By Richard Vayda — Director of Wine & Beverage Studies
To ensure that you make the best “pour” decisions this holiday season, I’ve put together a list of picks that will fit any festive feast. Below are my recommendations, choices that are built on conventional wine wisdom but vary depending on your personal preference.
The recommended wine for Thanksgiving turkey seems to always be Beaujolais, a wine region in eastern France. Like liquid cranberry sauce, wines from Beaujolais exhibit tart strawberry and other fruity notes — plus the acidity balances with rich sauces that often accompany our sacred bird. Instead of buying a simple Beaujolais, why not try a Cru Beaujolais (“Cru” meaning a vineyard or group of vineyards of recognized quality) from one of the northern villages of the region, such as Broilly or Juliénas.
- Michel Tête Domaine du Clos du Fief Cuvée Tradition, Juliénas, France
Keep reading to get all of Richard’s wine recommendations!
By Caitlin Raux
In 2012, just after ICE Alum Jason Alicea (Culinary Management ’15) landed his dream job as executive chef at a busy restaurant in West Patterson, NJ, a car accident rendered him out of commission for months. Looking back, it was a blessing in disguise, because it was during this immobile period that he came up with the idea to start his own company, That’s Good Food, the New York-based artisanal empanada company with a steadily growing following. Jason combined his family’s tradition of making empanadas from scratch (“pockets of love,” as he calls them) with culinary management training from ICE and turned it into a profitable, dynamic business. With savory fillings like confit duck and crab guisado and sweet fillings like banana bread pudding and arroz con leche, it’s no wonder his empanadas are a hit.
Between regular pop-up events and farmers’ market appearances, Jason took a break to chat with us for an ICE blog interview.
What year did you graduate from ICE?
I began the Culinary Management program in September 2014, and I graduated in July 2015. My class was the first to graduate at the Brookfield Place location. I won the “Most Likely to Succeed Award” at graduation. It was the first time I had ever won an award in school — it was pretty overwhelming for me.
Keep reading to discover how Jason turned a family recipe into a successful food business.
By Jenny McCoy — Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
Cranberry season is in full swing, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, what better time to rethink your cranberry sauce? I find people either love cranberry sauce or don’t like it at all. I happen to be someone who loves it. The bright color on my dinner plate pops against the whites, browns and greens of turkey, stuffing and veggies. The super bright and tart flavor is a much-needed contrast against rich and heavy side dishes (often drowned in gravy). Plus, a schmear of cranberry sauce on a leftover turkey sandwich is a crucial component of one of my favorite lunches.
Each year, I change up my recipe to keep myself excited about the sauce, but also to convert a few family members who are convinced they just don’t like it. I’m sharing a few of my favorite recipes, but before we get into the kitchen, let me tell you a few things about America’s quintessential Thanksgiving fruit.
Read on for a serving of cranberry history plus a side of Chef Jenny’s recipes!
By Robert Laing—CEO, Farm.One
“I can’t feel my mouth.”
“What? What is this?”
“My tongue is all numb down one side.”
“Will I ever be normal again?”
“I like it.”
“I don’t like it.”
The toothache button fascinates me. It seems to sit on the edge of danger. The rest of the culinary plant world is so “safe” and well-defined. The traditional French herb garden has such an air of familiarity that it verges on boring. The toothache plant, however, is different.
Keep reading to learn about the toothache plant and check out the taste test video.
By Stephen Zagor — Dean of Restaurant & Culinary Management Program
“Is New York Too Expensive for Restaurateurs?” read the recent New York Times headline. What’s going on here? Are we about to experience a restaurant Armageddon? To read recent well-written and thoughtful stories in The New York Times and New York Post about the extremely challenging New York business environment for new and existing restaurants, one would think we are on the threshold of a cataclysmic event. Will our lives be mostly composed of delivered meal kits and food courts?
Well, skyrocketing rents are very problematic; the new labor laws and wage and hour policies are challenging; food and ingredient costs are never a bargain; and burdensome laws and regulations targeting food businesses appear in an endless stream. Each of these is a serious issue on its own. Now add doing business in New York City with its unique issues and sprinkle in intense competition from the most restaurants per capita anywhere in the United States. The result makes you wonder why anyone would be in this business. Let’s open a dry cleaning business – it must be easier.
Keep reading to get the full article on restaurant ownership in NYC.
By ICE Staff
If great food, great chefs plus supporting a great cause equals success, then this year’s New York City Wine & Food Festival was majorly successful. The Institute of Culinary Education hosted the festival’s Master Classes, including Bread Making with Bien Cuit’s Zachary Golper, a Roasting Master Class with prolific food writer Melissa Clark of The New York Times, Cake Decorating with cake genius Sylvia Weinstock and a Chocolate Master Class taught by ICE’s Creative Director and acclaimed Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis. All of the proceeds went to support No Kid Hungry and the Food Bank For New York City. Check out our video recap of the highlights of NYCWFF events at ICE.
Keep reading to watch the video highlights of NYCWFF at ICE.
By Caitlin Gunther
For the ICE blog “Life as a Student” series, we hand the mic to students from our career programs and give them the chance to share what it’s really like to be a student at ICE. Our newest student blogger, Brooke Bordelon, a California transplant with Louisiana roots, is a student in ICE’s Culinary Arts program with her sights set on the food media realm. Given her lifelong “obsession” with cooking and the skills she’s learning at ICE, we won’t be surprised if we see her in the test kitchen or food publication of her choice. In this interview, we introduce our readers to Brooke.
What’s your earliest food memory?
Funnily enough, my earliest food memory doesn’t even involve real food, but that fake, plastic food that kids used to play with back in the 90s. (I don’t know if kids these days still do — they probably have an app for that now.) I remember being obsessed with “cooking” in my miniature kitchen, complete with a pint-sized stove and microwave. Three-year-old me would putter around in that kitchen for hours, talking to myself while sticking all these different fake foods together with Velcro before making my family sit down to “taste” it all. Apparently it was one of the only toys I liked, go figure.
Keep reading to learn more about Brooke and why she chose to study at ICE.
By ICE Staff
Make sure your champagne (or seasonal cider) is on ice because we’ve got some celebrating to do: The Institute of Culinary Education has been named “The Best Culinary School in America” by The Daily Meal, a leading food and lifestyle website — and was awarded the same title by The Best Schools and EDinformatics. Add to this being named as one of America’s top culinary schools by FSR Magazine, and it goes without saying, it’s been an exciting year for the ICE community.
We asked Rachael Pack, cook editor of The Daily Meal, how ICE was chosen as the best culinary school in America. Having gone to culinary school herself, Rachael had been through the process of exhaustively researching culinary schools and was aware of the factors that prospective students weigh. As she explained, “I used the factors that were important to me as a student coming out of college: the reputation of the school, location, quality of facilities, length of study…and finally, cost.”
Keep reading to learn more about why ICE was awarded the Best Culinary School honor.
By Michael Laiskonis – Creative Director
As we look back at the latter half of the 19th century, continuing the results of historical research I’ve posted here and here, we arrive upon what might be considered the “golden age” of chocolate manufacturing in Manhattan. We see what began as a localized industry concentrated in lower Manhattan shift from small-scale “independent” makers to the greater reach of regional and nationally known brands, whose sizable factories often took up the length of a city block, moving uptown as the city continued to grow in size and influence.
I’ve come to think of the latter half of the 19th century as New York’s “golden age” of chocolate, in part because of the growth in number of chocolate makers in the city, from a handful in the early 1800s to a dozen or more before the turn of the 20th century. Much of what we know of chocolate culture during this period is preserved in the form of ornate tins and whimsical advertisements of the day. One might also imagine the role these chocolate makers played in the daily life of the street, tempting passersby with colorful displays, and perhaps a view of the chocolate-making process itself.
Keep reading to learn more about New York’s golden age of chocolate.
By James Briscione – Director of Culinary Development
Sous vide cooking is one of the fastest growing trends in modern cooking, among restaurant chefs and home cooks alike. Despite the fact that sous vide was first used in restaurants around the same time that microwave ovens hit the market for home cooks, it’s still viewed as a very new technology. But one thing that has really changed about sous vide over the past 40 years is the price. Sous vide equipment used to carry a price tag (around $1,000) that put it out of reach for most cooks. Today, the average home cook (or professional for that matter!) could be expertly equipped for sous vide cooking for $200 or less. And once you go vac, you’ll never go back. (See what I did there? Sous vide translates to under vacuum. Vac, vacuum…get it?)
I have been teaching sous vide cooking to students, professionals and home cooks at ICE for over five years, and my wife and I do a lot of sous vide cooking at home. If sous vide seems like too much effort for a home cook with a full work schedule and a family, let me persuade you to consider otherwise: With a busy schedule and two kids, the convenience and quality cannot be beat. What’s more, the sous vide method is easier than you think.
Additionally, for roughly the same amount of time, I have been part of The Official Jets Cooking School — helping Jets fans (and football fans in general) take their tailgating game to the next level. I’m a lifelong football fan and have always loved a good tailgate. As a chef, I don’t mess around when it comes to the food, which is why I love bringing sous vide to the tailgate. I cook my steak, even bacon — trust me on this — at home a day or two before the game. Then I quickly chill the cooked meat in an ice bath before holding it in the fridge or packing it in the cooler and heading for the stadium.
Keep reading to get Chef James’ recipe for the perfect sandwich for your next tailgate.