By Virginia Monaco, Department of Student Affairs
When you think of the quintessential New York City chef, a few famous names come to mind, but Andrew Carmellini is definitely at the top of the list. You won’t see his face plastered on a billboard or endorsing a product in a magazine, facts that contribute to Carmellini’s reputation as a “Chef’s Chef”. Respected for his dedication to the craft, his talent and undeniable work ethic, his career reads like a history of New York City dining—and it’s nowhere near finished.
Having honed his chops under the watchful eye of some of the city’s top chefs, Carmellini made a name for himself as Chef de Cuisine at Café Boulud. During his six-year tenure, he earned a three-star New York Times review, two James Beard Awards and the respect, admiration and attention of many in the industry. Today, Carmellini oversees the kitchen at three of his own—and New York’s most popular—restaurants: Locanda Verde, The Dutch and Lafayette. His forth restaurant is slated to open later this year.
By Carly DeFilippo
This spring, ICE will launch Understanding Wine, a groundbreaking 10-week program with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. As one of the nation’s top restaurant groups, USHG’s innovative wine program has long been recognized among the industry’s best. This exclusive training – until now, only available to USHG staff – is the first public course of its kind in NYC. Classes will be led by Master Sommelier and James Beard Award winner John Ragan and a range of guest experts.
The first session kicks off on March 25 at 6:30pm. To register, click here or call (888) 957-CHEF.
By Grace Reynolds
ICE alum Jim Nawn is the owner of Agricola, a self-described “community eatery” located in Princeton, NJ. The restaurant celebrates the creation of fresh, wholesome food, using locally sourced ingredients as often as possible. Nawn–who has already received acclaim from the New York Times—graciously agreed to share his story with us this past month, offering some key insights into his successful new business.
What were you doing before you enrolled at ICE?
I was an area developer for Panera Bread, owning and operating 37 bakery cafes in northern New Jersey. I sold my Panera business and chose to attend culinary school to learn about food. I had no immediate plan to open my own restaurant and no real personal passion for cooking at the outset. It was a learning exercise to start. I anticipated it would lead to what was right, and it has.
By Grace Reynolds
This winter, I gave my brother John—a dedicated home chef—a gift certificate to the Institute of Culinary Education for his birthday. After scouring the numerous offerings in The Main Course catalog, he decided upon a course entitled, “Essentials of the Mediterranean.” (Note: Bonding over cooking together at ICE will win you major points with siblings and family members. I highly recommend it!).
Our instructor—Chef Daniel Rosati—began the night by asking us what first comes to mind when we think of “Mediterranean cuisine.” We all responded with similar answers—olives, olive oil, tomatoes, feta, peppers, figs, seafood, etc. Chef Daniel said that our ideas were spot on, but that we shouldn’t view Mediterranean cuisine as a culinary bubble. He gave us a brief overview of ingredients commonly used in Mediterranean cooking—including peppers, tomatoes, potatoes and numerous spices—that are not native to the region, but rather, imports from the New World. The bottom line: even some things we think of as essential components of Greek, Italian, French and Spanish cuisine are relatively new additions to the Mediterranean repertoire.
By Liz Castner
I was sitting in my Culinary Management class when I received the email telling me about an exciting upcoming CAPS class at ICE – “Ice Cream Innovations with Sam Mason”. Mason is the chef-founder OddFellows Ice Cream Co., a hip and funky ice cream shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The moment I read the email, I knew I wanted to attend the class. While I had never been to OddFellows itself, I had been following them on Facebook for months, lusting after posts featuring Mason’s latest edible creation. In short, I knew the CAPS class would be far more complex and exciting than a day’s worth of ordinary ice cream making.
During our 8-hour ice cream intensive, we made an astonishing number of ice creams. Cornbread, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, “smash” Neapolitan, extra virgin olive oil, rainbow sherbert (composed of mandarin sorbet, raspberry sorbet, lime sorbet), chorizo caramel, lemon, rocky road, lemon meringue pie, peanut butter and jelly, caramelized onion and last but not least, beet. Yes, you counted correctly; that’s 17 individual ice creams and sorbets. What’s more, all of them were delicious—even Chef Sam’s savory flavors, caramelized onion and chorizo caramel. They were so good, in fact, that I currently have six pints in my freezer right now!
By Carly DeFilippo
Growing up, Chef Chad Pagano’s focus was playing sports, not whipping up sugary desserts. So when he left behind a soccer scholarship to join the army, his family never imagined he’d someday end up in the kitchen—let alone as a Pastry Chef. But the transformative aspect of baking—crafting inspired desserts from simple, everyday ingredients—fascinated Chad from his first day in the kitchen, and that endless curiosity still fuels his creativity today.
From the competitive thrill of constructing sugar showpieces to mastering the craft of rustic pretzels and donuts, Chad is a true pastry chameleon. Since joining our staff in 2002, he’s trained some of the school’s most successful graduates—from Zac Young to Clarisa Martino and Julian Plyter—and his sense of humor makes him a favorite among students and instructors alike. Outside the kitchen, Chad is still a huge sports fan and explores his passion for respectful, sustainable hunting as a radio host on the Heritage Food Network.
By Stephen Zagor, Dean, School of Business and Management Studies
Living in New York City and partaking in its incredible culinary scene often leads to an inflated food ego. How can we learn anything from chefs or owners outside of NYC, the cradle of modern culinary civilization?
As it turns out, John Gorham, the well-known and successful chef/owner of Toro Bravo and two other Portland, Oregon restaurants, has quite a few things to teach us. He spoke at ICE as the latest guest in our Meet the Culinary Entrepreneur series. In his modest and unassuming way, John shared important lessons about running a successful restaurant, whether in New York City, Portland or beyond.
For almost two hours John captivated the room with his story of growth and development, both personally and professionally. He opened Toro Bravo, his flagship Spanish Tapas style restaurant, over five years ago for $180,000, and crowds still line up daily. Later came his next two restaurants, both carefully crafted to fill a market niche: Tasty n Sons, a neighborhood brunch-centric restaurant and Tasty n Alder, a steak house that also caters to the brunch crowd.
By Chef Chad Pagano, Chef-Instructor, Pastry & Baking Arts
Whether for a competition, special event or mere display, I have constructed many sugar showpieces over the years. These pieces have been inspired by countless themes, ranging from country music songs to classic American novels. As a big football fan, the most exciting to date is the showpiece I created this past weekend for the Taste of the NFL in Brooklyn.
After discussing the theme and the feel of the event with my colleagues at ICE, it was time for me to begin the well-rehearsed design process. This starts with a simple sketch of the piece. In this instance, the design was some what difficult for me because it required one large sculpture and two smaller side pieces. Further, the piece had to feature both the ICE logo and the Taste of the NFL logo. Ultimately, I decided to design the showpiece in the image of the Lombardi trophy.
By James Briscione, Director of Culinary Development and Culinary Arts Chef-Instructor
For ICE’s recent hands-on cooking event with the New York Jets, I crafted a fun spin on classic chili. Slow-roasted pork carnitas and beer impart a deep, smoky flavor, while the simple addition of beans and broth rounds out the dish. The recipe was a hit at the Jet’s House ”50 Yard Lounge” Super Bowl pregame party with player Nick Folk, so it’s sure to be a winning addition for any gameday menu.