasty Spanish olive oil, thickened with a bit of bread and as smooth as a perfect flan.

salmorejo

Ingredients:

2 pounds tomatoes, quartered (look for the best you can find at the market)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 stalk celery, chopped
5 large basil leaves, torn into pieces
1 Serrano chili, seeded and chopped
12 ounces (1 small can) low-sodium tomato juice
½ teaspoon dry chili flakes
4 ounces white bread, torn or cubed and crust removed
⅓ cup good quality red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¾ cup good quality Spanish olive oil
Serrano ham, hard-boiled egg and chives for garnish (optional)

salmorejo soup

Preparation:

  • In a large, non-reactive vessel, combine all ingredients except the olive oil. Mix well and marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours, or preferably overnight for maximum flavor.
  • Working in batches, place the mixture in a Vitamix blender and slowly adjust the speed from the lowest to the highest setting. While the blender is running, slowly stream in the olive oil to emulsify. The color will change to a beautiful orange and the texture will become smooth and creamy. Repeat with remaining mixture.
  • Return mixture to the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving in chilled bowls. Top with chopped hard-boiled egg, chopped Serrano ham, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of freshly chopped chives (if desired).

tomato Vitamix

Master recipes for all seasons with Chef Robert — click here to learn about our culinary arts career program. 

Vitamix is now offering our readers special discounts on their popular Vitamix models: C- and G- Series, Certified Reconditioned S30, and Certified Reconditioned Standard Programs Machine. Use the URL and discount code below and find your culinary voice with Vitamix. 

www.vitamix.com/CSP
Promotion Code: ICEVitamix21216
Expires: December 31, 2017

Soft serve ice cream is one of the true joys of summer. (On second thought, let’s be honest: we eat it year-round.) To satisfy our endless craving for soft serve, ICE Chef James Briscione shows us how to make three recipes for soft serve — each in under five minutes! As a bonus, two of them just happen to be vegan. Even better, the only kitchen equipment you’ll need is a hand blender and a jar.

First on the menu is Peanut Butter & Jelly — with raspberries and creamy peanut butter, it’s a sweet ‘n’ tasty throwback to your favorite lunchbox staple. Next is Spicy Mango Coconut, a refreshing tropical treat that gets a nice kick from fresh-cut chili. Chef James finishes with a silky Strawberries & Cream soft serve, hit with a touch of lemon zest to give it that extra je ne sais quoi.

Consider your days of ice cream truck chasing over.

You, too, can make ice cream, pastries and more like a pro — click here to learn about ICE’s career programs.