By Jackie Ourman


In the third section of the culinary arts program at ICE, we delved into plating and presentation as well as cuisines from various regions, including France, Italy, Spain, and Asia. We took a culinary tour of the world right in our kitchen! It was amazing. I learned so much about regional cuisines and the factors that influence them. There were a few key takeaways for me that will forever influence the way I cook and think about food.

Keller-Bayless Curriculumn-016

The first is this: regional cuisines are varied and driven by the foods readily available seasonally and locally. If you live by the sea, you eat a lot of fish. If you are inland, you don’t. If you have lots of cattle, you eat a lot of beef. Otherwise, you do not. Fruit and vegetable dishes, as well as sides, are based on what is grown in your area. Period. We need to think about this as consumers and chefs.


We often wonder why other cultures are healthier than ours, and I think one of the main reasons is that they eat what is locally and seasonably available. In the US, we are able to get any fruit or vegetable we want, any time of year. There is a price to pay for this convenience, and I believe it is our health.


On a lighter note, I also learned a surprising fact: true Bolognese sauce does not have tomatoes! Who knew? I didn’t but, once I tasted it, I realized it might just be one of the best sauces I have ever had in my life. So amazing! You have to try it. Here is the link. I paired it with my favorite gluten-free spaghetti and it was delicious!


The last thing I learned is there isn’t enough time in a school or even a lifetime to have an opportunity to master the cuisines of Asia. I was blown away by the complexity of the dishes from each region and the incredibly exotic ingredients. I would happily spend another 11 months just learning more about the foods from India, China, Japan and Thailand. I loved every dish and ingredient used and I am so happy I had the opportunity to do so. I even made a gluten-free version of General Tso’s Chicken!


A lot of Asian foods use soy sauce as a primary ingredient. Many people don’t realize that most soy sauce contains wheat as a primary ingredient and is therefore unsafe for those on a gluten-free diet for medical reasons. However, tamari is a fantastic substitute and is readily available. I brought my tamari into class each night and was able to use it in many of the dishes we prepared so I was able to taste them throughout our lessons in traditional Asian cooking


Overall, I learned a tremendous amount in this section of culinary school. I wasn’t ready for it to end, but I’m looking forward to moving into the fourth module, which is pastry arts. I’m especially excited after learning that Chef Michelle Tampakis will be our instructor. She is an amazing pastry chef, and coincidentally, also has Celiac disease. She teaches some gluten-free cooking classes at ICE and even has her own gluten-free bakery, Whipped Pastry Boutique. I can’t wait to pick her brain and I’m looking forward to sharing what I learned in my next post!



By Chef Michelle Tampakis


I love going to the Green Market in the summer months, when the farm stands are bulging with beautiful summer fruits. I love red fruits especially, and the combination of cherries and plums is always a treat! Damson plums and sweet, black cherries make a great combination.

Chef Michelle Tampakis and ICE Pastry & Baking Arts students.

Chef Michelle Tampakis and ICE Pastry & Baking Arts students.

Cherry season is prime-time for clafoutis, a traditional French dessert in which the fruits are baked, suspended in a flan-like batter. There’s no reason for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities to forgo this seasonal treat. The recipe can be tweaked using a few different flours, including that of sorghum, a grass related to sugarcane. Milled sorghum flour is especially useful in gluten free baking, as it contributes a cakey texture that isn’t sticky, like white rice flour.

Photo Credit:

Clafoutis – Photo Credit:

Of course, ready-made, gluten-free baking mixes can be used in place of the three ingredients listed here, but I prefer making my own combinations, since most of the store bought mixes already contain xanthan gum, which I find isn’t needed in everything.

Gluten Free Plum Cherry Clafoutis

Serves 6-8


  • 2lbs Damson Plums
  • 1lb black cherries
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Wash and pit plums. Cut them into wedges. Wash and pit cherries.
  3. Combine fruits in a 2 quart, shallow baking dish, lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
  5. In another small bowl, whisk together eggs, cream and vanilla.
  6. Stir together the wet and dry ingredients, until a smooth batter forms.
  7. Pour over fruit.
  8. Bake in preheated oven (or on a preheated barbeque grill) until custard is set, and lightly browned.
  9. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.



By Jackie Ourman


As our culinary arts class continues to meet at ICE, we’ve gotten our groove and fallen into a comfortable routine. Mise en place is always first. I love the sound of knives cutting through produce, hitting the boards as we prep. I know there are some people who feel a sense of serenity when they organize and clean. That has never been me—but give me a knife and allow me to chop, dice and slice? Zen…so long as I don’t cut any fingers!


In addition to knife skills, in our first module, we worked on meat fabrication and preparing stocks. These skills are essential for chefs to learn and provided me with a strong base of knowledge and connection to the food I prepare. For our practical exam, we put many of these skills to work by making a cream of broccoli soup (mine was gluten-free, of course) and medium dice two potatoes. Medium dice may just be the bane of my existence, but I made it through, and was feeling ready for Mod 2.


In the second section of the culinary arts program, we focused on different cooking methods including sautéing, pan frying, deep frying and braising. After reviewing all of the recipes we were going to make on our pan frying and deep frying days, I was disappointed to see that I would not be able to taste anything. There was a ton of flour, breadcrumbs and even beer-batter (double-gluten!) in almost every preparation. Combine that with a lot of people in the kitchen at the same time and you pretty much have a recipe celiac cross-contamination disaster.

Culinary Arts-Lesson 26-Steve Pan-Frying Tostones

But, in fact, it was the exact opposite. I brought in my gluten-free flour blend, breadcrumbs, panko and beer. Chef Ted Siegel, our instructor, allowed me to work with those ingredients and even set up a special fry station for me. How awesome is that? Besides being so accommodating, he is an amazing chef and I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to learn the craft from him.


Hands down, my favorite recipe from that week of classes was the Pan-fried Crab Cakes with Avocado Sauce. Using Aleias gluten-free Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and panko yielded an absolutely delicious crab cake. Chef Ted complimented the end flavor and texture, as did many of my classmates. Here is the recipe. You should definitely try it out!



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