holidays around the world

Holidays Around The World

The holiday season is a time for family, and friends, to come together and create lifelong memories while celebrating the cherished traditions of their culture. For most, these gatherings are centered around sharing meals with loved ones that highlight some of the best food traditions the world has to offer! Since our chef-instructors hail from many different countries around the world, we asked them to share some of their favorite holiday food memories and cherished traditions of their childhoods. Read their stories below and get some inspiration for your holiday menu!

1. Chef Jürgen David, Associate Director of Pastry

Vienna, Austria

“One of my favorite childhood memories was going to the big Christmas Market in front of Town Hall in the heart of Vienna. The largest Christmas Market, it was beautifully decorated with sparkles, candles gingerbread and Christmas trees everywhere. The town hall would be lit up with lights that you could see from a mile away!

There would be lots of tasty morsels and hot cider, but the best thing was having your pockets filled with roasted chestnuts. We would get a little paper cone—there would be about 10 to 12 little pieces—and you put them in your cold pocket. Not only were they delicious, but they would also keep your hands warm while you walked around the market. These were my favorite thing to eat during the holiday season. It still warms my heart every time I think about it, and makes me homesick—in a good way. It’s not Christmas without roasted chestnuts, so I make them every year!”

 

Chef Jurgen
Chef Jürgen getting chestnuts at a Christmas Market as a child

2. Chef Natalia Pozzi, Events Coordinator

São Paulo, Brazil

Chef Natalia Pozzi

“Every year, the Christmas dinner would happen at my grandmother’s house where she lived in the country, and we would have our traditional Brazilian Christmas supper. Usually it includes turkey, Chester chicken, salted Bacalhau, rice—of course, because we are from South America—a lot of fruits and a panettone. My favorite part of the meal also included Farofa, which is a toasted manioc flour mixture. It can be sweet with fruits or salty with bacon, and I remember my mom always making this for any holiday occasion.

My favorite Christmas memory has to do with my father. Two months before Christmas, I would go with my dad to a place where they raised suckling pig. He would choose the pig to eat at Christmas, and he would marinate the pig in the fridge for days and baste it for hours before the meal. At the end, he would pour the hot oil over the skin and it would become crispy and golden. I remember him putting the pig on the table, and every year he would serve it because he knew the proper way for everyone to get the moist meat and crispy skin.

Both of my parents are very good cooks, so all of my inspiration about flavor and traditional technique comes from them. My dad in particular loves to cook anything Brazilian style. Nowadays, we compete to see who is the better cook, and he always wins!”

A young Chef Natalia dressed as Santa Claus

3. Chef Kir Rodriquez, Associate Pastry Coordinator & Chef-Instructor

Puerto Rico

“Growing up in Puerto Rico my family was all about food, specifically during the holidays.  My grandfather had a big farm with pigs for lechón, chickens for arroz con pollo, cows for fresh cheese and root vegetables like taro root, malanga, potatoes, as well as other vegetables like plantains and bananas for pasteles. And let’s not forget about the coquito (like an eggnog without eggs and lots of rum).

The holidays were a big family event and everyone was involved in the preparations. Holidays for us meant the whole month of December all the way to January 6 which is Three Kings, and then we would start the Octavitas, which was an extension of the holidays for two more weeks.

So much fun. I still celebrate Three Kings with a big party for all the family in our home in New Jersey.”

Chef Kir shares a Christmas photo celebrating the holidays with his mom

4. Chef José Menéndez, Chef-Instructor

Madrid, Spain

Chef Jose“Most people have memories of Christmas celebrations during their childhood, and although I lived a happy childhood thanks to my parents, I remember Christmas as a time of work for my whole family. My parents, both Chefs, had several restaurants in Spain, and we grew up surrounded by the constant hustle and bustle of the kitchens. During Christmas and around the busy holiday season, the work quickly multiplied by ten.

So, instead of a picture of my family enjoying a dinner at home, I wanted to share a picture of my father’s first restaurant in 1952, as this is how I remember my childhood. My brothers and I worked to help my parents, as they would give many of the staff the time off to enjoy the holidays with their families.

Our Christmas dinners were with all the staff of the restaurant, so that memory and reality has accompanied me throughout my professional life. Even so, I remember the dinners with a great union and camaraderie that I have always taken with me wherever I have gone. The classic main course of the holiday dinners would always be a roasted milk fed lamb which I remember to this day.”

Chef Jose's father's restaurant
Chef Jose’s father’s restaurant in 1952. His Father, Emilio Menendez, is second from the left.
Sommelier Students

ICC Announces New Professional Development Scholarship for 2019

Over half a million dollars in scholarships available for industry professionals over the next two years!

2019 marks the 35th anniversary of the International Culinary Center’s founding in New York City, and with it, over three decades of educating culinary, pastry and wine professionals for success in the industry. To celebrate this achievement and to continue our mission to train the next generation of culinary leaders and innovators, ICC is excited to announce the launch of a new scholarship—the ICC Professional Development Scholarship—to support the educational pursuits of professionals working, or with experience, in the culinary and hospitality industry. Over the next two years, ICC will award up to $720,000 in scholarships to industry professionals seeking to continue their education at the International Culinary Center in one of our four specialized programs of study—The Art of International Bread Baking, Intensive Sommelier Training, Cake Techniques & Design, and Culinary Entrepreneurship.

Student Baking BreadThe ICC Professional Development Scholarship will provide continuing education opportunities for professionals either currently working in, or with past experience in the culinary and hospitality industry to expand the scope and depth of their skills. Over 200 scholarships will be available from now until 2020 to enroll in ICC programs and receive certifications in bread baking, cake decorating or wine studies—or in the case of our Culinary Entrepreneurship program, a business plan to start your food business.

 

 

cake studentLeland Scruby, Vice President of Education, spearheaded the scholarship development and understands the importance of creating opportunities like this for our industry. “ICC has always believed in helping industry professionals advance to the next step in their careers through continuing education”  says Scruby. He shares that this special scholarship program “will help those who have already gained some experience in the food world enhance their skills in food business, bread baking, cake design and sommelier training. Expertise in one of these areas can help distinguish professionals in their job search and make them a far more desirable candidate to an employer.”

Sommelier studentWith many scholarship candidates looking to go back to school while continuing to work, ICC’s fast-track courses are designed to deliver the maximum education in the minimum amount of time with schedule options that help to accommodate the working professional. Whether it’s the option of studying in the full-time day or part-time evening Intensive Sommelier Training programs, or in the blended in-person and on-line 6-week Culinary Entrepreneurship program, ICC’s programs help students acquire the skills and certifications needed to stay ahead of the curve in just weeks, not months.

 

Incoming students with verified industry experience on their resume and a letter from their present or past employer will be eligible to apply for these partial-tuition scholarships toward the Culinary Entrepreneurship program, or professional programs in bread baking, cake design, and sommelier training. Scholarship applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis and awarded upon acceptance in eligible programs. Click here to learn more about the the ICC Professional Development Scholarship!

Learn more about the programs eligible for the ICC Professional Development Scholarship here:

Presents

Holiday Gift Guide 2018

The holiday season is in full swing, and although Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, the season of giving is just beginning. If you’re scrambling to think of a unique gift for your loved one, friend, or even your favorite sous-chef, look no further than our Holiday Gift Guide!

This year, we highlighted three different areas of gift giving. Whether you’re shopping for the professional in your life, the foodie that knows every restaurant in Manhattan, or someone in between, check out all of our suggestions below!

For the Professional

For the culinary, pastry or wine professional in your life—from pro gear to great reads—these professional gifts are sure to delight any friend working in the industry, colleagues or your boss. But if you don’t need to impress your executive chef, you can always pick up one of these gifts for yourself!

Tilit Apron

Tilit Chef Apron

Tilit is redefining work-wear for the hospitality industry from stove to street. For the chef in your life, a Tilit Apron is wearable, durable, and long lasting. Check out their line of aprons, all made right here in New York City!

The Pastry Chef’s Little Black Book

The Pastry Chef’s Little Black Book

It’s a great time to be a pasty pro! If you are looking for a book that is traditional, but none the less very professional, check Professional Pastry Art’s graduate Michael Zebrowski’s The Pastry Chef’s Little Black Book. Be warned—this book is anything but little! It includes any and everything you may need for a professional pastry kitchen.

The Sommelier's Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe

The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe 

For more serious Sommelier studies, this beautiful book, The Sommeliers Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europegoes beyond the basics through the classic wines of Europe. Not only covering what to drink and where it’s from, this guide offers tips on how to taste and highlights many producers. It is a visual book with great design, layout and photos that are sure to be treasured by anyone who is serious about wine.

Cocktail Kingdom Essential cocktail kit

Cocktail Kingdom® Essential Cocktail Kit

Cocktail Kingdom is the world’s premier manufacturer and distributor of professional barware, offering a wide spectrum to meet the needs of the restaurant industry. This essential cocktail kit is an ideal gift for the busy restaurant owner who needs an upgrade in their life.

Polka Pants

Polka Pants

Featured in Vogue and founded by Professional Culinary Arts graduate, Maxine Thompson, Polka Pants offers tailored chef pants for women designed for functionality, comfort and style. Pick up a pair for the kitchen professional in your life, or buy a pair for yourself!

For the Young, Aspiring Professional

A student cooking

Teen Camps at ICC

For the young, aspiring chef in your life, our Teen Camps are a perfect way to get them into the kitchen. With Culinary and Pastry camp options, your teen is sure to be inspired during the week-long cooking & baking sessions. Relax knowing that your teen is learning from experienced, dedicated chef instructors (the same chef instructors who teach our Professional Culinary and Pastry Arts programs!)

For the Foodie

For the foodie friend or family member who knows all of the latest restaurants, keeps up with new food trends and has an envious home kitchen for entertaining!

Delicacies jewelry

Delicacies Jewelry

A perfect conversation starter and accessory to amp up any outfit, Delicacies Jewelry is a great way to celebrate your foodie’s favorite ingredient. They’re all about tasteful jewelry for people who love food, so whether it’s dainty farfalle pasta, or a beautiful pineapple, you can find the right option for anyone.

All About Cake

Milk Bar: All About Cake

Something that every foodie should have in their home baker tool kit is ICC Alumna Christina Tosi’s newest book—Milk BarAll About Cake. Learn how to bring the Milk Bar flavor home using her basic recipes with flavors that are anything but! This book includes bundt cakes, sheet cakes, cupcakes and, yes, the famous cake truffles. If someone in your life loves Milk Bar or even if they just love sweets, this book is the perfect gift.

Scone and coffee

One-Day Recreational Class at ICC

Give the gift of “experience” with a cooking class! Our one-day recreational classes are the perfect present for the avid home cook or bake sale guru in your life. With 20+ classes in cooking, baking and wine studies to choose from, there’s something for everyone at any age! Not sure which class they’d want to take? A gift certificate is a perfect option to let them choose!

Jacques Torres Chocolate

Jacques Torres Chocolate: Holiday Special Edition

We know we tend to favor our Dean of Pastry Arts’ amazing chocolates, but many people around the world agree that Mr. Chocolate, Chef Jacques Torres, makes some of the best bon bons around. We particularly love his Holiday Special Edition chocolate box that can satisfy any sweet-tooth. If you’re really in the holiday spirit, sit down with your box of chocolates and tune into the premiere of Netflix’s Nailed It! Holiday! season airing December 7th to see Jacques Torres as lead judge.

Essential Tools, Tops & Techniques for the Home Cook

Essential Tools, Tips & Techniques for the Home Cook

For the home cook ready to take their culinary game to the next level, pick up a copy of the newly released Essential Tools, Tips & Techniques for the Home Cook by Michelle Doll. This ICC alumna and adjunct Chef-Instructor has developed the perfect culinary compendium for the foodie to keep on hand in the kitchen. Without overwhelming, Chef Michelle walks the reader through essential culinary school techniques and tips to elevate their recipes. The book also includes recipes for every occasion and even a section for pressure cooker fanatics.

Menus: A book for your meals and memories

Menus: A Book For Your Meals and Memories

Legendary Chef, author of 29 cookbooks, acclaimed television host, Legion of Honor award winner and our Dean of Special Programs Chef Jacques Pépin has been hand-illustrating menus to keep track of what he cooked for friends, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and holidays. This book brings together Pépin’s favorite paintings so you can commemorate your own dinners with everything from the menu to the guests that joined you!

ICC Staff Picks

For when you want some help from the pros! Aren’t sure what to buy the professional, foodie, or family member who loves to entertain? Our staff are some of the most knowledgeable in the culinary industry, so if you’ve ever wondered what we use in our kitchens, look no further than our picks below!

ARY VacMaster

From our President, Erik Murnighan

When ICC President Erik is at home, he likes to pull out his ARY VacMaster chamber vacuum sealer for food preparation, preservation, and cooking sous-vide. Unlike a traditional Food Saver, a chamber vacuum sealer allows you to easily seal liquid and/or items with liquid. Whether he is making his signature hot sauce, turkey legs confit for Thanksgiving dinner, or any type of sous-vide cooking, vacuum chambers have a variety of uses. There are many new models and brands, but check out this option here.

Vitamix blender

From our Vice President of Education, Leland Scruby

Our Vice President of Education Leland is a graduate of ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts and Intensive Sommelier Training programs, and recommends a Vitamix blender as a must have kitchen staple for any avid home cook. Used by professionals all over the world, it is an amazing blender that has many different features like puréeing, chopping, and even emulsifying. ICC is proud to be a Culinary School Partner of Vitamix, which provides a discount to the ICC Community. Click here and use promo code: ICCVitamix21216 to view the offers!

Gefilte fish

From our Assistant Director of Education, Judson Kniffen

Supporting our community is in our DNA, so it was easy for Judson to recommend one of our Culinary Entrepreneurship instructors Liz Alpern’s Gefilte Fish from her business The Gefilteria. Gefilte Fish is a traditional Ashkenazi appetizer served around the holiday season, and Liz’s can’t be missed!

Spatula from williams sonoma

From our Career Services Coordinator, Cortney McKenzie

For a fun gift that gives back, Cortney, graduate of both ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts and Intensive Sommelier Training programs, recommends a celebrity-designed spatula that benefits No Kid Hungry. 30% of the proceeds from every spatula goes towards helping feed children. Check out all of them here!

Kitchenaid Mixer

From our Assistant Director of Admission, Stephanie Baril

When Stephanie, ICC Professional Pastry Arts graduate and Assistant Director of Admissions is baking at home, the one thing she can’t live without is her ruby red KitchenAid Mixer. She uses her mixer whenever she gets the chance; from custom order cakes for clients, to cookies and mashed potatoes for family, a KitchenAid Mixer is a tool you’ll come back to time and again.

Wine Food: New Adventures in Drinking and Cooking

From our Librarian, Sara Quiroz

This year, Sara completed our Intensive Sommelier Training program, so she is all about wine for her staff pick! For any wine lover, pick up a copy of Wine Food: New Adventures in Drinking and Cooking by Dana Frank and Andrea Slonecker. The simple, yet creative recipes with fun and unique wine pairings will make anyone a pro-hostess, as well as surprise seasoned wine lovers. It also includes fun “Pairing Cheat Sheets” such as what pairs with take away or what to drink when you don’t feel like eating!

Larmandier-Bernier "Cuvée du Levant" Vieilles Vignes Brut

From our Wine Coordinator, Elizabeth Smith

From one of the first producers to bottle single-vineyard Champagne & to champion low dosage comes this absolute stunner of a vintage cuvee. Larmandier-Bernier “Cuvée du Levant” Vieilles Vignes Brut 2007 comes from the oldest Grand Cru vines in the village of Cramant, farmed biodynamically & hand-harvested. Whether you’re looking to treat yourself or impress another, this treasure of a Champagne is a perfect choice.

And One More...

Champagne gift set

In thinking about the holidays and bringing the community together, we wanted to share a piece of advice from our late Founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton. Dorothy was a visionary in culinary education and helped to shape the food world as we know it today. In addition to her vast culinary knowledge, she was well versed in the world of wine and wrote an article about how a great wine must be paired with the correct glass. To pair with our Wine Coordinator Elizabeth’s amazing champagne selection, pick up a a champagne gift set that has all of your needs to accompany a beautiful bottle of champagne.

Angela Garbacz for Forbes

ICC In The News: Highlights from November 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 November 2018, aimed to keep you connected with our community and inspire readers to #LoveWhatYouDo in the kitchen and beyond.

Rebecca and Jansen

EATER
Watch: The Architecture-Trained Chef Creating Sky-High Pastries

Our Director of Pastry, Jansen Chan, and 2007 Professional Pastry Arts graduate & host of Eater’s new series Sugar Coated, Rebecca DeAngelis, constructed a towering re-designed Croquembouche.

Read this review of our grad Ashish Alfred’s new restaurant, Duck Duck Goose in Balimore. It offers a sophisticated take on European cuisine without the accompanying pretense, and has amazing honey-roasted duck. If you’re in Baltimore, be sure to check out his restaurant!

Chef Hervé Malivert, Director of Culinary Arts & Technology, and Chef Jürgen David, Associate Director of Pastry Arts explain how to save your Thanksgiving feast from the most common kitchen mistakes like dry turkey, lumpy mashed potatoes, and more! Click here to watch more on CBS New York.

bacon egg and cheese sandwich
EATER
Manresa Bread to Debut All-Day Fare at New Cafe

Manresa Bread, co-founded and operated by Art of International Bread Baking graduate Avery Ruzicka, is opening a third location in California. Stop by one of their amazing bakeries for a delicious treat and read about the third location here.

lauren bush lauren and lani halliday
IN STYLE

As the stylish founder of Brutus Bakeshop and graduate of our Culinary Entrepreneurship program, Lani Halliday is known for her gluten-free custom creations. Get her gluten-free cookie recipe here and read about her team up with Lauren Bush Lauren.

A dish from momofuku ko
EATER
The 38 Best Restaurants in America

Eater released their 38 Best Restaurants in America. Three of our graduates were featured on the list, including David Chang, owner of Momofuku Ko, Dan Barber for Blue Hill At Stone Barns, and Steven Cook, co-owner of Zahav. Congratulations to our alumni! Check out their restaurants on the list.

Chef Hervé Malivert, Director of Culinary Arts & Technology, shared his Turkey Safety Tips, from how to thaw your turkey to the proper internal temperature of your cooked turkey. And, if you insist on deep frying your turkey, Chef Hervé also shares his recommendations to keep you and your loved one’s safe. Click here to watch the video feature on CBS New York.

Few spots remain in the first London edition of the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program, an international course jointly produced by the Olive Oil Times Education Lab and ICC. Check out the program and learn more here.

Love decorating with sprinkles but tired of the same old rainbow colors? Now you can make your own sugar sprinkles at home, in any color and shade you please! Chef Jansen Chan shows two great baking decorating techniques in one, how to make royal icing and how to turn that royal icing into your own homemade sprinkles. We went with fall colors, but you can easily adapt this for any time of year! Click here to see how in this Chowhound video.

Angela Garbacz in Forbes
FORBES

Angela Garbacz’s passion for pastry began at a young age and led her to study Pastry Arts at ICC. After discovering she had a dairy intolerance, Garbacz decided to use her knowledge of ingredients and classical techniques to craft beautiful, delectable sweets that catered to a variety of restricted and alternative diets. Read more about her and her shop, Goldenrod Pastries in Forbes.

Matt Monahan, Professional Culinary Arts ’07, co-founded Other Half Brewing in New York in 2014. Years later, it’s made it on Thrillist’s list of Best Craft Breweries in every state as the best brewery in New York. Read about it here.

David Chang
WALL STREET JOURNAL
David Chang’s Culinary Universe Is Still Growing

Read the Wall Street Journal feature on our Professional Culinary Arts graduate David Chang. Year over year he continues to expand his restaurant group Momofuku, and people continue to line-up out the door to get a taste of his latest creations. Read more about him here.

While it’s hard to think of a more American tradition than Thanksgiving, it’s actually quite easy to add a little French flavor to your dinner. Chef Alain, Chef Hervé, and Chef Marc give their recommendations for their favorite French classics that pair perfectly with turkey! Click here to read the feature in France-Amérique Magazine.

Alex LaPratt, Master Sommelier and adjunct instructor for our Intensive Sommelier Training program, was recently profiled by Wine Spectator. Read to get a glimpse into the day of a restaurant owner and Master Sommelier!

Don’t have time to make a pie crust this holiday season? No problem! Chef Jansen Chan’s pumpkin pie hack lets you make one from scratch in less than 30 minutes. Click here to see how in this Chowhound video.

Peter Sherman sees bacon as more than a side dish for diner eggs. At BarBacon, his 84-seat sports bar in Hell’s Kitchen, the salt-cured and smoked meat receives its culinary due by being battered then deep-fried, infused into whipped cream or covered with chocolate, among other treatments. Stop by his bacon focused restaurant in NYC!

atomix dish
ESQUIRE
20 BEST NEW RESTAURANTS IN AMERICA

Congratulations to our grads for making Esquire’s list of the 20 Best New Restaurants in America. From Executive Chef and Co-Owner Scott Tacinelli’s (Professional Culinary Arts ’08) evolution of Italian-American cuisine at Don Angie, Jhonel Faelnar’s incredible wine list at cutting-edge Atomix NYC(Intensive Sommelier Training ’14), and Kate Williams (Professional Culinary Arts ’07) Irish-influenced menu at Lady of the House, we are proud to recognize these amazing alumni! Read more about them here.

Quick Guide to Foraging

Quick Guide to Foraging

Foraging has gained popularity in the last decade as the movement for fresh and sustainable ingredients has grown. While many chefs nowadays use suppliers or farmers markets to find the perfect ingredients for their restaurant, foraging can be a great way to bring new ingredients to their kitchens. For chefs who enjoy the hunt of searching for food or provisions, it can also be a fun hobby to pick up outside of the kitchen.

While it may seem like chefs would inherently know what to hunt for, foraging actually takes years of experience and knowledge to safely gather ingredients in the wild. However, there are some simple tips to follow and easy ingredients to identify that will help you become a successful beginner forager. Read below to find our guide to getting started and easy ingredients to look for begin your first foraging adventure!

Tips to Getting Started

  1. Foraging in New York by Steve BrillInvest in Books. This seems obvious, but books are a great resource for foraging. There are many knowledgeable experts who have spent decades researching and writing about foraging. Expert forager Steve “Wildman” Brill, who has been foraging for 35+ years and lives in the New York City area, has written many books on the subject. If you are foraging in New York, we recommend starting with his book Foraging in New York: Finding, Identifying and Preparing Edible Wild Foods.
  2. Find a Mentor and Speak With Experts. Finding a mentor is the key to foraging safely. While you may be able to find many ingredients in your own backyard, it can be dangerous to ingest them without consulting an expert. An expert or a mentor can help to identify plants, and can be a great resource for learning more about what to forage.
  3. Start in Your Own Backyard. Like we said, foraging in your own backyard is possible and fun! When you become familiar with the plants in and around your backyard first, it will help you to gain your foraging confidence before you venture elsewhere.

What to Start Foraging

There are endless edible plants and wild mushrooms to forage for, but it can be daunting trying to identify them all. Depending on your level of expertise, start with these plants below and, as always, consult with an expert before you eat anything. As a rule of thumb, always consume small quantities to ensure that you are not allergic to anything first.

Level 1: Dandelion Greens

You read that correctly— those pesky weeds that pop up everywhere are edible. These “weeds” are easy to identify due to their yellow flowers and pointy leaves, and are safe to eat. Expert foragers use dandelions in everything from salad to pesto, coffee and even wine! The entire plant is edible, so research recipes beforehand to get the most out of the plant. It is also recommended to forage for these in your own backyard because they have a tendency to be sprayed with pesticides.

Level 2: Field Garlic

Field GarlicOn a recent foraging trip to Prospect Park, our Professional Culinary Arts with Farm-to-Table class experienced field garlic firsthand. Like dandelions, field garlic is found almost everywhere and during every season of the year. It is easy to identify and has a distinct garlic/onion smell. With long green stems that look like chives and bulbs at the end of the stems, the whole plant can be utilized anywhere that you would normally use garlic. Note that it does have a lookalike that is toxic, but the lookalike plant does not have a smell. Before you eat field garlic, make sure that you smell a distinct garlic smell first.

 

 

 

 

 

Level 3: The Foolproof Four

Mushroom hunting is perhaps the most exciting part of foraging. Mushrooms are delicious, versatile and harder to find, which makes for a fun hunt. The difficulty of finding mushrooms is that they can be found in different locations, and from year to year, can grow in different areas. Although you may have found a delicious chicken of the woods mushroom, on a tree trunk one year, the next year it may not be there.

Giant PuffballThe foolproof four in mushroom hunting includes morels, chanterelles, giant puffballs, and chicken of the woods. These mushrooms are the easiest to identify and are widespread. Morels are one of the most sought after wild mushrooms and have a distinct, wrinkled look. Chanterelles have a wavy cap and can vary from a yellowish color to an amber. Giant puffballs are easy to spot in the woods and can grow to be the size of a volleyball—and often times look like one! They are white in color and vary in size. Chicken of the woods are also easy to spot due to their yellow and orange color. Growing mostly on tree trunks, their edges are the best for eating as the center of the mushroom is often tough.

It is best to go on tours with experts and forage in groups when you’re first starting out. This makes foraging more fun, but it also makes it safe.

Books are a great resource when first getting started, but should not be the only resource you use to identify plants. Experts in the world of foraging are an easy resource at hand and can typically identify plants using pictures. When in doubt, never ingest something that you aren’t sure of, and always be sure to forage in a sustainable way! Click here to check out our tips for safe foraging!

Students and Wildman

Foraging in New York City

Chef’s often find inspiration in supermarkets, seasonal farmers markets, and even from their cultural heritage to create delicious and unique dishes. But, what many chefs and home-cooks often overlook is the inspiration that can come from the forest or your backyard.

Students foragingOn a recent sunny but cold Saturday afternoon, Steve “Wildman” Brill led a group of Professional Culinary Arts + Farm-to-Table program students through Prospect Park to get a hands-on foraged-to-table experience. Wildman Steve is one of the preeminent foragers working in America today, foraging for more than 35 years. Foraging on one of Wildman Steve’s tours is an amazing way to connect with nature and learn about ingredients that you can find in the wild to bring to your table.

Within minutes of entering the 526 acres of park in Brooklyn, Wildman Steve was pointing out what students could bring back to the kitchen to add to various dishes. Learn about what we found in the city’s backyard of Prospect Park below, and be sure to send pictures to an expert before ingesting anything you find while foraging!

Ginkgo Nuts

Ginkgo leaf

The bright yellow hue of ginkgo leaves in the Fall helps to distinguish the tree from others and points the way to the edible part of the tree, ginkgo nuts, found on the branches.

You’ll know you’ve found the right fruit when you see the fan-like leaves and smell a pungent scent when you break into it. Many sidewalks are littered with the strong-smelling fruits of ginkgo trees and can be easy to miss since the nuts themselves, found inside the fleshy fruit, are small. At first, they don’t give off much smell, but once the fruit is exposed, the stench often reminds people of strong cheese. The fruit pulp can also cause skin blisters to people that may be allergic to it, so it is best to wear gloves when harvesting the fruits.

Once you look past the smell, and the potential skin rash, the cooked nuts—always be sure to roast them—have a flavor resembling edamame, potato and pine nuts. The Asian culture considers them a delicacy and uses them in desserts, soups and meat dishes. It is best not to consume more than a few seeds at a time as the toxins can build up in a harmful way. Also, be sure not to consume the fleshy part of the fruit as it is poisonous.

Field Garlic

Field GarlicPerhaps the most familiar find of the day, field garlic is everywhere. Found on lawns, backyards, open woods and yes, even Prospect Park, it is common throughout the continental US. Even in the coldest winter months, field garlic can be found poking through the snow, ready to be harvested.

With hollow stems and a distinct garlic/onion smell, it is difficult to mistake field garlic. There is a toxic lookalike plant that has no smell, so be sure to sniff out the garlic smell and consult an expert before eating. The leaves grow in bunches and look similar to a chive or a green onion, and in the Spring sprout a beautiful purple flower. Field Garlic

Once pulled from the ground, the green stems end with a small, edible bulb. The leaves can be used wherever a chive or green onion would normally be used and are a delicious substitute. The flavor of the bulbs can vary between patches, so it is important to try them before cooking with them, as it is with any ingredient.

Paper Mulberry

paper mulberryBright red-orange and resembling a pom-pom, the paper mulberry was the sweetest thing found in Prospect Park all day. Typically blooming from April to June, it was extremely late to find paper mulberries in the park, but it was a treat not to be missed!

Composed of many cylindrical seeds coming out of a hard ball, the seeds are edible, crunchy and explode with a mild honey-like sweetness. Picking them right off the tree is the best way to eat them, as they do not store for long.

Mushrooms

One of the more difficult ingredients to forage for, mushrooms can task even the most seasoned foragers with a difficult hunt. Some familiar-looking species have poisonous lookalikes, while others can trigger hallucinations. As with anything that is foraged, it is important to send many pictures to experts before ingesting anything. Do not try to identify any mushrooms based on these pictures. Be sure to have a good firsthand familiarity, as well as experience eating and preparing foraged mushrooms, as it can be extremely dangerous to eat a foraged mushroom without that knowledge. Generally speaking, beginner foragers should avoid all mushrooms with “gills” underneath the mushrooms.

Although foraging for mushrooms can be quite dangerous, if you are with an expert like we were, it can be quite exciting! Mushrooms can be found everywhere from the forest ground, trees, and even grassy fields. Keep your eyes peeled for a delicious mushroom, as they really can grow anywhere!

Shaggy Mane

Shaggy Mane mushrooms are very easy to find, and a great choice for beginner foragers. Extremely delicate and easy to break, Shaggy Manes resemble a squid and can vary in size. They excrete a black ink and are also commonly referred to as an inky cap. The ink can even be used to color dishes as a natural food color as it gives off a deep, black color.

You can typically find them in late summer and fall, so we were extremely lucky to find them in November in Prospect Park. Although late in the season, it does sometimes happen that they grow during the late fall. It is best to forage for shaggy manes when they’re young and to cook them within a few hours. It is rare to find them in restaurants because of the quick decomposing process, but they are great in a creamy risotto and add a subtle earthy flavor.

 

Puffball

PuffballsAccording to experts, Puffball mushrooms are one of the “foolproof four,” also known as the four most easily identified mushrooms, along with chicken of the woods, chanterelles, and morels. There are many lookalike species that can be poisonous, but puffballs, when cut open, are pure white and have no mushroom gills.

It’s important to put puffballs into the fridge after harvesting as they can spoil quickly. Once harvested, they are extremely versatile and can be used as a substitute for tofu, on a pizza or even in a delicious plate of pasta.

Foraging takes years of experience and knowledge to be able to safely ingest harvested ingredients. While it can be time consuming, it is rewarding and filled with hidden treasures around every corner!

Throughout our trip to Prospect Park, we were guided with knowledge from our expert, Wildman Steve. Finding, identifying and preparing edible wild food is a great way to use the resources around you and to connect with nature. But, be sure to consult with an expert and attend one of Wildman Steve’s tours to help you get started!

How to Safely Forage

How To Safely Forage

If you’ve read our Foraging in New York City article or our Quick Guide to Foraging, by now you know that foraging comes with many recommendations, tips and tricks to be able to forage safely. While foraging is an amazing way to connect with food and bring local ingredients to your table, there are some rules to follow before venturing into the woods or your own backyard.

In order to have a successful foraging experience check out a few of our top tips to keep you safe while on your foraging adventures!

  1. Don’t take more than you need. In order for generations of future foragers to enjoy these gems of nature, only take what you need and will use. Most of the time, edible plants and wild mushrooms have a short shelf life, so if you don’t plan on cooking with it immediately or preserving it, it’s best practice to leave most of what you find behind.
  2. Don’t harvest in questionable areas. Especially if you live in a city, toxic areas can be abundant and are best to avoid. Toxic areas include anywhere that might have been sprayed with pesticides, near or around dog parks, or along busy roadways. These areas can make edible plants no longer edible.
  3. Don’t forage plants that appear unhealthy. This seems like an obvious statement, but plants that don’t look like their normal, healthy selves are not safe to eat. This will depend from plant to plant, so always be familiar with a plant’s healthy appearance and discuss with your foraging mentor or expert before foraging.
  4. A group foragingDon’t forage alone. Foraging is an activity that is best, and safest, when done in groups. Whether it’s a tour group, with a mentor or a friend, be sure to grab your foraging buddy before venturing into the wild. Two sets of eyes are always better than one and can help to ensure that you are safely foraging. One of the best ways to work in a kitchen is in a team, and the same can be said for foraging!
  5. Consult with an expert before you eat anything. Send pictures to your mentor or expert and have them double check what you have found.
  6. Always consume small quantities to ensure that you are not allergic to anything first. When ingredients are found in the wild, you never know what you could be allergic to.

While these are just four of the top tips to safely forage, there are many different elements to foraging that haven’t been covered here. Always do your research, be prepared with gloves and warm clothing, and bring paper bags to store your edible plants and mushrooms. Foraging is a perfect group activity and takes years of experience, and knowledge, to perfect. Always be sure of what you are foraging for, and if you’re looking to get started, check out our quick guide here.

Bread that Yasmin baked

Time Management: An Underutilized Skill & Asset

Written by Yasmin Rasheed

Yasmin RasheedYasmin Rasheed is a 2018 graduate of The Art of International Bread Baking program. Previously, she spent 30-years in Financial Services in Executive Management, focused on coaching and developing talent. Currently, she curates wholesome recipes on her food blog, Juliet Kitchen

As a tenured corporate executive whose focus on coaching for peak performance delivered numerous commercial successes, it has become painfully clear that time management is a grossly underutilized skill. With practice, this life skill can provide ongoing work-life integration, less stress and improved productivity. The basic foundation to achieving any definition of success, time management only calls for our thoughtful and productive use of time.

Practicing effective time management leads to improved outcomes across both our professional and personal objectives. Managing this limited resource—time—more thoughtfully can be life changing and it’s is not nearly as complicated as you may think. Here are three key steps to assist you in making the most of your twenty-four-hour day!

  1. Start Early: Many successful people employ this routine daily. This habit has been hard wired into my DNA since childhood and continues to serve me well while studying in The Art of International Bread Baking program at the International Culinary Center in NYC. Since starting school, I was challenged with finding time for my usual daily exercise at the gym due to a very lengthy commute. I committed to arriving in SoHo early enough to walk for a half hour prior to the start of class. Additionally, this practice allowed me to get to the kitchen with time to spare so that I could get my station set-up for a successful day.  By creating a life-long daily routine that includes waking up one to two hours early, the “extra time” allows for “no excuses.” As a result, value-added activities don’t have to be sacrificed. This start early lifestyle keeps me motivated, highly productive and limits my stress!
  1. Create A Plan: It’s important to write down your plan for your goals and objectives; review it regularly and modify as needed. According to Forbes magazine, research shows that “People who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals, than people who don’t.”  Write down your daily to-do list to support the plan—in doing so employ the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle, which states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.) This simply means that you need to prioritize the most impactful activities. Consider writing down your to-do list at the end of each day verses the start of the day; this practice will actually help you sleep better and prepare you for a new day with less stress and improved productivity. Priority planning is immensely valuable in a highly intensive culinary kitchen where the bread baking process is fast-paced and complicated. ICC Chef-Instructor Johnson Yu made it a point to give us a syllabus in advance which enabled effective planning and scheduling of how breads will be mixed and baked.
  1. Create A Schedule: Scheduling is as important as creating a plan. Prioritize high impact activities and tasks. Use a calendar, such as outlook, and add a reminder. If it’s on the calendar it is extremely likely to be completed. Creating an effective schedule requires an investment in your time—it is one of the most arduous tasks, but the reward far outweighs the cost.  Calendaring your activities keeps you organized and productive, and is a routine that continues to deliver rewards during my culinary education. Having an effective and efficient schedule in any culinary kitchen is a non-negotiable!

Applying these time management approaches thoughtfully in your professional and personal life will place you at a competitive advantage, especially if you’re pursuing a career in the culinary industry.  It will open doors more rapidly and deliver outcomes better aligned with your objectives.  You will find that you are in control of your time verses your time controlling you. So, before you begin feeling stressed, remember these three steps to manage your time and you’ll begin reaping the benefits of a happier, healthier and more productive lifestyle!

Tips To Grow Your Beverage Program

This month, our Business Bites Resources—brought to you by ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship (CE) program—provides tips for food businesses looking to bolster their drink menu.

the panelists from the eventAt the beginning of November, members from the culinary community gathered for a panel to discuss the importance of having a beverage program in your restaurant that gets customers back to the bar.  The four panelists were experienced members of the culinary and beverage industry, including Jason Hedges, Bar Director of Gotham Bar & Grill and Partner of BarIQ; Noah Rothbaum, Editor of Half Full from The Daily Beast; Nora Favelukes, President of QW Wine Experts; and Vanessa Da Silva, Sommelier at Ninety Acres.

In the discussion, they shared their tips for creating and managing a successful beverage program, as well as how to turn your drinks into dollars. We’ve gathered some of their tips for success below!

Specialty Cocktails Drive Sales

Our panelists all agreed that specialty cocktails can drive sales and bring in new customers, while increasing margins for the business. Not only are cocktails experiencing a renaissance among bar scenes, but they can also be a fun and visual “Instagram-able” feature on your menu, increasing brand awareness. One tip that we learned from our experts—using fresh juice not only makes a cocktail more delicious, but is surprisingly a way to save money as it can be cheaper than buying expensive pre-made mixes.

Invest in Ice

For most guests, their first experience in a restaurant is ordering a cocktail, so why not take your cocktail to the next level? Ice is a daily requirement in all restaurants, and a universal ingredient in bar drinks. Despite its importance, ice can often be overlooked. Many bar programs are turning to ice blocks, specialty cubes and more to provide a better appearance and experience for their customers. In the end, the cocktails look better, but can also taste better as ice that is higher in quality won’t dilute a cocktail with water as fast.

Bar Software

Bar software can make or break a restaurant in today’s world. According to San Pellegrino, 100% of US restaurants on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list are using a software called BinWise. In addition to these restaurants, Jason Hedges and Vanessa Da Silva, both panelists that work in the restaurant industry, also use BinWise to manage their restaurants inventory and more. There are many other options on the market, so the key is to find a software that works for your business. In the end, bar software programs can increase time saved during inventories, help to gain insights into what products are being poured the most, create a database to have information readily available, and help to recapture lost money.

ABOUT BUSINESS BITES

The BUSINESS BITES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels, networking events and resources designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry.

apple and pumpkin pie

Thanksgiving Tips From The Pros At ICC

This Thanksgiving, whether you plan to be the executive chef in your kitchen, or assume the role of sous chef, you’ll likely spend an average of 7 hours cooking your Thanksgiving meal! So how do the approximately 96% of American families that gather for Thanksgiving get through the daunting task of preparing this family feast? With advice from the professionals of course!

This year, our ICC Chef-Instructors shared their knowledge on everything from turkey safety tips and how to save your thanksgiving meal, to pro tips on how to make your own pumpkin spice blend and homemade sprinkles. We were challenged to create the world’s fastest pumpkin pie recipe—spoiler alert: it’s actually crust-less! We even celebrated our roots as The French Culinary Institute and shared recommendations on the perfect French Classic cocktails, appetizers, side dishes and more to accompany your traditional Thanksgiving Turkey.

So, in case you’re behind on your Thanksgiving meal prep, or need a little inspiration before you begin cooking tomorrow, check out some of these tips from ICC Chefs Hervé Malivert, Marc Bauer, Jansen ChanJürgen David and ICC Dean Alain Sailhac.

Do's & Don'ts of Holiday Dinner Safety

Chef Hervé Malivert, Director of Culinary Arts & Technology shares his Turkey Safety Tips, from how to thaw your turkey to the proper internal temperature of your cooked turkey. And, if you insist on deep frying your turkey, Chef Hervé also shares his recommendations to keep you and your loved one’s safe. Click here to watch the video feature on CBS New York.

How To Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Blend

In need of a fall pantry staple? Chef Jansen Chan, Director of Pastry, shows you how to make this DIY pumpkin spice blend to add fall flavor to any dish, whether it’s on your Friendsgiving table, or throughout the winter season! Click here to see the Chowhound video.

8 Ideas for a French Thanksgiving

While it’s hard to think of a more American tradition than Thanksgiving, it’s actually quite easy to add a little French flavor to your dinner. Chef Alain, Chef Hervé, and Chef Marc give their recommendations for their favorite French classics that pair perfectly with turkey! Click here to read the feature in France-Amérique Magazine.

The World's Easiest (Crust-less) Pumpkin Pie!

Don’t have time to make a pie crust this year? No problem! Chef Jansen Chan’s pumpkin pie hack lets you make one from scratch in less than 30 minutes. Click here to see how in this Chowhound video.

How To Make Homemade Sugar Sprinkles

Love decorating with sprinkles but tired of the same old rainbow colors? Now you can make your own sugar sprinkles at home, in any color and shade you please! Chef Jansen Chan shows two great baking decorating techniques in one, how to make royal icing and how to turn that royal icing into your own homemade sprinkles. We went with fall colors, but you can easily adapt this for any time of year! Click here to see how in this Chowhound video.

Quick Fixes for Thanksgiving Dinner Slip-Ups

Chef Hervé Malivert, Director of Culinary Arts & Technology, and Chef Jürgen David, Associate Director of Pastry Arts explain how to save your Thanksgiving feast from the most common kitchen mistakes like dry turkey, lumpy mashed potatoes, and more! Click here to watch more on CBS New York.