By Casey Feehan
A lot can happen in the time between pitching and publishing a cookbook—especially when that process takes seven years. Aside from the endless edits, re-writes, negotiations and time in the kitchen, life happens: trends are fickle, science can change facts, and various moving parts may drift away. It’s enough to make anyone go nuts.
Nuts are exactly what Assistant Dean of Students, Cara Tannenbaum, and Director of Education, Andrea Tutunjian, have had on the brain for the past seven years, all leading up to the recent release of their first book, In a Nutshell: Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds (W. W. Norton & Co.), which they celebrated last Thursday evening at ICE. Yet for Andrea and Cara, those seven years never rattled their working relationship and friendship, which sparked two decades ago in the kitchen.
By Michael Laiskonis, ICE Creative Director
Seldom does a week go by without my receiving a dozen or more of emails, phone calls or text messages, all looking for answers.
“Do you have a recipe for…?”
“Have you ever tried…?”
“What would happen if…?”
Far from being a burden, I happily participate in these personal exchanges because I believe there should be no secrets in cooking. The thing I value most about being a chef is the community that comes with it; there’s an atmosphere of friendly competition that encourages sharing.
As chefs, we can easily get in over our heads. It’s a scary feeling, but the process of finding a solution is also quite rewarding. I’m certainly not above asking others for advice on problems that I’m working out. Having been asked for help myself, I’ve realized that assisting others is sometimes the best way to learn new things—especially in an age when so many of our questions involve harnessing (or occasionally attempting to defy) the laws of physics and chemistry.
When it comes to healthy, delicious cooking, there are few ingredients more tasty or versatile than nuts and seeds. That’s why it’s no surprise that the latest cookbook from the ICE family, In a Nutshell, is making big waves in the food community. Written by ICE Director of Education Andrea Tutunjian and Assistant Dean of Students Cara Tannenbaum, the book is an all-in-one-guide to mastering an incredible range of techniques. From sunflower seeds to pepitas, peanuts to macadamias, it’s a literal rainbow of protein-packed dips, roasts, desserts and more.
In celebration of the book’s release, Oprah.com’s #OwnShow checked in with the chefs to learn five unusual ways to use everyone’s favorite snack nut: the almond. Enjoy Cara and Andrea’s tips in the videos below, and click the name of each dish for the full recipe!
As the Executive Chef and Owner of Cull & Pistol in Chelsea Market, ICE Culinary Management alum David Seigal is literally at the center of New York City’s food scene. His refined take on seafood-centric dining has received raves in the Wall Street Journal, Zagat, Tasting Table and other publications. Today, David credits his success with 12 years of “blood, sweat and tears” cooking on the line, as well as his entrepreneurial business training at ICE.
How did ICE help you find your culinary voice?
The Culinary Management program at ICE was instrumental in helping me think analytically from a business standpoint, beyond a culinary “what tastes good and how do I get it on the plate” perspective. As I mentioned before, it’s crucial for chefs to understand the business side of cooking, and ICE helped me to start paying more attention to the interplay between food, service and décor, as well as the guest experience. I’ve opened six restaurants since 2003 and the curriculum at ICE helped develop my hospitality philosophy for each of these businesses.
It’s been nearly two years since Super Storm Sandy crashed onto the shores of New York City, particularly ravaging the up-and-coming neighborhood of Red Hook. ICE Culinary Arts alum Sohui Kim was a pioneer in the community’s restaurant scene, and her story emerged as one of the great Red Hook triumphs in the aftermath of Sandy. Today, her restaurant, The Good Fork, has become one of the landmarks of Brooklyn cuisine, bridging the gap between comfort food and fine dining.
What are your proudest accomplishments?
Since opening in 2006, The Good Fork has been written up in a multitude of local, national and international publications including the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appétit, Food + Wine and GQ. We won “Best New Brooklyn Restaurant” and “Best New Neighborhood Joint in 2007” from Time Out New York. We’ve also been named a “Bib Gourmand” by the Michelin Guide for the past five years. And after eight years, we are still on the radar, making the Essential Eater 38 list for three years in a row.
By Casey Feehan
Often, chefs demand perfection in the kitchen, obsessing over every minute detail. But sometimes, an ingredient’s imperfections are exactly what makes a dish stand out. Take broken rice: a bi-product of the milling process, the result is grain that, when cooked, has a softer and stickier texture than provided by perfect grains. Less expensive than intact varieties, broken rice—occasionally referred to as Mali rice—is the base of many rich, homey dishes commonly found throughout Southeast Asia and West Africa. Fragrant, flavorful and thoroughly satisfying, Chef Instructor Michael Garrett‘s recipe is an example of how some things are perfect just the way they are. He recommends using West African dried fermented fish to impart a pungent, nutty aroma to the dish.
- 3/4 fl. oz. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 quarts sweet onions, julienned
- 1/2 quart tomato paste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1/2 dried fermented fish
- 1/2 scotch bonnet, split
- 1 1/4 quart broken jasmine rice (find it in Asian and Afro-Caribbean markets—or Kalustyan’s spice shop, in New York City)
- 1 1/2 quarts water or fish fumet
Tariq Hanna’s first job may have been working the sandwich board at Sol’s Deli in Southfield, Michigan, but, today, he’s at the top of the food chain, running one of the country’s premier pastry shops, Sucré. Tariq has competed on multiple Food Network and TLC pastry challenges, and he has received numerous accolades, including “2007 Pastry Chef of the Year” in New Orleans Magazine. In 2012, Tariq was also inducted into the American Chefs Corps, an elite group of 80 chefs nominated by the State Department to serve as chefs and diplomatic ambassadors for both visiting dignitaries and cultural exchange efforts. In anticipation of Tariq’s upcoming October 21-22 workshop at ICE’s Center for Advanced Pastry Studies, we sat down with the chef to learn a little more about the evolution of his exciting career.
What specialties have you chosen to share with CAPS students at ICE, and why these products?
My favorite products change with my moods, and I love the fact that we make a large variety of items, from chocolates to macarons, pastries, cakes, gelato, confections, etc. This diversity gives me a constant revolving door of product to focus on when expanding our portfolio. For the CAPS course, I have chosen to focus on my current favorite products: petits gateaux, verrines and tarts. The class will touch on the realistic challenges of a pastry shop owner, balancing a beautiful visual effect with an interest in creating delicious and innovative techniques.
By Carly DeFilippo
As a young ICE graduate, Sabrina Sexton launched her career in two innovative kitchens whose exceptional food and casual bistro style would forever change New York City’s downtown dining scene: Chanterelle and Gramercy Tavern. Today, she has returned to ICE as our lead Culinary Arts instructor, training the next generation of game-changing chefs.
While finishing her pre-med program at Johns Hopkins University, Sabrina realized she was more anxious about becoming a doctor than passing her MCATs. Deep down, she knew it was time to trade in her lab coat for, well, another white coat—an ICE chef’s jacket.
As part of her Culinary Arts program at ICE, Sabrina externed at Chanterelle, a groundbreaking fine dining establishment in Manhattan’s then undeveloped downtown. The restaurant’s SoHo kitchen proved to be the perfect training ground for the young cook. Sabrina describes Executive Chef David Waltuck as the kind of leader who was truly happiest behind the stove and exceptionally “thoughtful about the ‘why’ of cooking.” Under Waltuck’s wing, Sabrina learned to carefully consider flavor pairings and the way different techniques would change the expression of flavor in a dish.
By Carly DeFilippo
Whether as an executive chef, butcher or co-founder of a traveling pop-up dinner series, ICE Culinary Arts and Management alum Alex Pope has received numerous accolades for his progressive style of cooking. Most notably, in 2011, he received a nomination for Food & Wine’s “People’s Best New Chef,” establishing Alex among Kansas City’s most exciting culinary leaders. In his most recent venture, as the CEO and co-owner of a sustainable butcher shop, Local Pig, Alex has earned praise from the likes of the New York Times for his homemade sausages, expert cuts of meat and hands-on fabrication classes.
Tell us a little about your experiences running a pop-up restaurant and opening your butcher shop. What were your goals, your challenges, and triumphs?
Pop-up restaurants are grueling, but they’re a lot of fun and very rewarding artistically, as you get to try dishes and techniques that you just wouldn’t attempt in a day-to-day service restaurant. At my first pop-up dinner, I sauced the plate with a paintball! I bought neutral paintball shells, filled them with beet paint and shot them at each plate. Every plate was a unique splatter. (Yes, we broke plates, but not that many.) Another time, I set up the plating tables in the middle of the dining room, and for one course we brought out 15 foot ladders and the cooks stood on them to squirt different sauces out of squeeze bottles onto the plates. It was very dramatic.
The butcher shop has really been my biggest accomplishment. We’ve truly created a viable alternative food system. We bring in more than 7,000 pounds of meat and serve more than 2,000 people each week between the shop, local restaurants and grocery stores. Every animal we source is raised outdoors on a small family farm (free of drugs and confinement), is treated with dignity it’s whole life and slaughtered humanely. Everything is fresh and local—raised 50 or so miles from our shop—and we’re open 360 days a year. We accept food stamps and we have clientele from every walk of life.