By John Ragan — USHG Senior Director of Operations and Master Sommelier 


John Ragan MS teaches Understanding Winea 10-week, in-depth course developed in collaboration between ICE and Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG). As USHG’s senior director of operations and master sommelier, John works with each of USHG’s restaurants to evolve their exceptional wine programs. 


We’ve all been there: You’re sitting down to a high-stakes dinner — maybe you’re meeting the in-laws, closing a deal or just trying to make a really good first impression — and someone hands you the wine menu. Ordering wine in a restaurant can feel a little intimidating, especially if you’re making decisions for a group. But with a few key tips and guidelines under your belt, ordering a great, versatile bottle with outstanding value can be a breeze.

John Ragan headshot


Order wine with confidence. Keep reading to get all of John’s tips. 


This is the third part of a three-part Valentine’s Day menu. Get the first course here and the second course here!


By Robert Ramsey — Director of Advanced Culinary Center


Round out your vegetarian Valentine’s Day with this savory main course. The presentation is beautiful and it’s actually a lot simpler than it looks to create. Plus, the rich buttery crust and truffle-infused mushroom duxelles scream decadence and luxury. If any of the mushrooms are unavailable, you can substitute any type of fresh mushrooms that are available.

Mushroom Tart

Keep reading to get the recipe for this delish, savory dish. 


Interview by Carly Evans


Inspiration can happen at any moment. For Scott Green, Executive Pastry Chef at The Langham Hotel Chicago and one of Dessert Professional’s Top Ten Pastry Chefs of 2016, his life-changing moment of inspiration occurred back when he was a student with a scholarship to study fine arts in Chicago, while watching a pastry documentary. Shortly after, he switched from fine arts to pastry arts and never looked back. As Chef Scott explains, “One moment of inspiration propelled me along a path as a pastry professional that has spanned more than fifteen years and taken me around the world.”


Chef Scott Green

We chatted with Chef Scott about his craft, the next culinary destination and his advice for pastry students.

Keep reading to get the full interview with Chef Scott.


In a new video from ICE and PEOPLE magazine, ICE Chef Jenny McCoy shares the secret to impressing your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day (hint: it’s CHOCOLATE).


Chef Jenny layers her ultra-rich chocolate cake — with an extra dose of delicious from the addition of espresso — with piles of velvety Nutella-mascarpone frosting and adds an exciting crunch from chopped hazelnuts. What’s more; though it looks and tastes impressive, this simple recipe requires minimal ingredients and no stand mixer or fancy tools — who needs the extra stress on the big day? Trust us: it’ll be love at first bite. Watch Chef Jenny demonstrate how to create the cake in the video below — then keep scrolling for the full recipe and her pro tips for whipping it up at home.

ICE + People Valentine's Day cake

Keep reading to watch the video and get the recipe for this decadent cake! 

By James Distefano – Chef Instructor, School of Baking & Pastry Arts


When I was the executive pastry chef at the original Rouge Tomate, my job was to incorporate more fruits and alternative grains into my baking while cutting back on the refined sugar and flours. I saw this directive as a positive challenge — one in which I could expand both my knowledge of ingredients and also my palette.

My medjool date sticky toffee pudding is a great example of this. It combines sweet medjool dates with whole wheat and buckwheat flours.

sticky toffee pudding

Keep reading to get the recipe for this (naturally) sweet treat! 


What drives you? How do you reach people? When you make your mark on the world, what will it look like? What’s your culinary voice? With the 2017 #CulinaryVoice Scholarship Challenge in full swing, we turned to the judges, ICE’s industry-leading chefs and instructors, and posed them that same question. Here’s a look at their answers.

Culinary Voice ICE Instructors

Entries and voting are open! Click here to enter or vote for your favorite video. 


This is the second part of a three-part Valentine’s Day menu. Get the first dish here! 


By Robert Ramsey — Director of Advanced Culinary Center


Figs and honey have long been considered aphrodisiacs by cultures the world over, so we’ll use both in this sweet and savory combination. Figs were supposedly the favorite fruit of Cleopatra and honey was prescribed by Hippocrates to boost libido. In short, this is the perfect Valentine’s Day appetizer, regardless of whether you stick to a vegetarian diet or not.

Fig toasts with ricotta

Keep reading to learn how to make these tasty toasts. 

Whether you’re rooting for the Patriots or the Falcons, there’s at least one thing we can all agree on: Super Bowl Sunday is the perfect day for watching football eating chicken wings. To help you score a tastier-than-ever Super Bowl spread, Chef James Briscione is sharing his secret to the ultimate make-at-home chicken wings. With a healthy dose of brining and a simple, delicious sauce, these wings will make even your non-enthusiast friends excited about football.

By James Briscione — Director of Culinary Development

Brined Chicken Wings

Keep reading to get the recipe for these flavorful, game day wings.  


If recipes are like the Oscars, oils generally fall into the category of Best Supporting Actor — but not anymore. In a new video from the Institute of Culinary Education and Direct Eats, ICE Chef Robert Ramsey shares three recipes that highlight the unique flavors of three tasty cooking oils — Smoked Olive Oil Carbonara with homemade Pasta All’ Uovo; Roasted Beets with Bitter Greens, Walnut Oil Emulsion, Blue Cheese and Walnut Oil Powder; and Tigernut Oil Ice Cream With Roasted Apples, Rolled Oat Crumble and Honey Tigernut Oil. Watch the video, then scroll down to get the recipes to let those oils shine.

Direct Eats Oil Exploration

Keep reading to watch the video + get Chef Robert’s recipes. 

This Valentine’s Day, skip the reservations race and treat your special someone to a decadent homemade meal. To help you conquer the most important step — menu planning — ICE Chef Robert Ramsey came up with the perfect, balanced, veggie-forward three-course meal, beginning with a winter citrus salad, followed by fig and ricotta toasts and ending with a rich truffle mushroom tart. The only things missing are a bottle of wine and a good playlist.


By Robert Ramsey — Chef Instructor, School of Culinary Arts


People often forget that citrus comes into season in the winter. This time of year, the fruit is at its sweetest, juiciest and most alluring…perfect for Valentine’s Day. If you can’t find every variety used in this recipe, use any mix of citrus fruit you desire. Here, we top it with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, also a winter crop. According to legend, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, is credited with planting the first pomegranate tree.


Keep reading to get Chef Robert’s recipe for winter citrus salad.