By Jessie Craig, Department of Career Services
You will often hear our Career Services Advisors speaking with students about the importance of the externship portion of our Culinary, Pastry & Baking Arts and Hospitality Management diploma programs. The externship experience is one of the key elements that sets our school apart, as we are able to guide students into the kitchens and offices of some of New York City’s and America’s top restaurants, hotels, pastry shops and media outlets. In 2013 alone, the school’s Career Services Department placed 499 students on externship in 292 establishments across the country. This crucial real-world experience is the best way to jump-start our graduates’ careers, providing a valuable network of industry contacts and the likelihood of being hired out of an externship for their first job.
Throughout each diploma program, ICE’s Career Services Advisors meet with students individually to discuss their personal interests and goals within the food and hospitality industry. These meetings allow us to assist each student in identifying externship sites where they can “trail” (or interview), to gain additional insight into the types of business where they might like to work. Students are encouraged to complete trails at several sites before making their final commitment to an externship, so as to find the best site to fit their interests and long-term goals. We pride ourselves on our long-standing relationships with leading chefs, media outlets and entrepreneurs in the industry, and we encourage students to use their externship as a “golden ticket opportunity,” an opportunity to get their foot in the door with the top employers.
By Grace Reynolds
ICE alum Elisa Strauss is the owner of Confetti Cakes, a boutique cake design company. Strauss, named one of “America’s Top Ten Pastry Chefs” in 2008 by Dessert Professional Magazine, specializes in hand-sculpted and unique cakes that are best described as edible works of art.
Strauss’ creations have appeared on the Today show, Sex and the City, the View and Martha. Her cakes have also been featured in InStyle, Martha Stewart Weddings, Marie Claire, Seventeen, Elle, Vogue, Modern Bride, New York Magazine, BRIDES, Elegant Bride and The Knot.
This past month, Elisa graciously agreed to share her story with us, offering us a window into the world of professional cake design.
By Shay Spence
In culinary school, there exists a great divide that all comes down to one crucial distinction: are you savory or sweet? Here at ICE, students fall into one of these categories, dependent upon whether they choose the culinary or pastry career track.
As a Culinary Arts student for the past five months, I can tell you that the differences between us boil down to a lot more than just sugar and salt. Pastry students are refined. They are meticulously detail-oriented. They are studying a science. We culinary students tend to be a little more…“rough-around the edges.” We deviate from recipes. We like to get creative.
When Module 4 came around this January and my fellow culinary arts comrades and I were faced with pastry classes, we were all a little bit concerned. A group of savory-loving cooks embarking on a month-long journey of baking and sweets is like unleashing a pack of rabid hyenas on the Westminster Dog Show. Something was bound to go horribly wrong.
By Virginia Monaco, Department of Student Affairs
When you think of the quintessential New York City chef, a few famous names come to mind, but Andrew Carmellini is definitely at the top of the list. You won’t see his face plastered on a billboard or endorsing a product in a magazine, facts that contribute to Carmellini’s reputation as a “Chef’s Chef”. Respected for his dedication to the craft, his talent and undeniable work ethic, his career reads like a history of New York City dining—and it’s nowhere near finished.
Having honed his chops under the watchful eye of some of the city’s top chefs, Carmellini made a name for himself as Chef de Cuisine at Café Boulud. During his six-year tenure, he earned a three-star New York Times review, two James Beard Awards and the respect, admiration and attention of many in the industry. Today, Carmellini oversees the kitchen at three of his own—and New York’s most popular—restaurants: Locanda Verde, The Dutch and Lafayette. His forth restaurant is slated to open later this year.
By Carly DeFilippo
This spring, ICE will launch Understanding Wine, a groundbreaking 10-week program with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. As one of the nation’s top restaurant groups, USHG’s innovative wine program has long been recognized among the industry’s best. This exclusive training – until now, only available to USHG staff – is the first public course of its kind in NYC. Classes will be led by Master Sommelier and James Beard Award winner John Ragan and a range of guest experts.
The first session kicks off on March 25 at 6:30pm. To register, click here or call (888) 957-CHEF.
By Grace Reynolds
ICE alum Jim Nawn is the owner of Agricola, a self-described “community eatery” located in Princeton, NJ. The restaurant celebrates the creation of fresh, wholesome food, using locally sourced ingredients as often as possible. Nawn–who has already received acclaim from the New York Times—graciously agreed to share his story with us this past month, offering some key insights into his successful new business.
What were you doing before you enrolled at ICE?
I was an area developer for Panera Bread, owning and operating 37 bakery cafes in northern New Jersey. I sold my Panera business and chose to attend culinary school to learn about food. I had no immediate plan to open my own restaurant and no real personal passion for cooking at the outset. It was a learning exercise to start. I anticipated it would lead to what was right, and it has.
By Grace Reynolds
This winter, I gave my brother John—a dedicated home chef—a gift certificate to the Institute of Culinary Education for his birthday. After scouring the numerous offerings in The Main Course catalog, he decided upon a course entitled, “Essentials of the Mediterranean.” (Note: Bonding over cooking together at ICE will win you major points with siblings and family members. I highly recommend it!).
Our instructor—Chef Daniel Rosati—began the night by asking us what first comes to mind when we think of “Mediterranean cuisine.” We all responded with similar answers—olives, olive oil, tomatoes, feta, peppers, figs, seafood, etc. Chef Daniel said that our ideas were spot on, but that we shouldn’t view Mediterranean cuisine as a culinary bubble. He gave us a brief overview of ingredients commonly used in Mediterranean cooking—including peppers, tomatoes, potatoes and numerous spices—that are not native to the region, but rather, imports from the New World. The bottom line: even some things we think of as essential components of Greek, Italian, French and Spanish cuisine are relatively new additions to the Mediterranean repertoire.
By Liz Castner
I was sitting in my Culinary Management class when I received the email telling me about an exciting upcoming CAPS class at ICE – “Ice Cream Innovations with Sam Mason”. Mason is the chef-founder OddFellows Ice Cream Co., a hip and funky ice cream shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The moment I read the email, I knew I wanted to attend the class. While I had never been to OddFellows itself, I had been following them on Facebook for months, lusting after posts featuring Mason’s latest edible creation. In short, I knew the CAPS class would be far more complex and exciting than a day’s worth of ordinary ice cream making.
During our 8-hour ice cream intensive, we made an astonishing number of ice creams. Cornbread, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, “smash” Neapolitan, extra virgin olive oil, rainbow sherbert (composed of mandarin sorbet, raspberry sorbet, lime sorbet), chorizo caramel, lemon, rocky road, lemon meringue pie, peanut butter and jelly, caramelized onion and last but not least, beet. Yes, you counted correctly; that’s 17 individual ice creams and sorbets. What’s more, all of them were delicious—even Chef Sam’s savory flavors, caramelized onion and chorizo caramel. They were so good, in fact, that I currently have six pints in my freezer right now!
By Carly DeFilippo
Growing up, Chef Chad Pagano’s focus was playing sports, not whipping up sugary desserts. So when he left behind a soccer scholarship to join the army, his family never imagined he’d someday end up in the kitchen—let alone as a Pastry Chef. But the transformative aspect of baking—crafting inspired desserts from simple, everyday ingredients—fascinated Chad from his first day in the kitchen, and that endless curiosity still fuels his creativity today.
From the competitive thrill of constructing sugar showpieces to mastering the craft of rustic pretzels and donuts, Chad is a true pastry chameleon. Since joining our staff in 2002, he’s trained some of the school’s most successful graduates—from Zac Young to Clarisa Martino and Julian Plyter—and his sense of humor makes him a favorite among students and instructors alike. Outside the kitchen, Chad is still a huge sports fan and explores his passion for respectful, sustainable hunting as a radio host on the Heritage Food Network.