For our first ICC Alumni Spotlight of 2017, we caught up with Professional Culinary Arts alum chef Rodrigo Schweitzer. Explaining why he felt attending the International Culinary Center in New York was the right choice to pursue his culinary dreams, the Brazil based chef elaborates on ICC’s full immersion program. Learning the fundamental techniques and skills for success in only 6 months, an international student such as Rodrigo has the potential to save thousands of dollars in living expenses and tuition when making their culinary school decision.
The main reason why I chose ICC was because of the full immersion program. So, in my research, I knew that a student here could graduate in 6 months but being taught what they teach in other schools in 2 years. They taught me to be a prepared cook.”
Following up on life after culinary school graduation, Schweizer earned his spot as the winner of Hell’s Kitchen Brasil (Season 3), taking home the 100,000 gold bar prize. Becoming known as the ‘Fit Chef’ while on the show for sharing his weight loss story, Chef Schweitzer helps individuals reach their goals of losing weight through healthy eating habits. With the momentum of the Hell’s Kitchen win still strong, he shares plans to open an elevated pizzeria in Brazil with ‘nontraditional’ toppings.
Watch the full interview to learn about the chef’s new endeavor and more!
Click HERE for more information about how you can #LoveWhatYouDo at ICC as an international student.
Watch our final Inside ICC #HolidayHacks video for 2016 featuring Director of Pastry Operations Jansen Chan demonstrating how to create homemade sprinkles in your own kitchen! Use them as a garnish or mix-in your favorite cookie, muffin, or cake recipes for a colorful pop. Full recipe below.
400 grams confectioners’ sugar, plus additional as needed
Written by Jared Gniewek Intensive Sommelier Training Program Student
I am blessed to have support from many different avenues as I stumble through the ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training Program. I couldn’t imagine going it alone with the sheer amount of information we need to absorb and engage with. Wine is the quintessential rabbit-hole that gets deeper and deeper the further in you explore.
My family, employer, friends, students and faculty at the school create a support system from which I’ve benefited in some vital ways. Frankly, I don’t know if I could succeed on my own. The proverb is “it takes a village to raise a child” and I would extend that sentiment to myself becoming a pinned and certified Sommelier.
My family, who pushed me to begin the program, has truly been there for me. My wife has been the dutiful wine-widow as our schedules clash throughout the program. She hasn’t pressured me to drop hours at my day job or slack on my studies to spend more time with her and the cats and the endless streaming entertainment which haunts all our homes nowadays.
My Aunt, whom I saw at Christmas, received a Coravin as a gift. It was bonus wine tasting time while I showed her how to operate it (prime that needle folks!) and got to dig into a pretty elegant Burgundy 1er Cru followed by a brassy Napa sledgehammer.
My employer at the wine shop has adjusted my schedule to accommodate the class as well as allowing me to have anything in the store at cost so I can expand my palate without breaking the bank (and make me a better hand seller to boot). He has even allowed me to run tastings in the space with some of my fellow class members participating. Five of us got together on a Sunday, just a few weeks ago and I pulled (at cost) 6 typical wines from France and set up a blind tasting right in the store. It was a great exercise for all of us who felt overwhelmed. Plus we had some laughs, which always help lock in content!
Speaking of my ICC classmates, we have been setting up events and been in constant communication through a messaging app one of my compatriots set up for us all. Keeping abreast of each other’s feelings on the pressures of the program and being able to reach out to each other has made the experience far less daunting.
The ICC faculty has made their availability clear but also that we need to be doing these types of things outside class in order to succeed. Wine must become a lifestyle for the months of the program. (Oh no! I’ve gotta devote myself to something I love! The DREAD!) I try to keep it on my mind always, and part of my habits daily. This village is pretty rockin’!
Written by Angela Samartano ICC Social Media Manager
Christmas weekend has finally arrived, and the International Culinary Center lead chef-instructors are here to make sure you’re fully prepared for your home festivities. No matter which holiday your family celebrates, there’s never a wrong time to cook a ham from scratch. While not a culinary student myself, I was able to watch along as Chef Jeff Butler and Chef Pascal Beric demonstrated the process of creating a holiday ham from scratch to the Level 1 students in the Professional Culinary Arts with Farm-to-Table program. Needless to say, it was a multi-sensory experience – eyes were opened (to the rigorous multi-day process), mouths watered and noses were not disappointed at the smell and taste of the final product.
Charcuterie is a major portion of the Professional Culinary Arts program within Level 3. Cured meats are a staple in the culinary world, no matter where you are in the world and the International Culinary Center’s program truly prepares you for every and any meat-based dish you may desire.
Lead Chef-Instructor Jeff Butler, explains the importance of acquiring a professional education regarding proper techniques and execution of charcuterie.
Charcuterie is important because it differs greatly from regular cooking. It requires discipline, great attention to detail and patience. A dash extra of salt or the lack of an ingredient can result in an inedible product. In regular cooking, we can play with the seasoning and adjust until the moment we put it on the plate. In charcuterie, you might not know the results of a recipe until months later after the item has aged. Good charcuterie skills allow for the almost complete use of a pig from head to tail. It puts the chef in touch with ancient skills that go back thousands of years, history on a plate. You can’t learn it in a day and we put a lot of effort into the curriculum to give the student a strong foundation of charcuterie skills. Plus, you get to make hotdogs – and I love hotdogs.”
1- hind leg of pork with all bones removed except for the shank, approximately 10-12 lbs. 4.5-5.4 Kilo
5 Liter cold water
480 Grams of Kosher Salt
20 Grams of Pink Curing Salt #1
150 Grams of Honey
5 Grams Brine Phosphate (optional)
Activa Meat Glue (optional)
5 gallon Bucket
Hog ring pliers
Hand immersion blender
Powdered sugar shaker
Step by Step Process:
Step 1: Mix the water, salt, sugar, pink cure #1 and phosphate with the hand blender for approximately 2 minutes, until no solids are visible.
Step 2: Using the brine needle, gently pump the meat. Keep the meat in a large tub so as to not lose any leaking brine. Pump the brine in a grid pattern with a 1 inch spread. Do not try to poke needle through skin. Do try to pump around the shank. When finished pumping, submerge meat in remaining brine and the brine that has leaked off during pumping in the bucket.
Step 3: Let sit in refrigeration for 3 days. And then resume with the brine in the bucket and repeat step 2. This ensures that your meat is completely saturated with brine and the curing is complete.
Step 4: Let sit for 2 days. And remove from brine. Discard leftover brine. Pat meat dry with paper towel.
Step 5: Using Activa, in the powdered sugar shaker. Liberally dust the interior of the ham. This will keep the ham from having holes in the finished slices.
Step 6: Tie the Ham into the Ham netting.
Step 7: Twist the Ham inside the netting to tighten it upon itself and hog ring pliers to clamp the netting closed and to hold the tension. Use an extra hog ring to ensure it stays closed. Let the Ham sit in the refrigerator over night to set the Activa. You can also use butchers twine to truss the Ham, but take great care to keep it tight and trim loose ends to make sure they will not be caught in the immersion circulator.
Step 8: Set up the immersion circulator and set it to 145 F or 63 C. Submerge the ham in the water bath and cook for 14 hours. You can vacuum seal the Ham prior but you do not have to. The water bath will be discarded when finished.
Step 9: Remove Ham from the circulator. Take off netting , score the skin with a cross hatched pattern, be careful to not go into the flesh.
Step 10: Put ham in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Begin to bake at 250 F. bake for 2 hours.
Step 11: Remove from oven and turn the temperature up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with the convection fan turned on if possible.
Step 12: Brush ham with vegetable oil and place in the 450 degrees Fahrenheit oven after fully preheated.
Step 13: When the ham is beautifully browned remove it from oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes and serve with the sauce of your choice.
Step 14: ENJOY!
To learn more about the various levels of ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts program and reserve your spot during our January 30 start date, CLICK HERE.
Highlighting our talented alumni from the Professional Culinary Arts program, ICC catches up with chef William Roberts from the class of 2006 to reflect back on 10 years in the culinary industry. As Executive Chef of Dio Deka in Los Gatos, California, Roberts leads the only Greek restaurant in the U.S. to be a Michelin Star Recipient and Michelin Star rated.
After graduating from the French Culinary Institute in New York, Chef William Roberts worked under various Michelin-starred chefs in New York City and Woodside (Queens) before heading west to San Francisco to join Michael Mina’s team in relaunching a flagship restaurant in San Francisco. While at Dio Deka, Roberts shares his passion for fine cuisine with guests and actively shows you can #LoveWhatYouDo throughout your career.
ICC: What made you choose to pursue a career in the culinary industry?
Roberts: “The culinary industry chose me as much as I chose it. What started off as an interesting job grew into an obsession. I worked in restaurants for 5 years before I attended the FCI (ICC). Once I realized that this could be my career I looked to solidify my skills and resume. What has always drawn me to cooking was the transformation of raw ingredients from the earth into something delicious. The idea of creating pleasure and nourishment for a completed stranger is unique to the hospitality industry.”
ICC: What was the best advice you’ve ever received while in culinary school?
Roberts: “The best advice I ever received was to have relentless determination. Very few people are naturals at anything, for most of us it takes hard work, repetition, and putting in time. The biggest thing that I notice about the younger generations of cooks is that the majority of them doesn’t want to put the time in required to progress and develop into the next generation of chefs.”
ICC: What was your favorite memory attending ICC’s California campus?
Roberts: The FCI ( ICC) was a great experience for me. The network that they create stays with you for your entire career. The quality of the chef-instructors was very high and for the student with no previous experience it does prepare you for an entry level position in a kitchen.
A lasting memory of my time at the ICC is meeting my wife and building friendships that will last a life time.”
After graduating from ICC, Justin worked under Chef Alain Allegretti at Allegretti in New York City, getting his feet wet in a professional kitchen. Justin joined the Food & Wine magazine team in 2010 as an Assistant Event Coordinator for the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen; he rose up the ranks to Senior Test Kitchen Editor and in-house foodie-geek featuring his video series, “Mad Genius Tips”, which he has organized into an accompanying new book of the same name. When he is not busy testing hundreds of recipes for Food & Wine–the magazine, digital projects and their branded cookbooks–he has tested and developed dishes for other publications and appears regularly on many morning news shows, highlighting recipes and those “oh so kooky” shortcuts and kitchen hacks.
Bradford Thompson Founder of Bellyful Consulting Inc
Bellyful Consulting, Inc. is a full service culinary consulting company behind multiple new restaurants, events, catering jobs, TV and film productions and major consumer brands. Bradford and his team have spearheaded projects including Southern Hospitality, Miss Lily’s Favourite Cakes and Grimaldi’s Coal Burger.
Facility Design Tip: Design with sanitation in mind – studies show more labor hours [which means $$$] are spent cleaning than actually preparing food in virtually every type of food service facility.
Matt Robicelli was an FDNY Paramedic who suffered a career ending injury at the age of 20, as a first responder to the World Trade Center on 9/11.
After spending a year recovering from his injuries and having reconstructive surgery on his legs, Matt was facing a future without a career. He decided to follow his first love of cooking and enrolled at ICC, where he graduated at the top of his class and became a protege of Master Chef Andres Soltner. Their friendship was fruitful and Matt became the final head boulanger at legendary New York City restaurant Lutece, gaining that title before he had even graduated. Since then, Matt and his wife Allison opened their own bakery, Robecelli’s in Brooklyn, New York to critical acclaim.
This autumn, Matt and Allison (and family) have moved their bakery to Baltimore, Maryland and partnered with Fransmartto make their delicious baked goods available nationwide through franchises! We love a story with a sweet ending!
Daisy Martinez, Associate Director of Alumni Affairs and graduate of the Culinary Arts and Intensive Sommelier Training programs, shares a holiday send off to 2016!
When I was a young girl, I didn’t understand why adults would say, “I can’t believe the holidays are here again, already!” To my siblings, cousins, and friends, the holidays took forever to arrive, but now, sadly, I think I understand. Time has shifted into “ludicrous speed” (shameless “Spaceballs” reference), and it hardly seems you have time to get over last year’s tumult, before it’s upon you again. I love the holidays, though, the traditions, the memories I have built for my friends and family, and the food that we make to celebrate in our own personal way. I love the preparation, the anticipation, and most of all the giving. It is the time of year when I feel most blessed, and inspired to new beginnings.
This past year was a challenging one for the ICC family. We closed our beloved restaurant L’Ecole and lost our Founder, leader and greatest inspiration Dorothy Cann Hamilton, but we withstood these losses, together, as a community. We found strength and solace in each other and even managed a smile and a chuckle–Chef Jurgen David in a hot-dog suit comes to mind!
Our halls have been graced by great personalities from the culinary world; Eric Ripert, Claus Meyer, Massimo Bottura, Julian Medina, Jacques Pepin, Andre Sailhac, Andre Soltner, Jacques Torres, Ron Ben-Israel, Ignacio Mattos and so many more. Our classrooms are driven by extraordinary chef-instructors and our offices led by an amazing team of managers, administrators and facilities staff. Last but not least our students, who have the most humble, inspiring stories from all walks of life. This is the ICC family: a unique quilt woven together, resilient, relying on each other, working together towards the same goal.
This is the time of year when we give thanks for all of our blessings; we wish for peace and take inventory of ourselves. We make resolutions with hope for the future year. We all wish you a joyful holiday season and a happy, healthy New Year filled with laughter, love and promise.
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing IST grad Alan Lane recently about his experience at ICC and his transition from a U.S. Army officer to a Certified Sommelier. His passion is so infectious; I decided to let him enthrall you with the story of his journey in his own words.
Early interest in wine: As an English Literature major at Auburn University in the 1990s choosing wine at the supermarket or even at wine shops was a mystery to me. Red? Yes. White? Not really. Rose? No, thank you. I wanted to know more, but I didn’t really know where to start. Those of us in the industry know that this a common predicament for many consumers. “Windows On The World” was the first book I used to try and educate myself. It wasn’t until I decided to transfer to the Reserve Component from the Active Duty Component as a U.S. Army Officer effective April 1, 2015 that I thought I would pursue a career in the wine industry following release from Active Duty.
The Transition – In November of 2014 my Commander gave me permission to work part time in a local Colorado Springs wine shop, Coaltrain Wine, Spirits, & Craft Beer. I wanted to know more, to be better, and that’s when I read about the 10 week Intensive Sommelier Program at the International Culinary Center. My wife, daughter, and I toured the New York campus. I knew it was meant to be. Under the direction of Scott Carney, MS and other Master Sommeliers our class worked diligently to master our craft. We bonded, we got to know each other, debated, tasted, searched together in the city for new wine lists, retail shops, experimented with pairings, blind tastings, industry tastings, the lot! Our class now stays in contact mostly via social media, and I have visited Napa and Sonoma with friends I met in the class, visit my friends from class in NYC when I’m in town, and this is one of the best parts of the program at the ICC. The camaraderie of the Sommelier Program is the closest thing I have found to parallel the camaraderie and esprit de corps of the military. There is a common bond, a common goal, and a common passion found in the both the wine industry and the armed forces.
Fruition – I’ve worked in retail, distribution, and hospitality in both New York City and Colorado Springs. Currently, I work as the Sommelier at 2South Wine Bar in Colorado Springs, CO. Working as a Sommelier, with the Chef, the owners, my co-workers in front of house and back, helping diners find the right pairing or simply a unique wine to enjoy that they’ve never had, that’s where I find satisfaction. After deploying to Jalalabad, Afghanistan as an Infantry (Pathfinder) Platoon Leader in 2008-2009 I wondered if I would ever find the kind of kinship, the kind of common bond that I found with the Soldiers with whom I served. The hospitality industry, the wine, spirits, and beer industry, they have given me the same opportunity to work closely with like-minded, driven women and men who share a passion for providing value added experiences to our clients, consumers, and diners. Without the Intensive Sommelier Program at the International Culinary Center I don’t know how quickly I would have found my place. My experience there was unforgettable, and I encourage anyone, especially veterans who are interested in a career in the industry to check out the ICC. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
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