By Dana Mortell

This spring, ICE was thrilled to invite renowned Chef/Restaurateur Ken Oringer to share his experience and insight with our students. As a James Beard award-winning chef of four celebrated Boston restaurants and one New York location, Oringer has helped shape the national culinary scene, using his passion for travel and exotic cuisines to inform his creativity in the kitchen.

Photo Credit: KenOringer.com

Photo Credit: KenOringer.com

Growing up, Oringer wasn’t surrounded by unique ingredients or international cuisines. But as a kid, he always wanted to hold a knife because he knew he belonged in a restaurant kitchen. Whenever his parents would take him to Chinatown, Ken was always amazed by the cooks stir frying in woks over a high heat flame. His favorite treat at street fairs was lamb on a stick, an exotic foodstuff in his Massachusetts hometown. Observing these different techniques and flavors fostered his curiosity well into his adolescence.

Oringer’s first foray in the business was a position at a family-run Italian deli. There, he learned how mise en place and preparation influenced the end product. Once he reached the ripe age of 15 years, he decided that it was his time to work in a proper restaurant. He went door-to-door asking for work, even if it was unpaid. All Ken wanted was the experience of working in a professional kitchen to enhance his skills, which he continued to do through high school.

Following his parents’ influence, Ken headed off to business school, but still dreamed of being a chef. He nearly flunked out after his first semester at Bryant College, continuing to research food during his spare time. However, the strict curriculum in finance and accounting wound up being a blessing, benefiting the day-to-day operations of his current restaurant group.

After graduating from college, Oringer knew that he didn’t want to sit behind a desk. His business school internships had proved uninspiring, and he knew that his heart was still in the kitchen. Ken enrolled in culinary school with an exceptional sense of focus. He knew exactly what he needed to do to succeed and was always the first student in class and the last one out. Ken also explains that he wasn’t afraid to make mistakes in class, seeing them as an opportunity to learn as much as possible from his chef-instructors.

Ken Oringer - Meet the Culinary Entrepreneurs - ice.edu

Photo Credit: kenoringer.com

Once it was time to choose an externship site, Oringer sought placement at the River Café in Brooklyn with Chef David Burke. It was the 1980s and Burke was fearless. Ken had frontline access to a menu chock-full of exotic items such as duck tongue confit. He recalls wanting to taste everything to make up for lost years, having only tasted sushi or oysters for the first time as an undergrad. As an entry-level cook with no money, River Café gave him the opportunity to experience these new ingredients while learning and working.

After culinary school, Oringer went back to New England and got his first job at Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island. The restaurant was among the first to start using organic and local ingredients, similar to the Alice Waters philosophy. Over the next few years, Oringer worked his way up to the role of pastry chef and created a menu where all ice cream was made to order.

But Oringer had more on his mind than Italian classics. On one occasion, he remembers visiting an off-the-beaten-path Cambodian restaurant in South Providence. From fresh galangal to fried shallots, he was endlessly intrigued by the use of these new and complex flavors. He gave Al Forno his two weeks’ notice, and headed back to Boston to pursue the next phase of his career.

In Boston, Oringer begged to be hired at Le Marquis de Lafayette, a prominent French restaurant where Jean-Georges was consulting chef, incorporating flavors from Bangkok throughout the menu. He may have been the only American in a kitchen of French-speakers, but Ken was enamored with Jean-Georges’ cooking style. He was working with the best products from around the world, including kilos of black truffles. Eventually, Oringer was promoted to sous chef, mastering the art of survival in one of the country’s most demanding kitchens.

After a stint as the Chef de Cuisine at Silks in the Mandarin Oriental in San Francisco crafting Asian-influenced French cuisine, Oringer returned to Boston to open his first restaurant, Clio, in 1997. This was the point when business school became highly valuable, aiding with the design, financials and business plan for the restaurant. Clio was a rustic space with a casual vibe that served contemporary French and Asian cuisine. From day one, the restaurant was packed; a success owed in large part to the quality of Oringer’s staff. A team of positive and driven individuals, he recalls the team as being particularly respectful and effective communicators.

Clio opened the door to future opportunities for Oringer. In 1998, when he heard the James Beard Foundation nominated him for Best New Chef Northeast, he was shocked—and even more so when he won the award in 2001. With national recognition under his belt, developers and moguls started to approach him with national and international consulting and partnership ideas, but Oringer knew he had to be selective.

Uni, a sashimi bar located in the lounge of Clio, opened in 2002. It was born of Oringer’s travels to Asia, where he was inspired by chefs who spent their entire careers mastering a single style of dish or set of ingredients, especially the individuals who mastered tempura. Impressed by the art of performing and repeating a recipe for years on end, Oringer chose to have Uni specialize in different styles of sashimi, without maki rolls or rice. Oringer’s further travels brought him to Barcelona, where he was seduced by the culture of Spain’s tapas bars. Capturing the culture of social eating, Oringer opened Toro, following by the Italian enoteca, Copa, in 2010.

Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonette at Toro. Photo Credit: seriouseats.com

Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonette at Toro in NYC. Photo Credit: seriouseats.com

Oringer’s most recent project was opening a second location of Toro in New York City on 15th Street and 10th avenue—the same block as Mario Batali’s Del Posto and Tom Colicchio’s Colicchio & Sons. The restaurant opened in 2013 in a 9,000 square foot space with a private dining room, offering house-made charcuterie and 65 items on the menu. Oringer is thrilled to have his business translate to the competitive culture of New York dining, and the restaurant has proved a fantastic success.

Despite all his success, Oringer is an extremely humble individual whose philosophy is one of hard work, creativity and respect in the kitchen, while maintaining an open mind. Having great food isn’t good enough. His staff is taught to treat people well and take on the attitude that no task is too big or too small. That said, Oringer insists that cultivating an environment where the staff wants to stay is key, a task made more manageable by granting requests for personal matters and scheduling fairly. From what we can see, dedication, focus and clear communication—and never giving in to the temptation of ego—have been the main secrets to the success of Ken Oringer.

 

Click here to read more stories of successful food industry entrepreneurs who have visited ICE.

 

By Dana Mortell, ICE Department of Student Affairs

On April 3rd, ICE welcomed Chef Donald Link as part of our ongoing Meet the Culinary Entrepreneurs series. This was a unique opportunity for ICE’s student body and the general public to interact with one of New Orleans’ leading chefs and restaurateurs. Link is the Chief Executive Officer of the New Orleans based restaurant group Link Restaurant Group, which includes 5 different operations. Link is the recipient of the 2007 James Beard Award for “Best Chef South” and has also been nominated for the “Outstanding Chef” Award in 2012 and 2013. His group’s latest addition, Pêche Seafood Grill, also scored its fourth and fifth JBF Awards in 2014, for “Best New Restaurant in America” and “Best Chef: South.”

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Image courtesy of buy.louisianaseafood.com

He began his professional culinary career at the age of fifteen, inspired by his grandparents’ mastery of Cajun and southern cooking. Working his way up the professional ladder, he made it a priority to learn all the roles of the kitchen—including the not-so-glamorous ones. Through this careful strategy of observation and practice, Link has honed his celebrated culinary identity, creatively utilizing his southern roots in the process.

It goes without saying that Link is not just a master chef; he is a profitable (albeit humble) business man as well. Accordingly, he didn’t spend much time discussing his personal accomplishments with ICE students. Instead, Link used his time at the school to discuss the business tactics required to build a successful restaurant operation. He offered advice based on his own experiences, from business plans to food costing and net sales calculations, while sharing a number of amusing personal anecdotes.

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Donald Link speaking with ICE students and guests.

When it comes to hiring, Link looks first and foremost for drive and motivation in a potential employee. He claims he can tell within a few minutes if someone will work well in his kitchen. He gives aspiring cooks a chance, observing them closely and examining their overall culinary presentation. From there, he can determine if a person is a good fit for his operation.

During his presentation, Link spent some time discussing the path to becoming a chef. He focused on training in the kitchen accompanied by real-world experience and cautioned students not to be in a rush to move up. When you spend time focusing on a promotion, he stressed, you disregard what’s going on around you, which is of critical importance in a professional kitchen. Ingesting information and mastering important culinary skills is vital for advancement and takes time, he said. Link encourages students to immerse themselves in a variety of culinary environments to diversify their portfolios  – it helps you be more creative, he said, and makes you more prepared when the time finally comes that you get to create your own dishes.

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Chef Link plating at his restaurant Herbsaint. Photo courtesy of http://theadvocate.com

When you reach the position of executive chef, your responsibilities multiply exponentially, Link says. Foreseeing problems, mentoring your staff and monitoring cost are all the head chef’s responsibility. Since the price of food is dependent on seasonal availability, environmental factors and transportation costs (for example, non-local ingredients that must be imported), the executive chef must carefully monitor food costs and adjust the menu accordingly, since at the end of the day, running a restaurant is about making a profit and utilizing costs efficiently.

Link also discussed his current role as a restaurant business owner. Knowing why people eat out and how to assess your market are key to running a successful business. Furthermore, he said, it’s your responsibility to cater to the community your restaurant serves. When tourists visit and see a restaurant with a strong sense of place and authenticity, they are immediately drawn to it. Of course, getting deemed “one of the top 3 restaurants that count” in The New York Times or named one of the “20 Most Important Restaurants in America” by Bon Appétit doesn’t hurt either, as is the case with Link’s restaurant, Cochon. But following a thoughtful strategy like Link’s is precisely how Cochon landed such profitable distinctions.

As far as creating a rewarding work environment, Link discussed his relationship with his employees and the importance of maintaining healthy and positive relationships. He believes that fair pay is key, as is treating your staff with respect and appreciation. These two factors result in a low turnover rate and a trustworthy team that will remain with you for years on end. Training is also crucial, as is having an environment that facilitates training naturally. In fact, one of the qualities Link loves most about his staff is that they are constantly communicating with one another in a helpful, efficient fashion—a crucial component to running a successful and sustainable operation.

Nearing the end of his talk, Link got personal. He shared his experience with Hurricane Katrina and its devastating effect on the New Orleans community. He lost everything—his home, his belongings and one of his restaurants. He explained that at the time, the city wasn’t taking this storm seriously (since NOLA had dodged other storms). Luckily, Link trusted his gut and left the city to meet his family the day before Katrina hit, encouraging his whole staff to do the same. When he returned, the devastating effects of Katrina were everywhere.

While Link, like so many others, lost so much, he was resolved to rebuild what he had worked for his entire life. He gave his staff three weeks off to get their personal affairs in order. Meanwhile, he set to work cleaning mold, gutting interiors and building new furniture for his operation. Miraculously, Link wound up re-opening three weeks later, serving a limited menu on paper plates. For Link, this feat wasn’t about making an immediate profit, it was about nourishing his community.

Chef Link’s sustained success is a testament to the fact that dedication and thoughtful planning, as well as cultivating close personal relationships with your staff and the community, is vital to owning and operating a successful restaurant. We’re grateful that he could join us for such an informative and inspiring chat with our students!

By Carly DeFilippo

Often referred to as the “Oscars of Food”, the annual James Beard Awards honors the country’s most respected chefs, restaurateurs, beverage professionals, food journalists, activists and media professionals. As one of the most anticipated culinary events each year, the JBF awards gala is always full of exciting wins for the ICE alumni community and offers an exceptional opportunity for current ICE students to volunteer alongside the industry’s most respected chefs.

ICE students support alumnus Brian Recor, Chef de Cuisine at Morgan's in the Desert.

ICE students support alumnus Brian Recor, Chef de Cuisine at Morgan’s in the Desert.

This year, we were thrilled to have 36 culinary and pastry students participate (more than any other culinary school!), supporting such esteemed chefs as Kevin Sbraga (Sbraga Dining—Philadelphia), Bill Corbett (Absinthe Group—San Francisco), Robert Del Grande (Restaurant RDG/Bar Annie—Houston), Paul Qui (Qui—Austin) and Sue Torres (Tierra—Westport, CT).

ICE President Rick Smilow caught up with alum Gail Simmons, nabbing a selfie with famed musician and food lover, Questlove.

ICE President, Rick Smilow, caught up with alum and Top Chef host, Gail Simmons, nabbing a selfie with famed musician and food lover, Questlove.

It was also exciting to see ICE alumni Brian Recor, Chef de Cuisine at Morgan’s in the Desert (La Quina, CA), and Aaron Gottesman, Chef de Cuisine at The Fat Ham (Philadelphia), representing their home restaurants at Monday night’s gala. Additionally, at Friday’s Broadcast, Book and Journalism awards, ICE alumnus Matthew Riznyk, Executive Chef at Great Performances, masterminded and oversaw the catering for more than four hundred of the most influential personalities in food media and publishing.

ICE culinary student Mariseli volunteers alongside alumnus Aaron Gottesman (Chef de Cuisine, The Fat Ham—Philadelphia). JBF award winner and ICE alum Amy Thielen attends Monday's gala with her husband.

ICE culinary student Mariseli volunteers alongside alumnus Aaron Gottesman (Chef de Cuisine, The Fat Ham—Philadelphia). JBF award winner and ICE alum Amy Thielen attends Monday’s gala with her husband.

Last, but certainly not least, we were thrilled to congratulate ICE alumni Amy Thielen, Greta Anthony and Ed Behr on their Beard award wins, recognizing their contributions to the fields of food publishing and media. Amy’s cookbook The New Midwestern Table won in the category of “American Cooking”, while Greta’s work on Martha Stewart brought home the award for “Television Program – in Studio or Fixed Location”. Renowned Founder and Editor of The Art of Eating, Ed Behr, was one of six inductees into the Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America”.

ICE President, Rick Smilow, catches up with JBF award-winning alum Ed Behr.

ICE President, Rick Smilow, catches up with JBF award-winning alum Ed Behr.

By Carly DeFilippo

This weekend marks the climax of the 2014 culinary awards season, as the industry’s leading chefs and culinary professionals head to Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater for the 24th annual James Beard Awards. For the second year running, ICE Culinary Management alum Matthew Riznyk will be the host chef at Friday’s 2014 Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards.

From buser to waiter, chef to purchaser, bartender to maître d’, Riznyk has worn many hats in the restaurant industry. In his current role as the Executive Chef of Great Performances, Manhattan’s premier catering company, he oversees the culinary production for many of the city’s most elaborate and elite events. In anticipation of tomorrow’s very special James Beard event, we caught up with Riznyk to discuss the arc of his career, what he’s learned from his varied roles in the restaurant business and what it’s like to serve dinner to several hundred VIPs.

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What inspired you to enroll at ICE?

Though I’m originally from the New York area, I had gone out west to open up the JW Marriot in Scottsdale and then transferred to the Coronado Island Marriot in San Diego. I was working restaurants since I was fifteen or so, but around age 21 I decided that it was time to get serious about a career, so I came back to New York and enrolled at ICE while working at a restaurant in Westchester.

I really liked ICE’s tenure; it had a long standing tradition of culinary success and a great teaching program. And since I wasn’t coming straight out of high school and this wasn’t my first experience in the hospitality industry, I was looking for more of an intensive course. This way I could continue to work, rather than making a full-time four year investment. I really appreciated the opportunity to learn quickly, take that knowledge and put it to use.

I chose the Culinary Management program because, throughout my career, I’ve bounced around a little bit. Even in the same company, whether I was with a restaurant or at the hotel, I’d start off as a cook and then I’d pick up a bar shift here and there, and then I’d go back to cooking, then I’d go to serving, then I’d explore a different area. I’m kind of a sucker for knowledge, so I always like to learn a lot about different areas of the business.

Were there any instructors in particular who influenced you at ICE?

I remember Richard Vayda in particular as a Culinary Management instructor. He had great energy and an amazing way with people—very down to earth but just incredibly talented and informative.

What happened after graduation?

I got a spot in the management training program with Myriad Restaurant Group. I think that having an ICE education on my resume really allowed the doors to be opened a little bit. With my various work experience alone, I probably wouldn’t have been accepted into the program. In that program, I started at Tribeca Grill and basically worked through every position there from cook to buser to runner to server to maître d’—everything. After a few months, I was made general manager of (the now closed) Layla, which was a big step, and I think it was a test. When Layla closed, I accepted the job of the Director of Purchasing for the Tribeca Grill and most of the other Myriad group restaurants. My role was to streamline purchasing for the whole group, and I also worked with their consulting arm to open some hotels in Kentucky, Providence and New Jersey.

So how did you end up at Great Performances?

When I left Myriad, I realized that I had worked in restaurants (front of the house and back of the house), at the bar, in consulting, purchasing and all these different roles in hotels and restaurants—but I had never really done catering before. With my personality, I was always looking to learn something different, so I took a position as a freelance cook at Great Performances and worked my way up for the last seven years.

You’ve really done it all; it’s amazing that you’ve had so many different careers

Exactly. And I mean, you know, I think I did the absolute right thing. Because now I take with me not only the experience of cooking but the experience of managing a room or a floor, knowing how food gets purchased—where it comes from and how it gets served— the whole process. I think that’s really helped me build my career and move up the ladder, because I understand all aspects of the business rather than just being focused in on one area.

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The James Beard Award is a veritable “Who’s Who” of the industry’s top chefs, media personalities and other culinary professionals. (Photo credit: newyork.com)

As far as the James Beard Awards, what exactly is your role?

This will be my second year as the Host Chef for the Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards. We develop all the hors d’oeuvres and the cocktail hour for the event, which are my recipes, and then support the guest chefs that they choose. When they come in from out of town, they work in our kitchen, we help them source their product, we give them prep, our equipment, and then also support their onsite execution, because a lot of them don’t have a lot of experience doing an event for 400 people in a tight timeline. We’re able to utilize our resources and our knowledge to help these world-class chefs take their food from an a la carte perspective to a catering perspective.

What would you say to ICE students who are thinking about catering as a future career path?

You have to have a passion for catering. Unlike a restaurant, it’s not just “a protein, a starch and a veg” on the plate and how quickly can get it on the table. We’re creating restaurant quality and style food in a large format. So it’s taking all the passion that you have for food, flavors, textures, plating—all those things that we love as chefs—and pairing it with a strong logistical and operational mindset as to how to get it done. It ends up being a lot more management. In most restaurants, even in really large restaurants, the kitchen staff is maybe ten or twenty people, whereas I oversee over 200 people. So it’s a lot of high-end culinary work, but also a ton of logistic, operational, management, and business acumen as well.

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.

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Chef Andrew Carmellini looks on as Lafayette Chef de Cuisine Damon Wise explains the technique behind his short ribs

Although raised in Ohio, Chef Carmellini moved east to attend the Culinary Institute of America, where he cooked for Mario Cuomo on the weekends. After graduation, he worked at New York’s famous Italian restaurant, San Domenico. A lover of Italian cuisine, he decided to go to Italy to learn firsthand. Upon returning to New York, he landed at the legendary Lespinasse under the tutelage of Gray Kunz, which inspired him to travel again—this time, to France. Upon his second return to the states, Carmellini took the role of sous chef at Le Cirque, gaining additional French fine dining experience.

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Braised short ribs with crispy polenta

Having honed his chops under the watchful eye of some of the city’s top chefs, Carmellini was poised and ready to make 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. His next step was to open his first restaurant, A Voce, to critical acclaim, earning his first Michelin star.

Carmellini has since parted ways with A Voce, but today he’s at the helm of three of New York’s most popular restaurants: Locanda Verde, The Dutch and Lafayette. His forth restaurant is slated to open later this year.

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Lafayette Pastry Chef, Jenny Yee

For these reasons and more, we were thrilled to welcome Chef Carmellini, along with Lafayette’s Chef de Cuisine Damon Wise and Pastry Chef Jennifer Yee, for a lecture and demonstration at ICE. The trio shared two of Lafayette’s signature dishes: braised short ribs with crispy polenta and a flaky, buttery apple tart. Both were perfect examples of Carmellini’s culinary vision—classics with a twist.

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Buttery Apple Tart

In addition to demonstrating these signature dishes, Chef Carmellini shared advice with ICE students and audience members on everything from industry preparedness to ingredient selection. In particular, his insights into the culture and traditions of Southern France (the basis for Lafayette’s exceptional menu) revealed that a significant element of Carmellini’s success is his curiosity and drive to continually further his education.

Sharing the delicious food and industry wisdom of such a respected chef was a truly invaluable experience and a great way to spend a cold winter afternoon. With that in mind, we thank Chef Carmellini, as well as Chef Damon Wise and Chef Jennifer Yee, for taking the time out of their undoubtedly busy schedules to mentor and inspire the next generation of chefs!

 

By Carly DeFilippo

 

When Michael Laiskonis got hired for his first job, scooping ice cream in Detroit, he probably never imagined that he would one day be teaching ICE Pastry & Baking students about the complex chemistry of frozen dairy products. In fact, Michael never intended to enter the food industry. Rather, he fell into it by accident, after deciding to abandon formal studies in fine arts and photography for what he describes as an “earn while you learn” approach. And so he entered the business, working the overnight shift at his roommate’s brother’s bakery.

Michael, teaching a petit four class at ICE's School of Professional Development.

Michael, teaching a petit four class at ICE’s School of Professional Development.

Soon enough, Michael discovered he had a certain talent for pastry and wanted to find a more structured environment to further his skills. He found it in Emily’s, a small kitchen with only four chefs. Starting out as a savory cook, Michael gradually absorbed more and more pastry duties, proving his merit until his boss agreed to make him the full-time pastry chef—the first time he would see his name on a restaurant menu.

 

In 1996, Michael moved to Tribute, starting as a line cook and moving up the ranks until he was again named pastry chef in 1999. The restaurant was at the epicenter of Detroit’s culinary scene, named one of the nation’s best by the New York Times in 2002. In 2003, it became one of only two Detroit restaurants to have garnered a coveted James Beard Award. But by 2004, Michael was looking to test his hand in one of the nation’s culinary capitals, and was referred by a friend to Chef Eric Ripert. After a single 90 minute meeting, Ripert offered Chef Michael the chance to come on as Executive Chef of renowned New York institution, Le Bernadin.

Parsnip brulee and sponge, hazelnut cream, browned milk solids. 2013 "Pastry Pop Chef" at the Star Chefs International Chefs Congress.

Parsnip brulee and sponge, hazelnut cream, browned milk solids. 2013 “Pastry Pop Chef” at the Star Chefs International Chefs Congress.

Making a move to Le Bernadin was no small feat. Michael’s predecessors included one of his idols, François Payard, as well as acclaimed chefs Florian Bellanger, Herve Poussot and Oscar Palacios. But over the next eight years, Michael more than proved his talent, helping the restaurant earn three Michelin stars and four stars from the New York Times. Celebrated for his use of modern techniques to reinvent classic desserts, Michael was also awarded the coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2007.

 

In 2012, Michael joined the Institute of Culinary Education as our first ever Creative Director. “After a successful 20 years in some amazing kitchens,” Michael explains, “I’d earned a lot of opportunities—and I chose to join the team at ICE. I have always admired ICE, and education is the perfect opportunity for me to give back, to inspire the next generation of chefs to enjoy and excel in a career in culinary or pastry arts.” He has already instrumented significant progress in our kitchens, providing pastry students with a more in-depth look at the science of their craft, and teaching a number of both public seminars and advanced pastry classes in our School of Professional Development.

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Looking back on his career, Michael notes that his path was most unusual in that he stayed in nearly every position for more than five years. He recommends that young chefs only move on to a new position if they feel that they have taken everything they possibly could from that position (including what not to do moving forward). In large part, he credits Chef Takashi from Tribute for establishing his belief in never making a lateral or inferior move, in only moving on if it’s a step up. As for how to judge when it’s time to move on, Michael says, “The day you go into work without a pit in your stomach is the day you start looking for a new job.”

 

It’s this sense of curiosity and constant pursuit of furthering his own education that has kept Michael at the forefront of his industry. Outside of the rigorous constraints of a restaurant schedule, teaching has provided Michael with the ability to work on innovative research projects and to pursue his lifelong interest in the arts, film, reading and writing. (To date, he has contributed to publications including GourmetSaveur, The Atlantic and a range of professional pastry journals.) Whether in his public demonstrations, writing or other creative endeavors, it’s clear that Michael has developed a newfound appreciation for teaching. After learning so much from others, he insists, “You don’t keep secrets. You have to share.”

By Carly DeFilippo

 

Last night, ICE students and recent graduates cooked with the culinary stars at the James Beard Awards. Among the hundreds of volunteer opportunities we organize each year, these annual awards stand out as one of the most exciting, providing students with the chance to cook alongside such influential chefs as Grant Achatz, Michael Mina and Marcus Samuelsson.

ICE President Rick Smilow and Culinary Relations Manager Virginia Monaco pose with a trio of hardworking student volunteers.

ICE President Rick Smilow and Culinary Relations Manager Virginia Monaco pose with a trio of hardworking student volunteers.

Often referred to as the “Oscars of food”, these annual awards are among the most elite honors in the culinary field. This year’s theme was, fittingly, “Lights, Camera, Taste”, a celebration of the long-standing relationship between food and film. The sentiment was perhaps best expressed by Outstanding Restauranteur winner, Maguy Le Coze, who exclaimed, “Let’s say it; it’s Hollywood now!”

The event was held at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, overlooking the famous plaza of the performing arts center.

The event was held at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, overlooking the famous plaza of the performing arts center.

Each dish at the awards gala reception was inspired by cinema, with such inventive offerings as Grant Achatz’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Cocktail”, which required giant fish tanks of seaweed-infused liquor. But the most talked about dish of the evening seemed to be Nate Appleman’s “Royale with Cheese”, an upscale slider that sated the discerning palates of the industry attendees.

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Student Jonathan Horn cooked alongside Chef Nate Appleman, preparing the event’s most buzzed-about dish.

It was a thrill to see our students’ excitement at serving such celebrated personalities as Martha Stewart, Jacques Pépin, and Daniel Boulud. The evening’s plates surpassed the challenging setting, and we are extremely proud of all the ICE volunteers who helped make the event a success.

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Student Jenny Wong helped prepare Chef Aarón Sánchez’s Lamb Enchiladas with Mole Negro.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners, and thank you to the James Beard Foundation for yet another memorable ceremony. We look forward to cooking with you again next year!

ICE alumni are finding success through out the food world. From winning awards for food video production to receiving attention for opening new restaurants, our graduates often have many incredible achievements. Check out just some of the alumni finding success and making recent headlines throughout the industry.

* The James Beard Awards were held in early May, and ICE alumni were among the recipients! Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold with Chris Young and Maxime Bilet (Culinary Arts ’05) won in the Cooking from a Professional Point of View category, as well as Cookbook of the Year. Jamie Tiampo (Culinary Management ’06) also took home the award for Video Webcast for eatTV.

* Angela Cuervo (Pastry & Baking Arts ’07), owner of Making That Cake, was a contestant on the new season of Sweet Genius on Food Network.

* David Seigal (Culinary Management ’03) appeared in The New York Times “Off the Menu” column, as chef of Chelsea’s Table, a new family-friendly restaurant in Chelsea Piers.

* Anup Joshi (Culinary Arts ’04), chef de cuisine of Tertulia, was named among Zagat‘s “30 Under 30: NYC’s Hottest Up-and-Comers”.

* Kate McAleer’s (Pastry & Baking Arts/Culinary Management ’11) new organic and natural chocolate business, Bixby & Co., was featured in Dessert Professional.

* Emily Peterson (Culinary/Management ’09) was recently recognized by Chef2chef as one of the country’s top 50 culinary instructors to follow on Twitter.

* Anna Levien (Pastry & Baking Arts ’06) appeared in the New Jersey Herald in a piece on vegan cooking

To network with these ICE alumni and many more, you can connect with Career Services on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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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Alumni Round-Up

From running award-winning restaurant kitchens to writing notable cookbooks, ICE alumni continue to win accolades and receive attention for their success. Check out just some of the alumni finding success and making recent headlines.

*The James Beard Award Nominees were announced and ICE alumni are on the list of finalists: Jamie Tiampo (Culinary Management ’06) was nominated in the Video Webcast category for EatTV. Maxime Bilet (Culinary Arts ’05) was nominated, along with Nathan Myhrvold and Chris Young, in the Cooking from a Professional Point of View category for their book Modernist Cuisine. And Tertulia got a nod for Best New Restaurant, where Anup Joshi (Culinary Arts ’04) is chef de cuisine.

*Christine Krupin’s (Culinary ’12) blog post “10 Things I Learned Working in a Restaurant Kitchen” about her time on externship was just published in the Huffington Post. More…