2017 was an incredible year for Vivian Howard (Culinary ’03). While continuing to lead critically acclaimed Chef & the Farmer and the beloved neighborhood oyster bar Boiler Room, she opened a third highly anticipated eatery, Benny's Big Time, a family-friendly pizza and pasta restaurant in Wilmington, NC. Vivian also racked up an impressive four IACP awards and a James Beard Award nomination for her book “Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South.” Here, the ICE alum and star of the Peabody Award-winning PBS documentary series "A Chef's Life" explains how she found that a return to her roots was exactly what her cooking needed.
Watch now as Vivian shares her culinary voice.
By Leslie Engel — Student, Culinary Arts ‘18
When you’re learning how to perfect your medium dice, you’re probably not contemplating how that carrot ended up on your cutting board. But as future chefs, we should occasionally step away from the kitchen and consider the broader implications of our work. How do our everyday decisions impact our environment, our communities and even the world?
ICE students began contemplating these weighty topics at the inaugural meeting of the Sustainability Club on Saturday, January 20. Our first stop was the Union Square Greenmarket, New York City’s bastion of locally grown, seasonal produce. The day kicked off with Chef Bill Telepan, ICE’s Director of Sustainability, leading us on a tour of the market and introducing us to some of his favorite farmers. While peas and asparagus are still several months away, we learned that there is life at the greenmarket in the dead of winter.
Keep reading to discover what ICE students cooked up at Chef Telepan's acclaimed restaurant.
By David Waltuck — Director of Culinary Affairs
Brandon Chrostowski is the founder and CEO of EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, a restaurant and school that provides culinary training and job placement assistance to formerly incarcerated men and women. Everyone who works there, from the kitchen to the dining room, is a former inmate.
I met Brandon when he worked at my restaurant, Chanterelle, from late 2005 to 2008, starting as a server, and ultimately becoming an assistant general manager. He originally applied and interviewed with my wife, Karen, for a front of the house job. Though he had no dining room experience, he had been cooking for years in a number of excellent restaurants in the U.S. and France. He explained that he wanted to work with us to learn how the front of the house functions.
Brandon and EDWINS are the subject of Thomas Lennon’s documentary “Knife Skills,” which was screened for students at ICE on January 18th and just received an Academy Award nomination for Documentary Short Subject. Brandon took a moment from his busy visit to New York to chat with me about EDWINS and some other projects in the pipeline.
David Waltuck: How did you get your start in restaurants and cooking?
Brandon Chrostowski: I got involved after being arrested and then put on probation. I needed to find something that would keep me busy.
Read on to learn how Brandon founded a groundbreaking restaurant.
Who says you can’t have pie for dinner? One thing we’ve learned from over 40 years of culinary education: pie is never not a good idea — especially as a main course. The galette we serve to guests at our special events is essentially that: pie crust with a savory filling that works perfectly for a main course dish. Special Events Chef Philipp Hering fills us in on why: “I love making galettes because they combine the fundamentals of both the savory and the pastry kitchen — from the buttery, flaky pie crust to the salty, flavorful filling. Because it’s winter, I developed a hearty, satisfying recipe with potatoes, leeks and parmesan cheese. This recipe, however, can be repurposed for any season, with your choice of seasonal filling.”
Keep reading to get Philipp's simple recipe for this delish dinner.
By James Briscione — Director of Culinary Research
The Sonicprep Ultrasonic Emulisifer by PolyScience is a piece of equipment that has fascinated me for a few years, but I never had the opportunity to use one. Until now. The Sonicprep is the latest addition to the Culinary Technology Lab here at ICE. The lab’s equipment spans from when man just learned to harness fire (our hearth oven, tandoor and rotisserie) to the most cutting edge cooking appliances in the world (sous vide and precision temperature induction). This latest addition may look more suited to a research lab than a kitchen, but its ability to help ICE chefs and students innovate with food (and flavor experimentation) is exactly why it belongs right where it is.
The Sonicprep is the key to creating, extracting, infusing and developing both flavor and texture in the fastest, most efficient and unique manner ever seen in a kitchen. Sonic waves force interactions between ingredients without the shearing, chopping or breaking that would be caused by a blender, so extracting or infusing flavors can become incredibly precise.
From something as simple as a new stove to an innovative, modern tool like the Sonicprep, there is always a learning curve when working with a new piece of equipment. When testing out a new stove, I always prepare something familiar, like a fried egg, to get my bearings. So for my first run with the Sonicprep, I also chose something I know well… alcohol.
By Natalie Zises — Student, Restaurant & Culinary Management ‘18
The food industry is not for the faint-hearted — long days, heavy lifting and endless tasks are pillars of your average hospitality position. Never did I feel that more than when I was working as a line cook at an upscale, all-day restaurant in the West Village. During those days, it wasn’t uncommon for me to leave work at 2:00 or 3:00am, without a trace of stamina to think about what I would feed myself, let alone to take a shower when I got home (though I did, half asleep).
Without healthy habits in place, my body began to break down. After three years as a line cook, I realized I had taken all I possibly could from the position — and it had taken a lot from me. It was time to move on and to put my body first. So I did. I made it my mission to use food to heal my body. I began by learning everything I could about food therapy, and soon after began a Master’s program in Nutrition and Integrative Health. But that wasn’t enough — I wanted to help others on their journey towards a more vibrant, energized and healthful life. But how?
Read on to learn how Natalie turned her health issues into a business idea.
At ICE, we make it our mission to help students find their culinary voice — that creative drive within each of us that determines how we express ourselves through food. Whether it’s a career training program, a recreational course in pie crusts or a special event featuring handmade pasta, we’ll give you the tools to hone your culinary creativity. Join us as we ask some of today’s leading food industry pros to share their culinary voice.
If mild flavors are your bag, then Chef Miguel Trinidad’s cooking is not for you. The ICE alum and chef-owner of critically acclaimed East Village restaurants Jeepney and Maharlika is all about bold, flavorful cuisine. It’s no surprise that Miguel was drawn to the cuisine of the Philippines. “Filipino food is like a punch in the mouth. It’s big, it’s loud and it takes you on a journey,” explains Miguel. At his restaurants, Miguel takes diners on a flavor-packed journey with his modern take on traditional Filipino dishes like kare kare (oxtail stew) and pata confit (crispy pork leg). Says Miguel of his preferred cuisine, “[e]ven when you’re stuffed, you still want to take another bite because it’s so delicious.”
Watch now as Miguel shares his culinary voice.
By Stephen Zagor — Dean, Restaurant & Culinary Management
What a year! As ICE’s Dean of Restaurant & Culinary Management, I feasted on the stories, successes, errors and reboots of dozens and dozens of industry notable guests, students and alumni. As a consultant, I peered over the shoulders of some huge industry names, as well as investors and stakeholders. As an expert in my field, I’ve researched numerous articles about current issues in our industry. Each day, I get to inspire, inquire, admire, rewire and even satire soon-to-be and long-standing successful food entrepreneurs. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new.
So, you might wonder, what, if anything, do those successful food entrepreneurs have in common? Is there a magic dust or is there a teachable skill? Here are some common takeaways I learned this year listening to culinary entrepreneurs. Let’s call them tips for going from "little" to "big."
Keep reading to get Stephen's tips for succeeding in the food biz.
By Luke Wu
“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.
Keep reading to learn which herbs you should be eating to stay healthy this winter.
Chef Anthony Ricco, ICE alum and executive chef of The William Vale, has a passion for feeding people — very well. The Brooklyn-native and former executive chef at Jean Georges’ Spice Market combines his culinary training and his unique style in every delicious dish that he creates. Though his roots are Italian, his culinary voice comes from a different part of the globe.
Watch the video to discover the inspiration for Chef Anthony Ricco’s culinary voice.