Ever wanted to make fresh ravioli at home, but too intimidated to try? In a new video from ICE and PEOPLE magazine, ICE Chef Robert Ramsey shows how easy it can be with one simple trick, and shares an addictively delicious homemade ravioli recipe that confirms the adage that less truly can be more.

This recipe melds simple, straightforward ingredients into a flavorful, decadent dish. With just five ingredients, Chef Robert’s brown butter sage sauce is the perfect companion for his pillowy homemade ricotta ravioli.

Before you get started on your fresh egg pasta dough, here are a few tips from Chef Robert for nailing your homemade ravioli every time — you’ll never look at the store-bought stuff the same again:

  1. Using a ravioli tray is incredibly efficient and makes picture-perfect ravioli — but separating them can be tricky. “Flash” freezing them for 10-20 minutes in your freezer will make this step a snap, literally — you will know the ravioli are set once you can snap them apart easily, like a chocolate bar.
  2. Don’t have a ravioli tray? Just make the ravioli the same way, laying out a sheet twice as long as you need, piping the filling equal distance apart, folding the second half of the dough over the first, and then cutting with a ravioli wheel or knife. (That said, a ravioli tray costs the same as a wheel, and it’s easier to use. You can find one here.)
  3. When cooking the ravioli, you can tell they’re ready when they puff up like a balloon — this means that the filling is hot enough to create steam.
  4. Remember to reserve some of the pasta water for your sauce. Because of the starch in the pasta water, adding a spoonful of the cooking water will make the sauce “creamy” without adding cream. But be careful not to add too much as the pasta water is already salty.
  5. If you’re looking for other sauces to substitute, try these combinations: tomato sauce, oregano and Parmesan; classic pesto with a sprinkle of pine nuts; or capers, olive oil, lemon zest and parsley.

Ricotta Ravioli With Brown Butter, Sage and Hazelnuts
Servings: makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:

For the pasta

1 recipe for Pasta All’Uovo recipe (below)

For the filling

Ingredients:

2 cups ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

For the sauce

4 ounces (1 stick) butter
1 bunch fresh sage, leaves picked
6 ounces hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

For the filling

  • Combine all ingredients in the work bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. With the whisk attachment or hand whisk, whip the mixture until completely smooth.
  • Transfer to a piping bag and reserve in the refrigerator until ready to fill pasta.

To assemble ravioli

  • Once your pasta sheets are rolled out (after the final step in the dough recipe below), you can begin assembling the raviolis. Place one pasta sheet onto a well-floured ravioli tray. (Don’t have a ravioli tray? See Chef Robert’s tip above.) Using your hands, gently press the dough into the divots in the tray. Pipe about two tablespoons of filling onto each sheet of dough. Next, brush a second sheet of dough with cold water and place the wet side down on top of the bottom ravioli sheet.
  • Use a rolling pin, roll over the raviolis back and forth to seal and crimp the raviolis. Flip the ravioli tray to unfold the finished pasta. Transfer to a floured sheet pan and place immediately in the freezer.

For the sauce

  • In a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter, swirling constantly. When it begins to bubble and sizzle, keep swirling and watch carefully for browning. As soon as the butter turns golden brown and smells nutty, carefully add the sage leaves and remove from heat. The sage will fry in the butter, making it crispy and aromatic. Finally, add the chopped hazelnuts and the salt. Reserve the sauce in a warm place until you’re ready to serve the pasta (do not refrigerate).

To assemble the dish

  • Bring a large pot of water to a full, rolling boil. Add about ¼ cup of salt per quart of water. (Adequately salted water should taste like seawater.)
  • Remove the ravioli from the freezer. Break the raviolis apart and carefully place them into the boiling water and cook 4-5 minutes, until tender but not mushy.
  • Remove and toss directly into the pot of butter sauce. Gently mix to coat, and then spoon into a large pasta bowl. Finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and an extra touch of chopped, fried sage, if desired. 

Pasta all’ Uovo (Fresh Egg Pasta)
Servings: makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:

11 ounces of all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

  1. Place the flour on your work surface and make a well in the center.
  2. Break the eggs into the well and add the salt. With a fork, begin to gently beat the eggs in a circular motion, incorporating approximately ½ of the flour.
  3. Using a bench scraper, bring the entire mixture together.
  4. Knead the dough with your hands for 3 to 4 minutes. At this stage, the dough should be soft and pliable. If bits of dried dough form (which is normal) don’t incorporate them into the dough — brush them off of your work surface.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  6. Cut the dough into four pieces and recover with the plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
  7. Remove one piece of the dough at a time from the plastic wrap and knead through the rollers of a pasta machine set at the widest setting. Fold the dough like a business letter to form three layers, pressing out all of the air. Turn the open end of the dough to the right (like a book) and repeat the rolling process. Continue the folding and rolling process five times on this setting.
  8. Repeat the folding and rolling process for the three remaining pieces of dough.
  9. Roll a piece of the previously kneaded dough through the pasta machine, reducing the setting with each roll until reaching the fifth-narrowest setting. Do not fold the dough between each setting.
  10. Once the sheets of pasta have been rolled out, use immediately, keeping the remaining sheets covered with a kitchen towel until ready to use.

By Caitlin Raux

A native of Bordeaux, Chef Aurélien Dufour’s passion for charcuterie — a branch of cooking so treasured in France it could have its own food group — dates back to his childhood, when he enjoyed cured meats with nearly every meal. By the time he enrolled in culinary school, he knew what he wanted to focus on in the kitchen. Chef Aurélien spent years sharing his passion with discerning diners in New York, as Executive Chef Charcutier for Daniel Boulud — and more recently, by launching Dufour Gourmet, an online wholesale marketplace for handmade pâtés, sausages and specialty meats. ICE is excited to host Chef Aurélien on Friday, April 7 for an Advanced Culinary Center class: Perfecting Pâté en Croûte. In anticipation, we asked him a few questions about charcuterie and what attendees can expect to take away from his course at ICE.

Aurelien Dufour Portrait credit Melissa Hom

Aurélien Dufour (credit: Melissa Hom)

You moved to NYC from France in 2010 — has the reception of classic French cuisine in the US changed since then? 

I cannot tell you about the classic French cuisine but I can tell you that the French charcuterie has had a big evolution in New York City since I arrived in 2010. I noticed that people are very familiar with dry-cured items and they are now more and more interested in French charcuterie items like fresh sausages, pâtés and terrines. They want to know where it comes from, how it is made, the story behind it, how you eat it, and learn more about these kinds of products in general. It is also getting more attention from the culinary scene — many American chefs have started their own lines of charcuterie and there are more marketing events around it like Cochon 555 and Charcuterie Masters. 

When did you realize that you wanted to specialize in charcuterie?

I spent my childhood in Germany where I was introduced to the charcuterie tradition — there you eat it for breakfast and dinner every day, so it’s a lifestyle. When I moved back to France as a teenager, I enrolled in culinary school and decided to specialize in charcuterie.

I was lucky to learn from the talented chef and distinguished charcutier Gérard Berranger, a “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” — the highest and most prestigious award in the food industry in the country. He taught me the technique and tradition of French charcuterie. By his side, I mastered pâtés, terrines, galantines, ballotines, crépinettes and sausages, and also participated in many charcuterie competitions.

pâté en croûte

pâté en croûte (credit: Aurélien Dufour)

Name the characters that would appear on the classic charcuterie board.

On a beautiful wood board, I would display pâté en croûte, two kinds of pâté, two kinds of terrines, a variety of cooked ham, such as jambon de Paris, a dry ham like Bayonne, and dry sausage like saucisson sec. To complement, I would have cornichons (French pickles), slices of bread and mâche salad.

Can you tell us about the origin of pâté en croûte?

From what I’ve heard and read, the pâté en croûte was already used back in Middle Ages. The dough around the meat was not edible — rather, it was a different way to cook the meat and it extended the shelf life. With time, the dough became edible and the pâté en croûte became a classic French charcuterie item.

Describe your approach to preparing a pâté en croûte.

First, it depends on the season, as this will determine which meats and vegetables you can use. Then, you need to know exactly how you will incorporate each ingredient into the different layers to build the pâté en croûte. I always draw my product on paper before I start producing it. It is also very important to have high quality ingredients to create this kind of charcuterie item.

pig’s ears en croûte

pig’s ears en croûte (credit: Aurélien Dufour)

What’s the most inventive or creative pâté en croute you’ve seen?

I would say that the most impressive pâté en croûte is the classic Oreiller de la Belle Aurore. It is basically a huge pâté en croûte in a shape of a pillow (“oreiller” in French) made of several game meats, poultry, duck, hare, foie gras and more. It was first created by Mr. Brillat-Savarin who made it as a sign of love to his mother and since 1937 has been a specialty of Charcutier Reynon in Lyon, France. In the past few years, other charcutiers have started recreating their own Oreiller de la Belle Aurore.

What can attendees of your upcoming course at ICE expect to walk away with?

The attendees coming to my class at ICE will learn the basics of the pâté en croûte: how to make the dough (pâté brisée), marinate the ingredients, build the different layers, cook it, fill it up with consommé, let it rest and enjoy it! It is not the easiest product to make but definitely one the most prestigious!

Ready to master this traditional charcuterie item? Email Chef Robert Ramsey at rramsey@ice.edu to reserve your place.

By Rick Smilow, President of ICE

The weekend of March 4th, I had the pleasure of attending the annual IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) conference in Louisville, KY. ICE has been a part of IACP for over 20 years. The group’s membership is particularly focused in the food media and culinary communications arena. If you’re looking for an annual gathering of food editors, authors, recipe developers, food bloggers, test kitchen executives, culinary entrepreneurs, journalists and culinary experts, this is your place.

IACP Conference

Maureen and Rick with Jenna Helwig and Kristin Donnelly

I attended — for the 17th time in 20 years — with Maureen Drum Fagin, ICE’s Director of Career Services. We counted at least 24 ICE alumni or former ICE team members in attendance, several of whom were leading educational sessions at the conference. That included SeeFood Media President and founder Jamie Tiampo (Culinary Management, 2006) with the workshop “How to Bid, Plan and Distribute Digital Food Videos,” and food journalist and cookbook author Jody Eddy (Culinary Arts, 2007) was part of a panel discussion entitled “Is What’s Mine Yours? How to Avoid Cultural Appropriation in Your Writing.”

One of the highlights of the conference was the awards ceremony (primarily for cookbooks), which was held Sunday night at the Louisville Palace Theatre. I am happy to announce that Chef Vivian Howard’s (Culinary Arts, 2003) book Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South won in four categories, including Cookbook of the Year. Vivian is the Head Chef and Co-Owner of Chef & the Farmer in North Carolina, as well as the host/star of the PBS series, A Chef’s Life, for which she has won a James Beard Foundation award and a Peabody Award.

Vivian

chef/restaurateur/TV personality Vivian Howard

Other ICE alumni we caught up with include Jenna Helwig (food editor, Parents Magazine), David Bonom (recipe developer/food writer), Alison Tozzi Liu (editorial director, James Beard Foundation), Adeena Sussman (author/journalist), Kristin Donnelly (author of Modern Potluck: Beautiful Food to Share and formerly Editor at Food &Wine), Emily Peterson (instructor in NYU’s Food Studies program), Trish Lobenfeld (food writer/recipe developer), Juli Roberts (test kitchen manager, Rodale), Dianna Andrews (food editor/test kitchen manager for Fine Cooking Magazine) and Julie Hartigan (writer/recipe developer).

Of course, when you are in Louisville, you are in bourbon country. Friday, as a supplement to the main conference, I attended a special one-day class called “Moonshine University” at the Distilled Spirits Epicenter, which has a small-scale yet sophisticated spirits production operation on-site. I now have a general understanding of how bourbon is made: the significance of heat and alcohol boiling points and a grasp of terms like “mash bill,” “congeners,” “sweet vs. sour mash” and a “number 3 char.” Typically, their classes run for several weeks and attract prospective artisan-spirits makers from around the world.

Moonshine University

Moonshine University

While I was at Moonshine University, Maureen was on a moving bourbon tour of Louisville. On her tour, Maureen chatted with two ICE alumni that hadn’t been on our radar: Tess Bosher, the Culinary Specialist in Hamilton Beach’s test kitchen, and Stacy Basko, a freelance recipe developer.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the food. Several of our meals were walk-around tastings and so we got to try bites from notable Louisville restaurants such as Milkwood, Decca and Proof on Main. It’s a matter of debate whether Louisville is in the northern part of the South, or the southern part of the Midwest, but either way, there are menu items — like grits, pickled vegetables and rabbit – that you’d be less likely to find in New York City. A tasty example was the sandwich served at the Sunday brunch at Harvest: house-smoked bologna, pimento cheese, a sunny-side-up egg and arugula.

One memorable meal inspired by another country’s fare was ICE alum Gina Stipo’s (Culinary, 1998) pop-up dinner “At the Italian Table.” We enjoyed Gina’s Italian dinner on Thursday night with David Bonom and his wife, Newsday columnist and visiting ICE instructor Marge Perry. Gina’s spent much of the last 12 years in Italy, teaching and leading food tours. When she came back to the US, her goal was to open an intimate and delicious Italian restaurant —The Italian Table achieves that goal. Eating there is like being invited to a warm and friendly Italian dinner party — where you don’t know most of the other guests! With just two large tables for 20 or so guests, her restaurant is open four nights a week and has a four-course pre-fixe menu that changes daily. The first (and only) seating of the night starts promptly at 7:00pm.

Gina

Gina Stipo’s “At the Italian Table” Dinner

Some former ICE team members were present as well. I enjoyed spending time with Anne McBride and Todd Coleman, who both held communications or marketing positions at ICE in the past decade. Anne and I co-wrote the book, Culinary Careers: How to Get Your Dream Job in Food. She also has collaborated with ICE Pastry & Baking Arts Chef Instructor Kathryn Gordon on her cookbooks Les Petits Macarons and Les Petit Sweets. After ICE, Todd took a position at Saveur magazine, where he eventually became Executive Food Editor.

Beyond all the ICE names, one of the most interesting speakers at the conference was Ali Bouzari, who recently published a new book, Ingredient: Unveiling the Essential Elements of Food. His book focuses on the concept that there are eight “mother ingredients” (proteins, water, minerals, etc.) and that if a cook understands these concepts, their intuition and ability to execute any recipe or technique will be enhanced. I’m told Ali has done a TEDTalk on this subject and the book, and based on what I heard in Louisville, I bet it’s great!

All in all, it was a terrific conference. We caught up with ICE alums, explored delicious domestic foods and drinks (with some foreign flavors thrown in too), and were inspired by great culinary conversations.

Click here for more information about IACP.


Alternative flours — like chickpea flour, banana flour and grapeseed flour — can add a nutritional kick and a tasty nuance to many everyday recipes. Though substituting your tried-and-true AP flour may seem a little intimidating at first, once you have a few recipes under your belt you can add these alternative flours to your regular cooking and baking repertoire. To help you get there, Chef Sarah Chaminade is sharing three new recipes that she developed for ICE and Direct Eats using alternative flours. First, Chef Sarah uses chickpea flour to add a sweet and creamy texture to her chickpea canapés. Then, Chef Sarah demonstrates how to make a gluten-free angel food cake using banana flour —with all of the lightness and none of the gluten. Then, she uses merlot grapeseed flour in her chocolate chip cookies to create a gluten-free and vegan take on the classic recipe. Watch the video below, and then scroll to get the recipes.

Chickpea Canapé
Servings: three to four dozen individual canapés, depending on the size of each

In Liguria, the region flanking Genoa along Italy’s northwest coast, farinata is a classic dish. Farinata is a thin chickpea cake typically cooked in a wood-burning oven. In Liguria, bake shops put signs in their windows announcing the time that the farinata will be ready and customers line up to buy it. It’s a perfect snack when eaten like a piece of pizza on waxed butcher paper. Farinata, just like pizza, can be stuffed or garnished with any vegetable, cheese or sauce.

Ingredients:

3 cups chickpea flour
5 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano, chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Optional garnish: dollop of creme fraîche, crispy prosciutto or micro herbs like micro arugula

Preparation:

  • Preheat convection oven to 450 °F (or 475 °F for a conventional home oven).
  • Combine chickpea flour and water with whisk until smooth — let sit for 1 hour to allow batter to thicken slightly.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Pour the batter onto a silicone baking mat or a baking sheet lined with parchment. Spread evenly with spatula and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
  • Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut farinata into squares (5×7 or 6×8, depending on the size you prefer) and top with optional garnish.

* Recipe adapted from Ciao Italia by Mary Ann Esposito

Gluten-Free Banana Flour Angel Food Cake
Yield: one cake

1 10-inch angel food cake pan with removable bottom
15 egg whites, room temperature (note: it’s essential that they are at room temperature!)
1 pinch of salt
½ cup plus ¾ cup coconut sugar
1½ cups banana flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean
* Flavor variations:
Replace vanilla with zest of one lemon, two limes or half an orange, or replace vanilla with two teaspoons of cinnamon

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  • In a very clean, dry mixing bowl combine egg whites and salt and whip to soft peaks. Gradually add ½ cup of coconut sugar. Continue to whip egg whites to medium peaks, being careful to not over whip.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the remaining coconut sugar and banana flour.
  • Gradually sift dry ingredients into the whipped whites, folding gently to be careful not to deflate.
  • Fold in vanilla extract and vanilla bean.
  • Pour batter into an ungreased angel food pan, spreading carefully to distribute batter evenly — do not bang the cake pan, as this will cause the batter to deflate.
  • Bake for 50 min, or until golden brown and cake springs back when lightly touched.
  • Remove from oven and invert onto a cooling rack without removing the mold.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before unmolding.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Merlot Grapeseed Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: one dozen cookies

2 ½ cups almond flour
¼ cup merlot grapeseed flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup agave
1 cup 72% bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 325 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Melt the coconut oil in microwave or on stove top. In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  • Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, mixing with a rubber spatula or spoon to combine.
  • Stir in the chocolate chunks, and allow the mixture to chill in refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
  • Using a cookie scoop, scoop mixture onto your prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Let cool before enjoying. Because these cookies stay nice and moist, they taste great the next day too.

Master culinary or pastry arts with ICE’s expert chef instructors — click here for information on our career programs.


By Caitlin Raux

Students enroll in our pastry arts program for many reasons — for some, it’s to mix flour, eggs and sugar for the first time and launch a budding pastry career. For others, it’s to hone their skills and enhance their existing experience. Diploma (and whisk) in hand, our pastry grads set out on a range of career paths — from recipe writers to startup chefs to educators and more. Here’s a snapshot of the many possibilities of what you can do with professional pastry training from ICE:

Pastry Arts alums

  1. Boost your kitchen confidence and enhance your resume as a food writer or editor like Lauren Katz, Associate Recipe Writer at Blue Apron.
  2. Run the pastry program at LA’s most ‘gram-worthy resto with a “major cult following,” like Meadow Ramsey, Pastry Chef of Sqirl.
  3. Conquer the world of cake like Elisa Strauss, chef instructor in ICE’s Cake Decorating program, who started a boutique cake company and a cake design consultancy (not to mention, penned a few cake cookbooks in her spare time).
  4. Use the skills and discipline learned in the pastry arts program to launch your own business… be it bar or bakery, like Ben Wiley, co-owner of five bars in Brooklyn: Bar Great Harry, The Owl Farm, Mission Dolores, Glorietta Baldy and Cardiff Giant.
  5. Follow in the footsteps of one of your pastry chef mentors and go on to lead the pastry kitchen in an acclaimed NYC restaurant like Thea Habjanic, who, after being hired at Le Bernardin by Chef Michael Laiskonis, went on to become Executive Pastry Chef at the restaurant where Chef Michael designed the dessert menu, La Sirena.
  6. Help train the next generation of pastry chefs like Andrea Tutunjian, ICE’s Dean of the School of Pastry & Baking Arts and Director of Education at ICE.
  7. Join the dynamic world of startups like Michal Shelkowitz, Pastry Chef of the San Francisco-based meal delivery service, Munchery.
  8. Flex your restaurateur muscle like Zoe Nathan Loeb, who co-owns several popular California eateries: Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Kitchen, Huckleberry, Sweet Rose Creamery, Cassia and Esters Wine Shop & Bar.

Ready to embark on your career in the pastry arts? Click here for more information on ICE’s career programs.


By Caitlin Raux

How does the chef of the world’s best restaurant fight food waste? Massimo Bottura, chef of Osteria Francescana, named #1 restaurant in the world in 2016, will answer this question and more during the Zero Waste Food conference on April 28-29, 2017. Hosted in partnership with The New School, the two-day conference brings together chefs, growers, architects and food entrepreneurs to explore ways we can create more sustainable food networks and eliminate food waste. In anticipation of his keynote address — in which he’ll discuss his own efforts to empower communities to fight food waste — we chatted with Chef Massimo about artistic expression, his passion project, Food for Soul, and what attendees can expect to take away from Zero Waste Food.

MassimoYou’ve said that art is the motivation behind your dishes. How can we incorporate better practices into food production without comprising the idea of prepared dishes as artistic expression?

We have to think about beauty from a different perspective: It cannot stand by itself. The good and the beautiful are two sides of the same coin — they complete each other insofar as beauty without good isn’t beautiful at all, and good needs beauty to convey its message.

It is often said about a person that he or she is “beautiful on the inside.” A brown banana or a bruised fruit still has a huge potential in terms of smell, flavor and texture. The responsibility of the chef and all of us as home cooks is to find that inner beauty in each product and to make the most out of it in each phase of its lifespan. Straight out of the oven, a loaf of bread is good enough to be eaten as is. The day after, it will be perfect to make pappa al pomodoro or bread pudding. After two days, the bread will make perfect breadcrumbs for meatballs, passatelli and cakes. That’s what real beauty is: To make something valuable out of something that might be seen as not having any value at all. As we often say, “Something recovered is something gained.”

Can you share a few ways that you’ve incorporated the Zero Waste Food concept into your restaurant, Osteria Francescana?

At Osteria Francescana, we follow the “nose-to-tail” philosophy. Italian cuisine relies on this golden rule: Everything has to be used. Therefore, the bones and toughest cuts of meat can be recovered for a rich broth. The same goes for vegetable peels, stems and leaves. Our grandmothers have been doing this forever. For Italians, the full use of ingredients is deeply rooted in our history and culture.

Massimo Bottura

Do you think it’s harder to have a sustainable kitchen in a big city like New York, as compared to Modena, a city that’s known for slow food?

The logistics and food systems of big cities are very complicated. Of course, the economy of a small town, small farm or small restaurant is much easier to navigate than a big one. We do feel, however, that it’s possible to create a network where food at risk of being wasted is salvaged to feed those most in need.

Food for Soul is working towards a kind of sustainability that addresses the full usage of every resource available. New York could offer potentially endless opportunities. Though it takes a big initial effort to identify the needs of the local community and the loopholes in the food distribution system, this is the starting point of every project of [my non-profit organization] Food for Soul. The common goal is the fight for social inclusion and food recovery.

What lessons do you hope to impart on Zero Waste Food participants?

If you can dream it, then you can do it. Showing people that we can do this, that anything is possible, could be inspiration for them to act. Action is what it’s all about! Everyone has his or her own role in the fight against food waste because we’re all in this together. What I can do is different from what you can do — my means and my tools as a chef are different than those of a politician, a philanthropist, a scientist or a social activist, but our commitment towards the cause is what unites us.

Your non-profit organization, Food for Soul, aims to create community kitchens around the world. How do these kitchens differ from regular “soup kitchens”?

I keep constantly repeating that Food for Soul is not a charity project, but a cultural one. The aim behind each “Refettorio”, or community kitchen, is not just to provide a warm meal to those in need. We conceive of nourishment in a more holistic sense: Feed the body and the soul. That’s the reason why we combine the know-how of architects, designers and artists in the design and decoration of the space. We want to create unique environments that express beauty, stimulate through art and facilitate operations through good design. The whole community can be inspired one way or another. Moreover, we want our guests to feel welcomed and included. I still remember the very first nights at Refettorio Ambrosiano in Milan, when people were silently sitting at the table and eating their meals. The guests barely spoke to each other. Just a few weeks later, guests, volunteers and chefs were sharing the same table and the same meal. Everyone knew each other by name.

Every gesture can play a fundamental role in creating a human connection — that’s why we want our volunteers to serve guests directly at the table just like restaurant service. Moreover, every meal has the possibility to reflect both the beauty of the environment and the “inner” beauty of recovered ingredients. It has to be tasty, nutritious and beautiful.

Can we expect to see a Food for Soul kitchen in New York anytime soon?  

We are working hard to make it happen but believe me, it’s harder to open a soup kitchen than a restaurant. At this point, we’re aiming for 2018. We are constantly reminding people that this is not a pop-up initiative but a sustainable model that has to have solid foundation to continue to serve the community for years to come. This is our goal for everywhere we go, and in particular, in New York City. I would hate to let down the city I love most in the world!

Join the conversation: Register here for the Zero Waste Food conference.

For the 2017 #CulinaryVoice Scholarship Challenge, we asked the world: What is your culinary voice? We were overwhelmed by the response: 254 entrants from 201 countries and territories shared their unique, inventive and inspiring culinary voices — and the world responded, with the videos garnering a total of 1,864,696 votes and views to help determine our winners. With full and partial scholarships to attend ICE’s award-winning career programs, 18 lives will change forever. Watch the video below to find out who won the 2017 #CulinaryVoice Scholarship Challenge from ICE.

Thanks to everyone who shared their culinary voices, and congratulations to this year’s winners — your passion, creativity and ambition inspired our judges, and we can’t wait to welcome you to ICE!

Find your culinary voice at ICE. Click here to learn more about ICE’s career programs.


By ICE Staff

What would the world look like if we produced no food waste? How would our daily practices be affected? Could we make a significant impact on our communities? Is such a world feasible? The Zero Waste Food conference — a conference presented by ICE and The New School featuring industry leaders and visionaries like Massimo Bottura — will tackle these questions and more.

Zero Waste Food conference

Kicking off right after Earth Day on April 28-29, the two-day conference begins each morning with panel discussions on such topics as sustainable restaurant kitchens and repurposing food waste. Attendees will spend their afternoons putting ideas into action with a host of culinary demonstrations and hands-on cooking sessions taught by ICE chef instructors joined by industry experts. Learn how to butcher a whole hog with Mangalitsa by Møsefund and ICE chef Charles Granquist. Join MISFIT Juicery co-founders Ann and Phil for a primer in concocting delicious and nutritious juices with recovered fruits and vegetables. Or, watch Enrique Olvera, acclaimed chef of Cosme and Pujol, make beer from bread scraps alongside Madeline Holtzman, vice toaster of Toast Ale NYC.

Whether you’re a student, employed in the food industry or simply passionate about food, the conference will equip you with valuable lessons and skills to apply to your daily lives and business practices. Do more than talk about food waste. Get the tools to help solve the problem. Check out the full schedule of classes and panel discussions here, then head here to register for this inspirational and educational conference.

Ready to take the first step toward an exciting career in food and hospitality? Click here for more information on studying at ICE. 

By Caitlin Raux

If a tree falls and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If a celebration happens and there is no cake, is it really a celebration? While the first question is debatable, the answer to the second is clear: no cake, no celebration. And with hand painting, air-brushing, sugar flowers and more, celebratory cakes are more elaborate than ever. In anticipation of the upcoming start date for ICE’s Professional Cake Decorating program, which kicks off on February 13, we’re taking a closer look at one popular technique — piping buttercream roses.

Piping_roses_4

I recently had the chance to sit in on one of Chef Toba Garrett’s hands-on cake decorating classes in which she was instructing students on this topic. As it turns out, a lot of books on cake decorating contain dated techniques and cryptic instructions. ICE’s Professional Cake Decorating program demystifies popular cake decorating techniques. “When you become a cake decorating professional, you learn that there are better ways to do things. We’ll teach you those better ways,” said Chef Toba. As she piped gorgeous, buttercream flowers and gave the class step-by-step instructions on how to do the same, I soaked up the following sweet tips from ICE’s resident cake decorating master:

  1. Soften up your frosting. Before the icing even hits the piping bag, it’s important to make sure it’s not rock hard. Starting with a couple of cups, use a small offset spatula to mix the icing. Keep mixing until the frosting is workable but not too soft — the frosting needs to be on the stiff side in order to pipe the details. Try piping some on parchment paper first to test the consistency. Once the frosting is ready, it goes into a pastry bag fitted with a petal piping tip, which has a thin, slightly triangular slit at the end.
  2. Necessary tool: A flower nail. I had never seen this nifty little tool before, but it makes the piping process much more doable. Hold the nail part between your thumb and forefinger, then pipe your rose onto the flat top, turning the nail as needed. Later, when you finish your rose, use kitchen shears to carefully snip the flower base and slide the rose onto your cake. Piping_roses_1
  3. Start with the base. You need a base to support your rose petals. Begin by piping a base — a small mound that tapers at the top and looks more or less like a Hershey Kiss. Speaking of which…Piping_roses_2
  4. Try a chocolate (surprise!) base. Don’t forget that at the end of the day, someone is going to be eating your beautiful creation. Adding in delicious details, like a Hershey Kiss as the base of your rose, will make the eating experience even more enjoyable.
  5. Roses aren’t replicas. When piping flowers with less petals, like lilies and daffodils, you can attempt to pipe the exact number of petals usually found on the flower. But for roses, which at their full size can have 20-40 petals, you’re better off not trying to replicate them exactly. Start by piping one petal for the base, then, in a rainbow-like shape, pipe three petals around the base, then five petals around them, then seven petals around them, for a total of 16 petals.

Piping Roses

Though Chef Toba made piping buttercream roses look like a cinch, it definitely wasn’t as easy as it looked. The only way to become a piping pro is lots of practice and listening to expert tips on how to do things better.

Want to decorate cakes like a pro? Click here for more information on ICE’s cake decorating program.

By Caitlin Raux

On a Friday evening in November, when the weekend held the promise of a just-ordered ShackBurger, I nabbed a seat in ICE Director of Wine Studies Richard Vayda’s course: Great Holiday Wines for under $20 and over $50. Armed with an open palate, I tasted nearly a dozen wines, from sparkling rosé and viognier to rich red and sweet fortified; two of each, one a (relative) bargain, the other a splurge. While we swirled, sniffed, sipped, and nibbled, I gleaned some grape wisdom — about wine varieties and my own tastes. In the spirit of holiday giving, here are five surprising takeaways from my wine course at ICE.

Wine Course at ICE

  1. Catalunya makes impressive under-$20 sparklers. The moment you utter “sparkling wine,” everyone’s mind zooms off to the famed region of France: Champagne, where due to a combination of tradition and soil, the best sparklers in the world are made, so they say (especially if “they,” like my wine course companion, happen to be French). But at $18, a Catalunya-grown Brut Reserva Rosé made by Marqués de Gelida was a delicious steal. Really, I was tempted to steal the bottle (but I didn’t, of course). Medium-bodied, refreshing and with a faint aroma of ripe cherries, this wine is the perfect choice to kick off any holiday dinner.
  2. There’s a world of white wine outside sauv blanc and alby: Meet viogner. To be honest, when it comes to white wine, I tend to stick with my tried-and-true arsenal — sauvignon blanc from New Zealand and albariño from Spain. So when Richard said we’d be trying two viogniers, I was pumped to expand my list of white wine go-tos. When I realized that my preferred viognier — La Linda Viognier from Mendoza, Argentina — was the bargain bottle ($13), I felt happy as a girl with new pajamas. Light and not too sweet, like a fresh, herbal tea with hints of lemon, it’s the kind of bottle to stock up on before any holiday party.
  3. Blind taste testing opens your mind + palate. The good thing about blind taste testing is that your usual proclivities go out the window. My own love affair with Spain, a place I called home for two years, means love at first sight whenever I see a label from the Iberian Peninsula. As we swirled and sniffed the three rich reds, I could identify a young wine, a middle-aged wine and an old wine, with a distinct red-orange color. Unlike white wine, which gains color, red wine loses color as it ages. The older wine, which turned out to be from Rioja, the renowned Spanish wine region, did not make me as weak in the knees as I anticipated. I preferred the 2012 Châtaeu d’Arcins Cru Bourgeois from Bordeaux to the 2001 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial from Rioja. Either my palate isn’t refined enough to appreciate the nuance of this aged red or I just don’t love the stuff — either way, my preferred bottle ($14) was considerably more pocket-friendly than its Spanish counterpart ($80).
  4. Blonde ports have more fun. Or more aptly stated, I have more fun drinking these light-colored port wines. Port is a fortified wine produced in the Duoro Valley of northern Portugal. Before this class, the luscious, dark red-purplish port, Graham’s Six Grapes Porto ($20), said older and better to me. Think again. Like red wine, port wine loses color with age. The lighter colored 20-Year Old Tawny Port made by Taylor Fladgate ($50) had a rich, nutty flavor, probably due to its extra years in the barrel, and was much more to my liking. I guess I’m more a peanut butter than a jelly girl when it comes to port. Fun fact: Tawny is generally enjoyed as a dessert drink — but as Richard would tell you, there are no hard-and-fast rules to wine drinking, so you can drink it throughout a meal if you like. Had the pours been larger or the bottles left with us, I could have sipped the Tawny all class long.
  5. I am not a “super smeller” – but I can still identify over 1000 smells. Super smellers, for better or worse, can identify over 6,000 smells. That’s an exhausting amount of olfactory stimulation. I pity the super smellers in the East Village on a steamy summer morning. But it certainly helps them to enjoy a glass of wine — after all, appreciating wine is more about smell than taste. Though I can’t identify over 6,000 smells and am still trying to expand my vocabulary beyond flowery, bright … strawberries!!, this class proved to me that I know more about the nuance of wine than I previously thought. In fact, the average person can identify at least 1,000 smells. The more I taste, the more I articulate, and the more I can appreciate. Bottom line: taste more, talk more and always enjoy.

Ready to take your wine knowledge to new levels? Click here to register for a wine course at ICE.