By Caitlin Raux
Back when she was a tween, Tanya Edmunds (Culinary Arts ‘09, Culinary Management ‘09) took an interest in makeup. This being before the days of Pinterest and YouTube tutorials, her mom bought her makeup books filled with pages of application instructions. Tanya would spend hours in her room carefully studying the tutorials then replicating them on herself until she mastered each lesson. From the beginning, it was clear that she would be drawn toward creative, hands-on pursuits.
Though she studied theatre at NYU, practical considerations and a knack for whipping up delicious home-cooked dinners led her to enroll at ICE. Fast forward to present day, Tanya has found a calling that allows her perfectionist qualities to mesh with her creative flair and passion for food: as director of training and development at Shake Shack. If you’re not familiar with the brand, it’s the fast-casual burger chain with a cult following and scores of customers waiting to dig into reliably fresh, juicy burgers on pillowy potato buns — the need for well-trained employees to feed the hungry masses is without question. Spend five minutes chatting with Tanya and you’ll realize she’s got the confidence and the energy to manage training of those employees.
Keep reading to learn how Tanya landed a gig with the world-renowned burger mecca, Shake Shack.
By James Briscione — Director of Culinary Research
If you set foot in ICE’s Culinary Lab today, you might mistake it for a laboratory—thanks to the addition of our new rotary evaporator (or Rotovap for short).
This high-end, scientific tool recently made its way into a handful of the most avant garde kitchens around the globe. One such restaurant was Alinea in Chicago, where owner Grant Achatz and executive chef Mike Bagale used their Rotovap to create a clear pumpkin pie recipe —miniature pies filled with a crystal clear liquid that embodied the intense aroma of freshly baked pumpkin pie.
By Leslie Engel
I never dreamed of becoming a restaurant chef. Coming from a culinary student, this may sound a little strange. Why would someone go to culinary school and not want to join the ranks of great chefs like Alice Waters or Eric Ripert? It’s a legitimate question. Hear me out though, because today there are many paths you can forge with a culinary background.
Like most culinary students, my love for food and cooking began at an early age. I have fond memories of plucking sugar snap peas from my father’s garden and preparing a family meal at the ripe age of 10.
Despite this early interest, I pursued my love of food and cooking in ways that seemed more practical — examining the integral role food plays when it comes to our health. In grad school, I studied public health to better understand why so many people are sick with diabetes and obesity. I discovered that most Americans lack real, nourishing food in their diets — so I set out to change that. I carved out a niche during my time at a non-profit, making grants to support healthy food access and sustainable agriculture.
Keep reading to discover what led Leslie to enroll at ICE.
By David Waltuck — Director of Culinary Affairs
Richard Olney’s book “Simple French Food” is one of my favorites. This exploration of “simple” food has a 40-page introduction explaining in detail what the author means by simple — clearly, simplicity can be complicated. The idea of the book — focusing on preparing simple foods very, very well — was made clear to me during a trip to France, years before I opened my restaurant Chanterelle.
Keep reading to discover Chef David's lessons about simple french cuisine.
By Tina Whelski
Anything worth having is worth waiting for, and that’s especially true with bread.
“Bread baking, especially when using wild yeast, is a faith-based enterprise,” says Chef Sim Cass, dean of bread baking at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). “You need to believe that the bread will rise. Then you have to have the patience required to get your perfect loaf.”
A patient mindset is just one thing students will learn during Chef Sim’s 200-hour Techniques of Artisan Bread Baking course at ICE.
Keep reading to discover Chef Sim's favorite bread, plus advice for beginning bread bakers.
By Caitlin Raux
What happens when a former Chanterelle sous chef takes up donut-making? For one thing, New Yorkers get a fresh supply of amazing-quality, artful (read: Insta-friendly) donuts. Add a healthy shake of scrappiness — an essential ingredient for anyone crazy enough to open a 116-square-foot artisanal donut shop inside a busy carwash on the West Side Highway — and you’ve got yourself a quintessential New York story. There’s even a line of yellow cabs in the background.
With his hugely popular Underwest Donuts, Scott Levine (Culinary Arts, ‘04) has elevated the hole-y donut to new heights, and has managed to do so in a place where most fledging owners wouldn’t look twice. But in a space the size of most suburban closets, Scott saw an opportunity to reinvent a New York staple and ran with it. Suddenly, Westside Highway Car Wash had a new stream of customers, more interested in the “Car Wash” glazed donut (vanilla-lavender flavor) than an actual car wash. Riding on the success of their first location, Underwest Donuts opened a second outpost in a similarly transit-heavy area, just a few steps from Penn Station.
Recently we caught up with Scott to chat about his unlikely entry into the artisanal donut game and his definitive stance on a very heated topic — dunking.
If you bake it, spring will come - that's how the saying goes, right? With a mix of spices and candied citron, and the classic unsweetened fondant frosting, these traditional hot cross buns are the perfect way to welcome spring.
Read on for the recipe for these traditional spring treats.
By Bill Telepan — Director of Sustainability
It’s hard enough to create a menu using different kinds of “non-waste” food at your disposal – but creating a four-course menu from leftovers is even more of a challenge. One goal of ICE’s Sustainability Club is to plan and prepare dinners using food that would otherwise be wasted. Aside from the economic benefit, we want to give students the chance to practice the creative process that goes into planning a meal using scraps.
This project made me think about my creative process, and the need to adjust last minute when creating a meal. Two examples come to mind. Recently, I helped Rick Moonen, a Las Vegas-based chef (and one of the first chefs at Oceana over 25 years ago) to prepare a lunch featuring bronzini from Spain.
Keep reading to learn Chef Bill's menu planning process.
At ICE, we make it our mission to help students find their culinary voice — that creative drive within each of us that determines how we express ourselves through food. Whether it’s a career training program, a recreational course in pie crusts or a special event featuring handmade pasta, we’ll give you the tools to hone your culinary creativity. Join us as we ask some of today’s leading food industry pros to share their culinary voice.
"My culinary voice is my Korean style," begins ICE alum and James Beard Award nominated chef Rachel Yang. The co-owner of four hit restaurants in Seattle and Portland — Joule, Revel, Trove and Revelry — offers diners a unique experience, combining the culinary traditions of her Korean roots with a sense of place — the Pacific Northwest. In this video, Rachel explains how she tempers Korean cuisine to her guests' palates, and the result is addictively delicious dishes like geoduck fried rice. Watch now as Chef Rachel Yang shares her culinary voice.
By Danielle Page
It's that time of year again. The prestigious James Beard Foundation has announced the 2018 finalists for restaurant awards — and not surprisingly, the short list is full of ICE alums.
Each year the James Beard Awards embodies a theme, with this year's focus, "RISE," celebrating the power of food through community. As per the James Beard Foundation, nominees who are "championing causes, committing to values, speaking up for those who can’t be heard or cooking their hearts out" are being recognized in 2018. Semifinalists were announced just last month, with final winners to be revealed on May 7th in Chicago.