churro-borough

In 2009, Sylvia Yoo enrolled at The International Culinary Center in New York and eventually worked in some of the city’s most formidable kitchens, including Jean-Georges and WD-50. When she returned to Los Angeles she found work at an interior design firm, and tried balancing four days there and two days on the line. The pressure of maintaining both jobs was fierce and exhausting, and Yoo eventually left the culinary industry, but still needed an outlet for her love of the kitchen.

Drawing on her love of ice cream and pastry that she had developed during her culinary ventures in New York, Sylvia was inspired to put the two together and Churro Borough was born!

– What inspired you to go to ICC?

I had taken a trip to Japan and Korea in 2009 and was mesmerized by all the beautiful food products and pastries they had.
Visually, they were like miniature sculptures with beautiful form, color, textures, but those concepts also translated over once you ate them. I thought, being a pastry cook must be like being an architect, just a different medium. Once I had returned back to New York, I decided to enroll in ICC to further my curiosity.

– Was there a moment in your life–in school or otherwise–where it all clicked and you knew what you wanted to do with your career? Can you describe it?

I was living in New York during the time of the recession and was an interior architect by profession at that time. Finding work was getting really tough and I found myself at a crossroads in my life where I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and wondered if I was actually ever going to get a job back in design. I decided to take that vacation to Japan and Korea during my down time and it was in Japan that I realized that pastry arts was very similar to architecture and design. Once I returned back to NY, enrolled and began courses at ICC, I fell in love with it! I felt like I was in design school again, working with my mind and my hands again, being conceptual and actually building that concept with my bare hands. But the difference between architecture and food was that everyone and anyone was able to enjoy the food you created and you were able to experience the reactions and emotions of the user. In architecture, you don’t get that same connection…that’s when I knew that I wanted to switch careers and be a pastry chef.

Chef Sylvia Yoo Churro Borough

– What was your graduation dream? How does the business you opened reflect that?

At first I thought I wanted to work the ranks at high concept restaurants that make beautiful dessert creations and one day become their executive Pastry Chef. But after a few years of working at these types of restaurants, I started to realize that only a certain percentage of people who can afford these types of restaurants are the ones that get to see these desserts. I wanted to make desserts for EVERYONE, not just the select few. I already knew that ice cream was not only my favorite dessert to consume, but my favorite dessert to make. It’s the first thing I eat off a plated dessert because it’s the best part! Knowing that, and knowing I wanted my desserts to be more accessible, it just seemed natural that I would open up an ice cream shop.

– Any tidbits of advice for others who are considering this path?

Surround yourself with good people and good business partners (if you can afford it). It’s not just about being the chef and being in the kitchen anymore. There’s so much more to owning a business that I didn’t expect and you just can’t do everything. Currently I’m playing General Manager, Executive Chef, Head Dishwasher, Social Media Intern, Deliveryman, Handyman, mentor, mediator, etc…it can get exhausting and overwhelming, but if you can afford to have someone that can take some of the burden off your shoulders, it won’t be as stressful.

– Where do you see your dreams taking you 5 years from now?

I would like to expand the Churro Borough concept to other cities and states – New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco. But for now, just getting a couple more locations opened in Los Angeles would be just as dream-fulfilling!

dvds

By Rose Kernochan
ICC Library Assistant

ICC’s students come to the library asking for specialized cookbooks about molecular gastronomy, working with sugar and plating desserts. They search the bookshelves and often, they find what they need. But what they don’t know is that they have only reached our library’s top layer. Aside from the 5,000 or so volumes on the open shelves, there are rare, half-hidden reference volumes, tucked into a secluded nook–and then one last well-kept secret: the ICC’s stellar culinary DVD collection.

It’s good to study, say, Ewald Notter’s The Art of The Confectioner if you want to learn to work with sugar. But you can also watch Notter working with sugar on DVD. Likewise, you can read Dean Jacques Torres’ Dessert Circus, if you need to know about plating desserts—or you can watch him plating bombolini or almond kataifi, and talking about “plate presentation”, courtesy of one of the ICC’s large collection of DVDs by the deans (favorites like Jacques Pepin, Andre Soltner and Cesare Casella are also heavily represented).

Many of the library’s (literally) heavyweight molecular gastronomy cookbooks—such as A Day at El Bulli — are in the Reference Section, and can’t be checked out. But hidden in the DVD drawers, there are cool documentaries about Ferran Adria (like Anthony Bourdain’s “Decoding Ferran Adria”, or Gereon Wetzel’s “Cooking in Progress”), and the interactive CDs (with recipes!) which accompany a few of those expensive El Bulli reference books. Like everything else in those drawers, they can be checked out for a two-day period.

The DVDs aren’t limited to specialized topics, or even just Culinary or Pastry Arts. The ICC’s 6-disc “Basic Techniques” DVD can help provide backup for a student’s first steps in cooking school—just as the 6-disc Fundamentals of Wine (or Andrea Robinson’s Intensive Wine Class) can help teach wine basics to an early-career somm student. Knife-sharpening videos remind cooks how to keep their precise tools in the best possible shape—and there are even DVDs with tips for hand-sharpening Japanese knives.

culinary_library

If you’re a fan of a particular chef—Eric Ripert, David Chang, Anita Lo—there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find an “unplugged” interview or an unusual ICC demo starring your favorite culinary idol. You’ll be able to watch Bobby Flay tackling ceviche, or Chang doing Japanese dashi, or Ripert focusing on “scallops and foie gras with black truffle sauce”. What makes the ICC collection unique are the many in-house classes or guest chef demos—but standards like “Mind of a Chef” or Julia Child’s “The French Chef” are included also.

Last of all, there’s entertainment, designed to whet your appetite for that new food- or wine-world career. Comedy features like “Chef” , “Sideways” and the Japanese ramen classic “Tampopo” sit in the drawers next to more educational documentaries like “Mondovino” and the lyrical “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”.

To access the DVDs, just ask a librarian for help—or just search the library catalogue on your own, from the ICC website. If you’re on the computer, use keywords for whatever specialized area you’re looking for: say, “dashi”, “varietal” or “cake decoration”. If you want to go manual, you can also flip through the three ring notebook marked “DVD Catalog” which is on the librarian’s desk near checkout.

Enjoy!

kris_feliz_italy

By Kris Feliz,
ICC Italian Culinary Arts graduate.
Read From Puppies to Pasta Part I

I got to culinary school having romantic ideas of Italian landscapes and giant bowls of pasta, thinking tradition and family was what drives cuisine in Italy but looking back at the Italian Culinary Experience at ICC — this total immersion curriculum expanded and exceeded my whole understanding of learning, cooking, what it means to be a chef, interacting with other chefs, and the beautiful countryside of Italy.

In the New York portion of the program, we learned all aspects of Italian cooking techniques and the connections that the cuisine has to culture, history, and language. It’s amazing how detailed and packed those days were — and Chef Guido is an excellent and genuine instructor. The foundation I built at ICC paved the way towards having a successful experience at ALMA.

As a school, ALMA is a precious gem in the Italian culinary world and it completed my education with a polish that has impacted the way I view the bigger picture of my job as a chef. Learning a complete body of wine, culture, history, language, and cooking techniques from all areas of the fine dining kitchen is just part of what I walked away with. The dedication and self discipline required to complete the complex coursework has shaped the kind of professional I am now becoming in the job market.

The campus environment is beautiful and truly helped to shape my thinking about the cooking community. Every week, we met with guest chefs who shared their wisdom and experience, allowing us to learn how these exceptional visionaries carved out their place in the modern cooking world. Simplicity, elegance, and elevation became fundamental for creation that reinforces the values of respect for the ingredients, expands traditions, and pushes the limits of today’s modern cooking techniques. Going to ALMA changed me, from a person who wanted to cook, to a chef who wants to create.

Italian Culinary Experience

Living in Italy was such a magical experience! ALMA is situated in a great location for access to many major cities, and there just wasn’t a reason not to enjoy the benefits of our free time. It’s always full sensory participation of foods, architecture, and cultural events no matter what city you visit. Travelling by train was easy and comfortable, and there’s always something happening in Italy. I had so many spontaneous experiences just because I was standing in the right spot when the marching band passed by, or when the festivals were visiting. I fell so in love with the sky, the trees, every building and cathedral, the coastlines, and mountains that I wanted to stay!

Luckily I was coming back to New York City with its high-quality, high-volume kitchen culture that is fueled by creative passionate chefs. I run into other ICC grads all the time in kitchens and it feels good to see us working and producing. I feel proud to be a working member of our graduate community! And I look back at the brilliant education I received with fondness for my creative and passionate instructors, mentors. This motivates and drives me to keep practicing, keep pushing this craft into a lifelong career of learning and giving back.

cookbook_proposal_writing

Free event, RSVP to smedlicott@culinarycenter.com

Join us on August 26th 3:30 – 5:00pm in the ICC Amphitheater for the next event in our How to Write a Cookbook series. This panel features three authors demystifying the process of writing a cookbook proposal.

Diana Kuan is a New York-based writer and cooking teacher. Her first cookbook The Chinese Takeout Cookbook came out from Random House/Ballantine in late 2012. Diana grew up watching her family run a Latin-flavored Chinese restaurant in Puerto Rico, and later a Polynesian-style take-out and Cantonese bakery in suburban Boston. She writes the blog Appetite for China which is about traditional dishes as well as creative takes on Chinese food and dishes that became popular due to the Chinese Diaspora around the world. If Diana can successfully apply her French culinary training to stir-fries, there is no reason traditional and non-traditional forms can’t co-exist.

ICC Alum Carrie King writes mainly on the subject in which she is most interested, food: a passion that has been clear since uttering one of her first discernible words – fries. She has cooked in restaurants in France, Ireland and New York, and spent a number of years working for various food-related nonprofits and teaching cooking classes before shifting gears to focus on her freelance writing career. Most recently, in addition to print pieces in Gather Journal and Life & Thyme, she co-wrote Amanda Freitag’s first cookbook, The Chef Next Door and is currently working with critically acclaimed chef Missy Robbins on her own debut book.

Cathy Erway likes to cook. She likes to discover new ingredients, dishes and techniques, and learn to cook them without any formal culinary training. From September 2006 through September 2008, she went AWOL from eating restaurant, take-out, or street stand food throughout the five boroughs of New York City. While becoming an office brown-bag queen and eating pretty much only food prepared herself, she explored other avenues of “not eating out” — diving into dumpsters, foraging for edible weeds, cooking for communal dinners and supper clubs, and throwing or participating in amateur cook-offs and events. Cathy wrote a book about this experience, called The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove. In 2015, she took home-cooking back to her mother’s roots and published The Food of Taiwan Cookbook. Cathy blogs at Not Eating Out in New York.

While the three authors have very different backgrounds and experiences, all three went through the process of writing a cookbook proposal and publishing their books. So if you are interested in writing a cookbook yourself or want to learn more about these fascinating women, please RSVP to smedlicott@culinarycenter.com

Bonus: there will be books available for sale and signing after the event!

salted_chocolate_cookie

By ICC Professional Pastry Arts student Stephanie Rodriguez
Third Place Winner of the ICC 2016 Cookie Games

Country of Inspiration: United States of America
Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients for dough:

  • 5.3 oz/150 g. butter, unsalted
  • 1 ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3.5 oz/100 g. glucose syrup
  • 2 ¾ cup + 2 tablespoon bread flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt, kosher
  • 1.8 oz./50 g. chocolate chips, semi-sweet
  • 1.8 oz./50 g. chocolate chips, bittersweet
  • Coarse sea salt, for garnish, as needed.

Cookie games chocolate cookie recipe

Procedure:

1. In a tabletop mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars, until light and fluffy.
2. Gradually, add the eggs, vanilla, and glucose syrup, scraping the sides of the bowl well.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Add the dry ingredients in one addition and combine at low speed until just mixed.
5. Add the chocolate chips and mix until combined. Remove the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm. Let rest at least one hour.
6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Portion the dough into 48 pieces and roll into balls. Place each portion onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, providing 1 ½” between each cookie, and flatten.
7. Top with a pinch of sea salt and bake for 7-10 minutes or until firm to the touch. Allow the cookies to cool before transferring.
8. Store well wrapped for 3-4 days.

cookie_honey_fennel

By ICC Culinary Arts student Nicole Hope
Second Place Winner of the ICC 2016 Cookie Games

Country of Inspiration: Morocco
Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients for dough:

  • 8 oz/225 g. butter, unsalted
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup flour, all-purpose
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed, coarsely chopped
  • Candied orange peels (see below)

Cookie Games International Culinary Center

Procedure:

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the honey over medium heat until the color turns to deep, dark caramel and reaches a temperature of 330°F, measured with a candy thermometer.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add butter, stirring until the butter is completely melted. Cool the mixture until the butter hardens again, stirring occasionally to make sure the honey doesn’t stick to the bottom.
3. In a tabletop mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the cooled butter until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until incorporated.
4. Add the flour and salt to the butter mixture in two batches, stirring to incorporate completely after each addition. Stir in the fennel seed and candied orange.
5. Turn out the dough onto parchment paper and roll into a log, 2 inches in diameter, and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
6. Preheat oven to 325°F. Slice log into rounds about ¼ inch thick and bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden.
7. Let sit 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store well wrapped for 3-4 days.

Ingredients for Candied Orange:

  • 2 oranges
  • 2 ½ teaspoon granulated sugar

Procedure:
1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from each orange.
2. Remove any white pith with a paring knife and julienne the orange zest.
3. Put the zest in a small sauce pot and cover with water, bring to a boil and drain.
4. Put the orange peel back in the sauce pot and cover with water again, this time adding in the sugar.
5. Bring to a boil and reduce until all the water has evaporated.
6. Remove the candied orange onto a drying rack or parchment paper and allow to air dry for about 1 hour.

cookie_winner_recipe

By ICC Culinary Arts students Remy Albert and Caroline Verrone
First Place Winners of the ICC 2016 Cookie Games

Country of Inspiration: Bahamas
Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients for dough:

  • 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup coconut, shredded, unsweetened, toasted and cooled (plus additional for garnish)
  • 8 oz. butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Filling, recipe below
  • Sea salt, coarse (for garnish)

cookie_games_winners

Procedures for dough:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and toasted coconut.
3. In a tabletop mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy.
4. Add the vanilla to the beaten butter and sugar, scraping the bowl well. Add the dry ingredients in one addition and combine until just mixed.
5. Portion the dough into 36 rounds and roll each piece in the additional toasted coconut.
6. Press the dough flat, while creating an indention for the filling and place on a cookie sheet.
7. Apply one teaspoon of the filling to the center of the cookie, top with a pinch of sea salt and bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
8. Allow the cookies to cool before transferring. Store well-wrapped cookies for 3-4 days.

Ingredients for filling:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 ½ cups mango, diced
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup light rum
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ lemon, zested
  • Pinch salt

Procedures for filling:

1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
3. Increase the heat slightly, stirring constantly until the mixture is reduced to a thick consistency.
4. Transfer immediately to another bowl to cool.
5. Filling can be made in advanced and stored in the refrigerator until needed.

grads1

My name is Abraham Scott and I currently work as a Pastry Cook at 2-Michelin-starred Marea Fine Dining Restaurant. I’m a recent graduate of the Professional Pastry Arts program and I am so proud to say that ICC gave me the foundation to be working at a Top 10 NYC restaurant. Prior to attending ICC, I worked in IT for a many years at City University of New York.

– What is your best memory from your time at ICC?

A class trip to Jacques Torres’ Factory in Sunset Park, Brooklyn! Our Dean of Pastry Arts took us on a tour of his massive chocolate factory. Of course, we got a chance to taste many of the chocolate treats. It was a very inspiring outing, Jacques shared his own pastry stories and professional experiences with us.

Pastry School New York City

– Describe a day in your life.

My work day begins at 3pm. I do inventory of all of our desserts to make sure we have ingredients on hand. The Desserts menu is a wide spectrum of items which range from Mascarpone Panna Cotta to Bomboloni (Blueberry Doughnuts served with Honey & Lemon Curd). I am also responsible for prepping the desserts for the dinner service, which lasts from 6pm through 11pm on weekdays and 11:30pm on Saturdays. During the actual service, I am engaged in plating desserts at a rapid pace. Our covers average 260-300 a night, or even higher on the weekends.

Once the last order is out, I break down the station and clean the area, restock it for the morning cooks. I usually leave work at around 1:30am in the morning five days a week, and I get 2 consecutive days off a week.

Bomboloni at Marea (Photo by Ted Axelrod)
Bomboloni at Marea (Photo by Ted Axelrod)

– What would you tell someone who wants to start a career in pastry?

Since graduating from the ICC program I received EIGHT job opportunities, which is amazing! The best advice I received at ICC is to “Choose the job based on what you will to learn the most from” — that’s why now I am learning daily at Marea.

– What’s next for you?

I’m currently perfecting my ice cream recipes because I want to develop a line of ice cream products and hope to launch a pop up parlor in 2017.

judy

By Eric Levin
Appears in the July 2016 issue of New Jersey Monthly
Photo by Jean Cazals

Judy Joo, the studious, Jersey-raised daughter of Korean refugees, left Wall Street to bring the bracing food of Korea to TV and now a cookbook.

Uprooted by the communists, little Eui Don Joo, his eight siblings and their parents put what belongings they could on their backs and walked south. The family had been landlords and farm owners in northern Korea, but now, as war raged in the early 1950s, they were refugees. In his backpack, Eui Don, the youngest, about age five, bore the lightest load, but the most crucial: rolls of fine silk. With Korean currency worthless, silk could be bartered for essentials, most of all food.

Eui Don’s daughter, Judy Joo—author of the new cookbook, Korean Food Made Simple(HMH, $30), based on her Cooking Channel series of the same name—learned perseverence and scholarship from her father, who came to this country in 1967 after graduating from medical school in Seoul. She learned those virtues and Korean cooking from her mother, Young Nim Park, who left Korea in 1968 with a scholarship to Ohio State, where she earned a master’s degree in chemistry. Eui Don became a psychiatrist. Joo’s parents met in Michigan and eventually settled in Berkeley Heights.

At the exclusive Kent Place School in Summit, Joo and her older sister, Sonya, were the only Asians. “Our parents pushed us hard. ‘You have to succeed! Play the violin, play the piano, excel!’” Joo recalls with a laugh. “I didn’t read that Tiger Mother book. I lived it.”

Partly to help her daughters fit in, their mom made them pb&j sandwiches for school lunch. But family meals were always Korean and made from scratch. “The laundry room,” Joo writes in her cookbook, “teemed with jars and containers stacked precariously, filled with fermenting drinks, bowls full of soaking tripe, mung beans, bean sprouts, or rice. The adjoining garage had rows of drying seaweed on hangers, chiles, and a small foil-wrapped charcoal grill for barbecue perched in the corner.”

At Columbia University, Joo majored in industrial engineering and operations research. She became a financial analyst and, at age 22, worked the trading floor. “It was a crazy environment,” she recalls, “with 500 people on the floor, 48 phone lines, a headset, two handsets, six screens in front of you. You’re yelling all day. The market is always moving, so you have to handle stress effectively and have a ridiculous memory. You either sink or swim.” She swam, but soon realized she didn’t love the pool.

What Joo did love was food and restaurants. So she quit and got a degree in pastry arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York. Why pastry? “Because of the science factor,” she says, referring to the precision required. She cooked, among other places, at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in the Napa Valley and Heston Blumenthal’s high-tech Fat Duck in London. After the stress of the trading floor, the pressure of a high-end restaurant kitchen was “not that big a deal.”

In London, Joo became a U.K. Iron Chef, competing in some 200 battles. She was executive chef of the London Playboy Club, working some Korean influences into her menu, when a backer who had eaten her food called out of the blue and offered her the chance to open her own restaurant. “I didn’t really want to,” she says, “because I knew how much work it was.” But she bit.

Jinjuu (Korean for Pearl) opened in London’s Soho in early 2015. By year’s end, through a cold call from another backer, she had opened another Jinjuu in Hong Kong. Now she commutes between those two cities and New York, where she appears on various Food Network shows and sees her family.

Joo’s book leads cooks gently from dishes that have gone mainstream—like crackly Korean fried chicken and kimchi, the spicy fermented condiment and ingredient—into the heart of a hearty and healthy cuisine.

Anything Jersey in the book? Yes! Kimchi pulled-pork disco fries—a tribute, Joo says, to the many hours she whiled away in the diners of Route 22.

Pappardelle-Duck-Confit,-Fava-Beans,-Tarragon,-Butternut-Squash,-Farmers-Cheese2

Chef Dustin Christofolo,
Italian Culinary Experience 2009 Graduate

My experience at the ICC was short and sweet. The total Immersion program is one of the main reasons I selected the International Culinary Center.

It’s not easy to break away from your day to day life for two years that’s why the one year program was perfect for me. My focus was cooking, I was trying to avoid classrooms filled with lectures and tasks that did not fall in line with culinary. ICC kept us in the kitchen 6-8 hours a day with an Italian foreign language class twice a week to prepare us for our internships in Italy. Each cook executes 3 to 5 recipes a day with detailed demos by the chef-instructors. Recipes are very detailed in this program but I did appreciate that there were times we could “freestyle” with pizzas and pastas on select days which would help us express our creativity.

Christofolo

Chef Guido is an amazing instructor! With the roots of Italy fueling his style you’re sure to find yourself cooking like a true Italian. Not to mention, before and after class you find yourself in the greatest culinary city in the world, Manhattan! We also had great demos and lots of opportunities for volunteer work with reputable chefs.

The trip to Italy and ALMA was phenomenal! ICC is layered with three different experiences: the program in Manhattan, the program in Italy and then the internship in a selected restaurant in Italy which is optional. Working with multiple head chefs was an eye opening experience that continues to help me grow in this business. The program was very consistent but every chef had their own signature. The program at ALMA took more of a traditional approach, while the program in Manhattan was deeply rooted with Italian technique but had more of a contemporary approach. It was great to work with multiple styles and venues. This gave the program more depth and character plus helped me build my own style.

I wasn’t sure if I was on vacation or away for a culinary program. My stay in Italy was during the winter session which was great for me and my classmates. We had a two-week Christmas break during the program where I traveled as much as possible. I couldn’t believe that I had this opportunity to have an entire European trip! I took full advantage of the break while others choose to go back home for the holidays to shortly return when classes resumed.

After finishing my education, I headed home to Phoenix, Arizona and I am now at my second restaurant as Executive Chef and Co-owner, Quiessence at The Farm. Our restaurant focuses on hyper local ingredients to give the diner a true farm and garden-to-table experience. Our menu changes weekly, but there is always a pasta course available, taking me back to my roots at ICC where I learned the best techniques. The immersion education from ICC has lead me to being invited to cook at the James Beard House along with several accolades from our local and national publications.