By Carly DeFilippo—Student, School of Culinary Arts
As I round the corner on the last lap of culinary school, it’s amazing to consider how far my classmates and I have come. Less than eight months ago, many of us didn’t know how to tell the difference between oregano and marjoram. Today, we’re tackling the recipes of the greatest chefs of our time.
After working through a seemingly endless array of techniques, our class has arrived at the point in our program where we spend five days crafting menus by five incredible chefs: Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Rick Bayless and Ming Tsai. Yet, despite the caliber of these culinary leaders, I didn’t initially feel excited about these lessons. Of course, I have immense respect for all these chefs, but, as a student, I have typically found that I learn more by studying a general concept than by following a recipe.
But oh, how I was wrong. Just like any line cook who has worked under a truly great chef, “merely following a recipe” turned out to be quite the lesson in and of itself.
By Stephanie Fraiman
When it comes to building a successful restaurant or food business, who better to turn to than the expert consultants and Culinary Management instructors at ICE? In this four part video series, created in collaboration with American Express, we invite aspiring and current restaurant owners to explore the world of restaurant management with tips, advice and insider information that can help ensure your success.
From breaking down menu costs to learning the secrets of preventing bar or retail theft, get a leg up in this highly competitive industry. Offering their expertise are instructors from ICE’s School of Culinary Management: Dean of Culinary Business and Management, Steve Zagor; instructors Vin McCann and Brian Buckley; Director of Beverage Studies, Anthony Caporale; and public relations consultant, Cindi Avila. Videos include:
- Recipe for Restaurant Profits
- Restaurant Success: How to Sizzle and Not Fizzle
- Preventing Bar and Retail Theft
- Building Your Marketing Plan: Public Relations, Social Media and Advertising
By Victoria Burghi—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
The holidays bring out a little extra style and glamour in all of us. In the same way we like to decorate our homes and dress up for our celebrations, we should create festive desserts to match the allure and the magic of the season. When deciding what to serve at a holiday gathering, I take into consideration a few factors: how easy it is to prepare a dessert, flavors I want to highlight, my budget and—of course—how much I want to impress my guests!
In terms of flavors, I like to keep holiday desserts within the seasonal range. Nothing says the holidays like cranberries, pumpkin, sweet potato or eggnog. After all, we have the rest of the year to make apple pie, don’t we?
Holiday celebrations are also the time to splurge on expensive ingredients that we might avoid otherwise, from nut pastes (pistachio, almond and praline) to expensive chocolates or liqueurs. As far as impressing guests, a beautiful presentation is key. There are some obvious options, like silver and gold dragées, but with a few easy tips, you can make any sweet more glamorous and festive.
If you would like to learn first-hand how to create show-stopping desserts, I will be teaching a Holiday Baking class at ICE on November 14th. In anticipation of the class, I’m sharing one of my favorite creative holiday treats: White Chocolate Bûche de Noël with Cranberry Marmalade.
By Carly DeFilippo
October is always an exciting time for food events in New York City, and this year, ICE was at the forefront of all the biggest gatherings. From the NYC Wine & Food Festival to StarChefs International Chefs Congress to City Harvest’s annual Bid Against Hunger, our alumni, faculty and student volunteers were rubbing elbows with industry leaders and showing their ICE pride.
At this year’s New York City Wine & Food Festival, not only did 55 student volunteers help headlining chefs serve thousands of festival attendees, but ICE’s own Director of Culinary Development James Briscione was among the featured presenters at the festival’s Grand Tasting event. With the help of three Culinary Arts students, Chef James wowed the crowd with his ancho chili lamb—and more than 2,500 cheddar biscuits.
By James Briscione, Director of Culinary Development
Throughout the past 20 years, the “food scene” has emerged as an integral part of popular culture. Chefs have gone from hiding behind closed kitchen doors to serving as the restaurant’s main attraction. Gone are the days of dinner and a show. Today, dinner has become the show. Restaurant reservations are badges of honor and every year, more and more sauté pans flash and sizzle on your television screen. Even feature films are increasingly set in the kitchen!
In my personal experience as a chef, the public’s growing interest in food has created professional opportunities that I never imagined when I started cooking in 1996—from appearances on competitions like Chopped! to teaching America cooking tips on the Today Show. However, for those entering the industry as newcomers, these shows often fail to reveal the day-to-day grind of the kitchen, a slow and steady process of career growth that takes years—not merely 12 episodes. Today, as a chef and a culinary educator with one foot firmly in both the pre- and post- television food scene, I’d like to share a few thoughts on choosing a career in the kitchen.
By Chef Sarah Chaminade, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
As soon as the month of September rolls around, we’re inundated with pumpkin flavor; from lattes to muffins to Oreos…it’s everywhere! I love pumpkin, but my opinion is that if something is called “pumpkin ______” it should contain the real thing—not artificial flavoring.
Enter: granola. Granola is a great way to incorporate pumpkin into your daily diet. It features all those warm spices that make you think of fall—cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice—plus this recipe actually has real pumpkin in it!
It’s important to note that, just as most pumpkin products contain no actual pumpkin, granola can be deceivingly unhealthy for a supposed health food. Most recipes are high in calories due to large quantities of vegetable oil. However, in this case, you needn’t fear empty calories, as it’s the inclusion of pumpkin purée—along with maple syrup and applesauce—rather than oil that helps add moisture to this recipe.
By Maureen Drum Fagin, Director of Career Services
This fall, ICE hosted the biggest career fair in our 39-year history. Employers from virtually every sector of the food and hospitality industry were on hand, hungry to fill their openings with fresh talent from our kitchens and classrooms. Among the participating employers were industry leaders Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, Great Performances, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Craft Restaurant Group, Jean Georges’ Spice Market, Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, Union Square Hospitality Group and many more.
The event is an incredible resource for our students and alumni, but—like any networking event—you get out what you put in. Here are ICE’s top tips for mastering any job fair:
1. Do your homework. There’s nothing more flattering to an employer than a student who approaches their recruiting table referencing a recent review in the Times or an upcoming restaurant launch mention in Eater. Want to work for Union Square Hospitality Group? If you devoured Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table in one sitting, then make that known—it’s a surefire way to have your résumé rise to the top of the stack.
By Carly DeFilippo
While cooking in restaurant kitchens is time well spent for any culinary career, many ICE students enroll in our program with the goal to find a future in food outside of restaurant kitchens. Fusing her freelance writing experience with her culinary training, ICE alum Katie Barreira (Culinary Arts ‘07) has landed her dream job in food media, strategically building a career that includes both test kitchen and editorial experience at such magazines as Every Day with Rachael Ray—and, most recently, as the Test Kitchen Director for Cooking Light.
Why did you choose ICE for your culinary education?
After graduating from Bucknell University with a BA in English, I worked on the line at La Morra, a fine dining Tuscan restaurant in Brookline, MA, while freelance writing for publications like the Boston Globe. So when it came to choosing a school, I liked that ICE supported food media as a culinary career path and encouraged me to use my externship as a springboard toward work in that part of the industry. And, as it turns out, the industry connections I made through my externship at Food & Wine magazine were instrumental in helping me break into food media.
Are there any professional accomplishments of which you are particularly proud?
When I started out in magazines, test kitchen and editorial work were viewed as two very separate entities, but it was important to me to be able to flex my muscles as both a cook and a writer. It took a good deal of perseverance to successfully pursue both, but doing so provided me with the most fulfilling and exciting work of my career.
Blame it on Joe Beef: ever since Chefs Frédéric Morin and David McMillan opened this popular temple of elegant excess in 2005, American magazines and food blogs can’t get enough of the indulgent dishes from the capital of poutine. But while Montreal’s savory dishes get most of the hype, the city has no lack of impressive outposts for sweets. ICE Chef Instructor Victoria Burghi reports back from her recent trip to the “city of saints.”
As a pastry chef, I’ve always enjoyed exploring the food scene of a new city—in particular, learning about new styles of sweets. So I was thrilled to visit Montreal this summer and to learn about the city’s wide range of traditional, modern, unique and audacious sweets.
A note about local flavor: one word that you quickly learn in Montreal is “érable,” which means maple. Canada is the number one producer of maple syrup in the world, most of it coming from the province of Quebec. Thus, it’s no surprise that it has become a very popular ingredient, seen in maple candies, fudge, butter, cookies and an infinite amount of other confections.
By Virginia Monaco, ICE Department of Student Affairs
During his eight-year tenure as Executive Pastry Chef for Le Bernardin, ICE Creative Director Michael Laiskonis was often praised for his innovative desserts. Yet, while he was given a good deal of creative freedom in that role, there were still significant restraints on his dishes. First and foremost, they had to make sense in the context of the Le Bernardin’s fine dining menu, and there was always the essential question of food costs.
Since joining ICE’s team in 2012, Chef Michael has had the opportunity to push his creative boundaries, with both sweet and savory dishes. From working with the IBM Watson team on the cognitive cooking project to exploring the regional dishes of his Latvian ancestors, it’s clear that he has been hard at work. This fall, Michael took a moment to reflect and share both the results and the lessons of his new discoveries with ICE students and alumni.