Jeremy

An Unapologetic Passion for Wine

 Written by Jeremy Troupe-Masi, 2016 Intensive Sommelier Graduate

Food has always represented something far bigger than just nourishment in my life and the addition of wine has only added a fulfilling complexity. My passion for hospitality stems from a desire to expound upon the joy I feel when in the engaged service of others. I did not get into this industry simply because I love food or wine. First and foremost, I have a passion for people and I have found that when enjoying a thoughtfully prepared meal, you get to see people in their most genuine state.

For me, the transition from school to the real-world has presented many challenges, but never-losing sight of my vision is what has kept me pressing forward. I have worked hard over the last eight years building my network and have never leveraged them as much as I am now. I like to consider my network as my team; just as they have had my back through my journey, I would likewise support any of them in theirs. This bond has confirmed for me that relationships are the driving force for greatness. No one can tackle the world alone, and surrounding myself with like-minded individuals has given me with the tools necessary to act.

What is more, without having completed the Intensive Sommelier Training program at ICC, I would not be who or where I am today. This full-on immersion program not only gave me a solid foundation that further developed my vision, it also added an immense depth to my character that I wouldn’t trade for anything. To those who suspect that they are meant for the hospitality or culinary industry, I would strongly advise them to consider educating themselves first. For those hesitant or intimidated by an education specifically in wine, I would implore you to just try it out. Wine is a gateway to endless amounts of information in relation to language, culture, and much more. From it, I have found that I am able to engage with far more people than ever before. What better way to have a discussion than over a glass of wine?

During my training, I learned about soil as if I were a pedologist, studied culture as if I were becoming a historian, in many cases all while trying to open a bottle of Pol Roger’s 2002 Sir Winston Churchill. The learning environment was intimate, and it allowed the Master Sommeliers to spend more time with each of us, assuring that we all received what we individually needed to succeed. Looking back, the most impactful moment for me at ICC was receiving my certification from The Court of Master Sommeliers. On that day, being in a room full of like-minded men and women was intoxicating, and the energy was truly pure with excitement. After 15 weeks of intensive study, I felt as if I was only getting started.

My first job came along soon after receiving my Sommelier Certification. I spent two years as the Beverage Director at Sabio on Main. This job allowed me to not only apply what I had studied, but also immerse myself into the region of Livermore Valley. As it turned out, operating as the buyer for such a notable establishment was a sure, fast way to garner relationships and further ground my network. Additionally, spending everyday interacting with the community showed me the growth potential of Livermore Valley.

Today, I am involved with many projects. At Nottingham Cellars I act as a Branding Strategist working alongside winemakers and the marketing team to build and publish digital media campaigns. Nottingham Cellars is positioning themselves as industry leaders in Livermore. They have three of the best winemakers in the valley in Colin Cranor, Craig Sploof, & Alex Wolfe. Their wines are bold, daring, and progressive while offering a unique and focused sense of place in each bottling. We are in a unique place in time where social media has allowed us to speak directly with our target audiences and consumers, so it is exciting to bring this into my work.

As the Livermore Regional Ambassador for Which Winery, the world biggest winery-based travel site, my objective is to engage and work with wineries to create unique consumer experiences. The company’s goal is to connect people with wineries all over the world. As an ambassador, I hope to use this platform to shed light on this beautiful region.

As the Administrative Consultant for Sidewinder, a new social lounge project by John Kinney of Occasio Winery, my tasks include team building, culture development, beverage management, concept design, developing membership program, conceptualizing digital branding strategies, and publishing an event catalog. The winemaker, and now distiller, David Hendrickson, not only makes the best Rosé in the valley, but he also makes incredible spirits now.

In order to stay sharp and connected to my industry, I also work as a Bartender for a new restaurant called Range Life. Chef Bill Niles comes from Michelin rated Tartine and is elevating the standard in which food is viewed here. Behind the bar, I can remain engaged with guests and see firsthand their perspective on the concept of the food and beverages coming together.

Having compassion and maintaining consistency have been the biggest contributors to the opportunities I have had thus far. One of the best pieces of advice I have received is that “you are always on the clock.” To me, this means that we shouldn’t only be hospitable when we are at work. It represents a steadiness that must be maintained whether you are being paid or not. For me this quote is a subtle reminder that work should not be the reason why I act as a thoughtful, respectful, and mindful individual. These traits originate from my upbringing and my belief that we are all in this together and are responsible for the betterment of one another.

JeremyAll in all, my experience at ICC enabled me to approach career progression with an excitement and confidence that I hadn’t had prior. Right now, I am very much in the process of setting myself up to enjoy what I do for the rest of my life. It is heart-breaking to think that so many of us are almost forced to spend over 3,000 hours a year working in industries that don’t inspire us. Considering the fact that we live in a world where digital media has given the everyday consumer the ability to brand themselves in ways not available before, many of us are enabled to share and, in some cases, monetize our passions. While there are still so many of us struggling to find our way, I believe that over the next decade “loving what we do” will not be such a foreign concept.

Chef Marc creating a tart

Taste of Alsace Recipes

On July 25th, we continued the celebration of #FCIFlashback month with a demonstration to highlight the culture and cuisine of Alsace, France through with ICC’s Senior Director of Culinary & Pastry Arts, Chef Marc Bauer. Defined by its rich and vibrant traditions, Alsace is a region known for its cooking, where Alsatian chefs have been particularly ingenious in their ability to use day-to-day ingredients when creating culinary masterpieces!

Below are the recipes that Chef Marc shared with us through his demonstration. He even shared with us his secret ingredient for his blueberry tart…polenta! Happy cooking!

Choucroute de Poisson, Beurre Rouge
Sauerkraut with Salmon and Beurre Rouge (yields 4 people)
Ingredients:

For the Sauerkraut:

  • 1 tbsp duck fat (optional) you can use any fat of your choice
  • 100g onions (ciseler)
  • 350g bacon cut in ½ inch slabs
  • 1 clove (press into the slab)
  • 1 kg sauerkraut (rinse 3 times in cold water and drain)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 ea.  Juniper berries
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 250ml Riesling (Alsatian wine) or a dry white wine

For the Beurre Rouge:

  • 1 shallot (ciseler)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 branch of thyme
  • 10 peppercorns whole
  • 50 ml red wine vinegar
  • 150 red wine
  • 30 ml H. cream
  • 250g. Butter cut in cubes

For the Final Presentation:

  • 4 pieces of 180 to 220g salmon filet, skin on
  • 8 ea. pommes chateau cooked  in water until a knife can pierce it. Hold.
  • 4 leaves of blanched savoy cabbage.
  • 8 ea. Fresh bay leaves
Steps:

Procedure for the Sauerkraut:

  • In a sauce pan melt the duck fat
  • Add the onions and sweat for 5 minutes.
  • Under medium heat, place the slab on top, add the sauerkraut (drained), the garlic bay leaves, juniper berries, cumin, and white wine.
  • Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, and cook for about 1 hour in the oven at 325F (check towards the end to make sure there is enough moisture or it will burn).
  • Keep warm.

Procedure for the Beurre Rouge:

  • In a sauce pan reduce to 9/10th: the vinegar, red wine, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorn, shallot
  • Add the cream and emulsify
  • Whisk in the butter a few cubes at a time to make the emulsion.
  • Add until the right balance of acidity and richness is achieved.
  • Season and strain.
  • Keep warm.

To Finish:

  • Dry the skin side of the salmon, season both side with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Under medium heat In a fry pan add 2 Tbsp of duck fat,
  • Once the oil reaches 350F, add the salmon, skin side down.
  • Lower the temperature and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes until the skin becomes golden brown.
  • Flip and cook another 30 seconds.
  • Hold on a wire rack for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Drain, reheat the sauerkraut
  • Remove the bay leaves and garlic
  • Remove the bacon skin, dice into ½ cm cubes
  • Mix gently into the sauerkraut.
  • Place on a mold, on a plate
  • Add about 3 Tbsp of beurre rouge
  • Remove the mold
  • Add the salmon, (reheated)potatoes, and (blanched ) cabbage chiffonade.
  • Finish with fresh bay leaf garnish.
Tarte aux Myrtilles:
Blueberry Tart (yields 6 people.)
Ingredients:

For the tart dough:

  • 250g cake flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125 g butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 90 ml water

For the custard:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 Tbsp of pastry cream powder
  • 150 g of sugar or honey
  • 400 ml of crème fraiche
  • 1 pinch of salt.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For assembling the tart:

  • 2 Tbsp of polenta or cream of wheat
  • 1 quart of blueberries (washed, sort out the spoiled ones and dried)

For the Garnish: Crème Chantilly

  • 300 ml crème fraiche
  • 80 g sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Alcool of gewurtztraminer 1 Tbsp.

Procedure for the Tart Dough:

  • In a food processor add the flour, butter, salt.
  • Pulse until the flour and butter look and feel like sand.
  • Add the cold water
  • Pulse to homogenize
  • Press the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a round disk about 1 inch thick
  • Store in the refrigerator until needed.

Procedure for the Custard:

  • Add the eggs, pastry cream powder, sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl
  • Whisk for about 15 seconds.
  • Add the crème fraiche

Procedure for the Crème Chantilly:

  • Hold in the refrigerator
  • Place in a pipping bag with a star tip
  • Whisk with a balloon whisk: the cream, sugar, vanilla and marc de gewurtztraminer.
  • To Assemble the Tart;
  • Roll out the pate brisee with a rolling pin to the side of a tart
  • Place into the buttered tart shell
  • Remove excess dough
  • Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Add the blueberries
  • Sprinkle with the polenta or cream of wheat
  • Pour in the custard
  • Place in a pre heated oven at 400 F for about 20 minutes
  • Finish for about 40 minutes at 350 F.
  • When the custard is set and the dough is golden brown
  • Remove from the oven let cool down for about 10 minutes and remove from the mold.
  • Let cool down on a wire rack to dry out the tart crust.
Hands holding food

ICC Alumni Participating in NYC Restaurant Week

Dining out in New York City offers some of the best culinary experiences, but with over 24,000 restaurants to choose from, eating at all can become expensive. This summer, don’t miss the highly anticipated NYC Restaurant Week, where you’ll find special prix-fixe menus at hundreds of restaurants across town. From July 23 through August 17, you’ll have the chance to sample the incredible array of eateries that make up NYC’s culinary culture with prix-fixe meals at over 380 of NYC’s finest restaurants (two-course lunch, $26; three-course dinner, $42).

So why does ICC love NYC Restaurant Week? With many of our 15,000+ alumni still working in NYC, many of the restaurants on this year’s list feature ICC graduates leading the kitchens of our favorite restaurants!

If you want to get a taste of just some of our graduates, check out some of the NYC Restaurant Week establishments where our alumni work and book your table here.

 

Aisha Momaney, Executive Pastry Chef

David Battin, Executive Chef

  • The Red Cat feels like a real neighborhood joint—the decor has a funky, homemade feel to it, with its hanging vintage lamps and barn walls—but the food is world-class. Grilled double pork chops are served with a black olive-and-roast cauliflower puree, while crispy sautéed skate wing is accompanied by sweet-and-sour eggplant.

David Chang, Executive Chef/Owner

  • Momofuku Nishi, located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, creates Italian-inspired dishes using unexpected techniques and ingredients. In addition to a la carte pasta, meat and fish offerings, the menu also features a house-made pasta tasting with an optional wine pairing.

Gerald San Jose, General Manager

Hooni Kim, Executive Chef/Owner

  • Danji showcases authentic Korean flavors prepared with classic techniques to enhance the taste, texture and aesthetic of each dish. They offer small but shareable portions served in multiple courses, allowing diners to enjoy each dish hot out of the kitchen.
  • Hanjan is Chef Hooni Kim’s second restaurant after Danji, located in the Flatiron District. Many of the dishes at Hanjan are meant to evoke Korean street markets that offer comfort food enjoyed by people in Korea in their everyday life.

Ian Coogan, Executive Chef

James Friedberg, Executive Chef

  • Nickel & Diner serves globally driven, re-imagined diner fare inspired by Chef James Friedberg’s experience in some of NYC’s top kitchens, including Le Cirque and Aureole. The menu changes often, reflecting the current season with local and seasonal ingredients from the surrounding neighborhood of Chinatown.

Jeremie Tomczak, Head Chef

Julian Medina, Executive Chef/Owner

Julieta Ballesteros, Executive Chef/Owner

  • La Loteria is a new take on authentic Mexican cuisine from celebrity chef Julieta Ballesteros. The West Village eatery features an exciting and surprising mix of Mexican recipes ranging from the deliciously elemental “street” taco to the luscious lobster quesadilla.

Karen Shu, Chef de Cuisine

  • Loring Place offers seasonal, local, American cuisine by chef Dan Kluger in the heart of Greenwich Village. The menu, comprised of small and large shareable plates, spotlights farms and farmers whom Kluger has gotten to know intimately over 20 years of frequenting the Union Square Greenmarket.

 

Don’t forget to make your reservations for NYC Restaurant Week and experience these wonderful restaurants, and more, throughout the city where our alumni work. With over 300 options, you can’t go wrong!

 

Michael-Vinegar-Tasting-Event

Destination Vinegar

By: Wajma Basharyar

Photographer, Author and Podcast-host, Michael Harlan Turkell had his first acid trip at the age of 19 when famed Bostonian Chef Barbara Lynch gave him a cap full of something.  He shot it back and recalls having “one of the most profound sensory experiences” of his life up until that point. That spiritual explosion of flavor – sweet, sour, sapid – became his gateway to the world of acidity.

Erwin Gegenbauer, Gegenbauer Vinegar Brewery
Erwin Gegenbauer, Gegenbauer Vinegar Brewery

Fast forward 15 years, he found himself in Vienna, Austria on the doorsteps of Erwin Gegenbauer, the maker of that first shot and quite possibly the best vinegar-craftsman in the world.  While interacting with Gegenbauer, Michael learned the importance of capturing the purity of an ingredient and why it’s crucial in creating a great tasting vinegar.

“The majority of vinegar that I had tasted (up until that first Gegenbauer shot) was the kind that hits you in your chest, makes you cough; you can feel it on your tongue, but you don’t actually taste it,” says Michael.

Acid Trip book cover

 

 

 

While many people may associate it with bad grapes, during that trip, he realized that vinegar is actually made with the best grapes available.  His yearning to learn more about how ingredients impact the quality of the product led him on a global journey to study vinegar-making practices from the people and places that have evolved the craft.  He chronicled the expedition in a newly-released book, ACID TRIP: Travels in the World of Vinegar (Abrams, $35).

Through his lens, we’re transported to France, Italy, Austria, Japan and throughout North America to learn about the art and science of vinegar.  The photography brings to life the richness of the recipes, the insights from world-renowned chefs including Daniel Boulud, Massimo Bottura and April Bloomfield. The book captures the essence of why good vinegar is necessary for culinary arts while the how-to tutorials give the reader front-row access to making their own vinegar at home with bases, such as honey, apple cider vinegar, rice and wine.

plated dish
Sandre in Beurre Blanc

In France, Michael investigated the role of vinegar in relation to food techniques and the application thereof.  What he concluded was that it all comes down to the basic balance of acid and fat; both elements prevalent in French food and more specifically, French sauces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Italy, Michelin-star Chef Massimo Bottura, who runs the number one restaurant in the world, showed Michael an example of a balsamic vinegar that was unlike any balsamic he had tasted before.

 

Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana

Iio Jozo, shari, temakiAs a self-proclaimed Japanophile, Michael was elated to make the trip to Japan and find a producer who could explain the full cycle of rice vinegar from start to end. “Given how much rice is produced in Asia, it’s unsurprising that a remarkable range of rice vinegars can be found there, too. I am partial to the premium rice vinegars of Japan, which are exceptionally fresh and clean-tasting.”

 

 

 

 

 

Iio Jozo, shari, temaki

Earlier this month, the ICC’s California campus was honored to have author/photographer/ podcast-host, Michael Harlan Turkell, visit the campus. He spent the afternoon educating students, alumni and staff all about the vinegar-making process. He shared stories of his travel experiences meeting the world’s best vinegar makers and he brought with him a range of artisanal varieties for us to taste.

  • Acetaia Leonardi Balsamic Vinegar – a very special blend of balsamic vinegar aged for up to 25 years with the finest grapes
  • Acetum Mellis Mead Vinegar – a honey vinegar with a golden, translucent color that has a delicate and fresh taste with a spark of acidity
  • Pojer e Sandri Dolomiti Italian varieties in Cherry, Quince and Black Current – each has a distinct flavor and taste to represent its base ingredient Sparrow Lane, California Citrus Vinegar – a light, fresh and flavorful melody of orange, lime and lemon incorporated in fine barrel-aged chardonnay

At first glance, Michael Harlan Turkell may appear to be just another Brooklynite with a barrel of beer in his backyard.  We came to learn, however, that he started working in kitchens as a young kid at the age of 15 in his hometown of Westchester, New York, and dreamed of becoming a full-fledged chef.  Interestingly, when he later moved to Boston for college, he ended up dropping out of school to again work in restaurants. It wasn’t until he entered the high-end food scene in Boston that his palette was awakened to something new.  Today, he is an expert in at-home vinegar making.  He was proud to tell us that he even spent two years reverse-engineering one process and figured out the secret to making a great beer vinegar in his Brooklyn backyard!

Vinegar from the tasting at ICC
Vinegar Varieties

According to Michael, generally, two kinds of vinegar have found their way to our dinner tables today; either the balsamic poured on salad or the apple-cider vinegar (ACV), touted for its health benefits.  He explained that he aims to change that paradigm by broadening our acidic horizons and expanding our palettes to offer a more varied selection of vinegar that brings a harmonious balance of flavor to our everyday meals.

For a perfect summer treat, try a fresh take on the Negroni.

BALSAMIC NEGRONI, FROM DAMON BOELTE, GRAND ARMY, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

MAKES A 48-OUNCE (1.4-L) PITCHER, SERVES 4 TO 8

16 ounces (180 ml) of CAMPARI

16 ounces (180 ml) COCCHI VERMOUTH DI TORINO

16 ounces (180 ml) GIN, BEAFEATER preferred

½ pint (165 g) STRAWBERRIES, sliced

½ ENGLISH CUCUMBER, sliced

ICE

½ cup (120 ml) BALSAMIC VINEGAR, DOP

In the pitcher, mix together Campari, vermouth and gin.  Add the sliced strawberries and cucumber, let sit for 30 minutes for all the flavors to mingle, then top with ice.

To serve, put a few ice cubes in a rocks glass, pour in 6 ounces (120 to 180 ml) of the Negroni, and float 1 tablespo0n of the balsamic vinegar on top.

Baker Zoe in the kitchen

ICC In The News: Highlights from July 2018

ICC In The News provides monthly highlights from articles published around the world that feature alumni, deans, faculty and more within the ICC community. Stories of our 15,000+ alumni network and their successes are continuously popping up across various prestigious publications. Below, we have brought together some of our favorites from July 2018, aimed to keep you connected with our community and inspire readers to #LoveWhatYouDo in the kitchen and beyond.

  • Chef Fausto Mieres, an alumni of FCI, opened a fast casual, made-to-order healthy restaurant in Westchester. Check it out here if you’re looking for a delicious and healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner!
  • Opened in 2014, Madame Sou Sou Cafe is a delightful treat where you can go to enjoy owner Effie’s French creamy cheesecake or the pistachio cake paired with an iced espresso or whipped frappe. Effie is a graduate of FCI’s French Pastry making course. Read about the cafe here.
  • Heart Health Weekend is happening Aug. 4 and 5 at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel in Harrison. NY. Curtis Cord – the Executive Director, Olive Oil Sommelier Certification program – will discuss the benefits of olive oil use and offer a tasting. Read more here.
A dish from Claro
EATER
THE 38 ESSENTIAL NYC SUMMER 2018 RESTAURANTS

Looking for a new spot to try this summer? Look no further than Claro, which serves up Oaxacan fare in Brooklyn, New York and is featured as an essential restaurant to try. Alumni Chef Jose Alvarez will be sure to wow you with the up and coming Oaxacan cuisine.

  • Chef Andrae Bopp — the former owner of a landscape and sprinkler business – decided to attend FCI and eventually worked in the kitchens of acclaimed NYC spots such as Le Bernardin, Bouley and Balthazar. Now he owns Andrea’s Kitchen, a gourmet gas station eatery. Check it out if you’re in Walla Walla, Washington.
  • The Surf Lodge in Montauk has our very own FCI alumni, Chef de Cuisine Angela Bazan. Together with the Head Chef, Ron Rosselli, they bring together local suppliers and years of experience to create Italian and Mediterranean inspired cuisine.
Inside of Hyacinth
EATER
INSIDE GRAND AVENUE’S ALMOST OPEN ITALIAN EATERY 

On August 14, Hyacinth will open in St. Paul. The Italian eatery is the work of chef/owner Rikki Giambruno, chef de cuisine Paul Baker, and general manager Beth Johnson. Giambruno is a graduate of ICC and an alum of several New York restaurants. The menu is a modern mix of Italian dishes included pastas, entrees and antipasti.

  • Embrace the island life at Tommy Bahama in NYC– no, we don’t mean the clothing store! FCI Alum Chef Jeremie Tomczak is cooking up island flavors on 5th ave in NYC. Don’t miss it!
  • Chef Cesare Casella, Dean of Italian Studies at ICC and head of the Department of Nourishment Arts at the Center for Discovery, works at the residential and educational facility for people of all ages with complex disabilities in Sullivan County, New York. Read how they are working to bring accessible nutrition to everyone.
  • If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, look no further than Montclair, New Jersey, a short distance from New York City. Be sure to eat at Marcel or MishMish, from alumni Chef Meny Vaknin. Read more about his restaurants.
FORTUNE
40 UNDER 40

Chef Christina Tosi, creator of MilkBar and a 2004 graduate of ICC, was listed on Fortune’s list of 40 Under 40. Fortune creates this ranking annually of the most influential young people in business. Read her feature and meet the other honorees.

  • Chef Allison Katz, a 2003 graduate of the Professional Culinary Arts program, has been a staple on the North Fork, NY foodie scene for several years. Chef Katz has a long culinary résumé and will soon be at the helm of her very own place, Ali Katz Kitchen, in Mattituck. Read more about her.
  • Krishni Shroff, a 2010 alum, is a “bread baker of exceptional talent.” Shroff attended ICC’s The Art of International Bread Baking course to perfect her sourdough baking skills and now owns a bakery in Mumbai, India. Read more from GQ India here.
Zoe Kashan's headshot
RESY
BREAKING BREAD AND BREAKING GROUND

Baker Zoe Kanan, a 2010 graduate of the Professional Pastry Arts program, is “breaking bread and breaking ground” at Studio and at Simon & The Whale. She is head baker for both restaurants, and people flock to them for her sugary chocolate morning buns or anise-flecked black bread. Read about her journey.

  • Every summer, at Hayground School in Bridgehampton, NY world-renowned five-star chefs gather to raise much-needed financial aid for the school and its Edible Garden/Kitchen Science program. This year’s Hayground Chefs Dinner will be held Sunday, July 29, and our Dean of Special Programs, Chef Jacques Pépin, is being honored.
  • Casa Peal will open in Williamsburg, VA in October 2018, and they will serve seafood bites, tacos and twists on American Southern classics. Chef Mikey Maksimowicz, who is a 2005 graduate of the Professional Culinary Arts program, is opening the restaurant with wife and Chef Chelsea Maksimowicz.
Chocolate

Where Health Meets Decadence… 7 Reasons Why Dark Chocolate Can Be a Healthy Choice

Written by: Trees Emma Martens, Owner of Emma’s DelightsEmma

2013 Chocolate Candy and Confections Class

Emma’s Delights’ owner-chocolatière, Trees Emma Martens, was born and raised in Belgium and like most Belgians, she grew up with fine chocolates. Her mom was a great cook and a fabulous baker-pâtissière, and from a very young age, Emma spent countless hours helping her mom measuring and mixing ingredients in the family kitchen, and most importantly taking care of the ‘quality assurance’ of the finished product by tasting it at all the different stages of production. No wonder she claims that crafting chocolates must be ingrained in her DNA. 

Emma has been experimenting daily in her own kitchen since her college years. After moving to the Bay Area in 1996 with her family, she eagerly included a variety of culinary elements from the many cultures surrounding her into her own recipes. Emma’s Delights continues that tradition.

We‘ve all heard the saying, “dark chocolate is good for you,” and there are many studies claiming just that. Here are my top 7 health benefits attributed to a high cocoa percentage dark chocolate*:

  1. Fights Free Radicals: Dark chocolate contains plenty of antioxidants that reduce free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells).
  2. Protects Your Skin: The flavanols, a plant-based nutrient, found in dark chocolate absorb ultraviolet rays thus protecting your skin against their damaging effects. Please note that it’s still good to wear sunscreen!
  3. Improves Blood Flow: Dark chocolate is said to lower blood pressure and may even improve brain function by increasing blood flow, which can help you perform better on intellectual tests.
  4. Lowers Risk of Heart Disease: Dark chocolate (together with exercise and a healthy diet) can lower the risk of heart disease because it raises the HDL (good cholesterol) and decreases the oxidized LDL (meaning “bad” cholesterol has reacted with free radicals).
  5. Increases Productivity: Dark chocolate contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine (a blood vessel widener), but at a low enough level to not keep you awake at night.
  6. Reduces Stress: Apparently, dark chocolate also helps reduce stress hormones that can lead to collagen breakdown (wrinkles) and excess oil production (acne).
  7. Lose Weight: Eating a piece of dark chocolate as a snack will lower your craving for sweets and fatty foods and reduces feelings of hunger. This will make it easier to stick to your regular diet plan and help you to reduce body weight.

* If 90% cacao mass is too bitter for you, try a 70%. Just make sure that sugar is not the first ingredient listed and that your plain dark chocolate is truly dairy-free.

If all these scientific reasons cannot persuade you to include dark chocolate into your diet, just think of how good eating a piece of chocolate can make you feel… to indulge without guilt!

With Emma’s Delights, my goal is to handcraft high quality chocolates in small volume with emphasis on the uniqueness of Belgian chocolates. I want to stay as close as possible to the original art of Belgian ‘praline’ making, using traditional molds and soft fillings. I am also passionate about eating healthy so I use only ‘real’ ingredients for my fillings. I avoid any coloring or preservatives, I never use glucose or any other sugary syrups, and I only use organic cane sugar for caramelized fillings. Many of my customers are also happy to know that my fillings are dairy free and all are gluten free. In staying true to my motto, “where decadence becomes healthy,” I offer a large selection of gourmet products made with 70% cacao mass Belgian chocolate, nuts, seeds, or dried fruit.

While Emma’s Delights is mainly an online store that concentrates on “order only,” you can also find me at holiday markets and corporate pop ups. As a small business owner, my job description includes everything from janitor to CEO. In one day, I can go from purchasing ingredients and developing recipes to, fulfilling customer orders and making my chocolates and fillings. There is also a lot of administrative work and marketing involved, i.e answering emails and sending out quotes, writing newsletters, taking pictures for Instagram and, of course, there is always a lot of clean up.

Although maintaining such high standards for my products takes much effort, the “farm to table” movement has always been a way of life for me. In fact, I grew up eating healthy meals cooked from scratch, using fresh vegetables and fruit mostly grown in our own garden. I also have fond memories of assisting my mom every Saturday, baking cakes, pastries, and pies that we would deliver to our neighbors on Sundays as gifts. Even though my mom was an amazing amateur baker/pâtissière, the dessert ‘par excellence’ for me was definitely chocolate, and more specifically our famous Belgian chocolates.

Growing up in Belgium, we always had chocolate in the pantry and after moving to the United States, I especially missed those Belgian ‘pralines’ (hard shell chocolates with soft fillings). One particular year, my craving for them was so great that I decided to make them myself. I did a lot of research online, bought some chocolate molds, and started making my own chocolates. My first attempts didn’t always work out well, but I was intrigued by the process and wanted to learn more about tempering and the whole chocolate making craft. I began taking some amateur classes and became hooked. Since I wanted to really master the art of chocolate making, I was fortunate that the ICC was offering a 5-week course and eagerly signed up for it. Meanwhile, I had to practice a lot and shared my first results with friends and family. Even though my chocolates were still far from perfect, they were a big hit and people often encouraged me to start a business. I knew it would be tough, but the idea of becoming a chocolatière was appealing to me because I saw a niche for it: Belgian chocolates made by a Belgian in the Bay Area, using Belgian couverture chocolate.

Learn more about Emma’s Delights on her website [http://emmasdelights.com] and be sure to follow her on Instagram @emmasdelights!

If It Grows Together, It Goes Together – French Wines & Cheeses

In celebration of #FCIFlashback month, ICC hosted a special Bastille Day Wine & Cheese pairing event with specialty French cheeses provided by Paris Gourmet. For this event, which was the first wine and cheese pairing event I’ve ever attended, I was seated in a room with a Master Sommelier and 50 knowledgeable wine professionals. As a recent college graduate, a 22-year old lover of white wine (the sweeter, the better), and someone who knows little about wine, I was nervous. I rarely am intimidated by anything, but I felt clueless about how to participate in a tasting with people who had been doing this for who-knows-how long.

Sitting in the back of the room, I wondered whether I would actually have to spit into a cup (what is that even for?!) and if I should attempt to swirl the wine, or if should I just sip it out of its glass? Luckily, ICC’s Dean of Wine Studies and Master Sommelier, Scott Carney, took us through each wine and cheese pairing with ease and explained how to properly sample each pairing (for the record, you smell the cheese, then the wine, then combine the pairing). ICC’s wonderful Wine Program Coordinator, Elizabeth Smith, CS, who organized the event, also helped to create an informative slide show to help the newbie’s follow along (mostly me!).

Here is what I learned from the event, including each pairing and the different regions in France where they came from. Try to create these pairings at home, and remember the saying “if it grows together, it goes together… but the rules are made to be broken!”

  1. The Loire Valley is well known for its beautiful castles and scenery. A few hours’ drive outside of Paris, it was a popular place for châteaux to be built. The Loire Valley is also considered to be one of France’s most diverse wine regions, and popularity for their wines has been increasing throughout the last decade, even though they have been producing wines since Roman times.
    • The Pairing: For the first pairing of the event, we were given 2017 Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc and Le Chevrot, a goat cheese. I enjoyed this wine for its fresh citrus flavors, and Dean Carney was sure to point out how the tartness cleansed the palette and enhanced the creaminess of the cheese. I was indeed surprised how the wine somehow made the cheese creamier!
  2. Normandy is known for its seafood, pears and apples, and butter and cheese. The climate in Normandy – colder and somewhat more volatile than the rest of France – makes it ideal for apples, not so much for grapes. This is one of the many reasons that the best cider in the world comes from Normandy, and why Dean Carney decided to have us try a cider instead of a wine. If you ever have the chance, don’t miss the opportunity to try Normandy cider!
    • The Pairing: The second pairing was my personal favorite—a pear cider and Camembert cheese. The cider was Eric Bordelet’s Poiré Authentique, and in Dean Carney’s estimation, “they are one of the top producers of pear cider in the world.” It was so delicious and surprisingly light. The cheese—oh my, the cheese— was maybe one of the best cheeses I have ever tasted, and I am an avid cheese lover. It was made from the milk of Normandy cows, who are known for their rich, grassy milk. If you like mushrooms and truffles as much as I do, you must try this cheese. Somehow it tastes like truffles without actually having any truffles in the cheese.
  3. Jura, at the Swiss border near Lake Geneva, has a long history of cheese and wine-making. Arguably France’s most obscure wine region, Jura’s wines are unusual, distinctive, and completely different from wines made anywhere else in the world. It’s a tiny region, as in 5,200 acres planted, which is said to account for just 0.2% of French wine production overall. The Trousseau grape, which is what we sampled, is one of the grapes that Jura is known for.
    • The Pairing: This pairing was interesting and unlike any wine and cheese that I have tried. The cheese, a Montboissé, was strong and pungent in its aftertaste. There are two layers to the cheese; traditionally, one made from morning milk and the other from evening milk, separated by a thin layer of ash. The wine, 2015 Domaine Pignier Côtes du Jura Trousseau, was vibrant and tangy and somehow the cheese brought out buttery notes. While the cheese was not my favorite, I enjoyed the wine and would love to try it again.
  4. The Basque Region of France borders the better known Spanish Basque Region and has a population of less than 300,000. The region has a unique food and culture scene because of its complex cultural identity and history. Lesser known for their wines and therefore difficult to find, they are delicious and delightful when you come across them.
    • The Pairing: For this pairing we had the opportunity to try a cheese that is believed to be the oldest of all French cheeses, and said to be one of the first cheeses ever made. Ossau-Iraty smells oddly similar to Parmesan and has similar nutty flavors to Gouda. This cheese needs a fuller bodied wine since it has such a strong flavor, so Dean Carney paired it with 2016 Alain Graillot Saint-Joseph Syrah. Aged in 1-3 year-old neutral burgundy barrels which soften the edges of a wine, this particular wine was fruity and the pairing was perfection.
  5. The Occitanie Region, proclaimed by Vogue as “the new wine region to visit in France,” has had vines since the Greek planted them in 5th century B.C. Occitanie is also the birthplace of sparkling wine and one of the few places in the world where you can craft almost any type of wine. Remarkably, this region includes more acreage of vineyards than all of the land in Australia—almost 550,000 acres.
    • The Pairing: This was the pairing that I was most intrigued by. The 1997 Château Guiraud 1er Cru Classé Sauternes had a distinct caramel color and the most intense bouquet that I have ever smelled in a wine. The cheese was a sight not for the faint of heart. Most people are used to seeing the mold in bleu cheese, but this Roquefort had more craters of mold than I had ever seen. Even though it surprisingly did not have much of a smell, upon first bite its sharp, tangy flavor immediately made my eyes water. The wine itself was shockingly sweet despite its notes of maturity and perfectly paired with the pungent cheese. Despite its looks, the cheese was incredible and had a soft texture.

So if you’re just as inspired as I was by this afternoon of wine & cheese, try to recreate some of these pairings for yourself! Ask your local wine retailer for wines from these regions and visit Paris Gourmet’s website to try some of these unique cheeses.

Thank you to Paris Gourmet for the delicious cheese, ICC’s Dean of Wine Studies Scott Carney, MS for his perfect pairings and informative lecture, and ICC’s Wine Program Coordinator, Elizabeth Smith, CS, for her tireless efforts to put together the event.

Jacques Pepin a the Demo

Essential Tips from Chef Jacques Pépin

July is #FCIFlashback month where we are celebrating our founding as The French Culinary Institute with exciting programming and demos that embrace our FCI legacy—after all, the International Culinary Center® is still The French Culinary InstituteTM.

On July 11th, ICC was fortunate enough to have Chef Jacques Pépin, Dean of Special Programs, visit us for his classic La Technique demonstration. Chef Pépin’s technique, skill, and knowledge are unparalleled. His impressive display of knife skills is incredible to watch and learn from, and he has been an extraordinary resource at the International Culinary Center since 1988. Chef shared some of his vast knowledge with our audience during his demonstration.

Here are some essential tips to mastering your knife skills & more straight from the source:

Have a good knife.

As you use your knife continually, it will dull. Sharpening it on a stone will make the knife last longer. To do so:

  • Saturate your stone with water or mineral oil, depending on what is recommended for your particular stone.
  • Use steel to realign the teeth of your knife.
  • Always keep the knife at the correct angle on the steel that you are sharpening the knife with, or the teeth may break.
And if you need to realign your knife blade on steel:
  • Cover the entire blade back and forth on the steel
  • Apply pressure
  • Keep your angle constant, or else you will destroy the teeth of the knife
Glue your hand to the knife you are working with.

This controls the knife, allows for an even distribution of cuts and prevents accidents.

The sharper your knife, the less you cry when cutting an onion.

Did you know that onions make us teary because a reaction in the onion releases a chemical called lachrymatory factor? A sharp knife causes less damage to the cell walls of an onion where irritants are unleashed, causing tears to form. The sharper the knife, the fewer irritants that will be released.

When using a vegetable peeler, use it flat on the cutting board.

If you wrap your hand around the peeler, instead of pinching the peeler at the top, you will be too far away from the cutting board and it will make it much more difficult.

Vinegar and salt cleans copper.

Ever wonder how Chef Pépin keeps his copper pots and pans so clean on TV? Well it’s not all in the magic of TV! He recommends using a combination of salt and vinegar to clean the grime and tarnish off of copper. It works because the acid in the vinegar strips the oxidized patina from the copper and the salt acts as a mild abrasive to remove any caked on grime.

And lastly, one of the most important pieces of advice that Chef Pépin shared with ICC students is to see the food through the chef you are learning from. He advises aspiring professionals to take pride in what the chef wants you to learn. After working with different chefs over the course of many years, you’ll have a wealth of knowledge to create your own style.

A collage of food entrepreneur

CALLING ALL CHEFS – Citi Urbanspace Challenge

Citi and Urbanspace announced the launch of the Citi Urbanspace Challenge, a program designed to connect local chefs to New York City communities and offer small businesses the chance to operate a booth at Urbanspace’s Fall 2018 pop-up markets and for one winner to have a booth at Urbanspace’s market located at 570 Lexington Ave.

CALLING ALL ICC ALUMNI

Do you have what it takes? ICC believes you do!

ENTRY PERIOD
Thursday, July 12th – Monday July 23rd (Noon, EST)

Geared towards emerging culinary entrepreneurs, the Citi Urbanspace Challenge is a creative challenge whose aim is to help discover the culinary entrepreneurs of tomorrow and provide them a platform to connect with the New York market scene. If you’re an alumni of the Culinary, Pastry, Cake, Bread, Sommelier or Culinary Entrepreneurship programs with a creative, fast-casual restaurant concept, submit your ideas from now to July 23rd at noon EST for the chance to test your concept an an Urbanspace market!

Three finalists of the Citi Urbanspace Challenge will be placed in a rent free booth at Urbanspace pop-up markets: Mad. Sq. Eats, Garment District, and Broadway Bites during the Fall 2018 season.

THE WINNER OF THE CHALLENGE

From the three finalists, the overall winner of the Citi Urbanspace Challenge will be awarded a full customized, branded booth in the prime Urbanspace at 570 Lex location for three months beginning in January 2019! Winners will be determined based on a public vote hosted on Urbanspace’s website through the fall 2018 pop-up markets and a panel of expert judges, including restauranteurs and culinary influencers & experts.

DON'T MISS OUT ON THE CHANCE OF A LIFETIME—ENTER TODAY!

Chef Mark Demonstrating

Sustainability: Beyond the Plate

 Written by: Mark Duesler, Chef Consultant for the Food Service Technology Center

Chef Mark

My name is Mark Duesler. I am the Chef Consultant for the Food Service Technology Center (FSTC), a resource for foodservice professionals. In California, we have programs set up specifically for energy efficiency in the foodservice sector and for good reason: refrigerating, cooking, holding, and serving food is incredibly energy intensive! On average, foodservice facilities use 5-to-10 times more energy than other commercial businesses.

To give you a better idea of this disparity, in 16 hours, a small fast food restaurant uses about the same amount of energy as a Home Depot or other big box store would in 24 hours. And with so many restaurants, it is important to consider energy use not only from a business perspective, but from an environmental approach as well.

From rebate incentives for energy-efficient equipment to invaluable design consultations and equipment demonstration programs, the FSTC offers many programs to culinarians as they grow and learn about their craft. We’ve collected several ways to curb energy use in foodservice operations from instituting best practices among staff to avoiding common pitfalls leading to unnecessary consumption. Check them out below!

 

Best Practices

  • Fix Water Leaks– While they may seem small, that constant drip adds up.
  • Replace Worn Refrigerator Gaskets– Refrigeration is always running. If the door gaskets are worn, a cooler or freezer is working harder than necessary, it is sucking energy and shortening its life. From experience, walk-ins always seem to go down at the end of service on a Saturday night (and that is no fun).
  • On/Off Schedules– Most modern equipment only needs about 15 minutes to preheat. If it doesn’t need to be on, then shut it down. This practice also keeps the space more comfortable.
  • Purchase Rebate Qualified Equipment– Rebate-qualified equipment has been designed/tested to be more efficient. This often means that the equipment performs better as well. Lost revenue to utility bills can be much more costly in the long run than the initial up-front cost of purchase.
  • Energy Audits– A free service provided by the FSTC (for PG&E customers). We can come out and identify where the best energy efficient opportunities are in your kitchen.

Common Pitfalls

  • All equipment is the same”– These tools are the backbone of any operation. Not taking the time to examine the various energy pits in your operation ends up costing more money and precious time.
  • Not Cleaning Condenser Coils– If you don’t clean the refrigerator’s coils, it is being starved of much needed air to cool the unit. This can also lead to a short life span and increased energy usage.
  • Complacency– Ask questions and keep asking. There are a lot of resources out there to help you. Restaurants are constantly evolving with many moving targets, so the answer today may not be the same answer tomorrow.

Did you know you can try out the most advanced appliances without committing to a purchase? At the FSTC, we have an inventory of high-end demonstration equipment such as combination ovens, high-speed ovens, pressure fryers, vacuum sealers, and immersion circulators. These pieces of equipment are available for you to test your recipes and hone your skills. As a cook, it is a terrific way to expand your knowledge as you further your career. It’s an opportunity to learn what tools and technologies are available, which can help you gain an advantage in the particularly competitive culinary world.

 

Missed our Foodservice Sustainability Workshop? Learn about energy saving practices with Chef Mark Duesler & Matt Greco, owner of Salt Craft Restaurant, at the Food Service Technology Center on Thursday, July 19th. Event is free & open to the public. Click here to learn more.

Chef Mark demonstrating