There is a reason that the Empire State Building is shining yellow and orange today! This year marks the 25th anniversary of the James Beard Foundation and to commemorate his legacy, the foundation has released a new book, The James Beard Foundation’s Best of the Best: A 25th Anniversary Celebration of America’s Outstanding Chefs and last night they honored these chefs as well as friends of the foundation at the iconic James Beard House in Greenwich Village.

The special evening featured James Beard-inspired hors d-oeuvres prepared by students here at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) along with a diverse group of ICE chefs who included Andy Gold (pictured above), Michael Laiskonis, James Briscione and Chris Gesualdi. After a month of reviewing legendary recipes, the team began prepping a menu reflective of the rich history of James Beard. Many of the students at ICE had a hand in testing, prepping and preparing for this special night.

The chefs and students from ICE arrived at the James Beard House yesterday afternoon and prepped for the guests of honor. When entering the James Beard House, you have to walk through the kitchen before reaching any other room, so not only did the students and chefs prep the food but they were the highlight of the evening. Chef Thomas Keller entered the kitchen and hopped right in to help a student put the finishing touch on a bite size BLT. It was an honor and unique experience to cook the food for this crowd and also receive their feedback right there in the kitchen.

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In this morning’s Lesson 20 Culinary Arts class, a student had a very special surprise when working on fabricating seafood for the bouillabaisse the class was working on — a shark! Albeit the shark was less than 12 inches long, but you could still make out the sharp teeth in its jaw. It was folded inside the squid’s body. What’s even more amazing is that finding other creatures inside squid is not all that uncommon. According to ICE Director of Student Affairs Andy Gold, our squid are so fresh that students often find small live sunfish and crabs inside their bodies. We wanted to share this great find and fact with all of our readers!

Neal from Admissions, Melissa from Career Services, Susan from the Recreational Division, Hillery from Admissions and Jordan from Special Events Enjoy the Party with Guests

Last Friday, ICE held a party like no other at the annual ICE Ball. While the party is usually held in January to celebrate the new year, this year the team celebrated the renewed energy of spring. The reoccurring celebration took over four floors of the school’s 43,000-square-foot facility. During the party, the entire ICE staff and guests enjoy drinks, food and dancing throughout the school.

Needless to say, if ICE is going to throw itself a party, there will be great food. This year, the line-up included four ICE alumni who are all working as chefs or chef-owners of their own business, three ICE Chef Instructors, and two ICE staff members. Here’s what they made: More…

ICE Students and Chef Andy's Salmon and Eggplant First Course

Earlier this week, ICE helped at the annual Action Against Hunger Gala at Guastavinos. For almost a decade, ICE students and chefs have participated in the event, working to raise money and awareness for Action Against Hunger’s efforts to alleviate world hunger. ICE President Rick Smilow sits on the organization’s Advisory Council, working with philanthropists from across the world to help save lives and end malnutrition. Proceeds from the evening go to support Action Against Hunger’s programs to provide emergency food relief, clean water and sanitation, as well as long-term hunger solutions in over 40 countries around the world. More…

ICE Director of Student Affairs Andy Gold recently returned from a trip to Indonesia where he worked at the United States Embassy teaching to the Council of Chefs, a group of Indonesian chefs with different culinary backgrounds, established by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) Jakarta. Council members include nutritionist and author Edwin Handoyo Lauwy, chef Muchtar Alamsyah and baking and pastry chefs Ucu Sawitri and Haryanto Makmoer.

During his travels, Chef Andy was interviewed for several TV stations and news segments as well as interviews for several popular Indonesian blogs, newspapers and magazines. Chef Andy also worked closely with ICE Alumni Hall of Achievement member Chef Jill Sandique of Manila and the Indonesian Council of Chefs to cook five dishes created by Chef Andy for an audience of over 200 members of the press, television and media on live TV. More…

We just received this exciting update from Director of Student Affairs Andy Gold who is currently in Indonesia at the United States Embassy teaching  to the Council of Chefs, a group of Indonesian chefs with different culinary backgrounds, established by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) Jakarta. Council members include nutritionist and author Edwin Handoyo Lauwy (Chef Edwin Lau), hot kitchen chef Muchtar Alamsyah (Chef Tatang), and baking and pastry chefs Ucu Sawitri and Haryanto Makmoer. Here is update about his trip so far. Stay tuned fore more news and photos in the coming days.

I’m here in Jakarta, Indonesia with the Indonesian Council of Chefs and the USDA contingent. Included in the group at the Five-Star Hotel Dharmagwansa is ICE alumni Chef Jill Sandique of Manila. We just finished cooking five entrée plates with over 25 imported US products — from a US Wagyu Beef Tenderloin with Espresso and Dried Chili Crust, to a Knotts Berry Farm Blackberry Compote with Sambal-Rubbed, Brined Turkey Cutlet and Pickled Green Grapes and Garlic Pickles. Our big day with the press with all these chefs will be tomorrow.  Most of the council chefs have their own shows on Indonesian TV.  They have been recruited by the USDA and yours truly is leading them in culinary training on the blending of US food products and their own Indonesian cuisine. The five entrees were selected from a group of 37 recipes that we have already tried. The results will be featured live this Thursday on Indonesian TV, at a demonstration for over 200 local chefs, restaurateurs, food critics and media types.

Photo from Wikipedia

ICE's Les Dames d'Escoffier Scholarship Winners with ICE Director of Student Affairs Andy Gold

Last night, Les Dames d’Escoffier New York (LDNY) awarded their annual culinary scholarships. Twenty-two scholarships worth a total of $47,000 were awarded to women who are pursuing careers in the food industry. Four ICE students were among the young culinary professionals recognized. Culinary Management student and DICED’s Life as a Culinary Management Student correspondent Christina Ha was awarded a scholarship for the management program (she also won a scholarship while in the Pastry & Baking Arts program last year). Pastry & Baking Arts student Malinda Haslett and Culinary Arts student Pamela Vachon, also took home $2,500 scholarships. ICE recreational Chef Instructor Renee Marton also made a donation awarding a new scholarship from LDNY. More…

Everyone loves a brownie. Well, maybe everyone except for my kids who would rather have a macaron from Maison du Chocolat. They are the exception who snubbed their noses at the forty dollars worth of free Godiva truffles I recently smuggled home in my purse from an event. I mean come on now, free chocolate is always good in my book. But getting back on track, recently I noticed a new crop of brownie mixes on the market. Now on a good day you can score some Duncan Hines family-sized brownie mix at Target for a mere 2 bucks. Add an egg of two and a little oil and call it $2.50 and you get a nice pan of brownies that taste like mom made and make your kitchen smell like you are god’s gift to husbands (or at least mine). So when I started seeing these new mixes breaking a 10 spot, I knew some serious taste-testing was in order. So this past week I gathered a group of experts, a mixed panel, some honest to goodness pastry chefs (like ICE Director of Pastry & Baking Arts Program Andrea Tuntunjian and Chef Instructors Jeff Yoskowitz and Chad Pagano) and some regular joes, everyone eager to participate in the Great Brownie (Mix) Bake Off 2011.

To start with, let’s meet the contestants. In the line-up, we had Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate ringing in at $3.59 a box followed by Duncan Hines Double Fudge with the extra rich syrup package at $3.89. In the middle price range we had Fat Witch Bakery’s Original Fat Witch Brownie Mix at $6.99. And at the top end was Williams Sonoma Brownie Mix (manufactured by Dancing Deer Baking Company) and Baked’s Deep Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix both at a whopping $16.00 a box.

As far as time and labor, the Ghirardelli and Duncan Hines were simple – add some eggs and oil, stir together and pour in the pan, prepped in under 5 minutes. Both Fat Witch and Baked required you to melt butter and chocolate and then stir in the ingredient packs and the Williams Sonoma mix had you ribbon eggs (highly unusual in the world of brownies) and melt butter. Now to start, if you have to melt butter and chocolate then the only step you seem to be saving with the mix is measuring out the dry ingredients. I would also like to note that I was quite underwhelmed with the quantity of chocolate that was provided in the mixes considering their price. Especially when I had to add four eggs and half a pound of butter to the Baked mix, easily driving up the cost to closer to twenty dollars.

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Last night marked A Slice of Latin America, the eleventh annual gala of The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families (CHCF). CHCF provides programs and services such as childcare and education for Latino children and their families. In addition to their support services, CHCF also encourages careers through the culinary arts for Latino high school students.

Last month, they held their annual Latin Legacy Culinary Competition at ICE and after a cook-off between three very talented high school students, awarded a $15,000 partial ICE scholarship to Shankary Peña. ICE Director of Student Affairs Andy Gold, who was one of the Gala’s Co-Chairs, presented her with her award last night during the gala. More…

Yesterday, the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families (CHCF) hosted the finals for their annual Latin Legacy Culinary Competition at ICE. Three high school students from Kingsbridge International High School-Walton Educational Campus in the Bronx donned their aprons for a chance to win a partial ICE scholarship. Since 1982, CHCF has provided programs and services such as childcare and family health education for Latino children and their families. The culinary competition is a chance for high school students with a passion for the culinary arts to express their passion and encourage them to pursue careers in the industry.

Before the big cook-off, each student submitted an interview and original recipe. Then, three students were selected to prepare their dishes for the judges. Each student prepared their entrée and ICE Director of Student Affairs Andy Gold helped them navigate ICE’s professional kitchen. Robert Peralta made Shrimp Fettuccine with Garlic Bread and Steamed Broccoli. Katherine Cruz made Lasagna Rolls, Turkey-Style and the winner, Shankary Pena made Marinated Crab Meat Eschabeche with Tostones. More…