28. December 2016 · Categories: Recipes


By Caitlin Raux


In 2016, we cooked, baked, mixed and tasted a ton of delicious recipes at the Institute of Culinary Education. Our chef instructors and beverage pros shared their expertise and gave us step-by-step guides to making some of their favorite sips and eats. To ensure that your final feasts of 2016 are memorable, we came up with a list of our best recipes of 2016. Whether you’re an aspiring food professional or a devout foodie, here’s a dinner party’s-worth of great recipes.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

Keep reading to get the recipes for our hits of 2016.


By Caitlin Raux


Why would one of the successors to an empire of bread and pastries in Spain travel all the way to New York City to study pastry arts? That’s the question that many have posed to Pablo Moreno (Pastry Arts ’17), grandson of the founders of Mallorca Pastelería, a household name for bread and pastries in Madrid, and pastry student at ICE. We sat down with Pablo to get the answer to this question, and to chat about topics like the most useful thing he’s learned at ICE, his advice for prospective culinary students and whether he’s a fan of New York’s holy pastry — the bagel.

Pastry Student Pablo Moreno

Keep reading to learn why Pablo chose ICE. 


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


For many during the holiday season, we are tempted by indulgences and excess. And come the New Year, we feel sickened by it all. After my December of gluttony, I’ve decided to focus on a less-considered side of overabundance – the excess garbage it can create. I’m not going to join a gym or stop eating cookies. I will definitely not be cutting back on my red wine and red meat. Instead, for my 2017 resolution, I will spend the entire 31 days of January creating zero food waste at home.


Over the next couple of weeks, I will share some tips to prepare myself for the journey ahead. Perhaps, you’ll join me and take the challenge, too?produce aisle

Read on to get Chef Jenny’s tips for achieving a zero-waste January. 


By James Briscione, Director of Culinary Development 


Gifts are the best and worst part about the holiday season. Receiving = the best. Finding that perfect something-they-don’t-already-have gift for the special person on your list = the worst. For the foodie on your shopping list, we’re here to make your gift search a painless victory. Though stores and online catalogs are filled with hundreds of “must-have” kitchen gadgets, only some of them are actually worth it — others not so much. To help you cut through the clutter and find the best of the best, the following is my list of recommended essential kitchen gifts.


Read on to learn which kitchen gadgets to gift the foodie in your life.

19. December 2016 · Categories: Alumni


By Caitlin Raux


When our ICE alums grab the headlines, we can’t help but feel like proud parents. From Detroit-style pizza to home-style meatloaf to authentic Welsh cuisine, ICE graduates are using their culinary skills to create better dining experiences across the board. In 2016, ICE graduates and their restaurants were showered with praise — here’s a short list of those who regularly took spots at the top.


Keep reading to discover which ICE alums were in the spotlight this year. 

By Luke Wu — Chef & Farmer, Farm.One


“In winter, one should eat more bitter and cold foods to stay in harmony with the inward movement of the season.” — Master Herbalist, Lǐ Shízhēn (1518-1593)


Herb Your Way to Healthy During the Holidays


During my time as a cook, I had to show up to work no matter what. When the restaurant needed me, I had to be there — there was no concept of sick days. Most kitchen cultures even promote the idea of showing up to work sick, as a matter of pride. So getting sick meant working sick, which leads to decreased productivity and ultimately lost profit.


Since winter is usually the busiest season for a restaurant (and also when we’re most likely to get sick), I had to learn how to invigorate my immune system and build a stronger body. If I was to stay competitive and cook for some of the best chefs in New York, staying healthy took priority above all else. Even for non-chef civilians, the holidays are a time of family, celebration and lots of food. Consuming excess amounts of food, especially rich, fatty foods, can stress the gallbladder and liver. Cleansing is crucial for allowing the body to absorb food.


Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice with water every morning is one quick way to cleanse and stimulate the gallbladder, aiding digestion and liver function. But for those who want to take their cleansing a step further, herbs are especially helpful with balancing stress hormones so our bodies can focus on digestion and detoxification. Many of them can be easily incorporated into our typical recipes and routines. Before I get into the specific herbs, here’s an overview of herbal traditions.

herbs farm.one

Keep reading to learn which herbs you should be eating to stay healthy this winter.

14. December 2016 · Categories: Recipes


By ICE Staff


Eggnog. Like the pumpkin spice latté, it belongs to that category of food and drink that we only crave during very specific, limited times of the year. It makes you wonder: Where did this seemingly bizarre tradition of mixing liquor and rich ingredients originate? Hundreds of years ago in Europe, according to ICE’s Director of Beverage Studies, Anthony Caporale. In a new Facebook Live video with Spoon University, Anthony tells us about the origins of eggnog and explains why we only drink this creamy cocktail during the holidays. Watch the video to get the lowdown and see how to shake up some bourbon eggnog at home.


In the mood for the ‘nog? Keep reading to get the recipe. 

13. December 2016 · Categories: Recipes


By James Distefano — Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts


I love spices and everything about them — their history, their applications, their benefits and how they add depth of flavor and nuance to many worldly dishes. As the holiday season approaches, one cookie that I hold close to my heart comes to mind: speculaas. Speculaas (also written speculoos) are thin, crunchy, caramelized cookies that are redolent with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom. They are commonly found in northern European countries like Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands throughout the holiday season. When I was a pastry cook at Park Avenue Café, working under Chef Richard Leach, we served these cookies as part of our petit fours plate. I was tasked with making them and I’d always make one or two extra because I loved their spicy sweetness.

gluten-free speculaas cookies

Keep reading to get Chef James’ recipe for these tasty, spice-filled cookies. 

08. December 2016 · Categories: Alumni


By Caitlin Raux


There’s a new school of chefs — those who wax on about ingredients and sourcing; who want to elevate or demote the act of dining out; who want to change the way we eat. Ashley Merriman (Culinary Arts ’04), co-chef of Prune, does not belong to that school. She’s a rare breed of chef nowadays, one who’s passionate about the job mostly because she loves the actual work — the sound of the ticket machine; the chopping during prep; the firing up of grills; the rush during service; and the cleaning — lots and lots of cleaning, as anyone in the industry knows. Ashley’s experience “on the line” dates back to high school, but ICE handed her the keys to the world of fine dining in New York, where she’s had the opportunity to work with some of the city’s great chefs.


I caught up with the former Top Chef competitor on a Monday afternoon before the crush of dinner service (yes, even on a Monday, the house at Prune is full). Ashley and I chatted about her love of the job of being a chef.

Chef Ashley Merriman

From ICE student to chef at the East Village’s favorite restaurant: Read on to learn more. 


By Michael Laiskonis—ICE Creative Director


In the past, I’ve written about the parallels between architecture and pastry. I recently judged a competition where architects were asked to express their favorite iconic buildings in the form of cake. Once again, the topic of architecture and pastry arts came to mind. 


I think a lot about architecture and design. It’s a closet interest of mine, though I must admit that my passion is limited to: I don’t know much about architecture, but I know what I like. One of the benefits of urban living is being surrounded by so much of it. I’m fascinated by the juxtaposition of various styles, shapes and sizes — sometimes even more than the individual structures themselves. While the streets of Manhattan may be more chaotic than, say, the carefully planned vistas of Paris, a glance down any street or avenue can be just as awe-inspiring. Without overreaching, there are some great analogies to be made between cooking and architecture. Both are seen as lofty arts and technical crafts. Both provide a vehicle for fashionable trends and practical function. Both reflect their immediate environment and in turn, give that place a sense of unique identity. Occasionally, both incite controversy. As two of the three necessities of life, food and shelter hold the kind of sociological importance that can even spawn whole philosophies.

Flatiron Building

Read on for more thoughts on food + architecture from Chef Michael.