Yesterday afternoon marked the tenth Annual Allagash Brewery Contest at ICE. For the past 10 years, Allagash Brewing Company has partnered with ICE to offer student scholarships for the best student recipe using Allagash beer. This year ICE students were challenged to create a dish using an Allagash Interlude — a beer made from wild yeast and aged in wine barrels. The recipes also had to fit in the theme of barbecue.

Three ICE students were selected as finalists from the dozens of entries and got the chance to prepare their recipes for the judges. Culinary Arts student Travis Henningfield prepared Pear and Pork Belly Kushiyaki with Interlude and Miso-Glazed Onigiri, Cucumber, Daikon Salad and Pear Chips. Skye Whitman made Grilled Duck Breast with Dried Plum & Interlude BBQ sauce with Allagash-Buttermilk Cornbread and Orange-Jicama Slaw. The third competitor, Davina Thomasula made Interlude BBQ Glazed Pork Chops and Drunken Cheddar Grits with Apple Jicama Slaw. More…

If you have visited ICE recently you may noticed our brand-new ovens and stoves on the 12th floor recreational classrooms. If you’ve participated in a culinary class or cooking event in this space, you’ve used one of the top pieces of culinary equipment available on the market today. The ranges and ovens were custom made for ICE by BlueStar, a pioneer and manufacturer of high-quality, reliable, custom cooking equipment. ICE is proud to announce that BlueStar is the exclusive provider of stoves and ovens for its 12th floor recreational kitchen classrooms.

The new BlueStar equipment at ICE includes seven 30-inch four-burner ranges and three 36-inch six-burner cooktops, all at 22,000 BTUs, as well as two double-wall ovens. Each BlueStar range is hand-crafted in Reading, Pennsylvania. ICE Director of Education Richard Simpson said, “The quality and durability of the BlueStar line is amazing. The ranges and ovens are ideal for our wide variety of classes and we are proud to showcase them in our kitchens.”

Independent studies have shown that BlueStar outperforms leading high-performance stoves when tested for boiling, simmering, deep frying, stir-frying and searing.   All BlueStar ranges, ovens and ventilation hoods are available in 190 color options (check out the photos of our new blue ovens!). More…

Six ICE students competed for a chance to compete in the Chefs of Grey Poupon Student Competition Finals being held at ICE on May 11. ICE students have won the competition for the last two years consecutively. This year, six students devised dishes around the theme, “health-inspired fish dish.” Culinary Arts students Marc Giroux, Brandon James, Kirsten Davenport, Maridania Collado, Pamela Vacon and Richard Chan created dramatically different dishes, all using Grey Poupon.

ICE Director of Education Richard Simpson, Director of Culinary Arts Program Mike Handal, Chef Instructor James Briscione and Chef Instructor Chris Gesualdi judged the semifinal round. After tasting each dish and careful deliberation, the judges selected Marc Giroux’s Grilled Striped Bass with Asparagus and Spring Vegetables; Brandon James’s Spice Encrusted Mako with Fennel Citrus Salad and Warm Dijon Sauce; Maridania Collado’s Country Mustard Glazed Chilean Sea Bass, Baby Bok Choy, Cockles and a Dijon-Miso Broth; and Richard Chan’s Smoked Mustard-Glazed Salmon with Roasted Mustard Cauliflower and Beets, Pea Coulis and Dijon Vinaigrette as the finalists for the next round of the competition. More…

Soft Poached Eggs with Egg Zabaione at Eleven Madison Park

I have had fresh white truffles from Italy about four times in my life. On December 13, I had more of them in one night than anyone deserves, served by the chefs at Eleven Madison Park, Marea and Locanda Verde.

It began with a charitable deed. At a recent American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) fundraiser, I successfully bid on a silent auction lot titled “Truffle Quest.” The evening was generously donated by John Magazino, president and founder of Primizie, a vibrant NYC specialty food distributor. John is one of America’s leading purveyors of white and black truffles from Europe. During the fall truffle season, he visits many of NYC’s top restaurants three or four days or nights a week, selling and delivering truffles. With portable small weight scales, and handwritten sales notes, these transactions look like movie screen drug deals. In this case, the “high” is legal.

Eleven Madison Park Sous Chef James Kent Selects White Truffles

White truffles are rare, valuable and sought after by food connoisseurs around the world. The most prized ones come from the Piedmont region of Italy. They are hunted for and harvested at night, by local foragers with trained pigs or dogs. The hunt happens at night to increase the odds that the harvester’s successful sites will stay a secret, and perhaps to hide the yield from the local taxation authorities. Once found, truffles go to consolidators who hustle to the airport. From the woods in Italy, to a plate in Manhattan, the commute often takes place in only 24 to 48 hours. More…

ICE Students with Director of Student Affairs Andy Gold and Director of Education Richard Simpson

Last night was the annual Action Against Hunger Gala at Capitale. For over seven years, ICE students and chefs have participated in the event, helping to raise money and awareness for Action Against Hunger, a humanitarian organization committed to alleviating world hunger. ICE President Rick Smilow sits on the organization’s Advisory Council. Action Against Hunger and its parent organization, ACF, focus on emergency food relief, clean water and sanitation, as well as long term hunger solutions in the world’s most challenging situations.

Proceeds from the evening will support Action Against Hunger’s programs in over 40 countries around the world. This past year, a good part of Action Against Hunger’s efforts have been focused on the people of Haiti, who are still struggling with the devastation caused by January’s earthquake. Berthony Innocent, a ACF Finance Administrator in Haiti was on hand to speak about the work the group is doing in the country. More…