“Everybody thinks they know how you should run your restaurant,” says Culinary Management instructor Vin McCann. “But what really matters—and what I focus on as a consultant—is the early stages of a project. The initial choices can be make or break. If you start on the wrong foot, you’re likely to end up crippled.”
As an executive for such iconic restaurant groups and corporations as Shelly Fireman’s Café Concepts, American Hospitality or National Restaurants Management, Vin has truly seen it all. In his seven years at National Restaurants alone, he oversaw more than $300 million worth of projects in more than 100 different venues. So when it comes to knowing where the money goes—and where new business operators trip up—you’re unlikely to meet a more seasoned expert.
This fall, ICE is thrilled to host Food & Wine’s New York City Wine & Food Festival master classes. As the home of one of the nation’s leading programs for hands-on recreational cooking, baking and wine classes, we’re thrilled to welcome these amazing guest chefs into our kitchens.
Pizza and Pasta Master Class with Justin Smillie
Having earned three stars in the New York Times as the executive chef of beloved eatery Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, Justin Smillie ranks among NYC’s most celebrated purveyors of Italian cuisine. In celebration of Smillie’s recently opened California-inspired brasserie, Upland, guests will learn to make Smillie’s signature pizza and pasta recipes and will also head home with a copy of the chef’s forthcoming cookbook, Slow Fires: Mastering New Ways of Braising, Roasting, and Grilling (Clarkson Potter, November 2015).
Roast Chicken Master Class with Jonathan Waxman
A native Californian, Jonathan Waxman first made his name at Alice Waters’ legendary Chez Panisse before establishing himself as Executive Chef of Michael’s in Santa Monica. In 1984, Waxman made his mark on New York with Jams, and is best known today for his iconic roast chicken at Barbuto in the West Village. Guests will receive a hands-on roasting lesson from this former Top Chef Masters contestant, including the secrets behind his signature dish.
Read on for the full schedule of NYCWFF master classes at ICE.
By Kathryn Gordon—Co-Chair, Center for Advanced Pastry Studies
When it comes to the art of the airbrush, there’s little Lisa Berczel hasn’t tried. From painting cars to cakes and even the human body, Lisa is renowned for her genre-defying airbrush illusions and artwork. This summer, we’re thrilled to host a two-day workshop with Lisa on August 29-30th at our Center for Advanced Pastry Studies. Read on to learn more about Lisa’s diverse industry experience.
What techniques will be covered in the CAPS class?
The class is a comprehensive two-day boot camp. The first day will focus on understanding the airbrush, knowing which airbrush is the best fit for our needs and proper workplace setup. Students will learn and practice all the basic strokes, cleaning procedures and how to troubleshoot common issues. The second day we’ll introduce more advanced techniques, such as stenciling and painting on decorative items such as edible printer sheets, wafer paper, molded fondant and more.
At ICE, we’re committed to helping students make their dreams of a culinary career a reality. Our Office of Financial Aid can help students explore such options as grants, scholarships, out-of-state and double diploma tuition discounts, visa application processes, affordable housing options and more. So before you say, “I can’t afford culinary school,” learn about the many resources at your disposal.
Read on to watch a video about financial aid opportunities at ICE.
By Michael Laiskonis—ICE Creative Director
Now that ICE has moved into a new home in Lower Manhattan, our long-anticipated Chocolate Lab and state-of-the-art pastry kitchens are nearly ready to begin classes. In turn, my day-to-day role at the school has remained as active and varied as ever. Yet between regular class visits with our professional Pastry and Baking Arts students and my own roster of courses for ICE’s School of Professional Development, I’ve still found time to continue research on various creative projects.
Selecting ICE’s Single-Origin
With regard to the Chocolate Lab, the bean-to-bar equipment has arrived and is ready to be turned on, including a roaster, winnower, refiner and tempering machine. Meanwhile, my mind has been focused on raw materials. Over the past few months, I’ve begun collecting an array of single-origin samples from regions including the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Madagascar, Trinidad and Tanzania. Though one can begin to assess the qualities of a cocoa bean from visual cues (cut tests on a sample of beans can reveal certain aspects of the fermentation process) the true potential of the bean is realized with sample roasts and careful tasting of the nibs. I won’t give away the results just yet, but I believe I’ve decided on which bean we’ll be using for our very first batch of chocolate!
Read on for more of Chef Michael’s recent research & development projects.
When it comes to chefs that have changed the way America eats, few have been more influential than Top Chef Masters champion and James Beard Award-winner Rick Bayless. He’s introduced millions of diners and home cooks to the authentic cuisine of Mexico through his six restaurants, eight cookbooks and numerous television appearances. This spring, he shared personal stories and valuable career advice with ICE students when he visited the school as part of our ongoing “Meet the Culinary Entrepreneurs” lecture series.
Read on to watch a video about Rick’s unique “culinary voice” and the way it has shaped his dynamic career.
By Jenny McCoy—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
For chefs, the notion of shopping locally is a romantic one: Glorious, sun-filled mornings, strolling through the farmers’ market with a warm latte and freshly fried apple cider doughnut in hand. Stopping for a quick chat with your favorite farmers. Carrying the day’s bounty back to your restaurant in a little red wagon. This is every chef’s dream morning, but that’s not how it really goes down.
Seasonal and local sourcing is not for control freaks; it’s for those who know the only thing you can rely on is change. That leisurely morning at the market? This experience rarely goes off without a hitch. Odds are, the beautiful, handpicked mâche you were dreaming of might not even make it to the market. If you leave with 100% of the produce you expected to source, it’s like winning the lottery. But that’s when your skills as a chef truly come into play, because when you have a menu devoted to seasonal and local produce, you actively plan for improvisation. If snap peas lack their snap, you can substitute long beans. If the peaches are overripe, you substitute plums for your tart—or buy the peaches on the cheap and make sorbet.
Read on to learn how smart chefs reinvent their menus with the seasons.
The first thing you notice about Culinary Arts alum Greta Anthony is that nothing stands in the way of her professionalism. Not giving an interview on a noisy street corner when her office is too busy. Not even keeping the appointment for said interview in the wake of winning her fourth (and second consecutive!) James Beard Award for the production of Martha Stewart’s Cooking School. Which is to say that you can understand how Greta Anthony managed to not only become the first culinary intern ever hired at Martha Stewart, but also how she transformed that opportunity into an incredibly successful career in food television production.
Yet before Greta became an uber-producer for one of the world’s most impressive media brands, she was a career changer looking to reinvent herself at ICE. “I was working in the jewelry industry with no prior culinary experience. I knew I didn’t want to work in a restaurant, but I did know that I wanted to work in food, and was confident I would figure out the details at school.”
In fact, it was through ICE’s externship program that Greta found the opportunity at Martha Stewart. At the end of her externship, Greta was offered a freelance position at the company. Soon enough, she had landed a full time job, and has since been with the company for nearly 20 years.
Standing on an unassuming, quiet corner of New York’s Lower East Side, you would never imagine you were mere steps from one of the city’s premier food media production companies. Yet ICE alum and James Beard Award winner Jamie Tiampo’s company, SeeFood Media, is just that—an outlier in more ways than its low-key location. SeeFood fills a niche in which it has no real competitor: a “one-stop shop” featuring 7 kitchen sets, a rooftop for outdoor cooking segments, separate prep kitchens for food stylists, an in-house prop shop and a team of seasoned professionals who have produced several hundred food-centric video and photo shoots. “I started with the fundamental question of how to make food look better,” said Jamie. “From there, it was a matter of engineering the systems and facilities from the ground up to support that mission.”
As with many successful entrepreneurs, SeeFood Media wasn’t Jamie’s first business venture. His pre-food background includes stints working for multiple start-ups, including helping start a company that was eventually acquired by IBM. After cutting his teeth in the early 2000’s dot-com boom, Jamie found himself in the unique situation of being able to pursue his lifelong passion for food. He quit his job and enrolled in New York University’s master’s program in Food Studies and ICE’s Culinary Management program. “Some of my most valuable early experiences came from the Culinary Management program. My instructor, Steve Zagor, blended real-world exposure with case studies and analysis, which helped me understand the business of food.”
By Alison Mahoney—Student, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
Following rules isn’t something that comes naturally to me as a baker. Despite the stereotype that successful pastry chefs use more or less scientific methods, my more fearless approach has gotten me fairly far in the kitchen. That said, there’s only so far that one can go without structure, which is why I decided to enroll at ICE: to leash the puppy, so to speak.
With that in mind, it probably wouldn’t surprise you if I told you that I’ve had my fair share of baking disasters. I can recall, in vivid detail, every single baked good gone bad: the crater cake, the s’mores that tripped the fire alarm (and, in turn, the fire department) and the quicksand fruit tart. Since that last disaster—almost five years now—pastry cream and I have not been friends. Not even frenemies.
So imagine my stress when I walk into class to learn that we were making tarts: fruit tarts. I felt my knees weaken, my pulse race and I think I even broke into a cold sweat. But it was time to finally laugh in the face of danger and master the art of pastry cream.