Search Results for: jackie ourman

Where do you come from?
My parents emigrated from Egypt shortly before I was born. I was born and raised in Rockland County. I currently live with my husband and 3 sons (8, 6 and 3 years old) in Irvington, NY. It is a beautiful village on the Hudson River in Westchester County.

How did your interest in food develop?
My extended family is huge and we always had a ton of family gatherings throughout my childhood, filled with food. It seemed like every week was someone’s birthday or a holiday. I learned to love food then. Just the anticipation of all of the different things we would get to eat at each celebration excited me. I also used to take cookbooks out from grade school every summer and practice recipes as a hobby.

My whole life, the idea of going to culinary school and becoming a chef was a bit of a dream. However, it didn’t seem like the practical path for me once I graduated from college. After having children diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies and celiac disease and recently been diagnosed with celiac disease myself, I’ve spent a great deal of time in the kitchen trying to hold on to my passion for food and teach my children they too can love food, despite their dietary restrictions.

Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
I’ve had several major influences on the way I think about food. As I mentioned above, food has always signified family, gatherings and celebrations. I’ve had a lot of cultural influences on my palate as well. Growing up, our holiday foods were not generally traditional. Middle Eastern dishes were dominant such as lamb, stuffed grape leaves and béchamel sauces. I majored in Spanish in college and lived in Cuernavaca, Mexico for three summers. During that time, I gained a huge appreciation for traditional Mexican fare including chiles rellenos, street tacos, mole poblano and the versatility of the tomatillo. Additionally, my mother-in-law is from the Dominican Republic and is an amazing cook. A lot of her flavors and techniques have inspired me as well, including slow roasted pernils, sweet and savory plantains, stewed chicken and meats and of course, rice and beans.

Ultimately, I am a mom of three young boys and while I’d love nothing more than spending all day in the kitchen creating and building intensely beautiful and complex meals, I don’t have the time and my children won’t likely eat them. I’ve dubbed myself an ‘everything-but-the-kitchen-sink’ type of chef and I’ve learned to be creative and somewhat quick with the foods I have on hand. I buy ingredients that are fresh, seasonal and healthy and interpret all of the flavor influences mentioned above to create recipes.

What did you do before coming to culinary school?
I was a stay-at-home Mom for 8 years before starting the Culinary Management program in February 2012. Before that, I was a Vice President in Human Resources at a major investment bank in NYC.

What is your dream once you finish culinary school?
My dream is to become a resource in the culinary world with regards to celiac and food allergies as well as to those managing these issues for themselves or their family members. An estimated 4-6% of U.S. children under age 18 have food allergies. Additionally, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness states one in 133 Americans has celiac disease. These issues are on the rise, in a big way. It would not make good business sense for the food services industry not to accommodate them. I want to help them do so as a culinary professional. I also want to help those newly diagnosed with these issues adjust and realize they can still have varied and delicious diets despite those restrictions.

What are your pastimes?
Spending time with the kids, cooking and reading.

What do you cook when you’re home alone?
I’m never home alone! Just kidding. Check out my blog, Celiac and Allergy Friendly Epicurean by Jackie Ourman . I’ve been sharing all of the recipes I use at home for the last few months.

What’s your least favorite food?
Smelly, oily fish such as herring are my least favorite foods.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
When I was about 10 years old, I decided to make a Father’s Day cake for my dad. I think it was a box mix and it called for a couple of egg whites. As I inspected the eggs, the only white I saw was on the shells. So, I cracked them open, emptied the egg out, crushed up the shells, put them in the mix and baked it. My dad ate every bite of that cake, professing how good it was, as he was spitting out the little bits of shells.

What’s your desert island meal?
I love fresh, whole fish that is minimally seasoned. The Branzino with fennel at the Cookery in Dobbs Ferry and the Loup de Mer at Estiatorio Milos in NYC are two of my favorite dishes. One of those two dishes would be perfect along with grilled, seasonal vegetables, a French chardonnay and a rich, dark chocolate dessert.


By Jackie Ourman


In the third section of the culinary arts program at ICE, we delved into plating and presentation as well as cuisines from various regions, including France, Italy, Spain, and Asia. We took a culinary tour of the world right in our kitchen! It was amazing. I learned so much about regional cuisines and the factors that influence them. There were a few key takeaways for me that will forever influence the way I cook and think about food.

Keller-Bayless Curriculumn-016

The first is this: regional cuisines are varied and driven by the foods readily available seasonally and locally. If you live by the sea, you eat a lot of fish. If you are inland, you don’t. If you have lots of cattle, you eat a lot of beef. Otherwise, you do not. Fruit and vegetable dishes, as well as sides, are based on what is grown in your area. Period. We need to think about this as consumers and chefs.


We often wonder why other cultures are healthier than ours, and I think one of the main reasons is that they eat what is locally and seasonably available. In the US, we are able to get any fruit or vegetable we want, any time of year. There is a price to pay for this convenience, and I believe it is our health.


On a lighter note, I also learned a surprising fact: true Bolognese sauce does not have tomatoes! Who knew? I didn’t but, once I tasted it, I realized it might just be one of the best sauces I have ever had in my life. So amazing! You have to try it. Here is the link. I paired it with my favorite gluten-free spaghetti and it was delicious!


The last thing I learned is there isn’t enough time in a school or even a lifetime to have an opportunity to master the cuisines of Asia. I was blown away by the complexity of the dishes from each region and the incredibly exotic ingredients. I would happily spend another 11 months just learning more about the foods from India, China, Japan and Thailand. I loved every dish and ingredient used and I am so happy I had the opportunity to do so. I even made a gluten-free version of General Tso’s Chicken!


A lot of Asian foods use soy sauce as a primary ingredient. Many people don’t realize that most soy sauce contains wheat as a primary ingredient and is therefore unsafe for those on a gluten-free diet for medical reasons. However, tamari is a fantastic substitute and is readily available. I brought my tamari into class each night and was able to use it in many of the dishes we prepared so I was able to taste them throughout our lessons in traditional Asian cooking


Overall, I learned a tremendous amount in this section of culinary school. I wasn’t ready for it to end, but I’m looking forward to moving into the fourth module, which is pastry arts. I’m especially excited after learning that Chef Michelle Tampakis will be our instructor. She is an amazing pastry chef, and coincidentally, also has Celiac disease. She teaches some gluten-free cooking classes at ICE and even has her own gluten-free bakery, Whipped Pastry Boutique. I can’t wait to pick her brain and I’m looking forward to sharing what I learned in my next post!



By Jackie Ourman


As our culinary arts class continues to meet at ICE, we’ve gotten our groove and fallen into a comfortable routine. Mise en place is always first. I love the sound of knives cutting through produce, hitting the boards as we prep. I know there are some people who feel a sense of serenity when they organize and clean. That has never been me—but give me a knife and allow me to chop, dice and slice? Zen…so long as I don’t cut any fingers!


In addition to knife skills, in our first module, we worked on meat fabrication and preparing stocks. These skills are essential for chefs to learn and provided me with a strong base of knowledge and connection to the food I prepare. For our practical exam, we put many of these skills to work by making a cream of broccoli soup (mine was gluten-free, of course) and medium dice two potatoes. Medium dice may just be the bane of my existence, but I made it through, and was feeling ready for Mod 2.


In the second section of the culinary arts program, we focused on different cooking methods including sautéing, pan frying, deep frying and braising. After reviewing all of the recipes we were going to make on our pan frying and deep frying days, I was disappointed to see that I would not be able to taste anything. There was a ton of flour, breadcrumbs and even beer-batter (double-gluten!) in almost every preparation. Combine that with a lot of people in the kitchen at the same time and you pretty much have a recipe celiac cross-contamination disaster.

Culinary Arts-Lesson 26-Steve Pan-Frying Tostones

But, in fact, it was the exact opposite. I brought in my gluten-free flour blend, breadcrumbs, panko and beer. Chef Ted Siegel, our instructor, allowed me to work with those ingredients and even set up a special fry station for me. How awesome is that? Besides being so accommodating, he is an amazing chef and I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to learn the craft from him.


Hands down, my favorite recipe from that week of classes was the Pan-fried Crab Cakes with Avocado Sauce. Using Aleias gluten-free Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and panko yielded an absolutely delicious crab cake. Chef Ted complimented the end flavor and texture, as did many of my classmates. Here is the recipe. You should definitely try it out!




By Jackie Ourman



I have always loved food. Loved to cook. Loved to talk about food, think about food, read about food. You get the gist. Food + Me = Love! But recently, my relationship with food was challenged. My love turned to fear.


One of my children was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies to peanuts, most tree nuts and sesame, while another child was diagnosed with celiac disease, along with the same allergies. Shortly thereafter, I was diagnosed with celiac disease (my mom was too!). Looks like we’ve been living with these issues for years and had no idea! When you have celiac disease, you can’t eat anything that contains gluten, which is primarily found in wheat, barley and rye.
Where life-threatening allergies are concerned, the only options are to refrain from eating those foods, educate, advocate and carry epinephrine. Shortly after my son’s diagnosis, I became a member of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network and utilized many of their incredible resources to wrap my arms around all of it.


After educating my children and myself as much as possible, advocating for them in our community and witnessing the immediate health benefits of a gluten-free diet for my son (energy, growth, happiness), the fear lessened a little bit. I started to get more creative in the kitchen. Instead of focusing on what we couldn’t eat, I focused on what we could. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the impact these issues would have on my children throughout their lives, I felt empowered and responsible to show them they could live full, happy lives and love food despite their dietary restrictions.
We are a family of 5 and my husband and third son (yes, 3 boys!) do not have allergies or celiac disease. I try to keep things varied, healthy and delicious for all. My goal for the food I prepare is that it doesn’t ever taste like it’s missing anything.

Jackie shares gluten free recipes, often based on what she learns at ICE, on her personal blog - like these GF Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.

Jackie shares gluten free recipes, often based on what she learns at ICE, on her personal blog – like these GF Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.

What started as a quest to help my own family became a mission to raise awareness about these issues and help others as well. I enrolled at ICE to learn as much as I could about food, recipes and the realities of working in busy restaurant kitchens. I graduated from the Culinary Management program in August 2012 and am currently enrolled in the Culinary Arts program. I absolutely love it!


Celiac and Allergy Friendly Epicurean is a blog I created to chronicle my journey. I share recipes I use at home, adapt recipes I learn in culinary school, highlight experiences dining out with celiac and food allergies and share resources I have found helpful in and out of the kitchen. I’m excited to have the opportunity to share some of this information with you on the ICE Blog and hope you will enjoy my perspective on the Culinary Arts program as a student who is gluten-free and allergy-aware.


Jackie was also recently nominated for “Top 25 Foodie Moms” on Circle of Moms. You can vote for her every day through June 4th.


By Shannon Mason 

It’s always a privilege when we can invite our alumni back to ICE to share their professional expertise with our students, including those in recreational cooking classes. Recently we welcomed back Ivy Stark, a 1995 graduate of ICE’s Culinary Arts program, and currently the Corporate Executive Chef of Dos Caminos, a critically-acclaimed restaurant with several locations in New York City as well as New Jersey and Florida.

ICE - Recreational Classes - Dos Caminos Ivy Stark Tacos

Chef Ivy Stark (right) with fellow ICE alum Jackie Ourman (Culinary Arts ’13).

The restaurant thrives on her creative vision, featuring a menu of Mexican cuisine with a modern twist. Far from your typical plates of rice and beans, it is an elegant take on this popular cuisine. Needless to say, ICE is always looking to feature the most innovative chefs, and there are few better suited than Ivy to share a fresh take on the classic taco.

Ivy’s class focused on three dishes from her recently-published cookbook, Dos Caminos Tacos: 100 Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Mexican Street Food. She led us through the preparation of a three-course menu featuring a Watercress, Jicama and Orange Salad; Baja-style Mahi Mahi Tacos with Citrus-Cucumber Relish; and Prickly Pear Tres Leches.

What I love best about Mexican cuisine is the fresh combination of cilantro, fresh citrus, and jalapeño, and Ivy showed us how to maximize the flavors of all our ingredients. For example, she showed me how to supreme an orange—slicing in-between the membrane so the wedges separate from the bitter white ends. This allows the citrus juices to escape from the segments, providing extra moisture, flavor, and even color to dishes like the Watercress, Jicama and Orange Salad we prepared.

ICE - Recreational Classes - Dos Caminos Ivy Stark Tacos

Ivy demonstrates how to supreme an orange.

In addition to providing tips to bring out the most flavor from our ingredients, Ivy also showed us a number of clever time-saving techniques. One of the most useful we learned that night involved my favorite herb: cilantro. I used to dread any recipe that called for whole cilantro leaves, as picking off each leaf one by one is such a tedious task. From Ivy, I learned to position my knife at an angle close to the cutting board to shave the cilantro leaves from the stems in one easy motion, making this task a quick and painless step in my mise en place.

ICE - Recreational Classes - Dos Caminos Ivy Stark Tacos

My favorite trick of the night was the way Ivy de-seeded the jalapeños. Have you ever handled a jalapeño and, even after washing your hands, still found that the burning sensation made its way to your eyes? Fans of coconut oil—add one more awesome tip to your list: after cutting the jalapeños or chiles, rub some coconut oil on your hands and then wash your hands with soap and water. The compound responsible for the burning feeling, called capsaicin, is oil-soluble and loosens from your pores when coconut oil is massaged into your skin. Don’t have coconut oil? Running your hands through your hair—where natural oil is always readily available—produces a similar effect.

When it came time to eat, the main event was Ivy’s Baja-style Mahi Mahi Tacos. But what does “Baja-style” mean? Compared to preparing tacos the way most Americans are used to—Tex-Mex-style, which smothers dishes in greasy melted cheese and heavy spices—Ivy’s tacos were all about light and fresh flavors from a variety of citrus juices, fresh herbs, and the natural heat of chiles and jalapeños. Even the texture was a game-changer, from the crispy beer-battered filets to a crunchy relish made with cucumbers, white cabbage, red onions, and more. However, those who missed the comforting Tex-Mex creaminess of sour cream or cheese found salvation in the chipotle aioli we prepared from scratch. With mayo, dill, garlic, lime, and chipotle purée, just a drizzle of this spicy and creamy red sauce is all you need.

ICE - Recipe - Dos Caminos Ivy Stark Tacos

A fresh take on the beloved and traditional tres leches was the perfect end to our meal. While one of my favorite desserts, its cream-white color does not do its flavors any justice—Ivy’s recipe for Prickly Pear Tres Leches changes all that. Not only was the prickly pear purée a creative addition, it gave the dessert an attractive boost of color as well as an appealing, fruitier flavor.

So now it’s your turn to dive into Ivy’s modern Mexican dishes: we’re sharing her recipe for those delicious Baja-style tacos below, so test them out for yourself!

ICE - Recreational Classes - Dos Caminos Ivy Stark Tacos

Baja-Style Mahi Mahi Tacos with Chipotle Aioli

Yield: Serves 4

Mahi Mahi Tacos

  • 8 (3-ounce) mahi mahi fillets (cod or pollock may be substituted)
  • oil for frying
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ice-cold Mexican beer, such as Tecate
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 4 limes, quartered
  1. Preheat a fryer or a deep pot, filled halfway with oil, to 375º F.
  2. Sift together dry ingredients, then whisk in the beer.
  3. Sprinkle the pieces of mahi mahi with the salt, then dip into prepared batter.
  4. Deep-fry for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  5. Quickly warm the tortillas. Place one piece of mahi mahi on each tortilla, garnish with a little of the cucumber-citrus relish, and drizzle each taco with a tablespoon of the chipotle aioli hot sauce (recipe below).
  6. Fold the tortillas in half. Place two tacos on each plate and serve warm with lime quarters.

Chipotle Aioli

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dill, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle puree
  1. Purée in a blender until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.


Want to learn more secrets of the pros? Check out ICE’s recreational classes.

Inspired by Ivy’s recipes? Learn more about our culinary arts program.


By Jackie Ourman


The first module in the Culinary Arts program at ICE takes you through all of the basics of vegetable, herb and cheese identification, fabricating meats and seafood, and making stocks. We then moved on to learn the five “mother sauces”; béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise, and tomato sauce. These five are the basis of all classical sauces and each serves as the head of it’s own family of secondary sauces, which are used in many contemporary cuisines.


Considering a major ingredient in most of these sauces is a “roux” (a thickening agent made from equal parts fat and wheat flour), this gluten-free culinary student found herself in a bit of a pickle! I could have brought in my own flours to work with, but initially, I wanted to learn how the sauces were supposed to look, feel and function. To achieve this, I decided to work with regular flour, sacrificing one of the most important senses for a cook: taste.


There was not a single thing I could taste before presenting my final product to our Chef Instructor to decide how well I executed the recipe. Can you imagine? We are trained to taste everything, to determine how it is seasoned and when it is ready. I was presenting sauces for judgment and approval without any sense of their flavor.


I had to rely on my general sense of seasoning proportions and ask my fellow students to give me their opinions. For one out of the four sauces I made, another student said I should add more salt. Other than that, I actually didn’t adjust any of them—yet, Chef Sam approved of all of them. Yes! I did it! Although, I still have no idea how they tasted and am not exactly sure how I did relative to my own palette. Isn’t that crazy?


Since then, I’ve experimented a bit. I’ve learned some gluten-free flour blends don’t work well for roux, while others, initially, seem like they do not thicken enough, but then thicken a lot more after sitting for a bit. Through trial and error I’ve been able to make some great sauces using gluten-free roux or thickening slurries (made of equal parts of cornstarch or arrowroot and liquid). I even made this delicious gluten-free macaroni and cheese using béchamel as the base and turning it into a mornay sauce.


My fellow classmates were a tremendous help in terms of understanding how my sauces tasted and compared with the traditional recipes. Through my gluten-free experiments, they have since learned of allergy-friendly substitutions they can use for their future customers. With the prevalence of celiac disease and gluten intolerance on the rise, it’s this kind of collaborative learning that helps us all move forward and become stronger chefs.


Jackie Ourman is a current ICE Culinary Arts student, food lover and mom of three managing celiac disease and multiple food allergies. For more of her delicious gluten-free and allergy-friendly recipes, visit her blog, Celiac and Allergy Friendly Epicurean (C.A.F.E). You can also find her on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest


By Carly DeFilippo


This summer, we launched the “Find your #culinaryvoice” photo contest, asking students from both our Career and Recreational Programs to share what they’ve been cooking at ICE. In this ongoing monthly contest, students who tag “@iceculinary #culinaryvoice” on either Twitter or Instagram have the chance to win a single-session recreational cooking class or other ICE merchandise.


From among the many submissions thus far, we’ve selected four photos that represent the variety of student perspectives and cuisines taught at ICE. And to help select our first ever winner, we want your help! Let us know in the comments below which is your favorite photo.

  • Top Left: @JackieOurman, “Homemade vanilla marshmallows drizzled with#chocolate @iceculinary #candy #culinaryvoice”
  • Top Right: @bagelsbasics, “Hamachi crudo, red, rainbow, yellow beets, wasabi creme fraiche, rice puffs, micro basil #miseenplace @iceculinary#culinaryvoice”
  • Bottom Left: @_ch3w. “Chef Chris Gesualdi making that pasta, “Make it Perfect!” @iceculinary #culinaryvoice#homemadeeverything”
  • Bottom Right: @madsharma: “Pizza day in class. Definitely gonna have egg on my face @iceculinary #farmerspie #culinaryvoice”