Celebrating Culinary Entrepreneurship Grads for National Entrepreneurship Month

November has officially been named as National Entrepreneurship Month, with the official day of recognition for Entrepreneurs’ Day landing on Tuesday, November 21. Throughout the years, the International Culinary Center (and formerly the French Culinary Institute) has provided the technical training to give students and hopeful entrepreneurs the opportunity to have their ideas flourish into reality.

This year, we focus on 6 fearless female graduates of ICC New York’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program to show you the businesses they built from the ground up after receiving their Grand Diploma from our SoHo campus. With ICC’s recently launched Stacy’s Rise Project scholarship, future female entrepreneurs have the chance to earn up to $6,950 toward their Culinary Entrepreneurship education. Through the program, students will receive mentorship and guidance to aid prospective entrepreneurs to go from concept to business plan in just 6 weeks.

The following women have completed the program and have moved on to start a business where they can love what they do on a daily basis.


Rosemarie McNish

ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship Graduate 2016

 Owner of KaRosie Cakes | http://www.karosiecakes.com

KaRosie Cakes, founded by Rosemarie McNish, was conceptualized in 2012 after years of watching her mother bake delicious cakes enjoyed by family and friends.  In an effort to keep the legacy going Rosemarie learned the recipes herself and expanded on her mother’s creations.  The flagship product of KaRosie Cakes is an authentic Jamaican-Style Rum Cake, a deliciously flavored, rum-infused cake that her mother created as a young girl in Jamaica.  Always made with love, and usually only available during Christmastime and weddings, Jamaican-Style Rum cake is now available all year round and for any event.

The name KaRosie Cakes is a combination of the two McNish daughters: Karina and Rosemarie (Rosie) and was also a common misnomer in the household whenever Dave and Jackie McNish were calling for their daughters.  Rosemarie felt it was extremely important to share how significant her family was in turning her dream into a reality and takes great pleasure in explaining the name to everyone.

KaRosie Cakes has developed over the years from the concept of just a Jamaican Rum Cake business to a Cake business focused on many Caribbean Flavors.  Thrilled to introduce unfamiliar flavors to the masses, Rosemarie enjoys adding a beautiful twist to the flavors she grew up with.

Officially launching the business in early 2017, Rosemarie is excited to embark on this new journey that’s been in the making for years.

 


Diana Egnatz

ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship Graduate 2016

Daaamn Good | http://www.dianaegnatz.com 

Diana is the founder of the Sweet Tooth Tuesday blog and the preserves company Daaamn Good. Daaamn Good offers modern twists on classic preserving techniques utilizing locally sourced produce + exciting flavors while providing our patrons with recipes that use our products in interesting ways. This project has been a long time coming for Diana. For years she has spent summers hauling pounds of seasonal produce from the Union Square Greenmarket to her tiny New York kitchen, and would jam up a storm! After coming home from work and going straight to the kitchen to make fig preserves, Diana realized that making jars of delicious goodness was an obsession worth creating a business around. Developing exciting and unusual flavor combinations that taste Daaamn Good is her mission; along with teaching customers how to use our products as more than just jam on toast!

A New York City-based artist, Diana is an honored alumna of the School of Visual Arts BFA Photography department and Mentor program. She works as the Director of Photography for the SVA yearbook. When Diana isn’t dancing around the darkroom or naked before her camera, she enjoys whipping up concoctions in her kitchen!  Winner of PDN Taste Award 2015.


Erica Barrett

ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship Graduate 2016

Southern Culture Artisan Foods
https://southernculturefoods.com

Erica Barrett is the Founder and CEO of Southern Culture Artisan Foods, a breakfast lifestyle brand she started after visiting the grocery store and seeing that there was a lack of quality breakfast products on the shelf. Erica is most notably known for appearing on the Emmy Award Winning Show “ABC’s Shark Tank” where she went head to head with the Sharks and received two offers; one from Kevin O’Leary and one from Barbara Corcoran and ultimately landed a deal with Barbara Corcoran on the show. Erica’s approach to food is to always create the best version of what you love.

Southern Culture, Erica’s Breakfast lifestyle brand is a salute to breakfast and her strong Southern roots. Erica has built her business from the ground up with an idea, tremendous faith and a will to succeed. Her products can now be purchased at 4,000 retailers across the  U.S and in three countries internationally. Erica’s passion for food and desire to build a food empire has inspired Erica to launch her own YouTube Channel and Branded Restaurant Concept.

A native of Mobile, AL Erica is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University with a BA in Business Finance but was inspired to follow her dream to cook professionally after becoming the grand prize winner of a video recipe contest with Foodnetwork.com and Lea and Perrins. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center (formerly French Culinary Institute) with a Grand Diploma in Culinary Entrepreneurship.

 

 

 


Leticia Skai Young

ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship Graduate 2015

Lolo’s Seafood Shack http://www.lolosseafoodshack.com

Born and Raised in Harlem and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Leticia Young has amassed more than a decade of experience in hospitality, entertainment and tourism having worked alongside Caribbean Hotel Brands and Tourism Boards; including the Anguilla Tourist Board, Cuisinart Anguilla, ViceRoy Anguilla, and Cap Juluca. Leticia brings a unique blend of Ivy League acumen and entrepreneurial driven creativity to the hospitality industry, as a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Culinary Entrepreneurship program of the International Culinary Center.

Your next island getaway just got a lot closer!  Executive Chef Raymond Mohan and Restaurateur Leticia Young opened LoLo’s Seafood Shack in the Winter of 2014.  LoLo’s Seafood Shack serves up a variety of seafood from the coastal comfort foods of the Cape like sauced shrimp to Caribbean street eats like our crunchy conch fritters.  LoLo’s is a New York Times Critic pick that has been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, Eater, Potluck Video, The Infatuation, NY Post, NY Daily News, NY Magazine, Nation’s Restaurant News, Refinery 29, Food & Wine, Village Voice and Zagat among others.

Island time hospitality seeks to create transportive and uplifting dining experiences through people in the various hospitality concepts, and consumer packaged goods we develop.  They create restaurant concepts that become unique gathering places at the crossroads of every community that they serve and invest in. Taking inspiration from their authentic passion for culture, global travel, and the culinary arts, the mission at LoLo’s Seafood Shack is to provide freshly cooked quality ingredients with authentic flavors to the massive via fast and friendly service at accessible prices.


Annie Shamoon

ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship Graduate 2016

Just Hit Send
https://www.justhitsendgifts.com

Founded by Dallas-based events planner Annie Shamoon, Just Hit Send attempts to make gift giving easy — with just a click, they will design, package, and send unique, high-end themed gift boxes to your friends and family. Each box contains three to six items that fit a unique theme. For example, the Cheers to You box packs in sparklers, matches, confetti and champagne glasses.

Sending someone a gift adds meaning to the moment. And all you had to do was hit “send”! I hope you enjoy gifting these packages as much as I loved designing them.

 

 

 

 

 


Ellie Pegler

ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship Graduate 2016

Farine +Four
https://farineandfour.com

Farine + Four is a developing bakery, led by New York City trained, Ellie Pegler. Utilizing strict technique and simple ingredients, the company sets out to create thoughtful and forward-thinking breads, pastries, ice creams, and chocolates.

When it comes to making bread, Ellie Pegler definitely knows a thing or two. She grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska where she worked at a local bakery making cookies for 9 years while still in her teens, graduated from the University of Nebraska, then followed her heart to New York City to attend the French Culinary Institute (now The International Culinary Center) to learn the art of bread baking and entrepreneurship. She honed her skills working at top restaurants in New York including the Michelin-starred restaurants Aquavit and Marea, and Vaucluse as Head Baker. Passionate about baking, she is now launching Farine + Four in Omaha Fall 2017.


To learn more about our Culinary Entrepreneurship program now, click here

To learn more about the Stacy’s Rise Project Scholarship, click here.

Are you a graduate of the International Culinary Center (or French Culinary Institute) and an entrepreneur we should know about? We’d love to be updated on your culinary career! Email your story to asamartano@culinarycenter.com to be included in future updates.

Honoring Stacy’s Rise Project Scholarship Recipients for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

This Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, First Class of Stacy’s Rise Project Scholarship Recipients Receive Mentorship to Help Break Through Male-Dominated Field

PR Newswire — November 2017 — In honor of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on November 19, Stacy’s celebrated the inaugural class of Stacy’s Rise Project scholarship recipients with a professional development day hosted at the renowned International Culinary Center (ICC) in New York City. The day provided these female entrepreneurs business advice, tools, and support to continue to break through some of the toughest barriers to women in any field.

“Stacy’s is committed to empowering the next generation of female culinary leaders to pursue their dreams, and is thrilled to celebrate the first class of Stacy’s Scholarship for Female Culinary Leaders recipients,” said Stuart Beck, senior director of marketing, Stacy’s Snacks. “Each of these women has developed impressive business plans that we are proud to be able to support – and ultimately be a part of advancing the number of women entrepreneurs in the U.S.”

The Stacy’s Rise Project was born out of Stacy’s roots as a brand founded by female entrepreneur Stacy Madison, who started by baking pita bread into fresh chips each day to give her customers waiting in line at her Boston food cart. Customers loved the simple but delicious chips so much that they encouraged her to start her own brand and today they are America’s favorite pita chip. Launched earlier this year, the Stacy’s Rise Project helps female culinary entrepreneur hopefuls pursue their business endeavors through scholarship, mentorship and thought leadership. In September, Stacy’s awarded $40,000 in scholarships and stipends to four women entering the Culinary Entrepreneurship Program at ICC. Recipients participated in the six-week entrepreneurship program that demystifies the start-up process and guides them through the steps of business planning in an immersive, mentorship-driven environment.

Future culinary luminaries: the inaugural scholarship class
This year’s scholarship recipients include promising and inspiring female entrepreneurs whose business plans may differ but share a common passion for food and hospitality.

Raven Rivera was born and raised on Long Island in Bay Shore, N.Y. Although equipped with a Master of Arts in television, Raven had a dream to one day be a restaurateur. Stacy’s Rise Project and ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship Program have helped her follow her dream. She is embracing her family’s roots and is opening a Puerto Rican restaurant that families, friends and the surrounding community can enjoy.

Kiki Canuto is a trilingual world traveler from Massachusetts who would like to create connections and cultivate fulfillment through the food she serves. She is the owner of The Getaway Plate, which provides families with in-home meal prep in the Greater Boston area. Kiki’s zest for life is contagious and she is passionate about simplifying the lives of families who are very busy, but also value enjoying a meal together at the end of the day. With the tools she gained from ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship Program, she hopes to soon expand her services to Southern California.

Eunice Giarta is a Californian-turned-New Yorker. Having previously studied engineering and working in software, she found her passion for a different type of challenge—not in an office, but in a kitchen where she pursued further education in pastry arts. She enjoys the methodical, precise and special art of baking and loves sharing the fruits of her labor with others. Eunice plans to leverage the business plan and mentorship advice she received through the Stacy’s Rise Project and ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship Program to open a dessert bar in Chicago where she can share her cultural background and love of pastry by merging Asian-inspired flavors and French-pastry techniques.

Jane Deegan hails from Manhattan, New York. Baking also holds a special place in her heart, as the art has helped Janie find her light, beauty, and inspiration after struggling with homelessness and addiction growing up. Janie aspires to open a bakery and café that serves light food and specializes in delicious baked goods that are a creative, modern twist on American classics. A dream that would be far more difficult to achieve without the financial support of the Stacy’s Rise Project and the advanced culinary business education from ICC. Her most notable product thus far is her Pie Crust Cookie, which has already gained attention from top food industry experts. She currently operates an online business named Janie Bakes.

Stacy’s and ICC will continue the work of the Stacy’s Rise Project next year, awarding $60,000 in scholarships and stipends to future female entrepreneurs. Visit stacyssnacks.com/riseproject to learn more about Stacy’s Rise Project, scholarship opportunities, and the brand’s commitment to supporting women.

To learn more about the scholarship, click here.


About Stacy’s Snacks
Stacy’s Snacks is one of the many brands that make up Frito-Lay North America, the $15 billion convenient foods division of PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP), which is headquartered in Purchase, NY. Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate website, http://www.fritolay.com/, the Snack Chat blog, http://www.snacks.com/ and on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/fritolay.

About PepsiCo
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $63 billion in net revenue in 2015, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker, and Tropicana. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

 

Review: Ask The Alumni Event with Tracy Obolsky

Written by Olivia Hamilton
Culinary Arts Student, Level 3

Tracy Obolsky is chef and owner of Rockaway Beach Bakery, as well as a graduate of the Pastry Arts program here at ICC. Prior to attending the French Culinary Institute over 10 years ago and realizing her passion for the food industry, Tracy attended the Pratt Institute. Before embarking on the adventure to open her own bakery, Tracy has had a variety of experience working in restaurants such as Esca, North End Grill, Burrow Food and Drink, and more.  She even helped chef and restaurateur Nick Morgenstern to open a few of his venues.

As Executive Pastry Chef at Esca at the age of 26, Obolsky was challenged to revolve her dishes around Italian cuisine. As a self-proclaimed American influenced chef, she knew that Esca would not be home for long. Eventually landing the same position at Danny Meyers’ North End Grill, Tracy was granted more creative freedom in her recipe development. One of her most prized dishes while at North End Grill was creating a chai-spiced funnel cake.

While she loved working in the city and enjoyed the fast-paced lifestyle, she was commuting to and from Rockaway Beach (Queens) every day for 10 years and it eventually began to take a toll on her. She knew it was time to make the transition to leave the Manhattan restaurant scene and pursue her dream of opening up a bakery.

When Chef Obolsky started to make her dream a reality, she quickly realized she wasn’t as business savvy as she originally had thought. Though she had worked at many great places, there were a lot of things (especially permits) needed that came as a surprise to her. Once she decided on her shop in Riis Park, she said it was, “”literally bricks and a toilet”. When budgeting for the costs of opening her bakery, the biggest shocker was the plumbing costs. She admitted to the audience that while originally estimating a $2,000 budget for plumbing, it wound up costing over $16,000! Investing her life into this project with her husband by her side, the duo also acquired an Angel Investor to help speed up the timing of renovations prior to the grand opening.

Though the chef was finally living her dream, she missed the collaboration that goes on in a restaurant kitchen. That’s when she got the idea for the croissant project. The croissant project is chef Obolsky’s way of continuing to collaborate with local Chefs. Currently, they are working with Breezy’s BBQ to make burnt ends croissant with maple and sea salt.

She expressed to students that working in a seasonal beach town can be tricky, but she is always thinking of ways to keep the customers coming in. At first, they didn’t understand the limited quantity and selection of items, but Chef Obolsky likes to think of it as a boutique bakery where everything is special since she personally fresh bakes items every day. The operation is currently only a 3-man team, one of the employees being her younger brother. He didn’t have any prior experience but has learned very quickly and has a natural talent for knife skills. His pies are so good now that Chef Tracy is unable to tell the difference between ones baked by him or her own.

One of the biggest boots she received in business was when a journalist from the New York Times came into the bakery to review the venue. After the article came out, business doubled! To check out the full NY Times review, click here.

Business Bites: Financing Your Startup

Business Bites: Financing Your Startup Panel

The BUSINESS BITES SERIES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels and networking events designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry. Each event is designed to provide education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.

BUSINESS BITES: Financing Your Startup

Bootstrapping? Crowd funding? Debt? Equity? Which one is right for you.

Thursday November 16th | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

Startup financing is a critical part of any new business venture and getting it right can mean the difference between success and failure. Understanding the options available is the first step in determining what type of funding is the right fit for you and your business.

Join us for an informative discussion panel where we define and explore financing options available to food business startups and present answers to the most prevalent questions around how to approach funding. You’ll also have ample time for networking and the opportunity to learn how ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program can take you from concept to business plan & pitch in just 6-weeks!

PANELISTS

Alek Marfisi, Upwind Strategies
Alek Marfisi (Moderator)

Owner, Upwind Strategies

Cheryl Clements of PieShell
Cheryl Clements

Founder + CEO, PieShell

Bryan Doxford, NYBDC
Bryan Doxford

SVP + Program Manager, Community Lending at NYBDC

Serra Kazanc, Kiva US
Serra Kazanc

NYC Lead, Kiva US

ICC Alumni Among 2018 Michelin Star Recipients

The following winners listed consists of the 2018 Michelin Star recipients that feature an International Culinary Center alumni, or ICC Dean, either as a chef/owner of the restaurant or an integral member of the kitchen. We congratulate the following venues and individuals who prove that hard work tastes good throughout their culinary careers.

Stop by one of the following locations, if you’re lucky enough to get a reservation, and catch our alumni in action as they love what they do in their culinary careers.


New York City

Three Stars (“Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”)

Eleven Madison Park, Chris Flint, Chef de Cuisine
Per Se, Anna Bolz, Pastry Chef

Two Stars (“Excellent cooking, worth a detour.”)

Ko, David Chang, Chef/Owner

One Star (“High-quality cooking, worth a stop!”)

Agern, Rhonda Crosson, Head Baker
Ai Fiori, Nelson Gonzalez, Sous Chef
Babbo, Rebecca DeAngelis, Executive Pastry Chef
Bâtard, Jason Jacobeit, Wine Director
Blue Hill, Dan Barber, Chef/Owner
Café Boulud, Ceasar Guitierrez, Sous Chef
Contra, Jeremiah Stone & Fabian Von Hauske, Chefs/Owners
Cote, Brenton Lee, Executive Sous Chef
Del Posto, Justine MacNeil, Executive Pastry Chef
Gramercy Tavern, Howard Kalachinikoff, Chef de Cuisine
La Vara, Mary McCauley, Wine Director
Meadowsweet, Polo Dobkin,  Chef/Owner
NoMad, Mark Welker, Pastry Chef


Chicago

One Star (“High-quality cooking, worth a stop!”)

Sepia, Andrew Zimmerman, Executive Chef


San Francisco

Three Stars (“Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”)

Saison, Joshua Skenes, Chef/Owner

Manresa, David Kinch (ICC Dean), Chef/Owner

One Star (“High-quality cooking, worth a stop!”)

Rich Table, Sarah Rich, Chef/Owner

 

Sip & Study: Japanese Tea Tasting with Rishi Tea

Written by Sara Quiroz
ICC Librarian

This autumn, as the weather turns cool and the sky begins to darken early, we at the ICC Library have been lucky enough to partner with the lovely tea company, Rishi. Our “Sip & Study” began in October and throughout the cooler months, we will be offering a selection of 3 different teas each Wednesday and Thursday specially curated for us by Keiko Niccolini, the Director of Luxury and Brand Alignment.

In addition to our weekly tastings, we will be partnering with Rishi for additional tea events sporadically. Our first such event was a tea blogger tasting hosted right here in the ICC Library. Rishi decorated the room beautifully and provided a selection of mochi and macarons to pair with the delicate Japanese teas. The tasting contained 4 flights and a total of 12 teas! Keiko expertly prepared each tea in the traditional style and grouped similar flavor profiles together for the best opportunity for comparison.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, be sure to stop by for “Sip & Study” and keep an eye on the events calendar for future tea events.

See what tea bloggers are saying about our recent event with Rishi Tea below!

“Loved the green tea tasting with Rishi and Keiko at ICC. It was a treat to be able to taste so many different variations of green tea in one setting with people who love tea as much as I do!”  –Jee Choe, tea blogger behind Oh, How Civilized. 

“The tea flight event was exceptional. Going in I assumed the teas we would be served would be very high quality, and they were. However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that Keiko’s preparation and presentation elevated the experience. In addition, the company of tea women who participated in the event was phenomenal. I am pleased to have been a part of the tasting.” — Georgia Silvera Seamans of the Notes on Tea blog.

‘This formidable experience included an aggressive and complete tasting (11 Teas) with tea comparison suggestions and sweet pairings. An outstanding feat curated and executed with perfection. Thank you Keiko” – Jo of Scandalous Tea

Autumn Wedding Cake Design Demo with Ron Ben-Israel

Written by Olivia Hamilton
Current Culinary Arts Student

The Sweet Genius and Guest Master Pastry Chef, Ron Ben Israel treated us to a beautiful demo last week. He showed us how to design one of his beautifully crafted 3-tier cakes with a marble finish. This was a real treat (especially eating it after).

Before he started on the main part of the cake design, he and his “elf helpers” (student volunteers) worked from the outside in. The cake was to be an autumn theme, so what is fall without some leaves? Chef Ron Ben Israel used a pasta maker during the demo to roll out the sugar paste, which he said: “each machine is different but it’s better than by hand for consistency”. After going through the machine to achieve the desired thickness, the “elves” started placing the thing sugar paste into silicon molds or using cookie cutters to make the leaves.

You don’t want to use metallic when working with the silicone since it is likely to damage it. Once the leaves had a shape, Chef showed them how to make the leaves seem more lifelike. The trick is using a metal ball fondant tool to thin the edges out a bit more to replicate real leaves which are “thin, delicate and elegant”. You also always want to be working close to yourself to help with accuracy. Another key factor is, once the sugar paste is ready you must work fast or it will dry out. Next, Chef started creating the fondant to be used on the exterior of the cake. The challenging part about making marble designs is you never know how it will turn out.

To be able to complete all this, one must be very organized. Chef Ron Ben Israel credited his organizational skills when he was a disco dancer back in the day. Chef Israel was actually a professional dancer for about 15 years after being in the Israeli army. So I asked, “how did you realize that cakes were your passion?”. To which Chef responded, “I was in the desert and saw a burning bush and saw a wedding cake in that burning bush”. He then explained that when he was younger he always liked the kitchen and would spend time there with his mom. Though, she would always kick him out since he never liked to clean! Pastry chefs always seem to be somewhat of a happy comedian and Chef Israel is no exception. Perhaps it’s all the sugar they consume.

How did he really get involved in the pastry world? Well, it’s much like anyone else when you move to a new place, you need a job. When Chef Ron Ben Israel first moved to the US he needed income and new the right person to ask. He asked his friend who helped him get a job at a chocolate store and after 2 weeks he was addicted.

He then became a cake designer and would create displays for store windows. Luckily for him, Martha Stewart walked by one day and wanted his help for her wedding magazine she was starting. The hustle was real; Chef Ron Ben Israel also rented a space at night from a caterer that had everything he needed for doing cakes. Hard work, determination, talent and a bit of luck is really what is needed to become successful. He credits networking for helping him establish his business. Later in his career, Founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton invited him to do a cake demo and after talking to her for 5 minutes, he decided to become an instructor (something he never thought he would do).1

Back to putting together the cake, Chef Israel had many interesting tools including a PVC pipe that he purchased at a local plumbing store. Chef Ron is very serious about supporting locals business. The PVC he said is great because it can be put in the dishwasher along with it being the right weight to place on top of the fondant. Of the 3 tiers, the top and bottom already had their marbling fondant thanks to one of our graduates (Margret) who works for Chef Ron Ben Israel. He also said that his Sue Chef is another ICC grad that was hired years ago and has never left.

The marbling look was created by placing pieces of different shades of grey fondant overlapping then rolling it out. Every marble look is unique since there is no exact way to do it. Chef Israel then draped the fondant for the middle tier cake and used his tools to flatten the top and keep the sides in tight, along with cutting off the bottom. The cake is almost complete! Chef likes to be very precise so he uses miter boxes to cut the bamboo dowels that help support the cake. It’s important to measure your dowels based off the original cut dowel, otherwise is easier to get a variation of sizes. Each dowel was placed an inch from the outside of the cake to help support the next tier. After they had all been stacked, Chef Ron Ben Israel uses nontoxic kids glue to help glue the outside bottom for the ribbon (not edible).

The leaves were then painted with shades of gold for some pop, then placed all around the cake. Royal icing can be used as glue but it makes a space, turns white and/or leaves a mark. Whereas piping gel is clear and if you mess up you can wipe it off without leaving a mark. Once all the leaves were placed, the most important part of cake creation took place; pictures and eating it! It was the best fall spice cake I have ever had. This is what I want for my birthday, wedding, anniversary, and any other good reason to enjoy such an amazing masterpiece!

Jacques Torres Sugar Demo, Through the Eyes of a Culinary Student

Written by Olivia Hamilton
Culinary Student, Level 1

ICC had a sweet treat yesterday with Chef Jacques Torres, also known as Mr. Chocolate and the Dean of Pastry Arts at ICC. He is multi-talented in the world of desserts but one of most impressive disciplines he practices (in my opinion) is his work with sugar. As a current Level 1 student in the Culinary Arts program, it’s exciting to see how the other half (pastry) lives.

Sugar is hard to work with no matter who you are, or how long you’ve been working with sugar. It will burn you if you aren’t careful, along with breaking or falling apart just when you thought you had it finished. Even with these obstacles, Chef Jacques Torres made his sugar sculpture demonstration seem like a walk in the park while keeping us laughing. Whether he was using molds or manually pulling the sugar, we, the audience, were on the edge of our seats the whole time knowing how delicate sugar can be.

While filling the molds with the hot liquid sugars, Torres explained that it is best to use glucose with poured sugar. Whereas pulling sugar is more successful mixed with vinegar because it stays pliable for longer, but is also more delicate to work with. The molds were to be used to create the base structures for the sugar masterpiece that was unfolding in front of our eyes.

The Dean then showed us how to properly mix the color into pulling sugars which reminded me very much of an omelet. Clear pulling sugar is placed on a Silpat then drops of red, blue, and green food coloring is added about 3 inches apart only using the bottom half of the sugar. Chef then used a cake tester to spread a bit of the food coloring within each section. Then came the folding; he folded the sugar over in half like you would with an omelet before presenting it. Then Chef separated it into 3 sections (by color) and began to knead the sugar almost how you would with bread dough.

Torres shared with us that no matter how many years he has worked with sugar, he always seems to have the red food coloring dye his hands. While working with the super hot sugar, he also explained how your reflexes may not always help you. When you burn your finger, your first instinct is to put it in your mouth but then you burn your finger and your mouth. The best thing to do when you have sugar burning you is to wipe it off in a towel/apron or place your finger in cold water. Also sometimes you’re too late to realize that you have burned your hands and may end up with blisters that can last up to 10 days.

With all that potential of getting burned, the Dean still prefers to work without gloves, since that is the way he started doing it almost 40 years ago. Also when he started working with sugar, gloves were hard to come by and could only be purchased at a medical store. Though sweat can affect the sugar, Torres noted that his hands no longer sweat, or perhaps he sweats sugar?
Once the sugar was the right temperature to pull, Chef started to place celery sized pieces of each colored sugar next to each other. He then started to pull and stretch the sugar with a pastry students help. The sugar was pulled so far it seemed as if it was as long as the student was tall. He then used this long, skinny, multi-colored ribbon to create a bow that looked like it belonged on a birthday present.

Next, Torres showed us how to make a beautifully blossomed rose for the display piece. He started with an oval type of shape about the size of my thumb. After, he would create each petal by pulling a bit of sugar from the colored sugar patty increasing in size with each petal. He said the trick with making a good rose is, “the less you touch it, the better it is”. Another important part of making beautifully pulled sugar is that if it is too warm when you pull it, it won’t be shiny.

The master of sugar then showed us how to make a bird with a cute bonnet upon its head. The body was about the size of a hummingbird and a knife was used to help define its neck. Similar to the rose, he created the bird’s wings by pulling it piece by piece laying 5 on top of each other in a fan style. He then “glued it” by using the torch to melt the wing slightly enough that the melted sugar would help it stick to the body. He then repeated this for the other wing and did the same technique to place on the beak.

Watching Chef assemble this piece was like seeing someone play Jenga with puzzle pieces. Each piece of sugar, whether it was the stand, backdrop, or the delicate ornaments (like the bow, bird, and flower), had to be placed ever so carefully. It would be so easy for this whole creation to be destroyed in a split second, but Dean and Chef Jacques Torres is a master for a reason.

 

Demo Event for the Release of Master Chefs of France: The Cookbook

Master Chefs of France: The Cookbook is the new standard for all modern French cookery. It is the first cookbook produced by the MCF. This authoritative book features recipes by 77 of the 80 member chefs of the prestigious Maîtres Cuisiniers de France North American chapter (MCF-USA/Canada).  Some of these chefs you will have seen on TV; some have won multiple awards at prestigious Culinary Recognition Events, and some will not be known to you yet.  Regardless, it will be a treasured volume in every cooking library.

Each recipe is beautifully photographed by the world-famous Battman, and presented in striking color with an 8.75” x 12” hardcover landscape format. Curated by MCF-USA/Canada President Jean-Louis Dumonet, and under the passionate direction of Karen Dumonet, this exciting collection of savory dishes, 154 in all, is equally tempting to both palate and eye.  Foreword and Preface messages are provided by two giants of the French culinary tradition, Paul Bocuse, and Jacques Pepin.

The chefs live and work in 21 States in the US, in Canada, Grand Cayman, and St. Lucia. You will have seen some of them on TV; some have won multiple awards at prestigious Culinary Recognition Events, and some will not be known to you yet. With only 500 Chefs worldwide in the global organization, you will enjoy their vibrant and creative vibe.  Aside from our Dean of Special Programs, Jacques Pepin, the cookbook also features recipes from two of ICC’s own Master Chefs, Chef Marc Bauer and Chef Hervé Malivert.

Maîtres Cuisiniers de France is the most envied title that chefs aspire to have, but not everyone can become a Maître Cuisinier. The worldwide Association of Maîtres Cuisiniers de France was founded in 1951 and is the first savory culinary organization worldwide.  Its motto is to preserve and spread the French culinary arts, encourage training in cuisine, and assist professional development.”

 “The know-how and wisdom of the MCF members is a conduit to the past and a passport to the future to ensure the posterity of the French unique culinary and cultural heritage. Close to 80 MCF from all over North America have contributed their recipes to this unique and beautiful cookbook, many of them personal friends. I am looking forward to cooking from this book with friends and family while sharing a glass of wine and many of the memories and stories attached to these recipes.”   – Jacques Pépin, ICC Dean of Special Programs

The book is available for purchase now on Amazon and  autographed copies [by the photographer] are available at www.thechefsconnection.com

BOOK LAUNCH EVENT

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5 | 3:30-5PM

To celebrate the release of Master Chefs of France: The Cookbook, the International Culinary Center will be holding an exclusive demonstration and book signing with Chef Marc Bauer and Chef Hervé Malivert on Thursday, October 5 from 3:30 pm to 5 pm at the school’s New York City location. Within the 90-minute event, the two French Master Chefs will be demonstrating their personal recipes from the cookbook and will be enlightening the audience on their inspirations behind the dishes through a spirited Q&A session. Cookbooks will be available for purchase during the event and Chefs Marc and Hervé will be signing copies on-site. We hope to see you there!

Pastry Plus 2017: A Student’s Perspective

Article by Katie Malkin
Professional Pastry Arts Student

As someone who’s new to the professional pastry world, I was excited to volunteer for the International Culinary Center’s first conference for pastry professionals and listen in on some of the talks, panels, and conversations to hear what has the pastry industry abuzz.

As it turns out, there are a number of current trends that happen to be popular in the minds of top pastry chefs. While these are just the tip of the iceberg, please reference my takeaways on three of these trends below.

  • Sustainability and Wellness – Bill Yosses, Pastry Chef to the Obama’s while they were in the White House, discussed the need for pastry chefs to show leadership in considering the health impacts of their products, both to consumers and to the environment. Dessert has a place in our diets, but Bill asked chefs to encourage their customers to indulge responsibly.
  • Insta-worthiness – Magritte Preston, freelance food writer, talked about the struggle of pastry chefs to compete in the world of Instagram, on which followers tend to flock toward eye-popping, yet taste-devoid desserts. She explained that chefs could incorporate decadence, novelty, and nostalgia into their social media posts to get views while maintaining their professionalism.
  • High-Tech – Beyond the mobile technology that’s changed the way chefs promote their food, there have been a number of other technological advances that are changing the way chefs make their food. In one example, Oliver LeRoy from Sasa DeMarle discussed advances in manufacturing, such as 3D printing, that allows them to create custom molds for chefs. These kinds of innovations are helping to democratize tools for creativity throughout the industry.

Determining how to combine sustainable products and practices, Instagram-friendly desserts and experiences, and cutting-edge technologies is a difficult, yet exciting, challenge facing pastry chefs today. Pastry Plus offered industry leaders a platform for sharing ideas on how to tackle this challenge with their peers. Hopefully, there will be future opportunities and platforms for collaboration in the pastry industry. Aspiring pastry chefs like myself will keep our fingers crossed.

View the full photo gallery below with highlights from the full day of panels with some of the biggest names in the pastry industry including Emily Luchetti, Ron Ben-Israel, Jacques Torres, Miro Uskokovic, Jiho Kim, Kelly Fields, and more.

All photography courtesy of Krystal Spencer.