By Chad Pagano—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts and Host of Heritage Radio’s Wild Game Domain
When most people are just starting to think about the holiday season, my favorite holiday has already long past: October 1st, opening day of the New York State Archery whitetail deer season. I spent the evening prior checking and rechecking my gear, looking at my tree stand locations on Google earth, checking the weather and making sure my bow is perfectly tuned and sighted in.
As I drove towards the state parkway, I tempered thoughts of actually harvesting a deer on that first day. The early season on Long Island is notoriously rough on hunters. Warm weather, crowded woods and deer still stuck in their summer feeding patterns all make for an unlikely opening day kill. Regardless, I could not wait to just sit in my tree stand for a couple of hours and simply enjoy nature.
Read on for Chef Chad’s first deer sighting of the season and his delicious recipe for venison chili.
By Jenny McCoy—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
Mint chocolate chip ice cream is my absolute favorite. For this recipe, I decided to create a more elegant variation using cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips. The result is a less sweet— and very intense—chocolate flavor with each bite. When paired with my Chocolate Custard Tart, it makes a lovely dessert for chocolate lovers.
Despite having multiple components, this tart is really quite easy to make. I suggest preparing the tart dough or ice cream several days in advance to save time. The finished tarts are best when filled and baked up to one day before serving. If you really want to save time, you can purchase ice cream and pre-made tart shells, and simply make the tart filling from scratch. Read on for the full recipe.
By Kathryn Gordon—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
I have vivid memories of Christmas mornings at my childhood home. Even if we woke up extra early, we still had to wait to see what was in our stockings until just before breakfast, at which point my father always whipped up a batch of eggnog, which he sipped while we opened presents. I always thought it was a recipe that he had concocted on his own, but it turns out that it comes from his college roommate, a nuclear physicist named Bernie Van der Hoeven.
Both Bernie and my father used to use raw eggs, but I’ve updated the procedure to reflect more current egg safety standards. It keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, and the flavor only improves during that time. Read on for Kathryn’s take on Bourbon Eggnog.
By Chefs Andrea Tutunjian and Cara Tannenbaum
The silky green color of these non-traditional muffins is slightly obscured by the bright garnet cranberries, but take one bite and you’ll know the pistachios are there. To ensure that the miniature crowns of nuts and berries atop them stay in place when you flip them over, use paper liners in your muffin tins and coat the papers lightly with nonstick spray before adding the nuts and compote. The compote is also spectacular by itself; we even serve it with pancakes or waffles instead of syrup! Or, for a really indulgent treat, eat it with a bowl of vanilla ice cream.
Read on for Chefs Andrea and Cara’s unique spin on holiday muffins from their recent cookbook, In a Nutshell: Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds.
By Carly DeFilippo
In the restaurant business, December is one of the busiest times of the year, especially at such iconic restaurants as the legendary Gramercy Tavern. That’s where ICE Culinary Arts alumnus Juliette Pope works her magic, as the Beverage Director for both the restaurant’s “tavern” front room and formal dining room. With wines by the glass that range from $10-28 and bottles that span every corner of the globe, Juliette knows a little something about pleasing every palate at the table. So when it came to creating our guide to holiday drinking, we knew there was no better expert.
What criteria do you look for when pairing wines with a holiday menu?
The phrase “holiday menu” suggests many things: a large group of people, diverse tastes, varied dishes, serious imbibing, cold weather and a celebratory atmosphere. So don’t aim too high in terms of price tag. Think more in terms of wines with high impact—a lot of flavor, some semblance of luxury and appealing to a broad range of drinkers. Most importantly, don’t geek out too hard on specific pairings unless you know your audience to be gastronerds.
Read on to get Juliette’s picks for memorable holiday gifts.
By Jeff Yoskowitz—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
Every year since I can remember, my extended family has journeyed to my cousin’s house in Irvington, New York for a Chanukah celebration. My father, when he was alive, would enter their home, immediately tie on an apron, grab a bowl of latke mix and start frying potato latkes by the hundreds. It would take him hours, but he loved every minute of it.
It was a special time for me, and I always ate too much of the iconic fried foods prepared for the celebration. When desserts were served, there were always fried doughnuts—usually jelly-filled—that I ate, regardless of how full I was. Over the years, it came as no surprise that I took charge of dessert, making jelly-filled doughnuts of all kinds. One of my favorite variations to make is this recipe, where the doughnuts are filled with the jelly before you fry them. There really is no comparison to eating a fresh, warm doughnut infused with a warm fruit preserve.
Read on for Chef Jeff’s ultimate sufganiyot (Israeli jelly doughnut) recipe.
By Carly DeFilippo
These days, an emphasis on local goods is hardly out of the ordinary. Yet, our passion for beautifully designed, handmade products didn’t just happen. The careful curation of products by such trendsetters as ICE Culinary Management graduate Gaia DiLoreto, owner of By Brooklyn in Carroll Gardens, has helped the local “trend” blossom into a full-fledged movement. Read on for the story behind Gaia’s success and her list of the best food gifts in Brooklyn.
What have you been up to since graduating?
I graduated in October of 2010 and continued working on a business concept I developed in class, By Brooklyn, which I opened six months later on April 30, 2011! The idea came to me during the Management program and my instructors encouraged me to move forward with the business plan I had developed with them. By Brooklyn is a specialty retail shop located in Carroll Gardens that exclusively sells goods made in Brooklyn.
By Carly DeFilippo—Student, School of Culinary Arts
For most of my time in culinary school, I’ve been learning time-tested techniques or following a recipe “to a T.” So with the exception of a few lessons in modern plating, the ICE “market basket challenge” was the first time I was asked to truly cook creatively for my Chef Instructor and classmates.
These Chopped!-style lessons, which culminate in an exam of the same format, have been among my favorite moments in the program. After months of following specific directions, I knew that having a blank canvas with only the specification to use “bacon, scallops and tomatoes” or “half a chicken” would be the ultimate test of what I had really learned.
If asked to imagine the type of chef who excels in the fast-paced world of television cooking competitions, you might think of a stoic restaurant veteran, someone who thrives on the heat and stress of the kitchen. You wouldn’t necessarily imagine a contestant who seeks to share a social mission with the world, a message about her own past struggles with an eating disorder and the healing she found in organic, whole foods. But that’s exactly what ICE Culinary Arts graduate Lindsey Becker had in mind when she auditioned for The Taste, and she’s using the celebrated ABC show as a platform to inspire others to get in the kitchen and take responsibility for their health—in the most delicious way.
What have you been up to since graduating?
Since graduating from ICE, I started my own personal chef business providing healthy cooking services to clients throughout NYC. I would typically cook in clients’ homes once a week and prepare about 5 days’ worth of meals that were specifically crafted to their palate and healthy living or weight loss goals. Recently, a fantastic family offered me a full time position to be their private chef. It is an absolute dream job, and I’ve never been happier.
Read on to learn about Lindsey’s path from the glamorous world of magazines to inspiring meaningful change as a chef.