By Robert Ramsey — Chef-Instructor, Culinary Arts

Earlier this year, on a trip to Guatemala, I found myself sitting in the secret tasting room of a local mezcal producer in the colonial town of Antigua. My friend Adam and I had walked through a bookstore, which opened into a bar, then crawled through a tiny door in the back and perched on low stools. There, we sampled tastes of the smoky and complex tequila derivative, mezcal, poured by an exceptionally knowledgeable barkeep. Months later, as the summer wanes and the cool autumn temperatures move in, my mind has been wandering back to the colonial charms of Antigua — the tastes and smells of local cuisine, the incredible volcano hiking, and the relaxing and inspiring Lake Atitlan. With each adventure in the beautiful country of Guatemala, new flavors emerged.

mezcal carrot cocktail

Mornings started with local coffee, as this region is known for producing some of the world’s finest. Refuge Coffee Bar offers one of the purest tasting cold brews I’ve ever experienced. For lunch, we hit the city market, where you can find everything from fried chicken to street tacos to hearty, local stews. I couldn’t get enough of the different takes on ceviche, a local specialty served in abundance — with fresh fish, shrimp, crab, chilis, onions, lots of lime and a surprising amount of worcestershire sauce — an interesting local twist. It was both delicious and refreshing in the Central American heat.

At night, the city really comes alive. The market in the city’s Plaza Mayor, or central square, is teeming with vendors offering every variety of local cuisine — tasty horchata, tortas bursting with grilled meats, avocado and spices, pupusas with black beans and tacos, tacos, tacos. The intoxicating smells were accompanied by upbeat music, the sounds of local children playing and the postcard-perfect scenery of Spanish colonial churches framed by ominous volcanoes. In Antigua, every night is a celebration.

My favorite meal of the trip was the least expected. The mission was to reach the top of Vulcan Acatenango, a 13,000-foot volcano with sweeping vistas of Guatemala and its neighboring, active cousin, Vulcan Fuego (the most active volcano in the world). I left Antigua and embarked on a series of rides and transfers on the infamous Guatemalan “chicken buses,” which involved sprinting and hurling myself into a moving bus. I made arrangements to set out from the base of Acatenango with a local named Jaime. We arrived at Jaime’s family’s picturesque and ancient-seeming farm in the rolling foothills of Acatenango. It was here that his mother prepared a simple but perfect meal: scrambled eggs from the chickens running at our feet, homemade tortillas from the maize covering the hillside, and rich, smoky refried black beans with a depth unmatched by any other beans I’ve ever tasted. Slow-simmered over a wood burning stove, I imagined the beans had been continuously cooking for countless generations — at least they tasted that way. It was the perfect, rib-sticking last meal before the two-day hike to Acatenango’s lofty crater.

chicken bus

One of the Guatemalan “Chicken Buses”

Vulcan

Vulcan Acatenango

Chef Robert Ramsey

Chef Robert pictured left with his friend Adam

Inspired by this incredible trip, I developed a subtly sweet, intensely smoky and moderately spicy mezcal cocktail. (Pro tip: It’s best made with Ilegal Joven, the youngest of the mezcals we sampled on that gorgeous night in Antigua.) I approached this recipe as if I were building a dish. I started with the mezcal, which is a little savory and a lot smoky. By infusing the mezcal with the fruity heat of the jalapeño pepper, I created a base that needed balance in the form of sweetness (agave nectar) and sourness (lime), and is rounded out by the earthy, vegetal depth of carrot juice. I call it the “Antigua Elixir.” Each sip brings back memories of cool evenings on the shore of Lake Atitlan, where my last magical days in Guatemala were spent.

mezcal carrot cocktailAntigua Elixir

For the cocktail
Servings: makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

3 ounces carrot juice
1.5 ounces Jalapeño-Infused Mezcal (recipe below)
1.5 ounces lime juice
1 ounces agave nectar
Ice
1 lime wheel, for garnish
Smoked Paprika Salt (recipe below), for garnish

Preparation:

  • Rub the rim of a rocks glass with the lime wheel to wet it. Turn the glass over and dip it into the paprika salt to coat the rim. Fill glass with ice and set aside.
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the carrot juice, mezcal, lime juice and agave nectar. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds, until the outside of shaker is frosty. Strain into a rocks glass and enjoy.

For Jalapeno-Infused Mezcal
Yield: makes enough for about 4 cocktails

Ingredients:

1 jalapeño, chopped (with seeds)
1 cup mezcal joven

  • Combine the mezcal and chopped jalapeño in a nonreactive container (a mason jar works well) and let the flavors infuse for at least one hour. Note: you can infuse for longer, but the longer you infuse, the spicier your mezcal will be — taste and infuse to your liking.
  • Strain through a fine mesh cocktail strainer. Reserve.

For Smoked Paprika Salt
Yield: makes enough for about 4 cocktails

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Preparation:

  • In a small bowl, mix the salt and paprika until evenly combined. Spread the mixture on a small plate and reserve for cocktails.

Immerse yourself in a global culinary education at ICE — click here for more information. 

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

By Rick Smilow — ICE President

This past August, some of my family members and I went on a Baltic cruise. In every port and country where we stopped, I was curious about the local cuisine. We had taken several tours, but it was only in Helsinki, Finland that we took a dedicated food tour. Here’s a “road trip report” of what I learned – and in many cases ate — in this lively seaside city and country capital.

Based on its geographic location and history, the influences on Finnish cuisine come from the east and the west. From the west (western Europe and Scandinavia) come dishes and ingredients like pickled fish, hard bread, cheese and smoked meat. From the east (Russia and Ukraine) come foods like blinis, sauerkraut, curd cheese, Karelian pastry, sour milk and mushrooms. Perhaps one of the most unique local foods I tried was poro — that’s reindeer.

Helsinki market

In August, during our visit, the seasonal specialties included crayfish, chanterelles, apples and wild duck. In September, the seasonal favorites include Baltic herring, hare, lingonberries and a seafood specialty called vendace — a small whitefish that’s rolled in rye bread crumbs, quickly fried and served in a bun. As our trip was in the summer, the local greenmarkets we passed early in the morning were overflowing with wonderful-looking produce and fruit.

Our Helsinki food tour was led by Heather Domeney, a native of Tasmania who moved to Helsinki after marrying her Finnish husband. Her tour route and the accompanying food depends on the time of day you start. We had limited shore leave time, so we began promptly at 8:00am, beginning the tour with a tasting of traditional breakfast foods.

The first stop was a small bakery named Kanniston Leipomo. Here we sampled a Karelian rice pie, which is a small, football-shaped rye pastry with rice porridge in the middle. At the second stop, Cafe Kuppi & Muffini, we tasted barley porridge with toppings of our choice. As shown in the photo, I chose strawberry, rhubarb compote and butter. Heather explained that items like these, along with ham and salami, constitute a typical Finnish breakfast. Standard American breakfast items like scrambled eggs are not so common.

Helsinki breakfast

Our third stop was a famous department store called Stockman, which opened in 1862. They have a lower-level food hall that’s a sort of Finnish Harrods, the renowned London department store. It was interesting to see the mix of fresh foods, breads and produce available. First, we headed to the seafood department, where Heather arranged a smoked and cured salmon tasting. As for grocery items, some of the unique items were munavoi (a mixture of butter and cooked eggs) and porosalami (reindeer salami).

Helsinki salmon

When it comes to beverages, Finland has some things to talk about. First, the average person drinks 12 kilograms of coffee per year — the highest rate in the world. The Finnish produce several interesting indigenous beverages like lakka, a cloudberry flavored liquor, and sima, which is a variation on mead and flavored with lemons and raisins.

Like the U.S., Finland experienced a period of prohibition from 1919 to 1932. After prohibition, the government decided that all alcoholic beverages with alcohol content higher than 4.7% would be sold in a state-run retail chain named Alko. Today, there are about 355 of these stores throughout the country. While we didn’t vist Alko, we did stop at a small, independent beer retailer (where all beers were 4.7% alcohol or less) and a brewery-restaurant called Bryggeri.

 

Helsinki beer cheese

At Bryggeri, we enjoyed a tasting flight of beers made on the premises, along with traditional accompaniments of grilled sausage and sauerkraut. The most traditional of the beers we tasted was Lammin Sahti, which is made with barley and rye malts, and has next to no carbonation — both odd and interesting on first taste. Our group agreed that a Brooklyn- or Portland-based modern beer aficionado would feel right at home in Helsinki.

Our next stop was Vanha Kauppahalli, a classy and classic portside covered food market in operation since 1889. Heather arranged a quick tasting of local cheeses at a shop with a name that was rich in vowels – Juustokauppa Tuula Paalanen. As we made our way through Vanha Kauppahalli, what impressed us most was the Nordic seafood, particularly the range of smoked salmon, crayfish, prawn salads and other seafood specialties. What’s more, just outside the hall was a seasonal outdoor food market. There, the offerings were global street food like kebabs and chicken sandwiches, plus local fare like reindeer meatballs.

Though time did not permit us to visit more restaurants, I gleaned additional Helsinki restaurant intel from Heather and my own research. The first restaurants opened in Helsinki in the early 19th century. The most notable early eateries were Kappeli, Kamp and Kaivohuone. According to the Finnish Hospitality Association, in 2014, there were 1,271 restaurants and 52 hotels in Helsinki. By 2015, the country was home to four Michelin-starred restaurants. As for a traditional restaurant entrée, most sources agree that a good place to start would be fried Baltic herring with mashed potatoes and beets.

After a quick but in-depth exploration of Helsinki’s cuisine, I can say there is much great food and drink to try in Finland’s capital. By the time we pulled out of the port, I already decided I should go back…with more days to eat!

All photography by Rick Smilow.

It’s time to embark on your culinary adventure – learn more about ICE’s career programs. 

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

By Chef-Instructors Ted Siegel and Cheryl Siegel

One of the most beautiful cities in North America is Quebec City, which sits on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Canada’s Quebec province. The city’s historic district was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. Of all the cities in North America, Quebec City is as French as a city can be without actually being in France.

Laurie_Raphael_lunch

Lunch at Laurie Raphaël (poached halibut with summer beans, sauce choron and tempura of garlic scapes)

During a recent trip to Quebec City, we experienced firsthand a new trend that’s sweeping the food culture in Quebec: using indigenous ingredients, similar to those found in the Nordic climate. We noticed an emphasis on foraged ingredients, such as sea buckthorn, salicornia, cattail, fir, Nordic berries, wild mushrooms, wild fish and shellfish, with a focus on foods with high levels of monounsaturated, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

The chefs who are the major proponents of the new Nordic Quebecois cuisine are Daniel Vézina of restaurant Laurie Raphaël (Quebec City and Montreal) and Jean-Luc Boulay of restaurants Chez Boulay and Saint-Amour.

Laurie Raphael

Lunch at Laurie Raphaël

We have enjoyed meals at Laurie Raphaël in Quebec City several times, for both lunch and dinner. The menus change frequently based on what is available, daily and seasonally, in the local markets. The most memorable dishes we tried at Laurie Raphaël were smoked red deer gravlax with foie gras, oyster and sea urchin with black truffle and Champagne sabayon, mackerel quenelles with a velouté of kombu, delicately poached halibut with summer beans, sauce choron and a tempura of garlic scapes.

On Thursday and Fridays, Laurie Raphaël is open for lunch, and offers a five-course tasting menu for $50.00 (CAD) — an amazing value any day of the week.

Lunch at Chez Boulay

Though Jean-Luc Boulay is almost unheard of in the United States, he too is considered one of the godfathers of this current school of cooking. We’ve had the pleasure of dining at Saint-Amour, which is best described as a special occasion restaurant, with a romantic old-world ambiance. Last winter, we indulged in the decadent eight-course “Discovery” tasting menu. One of our many favorites was an unusual soup — butternut squash and curcuma velouté, garnished with a confit of smoked wild hare, fried shallots and an espuma or foam of hazelnuts. Another favorite dish was the seared magret of moularde duck with a sweet potato and foie gras purée and sea buckthorn sauce.

Chez Boulay, the sister restaurant of Saint-Amour, has more of a casual, brasserie-like feel, with a menu that reflects the lush and hearty influences of French-Canadian homestyle cuisine, and impressive portions interpreted with a modern sensibility. There is a prix fixe lunch menu of three courses in which the entree price determines the overall price. At Chez Boulay, two people can dine well, including drinks and dessert, for less than $100.00 (CAD). The dinner menu is more extensive and has á la carte pricing.

Dessert at Chez Boulay

At Chez Boulay, there are a number of different starters or “tasting plates,” including a selection of house-made charcuterie (which we ordered), a tasting of French Canadian cheeses, or a plate of prepared fish and shellfish. During our most recent dinner, we also indulged in the cured pork belly and clam salad, snow crab from the Gaspé Peninsula served with an apple-kholrabi mille feuille and milk sauce infused with bacon and hemp oil, and a tasting of two versions of boudin noir — one presented as a thick “pave” prepared in the classic manner and the other filled with cabbage and leeks, the recipes having been in the Boulay family for multiple generations.

The desserts at Chez Boulay have been some of the best that we have sampled in any of our travels: the frozen parfait with cloudberry confit, sunflower seed nougatine and honey from the chef’s bee hives; and the iconic sea buckthorn meringue pie with a crème anglaise flavored with pine forest spikenard (spikenard is the flower from the nardos plant which is a member of the Valerian family).

Restaurant Toast (Boudin noir with fondue of shallots, apples, baby
arugula and aged cheddar galette)

Creative Petits Four at Europea

It is always hard to choose which of all the restaurants is our favorite. It’s like asking us to choose which of our children is our favorite — an impossibly difficult task. However, we have a deep affection for Restaurant Toast in the Hotel Le Priori, located in the lower section of Vieux Quebec. The chef-owner Christian Lemelin is producing his own version of modern Quebecois cuisine with an international influence. We have thoroughly enjoyed two dinners at Toast, one last winter and more recently this summer. The small dining room features a fireplace, and in the summer we dined on the beautifully landscaped outdoor patio. Of the preparations not to be missed are the foie gras torchon with a “jambonette of duck” sherry vinegar, brioche with camerise ketchup (camerise is a Nordic berry similar in taste to a wild blueberry); seared foie gras on a crisp pork belly confit with nutmeg flowers, roasted squash, maple cranberries and poultry jus; Jerusalem artichoke vichyssoise with house smoked scallops, poached wild shrimp and sunflower seeds; surf and turf of lobster and sweetbread served with a mushroom risotto and Béarnaise sauce; seared halibut with a celery root brandade and lovage velouté. We savored two perfectly executed desserts: a vacherin of seasonal local berries, wild honey, lemon sorbet and cream, as well as a frozen vanilla parfait with a compote of sour cherries, mascarpone, orange and bitter chocolate.

Other essential restaurants are Échaudé and Le Quai 19 (more popularly known as Chez Rieux et Pettigrew), both of which are ideal locations for lunch.

An Elaborate Salad from Le Quai 19

Another food destination worth the visit is the Marché du Vieux-Port, a popular marketplace in the Old Port of Quebec City. Here you can sample the best of local produce, cheeses, meats, seafood and prepared foods, as well as ciders and wines from small, local artisanal producers.

While in Canada, we also spent four days in Montreal, a city we love for its restaurants and food culture. On any trip to Montreal, one would be well served to pay visits to restaurants Toqué! and Europea, owned and operated by Normand Laprise and Jérôme Ferrer, respectively. These chefs radically altered the face of Quebecois cuisine and transformed it into the many modern derivatives that are being practiced throughout the province. Though there is too much rich food culture in Montreal to cover in this post, you can read more about our gourmet adventures in Montreal here.

Want to study the culinary arts with Chef Ted? Click here to learn more about ICE’s career programs.

 

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

By Kathryn Gordon and Jeff Yoskowitz

ICE chefs Kathryn Gordon and Jeff Yoskowitz recently visited South Korea with ICE alumnus Heejin Lho, who wanted to share with the chefs the traditional foods and culture of her country. While Chef Jeff found his favorite meal (surprisingly) in a food court and learned how to navigate intensely hot kimchis, Chef Kathryn was impressed by the elegant, edible flowers like gardenia and magnolia. Below is a conversation between Chef Kathryn and Chef Jeff that took place during the latter half of their visit.

Korean Temple Food Center

Korean Temple Food center (Photo credit: Melissa Hope)

Chef Kathryn: Jeff, to start this off, what have you liked best so far?

Chef Jeff: Many things fascinated me this week. I liked making songpyeon — the half-moon shaped rice cakes made with pine needles and dough from sticky and non-glutinous rice [in the Songpyeon Rice Cakes class hosted by the Tteok (Rice Cake) Museum in Seoul]. The dough was counterintuitive in terms of its dryness level. If it was too wet, you couldn’t form the cakes because it stuck to your hands.

Fried Stick Rice Flour Cakes (Photo credit: Melissa Hope)

Chef Kathryn: That rice cake dough was amazing because it was colored by fruits, plants or flowers like strawberry, mugwort and gardenia — but the dough didn’t like me! My right thumb just didn’t “get it” in terms of the shaping for the first 15 minutes. Meanwhile, you were the teacher’s pet!

Chef Jeff: I also really liked our Korean Temple Food center cooking class led by the Buddhist monk. It exposed us to new vegetables and cooking methods, like gingko nuts, lotus leaf, perilla leaf, burdock and acorn jelly. We ate acorn jelly three times this week — I had no idea it was so prevalent! It made me want to track down acorn flour in the U.S. and figure out how to remove the bitterness.

So much flavor came from the lotus leaf, which provides an impermeable layer so whatever you cook in it retains its moisture, while deriving some yellow color and flavor. It was also interesting that the blanched and diced lotus root, which provided texture in the rice, is the root from white flowers, not the pink lotus flowers. I also liked learning about the traditions of mixing sticky and non-glutinous rice.

Chef Kathryn: I loved that in Buddhist temples they eat every part of every plant. We ate a salad made from succulents at The Shilla Seoul hotel banquet. We were exposed to foods that we never knew were foods before.

Chef Jeff: The organization and customer service at The Shilla Seoul was really impressive, but so was the customer service at the high-end food markets at the department stores. At the Hyundai Department Store, I counted 12 people in front of the wine area alone, just waiting to assist you with selecting wine. Each area — the fish, the seaweed island or dried roots — had multiple people waiting to help you in your selection and pack it up. I have never seen that level of presentation, care and customer service before.

Chef Kathryn: Heejin carefully selected our menu for the week so we didn’t just taste traditional Korean dishes. What dish did you find the most interesting?

Chef Jeff: I was a little skeptical when she said we were going to a food court for Korean-style shabu shabu, but the dinner at the Shinsegae Department Store was one of my favorite experiences.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul (Photo credit: Jeff Yoskowitz)

I loved how they made so many dishes from the one base broth. The same broth that cooked the sliced beef was reduced with mushrooms, scallions, cabbage and other vegetables before more meat was added. The broth then reduced a second time while we ate that course, and subsequently it was either used to cook noodles and assorted greens, or to make a thick porridge-like stew with rice and greens.

Acorn Jelly with Vegetables

Acorn Jelly with Vegetables (Photo credit: Melissa Horn)

Chef Kathryn: I liked being exposed to edible flowers. I always love cooking with flowers, but never tasted gardenias before this week. When we visited the Tea Story teahouse in Seoul, they had so many teas based on plants and flowers that we don’t typically eat or cook with in American or Western European cuisines, like mistletoe, magnolia and lotus.

Chef Jeff: And then there’s the situation of trying to order hot tea with a meal — the restaurants we experienced literally did not have any.

Chef Kathryn: We learned that with Korean cuisine, you don’t always drink tea with a meal, like you might at a Chinese or Japanese restaurant.

Chef Jeff: Yet coffee shops are everywhere and seemingly open at all times. Per capita, there seems to be an extremely high interest in coffee — I counted three coffee places on one city block alone. The availability of coffee is much more noticeable than in New York.

Chef Kathryn: What did you think of the dessert scene in Korea?

Chef Jeff: I was impressed by how aesthetically clean the cakes and tarts look in every pastry window, and not just in high-end shops and stores — even a chain-style bakery. There is nothing “homey” here, unless you count the fruit. And the fruits in general are enormous! We’ve never seen such big peaches, apples, figs and grapes.

We tried grape tarts one afternoon. We also saw a lot of desserts made with green grapes throughout the week that are not popular in the United States including shaved ice and blended drinks.

Chef Kathryn: What about the kimchi? We ate kimchi made with a lot of greens, cabbage and daikon this week, and were introduced to white kimchi, which I had never had before this trip.

tea ceremony

Tea Ceremony (Photo credit: Melissa Hope)

Chef Jeff: I feel more educated generally about kimchi, although I definitely learned I prefer the garlic (non-Buddhist) style.

Chef Kathryn: In terms of heat and the dishes we’ve eaten with gochujang chili paste — in one meal, your eyes were watering at the end!

Chef Jeff: There are some hot foods you put in your mouth and then it spreads slowly. Once the heat from the kimchi spread, it was too late for me to do anything about it. I did gain a better appreciation of all the contrasting flavors, and the range of foods to pair with something hot came more easily with practice than in the beginning of the trip.

Chef Kathryn: What else besides food did you find most interesting this week?

Chef Jeff: As we were driving south through the countryside to Cheolla Province, the sheer mass of vertical apartment building construction was astonishing. They don’t build one building at a time. We would look towards a range of mist covered forested mountains and see clusters of towers going up simultaneously with cranes on top of each building.

Want to explore the pastry arts with Chefs Kathryn and Jeff? Click here for more information on ICE’s career programs.

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

By Rick Smilow, President of ICE

The weekend of March 4th, I had the pleasure of attending the annual IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) conference in Louisville, KY. ICE has been a part of IACP for over 20 years. The group’s membership is particularly focused in the food media and culinary communications arena. If you’re looking for an annual gathering of food editors, authors, recipe developers, food bloggers, test kitchen executives, culinary entrepreneurs, journalists and culinary experts, this is your place.

IACP Conference

Maureen and Rick with Jenna Helwig and Kristin Donnelly

I attended — for the 17th time in 20 years — with Maureen Drum Fagin, ICE’s Director of Career Services. We counted at least 24 ICE alumni or former ICE team members in attendance, several of whom were leading educational sessions at the conference. That included SeeFood Media President and founder Jamie Tiampo (Culinary Management, 2006) with the workshop “How to Bid, Plan and Distribute Digital Food Videos,” and food journalist and cookbook author Jody Eddy (Culinary Arts, 2007) was part of a panel discussion entitled “Is What’s Mine Yours? How to Avoid Cultural Appropriation in Your Writing.”

One of the highlights of the conference was the awards ceremony (primarily for cookbooks), which was held Sunday night at the Louisville Palace Theatre. I am happy to announce that Chef Vivian Howard’s (Culinary Arts, 2003) book Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South won in four categories, including Cookbook of the Year. Vivian is the Head Chef and Co-Owner of Chef & the Farmer in North Carolina, as well as the host/star of the PBS series, A Chef’s Life, for which she has won a James Beard Foundation award and a Peabody Award.

Vivian

chef/restaurateur/TV personality Vivian Howard

Other ICE alumni we caught up with include Jenna Helwig (food editor, Parents Magazine), David Bonom (recipe developer/food writer), Alison Tozzi Liu (editorial director, James Beard Foundation), Adeena Sussman (author/journalist), Kristin Donnelly (author of Modern Potluck: Beautiful Food to Share and formerly Editor at Food &Wine), Emily Peterson (instructor in NYU’s Food Studies program), Trish Lobenfeld (food writer/recipe developer), Juli Roberts (test kitchen manager, Rodale), Diana Andrews (food editor/test kitchen manager for Fine Cooking Magazine) and Julie Hartigan (writer/recipe developer).

Of course, when you are in Louisville, you are in bourbon country. Friday, as a supplement to the main conference, I attended a special one-day class called “Moonshine University” at the Distilled Spirits Epicenter, which has a small-scale yet sophisticated spirits production operation on-site. I now have a general understanding of how bourbon is made: the significance of heat and alcohol boiling points and a grasp of terms like “mash bill,” “congeners,” “sweet vs. sour mash” and a “number 3 char.” Typically, their classes run for several weeks and attract prospective artisan-spirits makers from around the world.

Moonshine University

Moonshine University

While I was at Moonshine University, Maureen was on a moving bourbon tour of Louisville. On her tour, Maureen chatted with two ICE alumni that hadn’t been on our radar: Tess Bosher, the Culinary Specialist in Hamilton Beach’s test kitchen, and Stacy Basko, a freelance recipe developer.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the food. Several of our meals were walk-around tastings and so we got to try bites from notable Louisville restaurants such as Milkwood, Decca and Proof on Main. It’s a matter of debate whether Louisville is in the northern part of the South, or the southern part of the Midwest, but either way, there are menu items — like grits, pickled vegetables and rabbit – that you’d be less likely to find in New York City. A tasty example was the sandwich served at the Sunday brunch at Harvest: house-smoked bologna, pimento cheese, a sunny-side-up egg and arugula.

One memorable meal inspired by another country’s fare was ICE alum Gina Stipo’s (Culinary, 1998) pop-up dinner “At the Italian Table.” We enjoyed Gina’s Italian dinner on Thursday night with David Bonom and his wife, Newsday columnist and visiting ICE instructor Marge Perry. Gina’s spent much of the last 12 years in Italy, teaching and leading food tours. When she came back to the US, her goal was to open an intimate and delicious Italian restaurant —The Italian Table achieves that goal. Eating there is like being invited to a warm and friendly Italian dinner party — where you don’t know most of the other guests! With just two large tables for 20 or so guests, her restaurant is open four nights a week and has a four-course pre-fixe menu that changes daily. The first (and only) seating of the night starts promptly at 7:00pm.

Gina

Gina Stipo’s “At the Italian Table” Dinner

Some former ICE team members were present as well. I enjoyed spending time with Anne McBride and Todd Coleman, who both held communications or marketing positions at ICE in the past decade. Anne and I co-wrote the book, Culinary Careers: How to Get Your Dream Job in Food. She also has collaborated with ICE Pastry & Baking Arts Chef Instructor Kathryn Gordon on her cookbooks Les Petits Macarons and Les Petit Sweets. After ICE, Todd took a position at Saveur magazine, where he eventually became Executive Food Editor.

Beyond all the ICE names, one of the most interesting speakers at the conference was Ali Bouzari, who recently published a new book, Ingredient: Unveiling the Essential Elements of Food. His book focuses on the concept that there are eight “mother ingredients” (proteins, water, minerals, etc.) and that if a cook understands these concepts, their intuition and ability to execute any recipe or technique will be enhanced. I’m told Ali has done a TEDTalk on this subject and the book, and based on what I heard in Louisville, I bet it’s great!

All in all, it was a terrific conference. We caught up with ICE alums, explored delicious domestic foods and drinks (with some foreign flavors thrown in too), and were inspired by great culinary conversations.

Click here for more information about IACP.

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013