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.

Highlights from The First-Ever Pastryland 2017 Charity Bake Sale

This fall, the International Culinary Center hosted the first-ever Pastryland Bake Sale, benefiting City Harvest. An afternoon for the ultimate sweet tooth, Pastryland celebrated the innovative talents and imaginations of pastry chefs, showcasing never-before-tasted desserts from the chefs of Per Se, The Modern, Del Posto, Patisserie Chanson, & many more. The event featured an 8-foot tall piped wall of royal icing (which used a total of 120 pounds of sugar), and an Ice Luge of white & dark chocolate shots presented Callebaut® and Five Acre Farms.

ICC would like to thank all the chef and restaurant participants for their delicious, one-of-a-kind contributions during the charity bake sale. As a result, ICC will be donating $5000 to support City Harvest in their hunger relief efforts.

The success of Pastryland would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors (listed below) and numerous attendees. In addition to the prestigious pastry chefs mentioned below, Pastryland also gathered social media curators such as Nina Joy of @TheFoodJoy and Sarah Merrill of @BigKidProblems as well as Dessert Professional, Dessert Buzz, The Wandering Eater blog, Union Square Hospitality Group and many others.


Caramelized White Chocolate Cake      | |    Daniel Alvarez – Pastry Chef, Union Square Café and Daily Provisions

PB + J     | |    Tyler Atwell* – Executive Pastry Chef, Lafayette

Marshmallo-licious Delight    | |    Anna Bolz* – Pastry Chef, Per Se

Assorted Linzer Cookies     | |    Stephen Collucci – Pastry Chef, Cookshop

Rhubarb Cake     | |    Douglas Hernandez – Pastry Chef, Oceana

Black + White Choux     | |    Daniel Keehner – Executive Pastry Chef, Union Square Events

Nusszopf     | |    Jiho Kim – Executive Pastry Chef, The Modern

Fudge + Dulce De Leche Bar    | |    Johana Langi – Executive Pastry Chef, The Lambs Club

Thai Tea + Coconut Tapioca    | |     Jason Licker* – Pastry Specialist & Author, Lickerland

Lemon Poppyseed Kouign Amann    | |    Rory Macdonald – Executive Chef, Patisserie Chanson

Schiacciata Con l’Uva    | |    Justine MacNeil* – Executive Pastry Chef, Del Posto

Blueberry Bundt Cake    | |    Michael Mignano – Executive Pastry Chef, Perrine at The Pierre Hotel

Chocolate Fig Cake    | |    Cynthia Peithman & Jansen Chan – Pastry Chef-Instructor & Director of Pastry Operations, International Culinary Center

Assorted Macarons    | |    Thomas Raquel – Executive Pastry Chef, Le Bernardin

Chocolate Chip Toffee Coffee Cookies    | |    James Rosselle – Corporate Executive Pastry Chef, iPic Theaters

Tarte au Chocolate au Sel et Sarrasin    | |    Daniel Skurnick – Executive Pastry Chef, Le Coucou & Buddakan

Sticky Toffee Drunken Donuts    | |    Tracy Wilk – Executive Pastry Chef, SaltBrick Tavern


Charity Partner: City Harvest

Platinum Sponsor: Callebaut®

Gold Sponsor: Sasa Demarle®

Silver Sponsor: KMT Waterjet

Bronze Sponsor: Innovative Sugarworks

Contributing Sponsors: City of SaintsFive Acre FarmsPalais Des ThésNY CakeMurray’s Baz Bagel & RestaurantMeyer’s BageriIce & ViceRenshawMichel et AugustinOatly

Pastry Plus Party Sponsor: Jacques Torres Chocolate

Leadership Partner: James Beard Foundation


All photos provided by Rachel Golden | Golden Raye Photography

Win a Trip To Spain From The International Rioja Wine & Tapas Competition

Think you can create a tapa that pairs perfectly with a Rioja? Do just that and you could win a culinary trip to Spain!

The 2nd International ‘Rioja Wine & Tapas’ competition is underway and there’s still one more month to submit your proposal!

For the second year running the D.O.Ca. Rioja, in collaboration with the Basque Culinary Center, launches this international competition to pair tapas with Rioja wines. Aimed at gastronomy school students, this competition seeks to award recipes that reflect the multicultural reality of gastronomy. Proposals must include a written recipe, image of the recipe prepared, the Rioja wine is chosen to pair with the tapa and a brief explanation of why that wine was chosen.

The winner will receive a gastronomic holiday in Spain, where they’ll visit one of the main wine producing regions–D.O.Ca. Rioja–and visit San Sebastian to eat at a renowned restaurant and enjoy a tapas tour accompanied by an expert.

To enter, submit your proposal by October 28, 2017, online at http://us.riojawine.com/tapascompetition/en/participa/.

For rules, regulations and more information visit http://us.riojawine.com/tapascompetition/en/ or email communication@riojawine.com.

James Beard Foundation Honors Chef Dan Barber at Upcoming JBF Food Summit

What’s Your Consuming Power?

Each year the James Beard Foundation hosts the JBF Leadership Awards as part of the annual JBF Food Summit. The awards aim to shine a light on the importance and complexities of sustainability, food access, and public health.

This year the foundation celebrates ICC Alumnus, Chef Dan Barber, as one such visionary “for his work in blending the dining and educational experience to reduce waste, improve food taste and sustainability, and promote a soil-to-table approach.” Dan Barber, chef/owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, is best known for his innovations in the dining experience that promotes a more sustainable food world. But what many don’t know is that his collaboration with ICC’s Farm-to-Table extension of the Professional Culinary Arts program is actively training the next generation of chefs to cook responsibly. Through the program, Chef Dan Barber is challenging the chefs of tomorrow to make sustainable choices in their kitchens that create a healthier and safer food world.

Ready to join the conversation? Attend the two-day JBF Food Summit: Consuming Power October 23-24 in NYC. This year JBF is bringing together a diverse group of experts, including Chef Dan Barber, from across disciplines to look into the genesis and changing dynamics of consumer power and apply that knowledge to various food-system issues we’re facing today. Learn what Americans want from their food, the challenges and opportunities for a sustainable food system in our new political landscape, and the role chefs and other culinary leaders can play.

Early bird tickets are on sale til October 2nd. For more information & registration, visit jamesbeard.org/foodsummit.

Recipe: Chocolate Fig Cake Using Callebaut Chocolate

Our inaugural Pastryland charity bake sale, benefiting City Harvest, commenced on Saturday, September 9 as a part of the school’s Pastry Plus weekend. The generous Callebaut® Chocolate brand held the Platinum Sponsor title throughout the weekend, providing delicious variants of the finest Belgium chocolate. Making their product accessible to attendees, our bake sale also featured a chocolate luge where those who wanted to indulge chose between white and dark chocolate tastings.

Using Callebaut® Dark Couverture Chocolate, the International Culinary Center’s Director of Pastry Operations, Jansen Chan, created an exclusive dessert for the bake sale alongside ICC’s Pastry Chef-Instructor, Chef Cynthia Peithman, to sell to patrons of the Pastryland festivities.

My collaboration with Chef Cynthia Peithman was a celebration of two loves: chocolate and fig. We focused on creating textures with Callebaut’s dark chocolate – a tender chocolate sponge and a luscious chocolate buttercream – and pairing its flavor against the higher, sweeter notes of late summer figs.” – Jansen Chan, ICC’s Director of Pastry Operations

Watch the highlights from the weekend below and view the recipe to see how you could recreate this chocolate dessert at home.


Yield: 14 – 3” cakes

Components:

Chocolate Biscuit Dacquoise
Plain & Chocolate Buttercream
Fig Jam, about 250 grams
Port Gelée
Chocolate Décor, 3” discs
Black Mission Figs, 7 pieces


CHOCOLATE BISCUIT DACQUOISE
Yield: One half-sheet pan
Ingredients:

100 g. Callebaut® Dark Couverture Chocolate, 60.6%
130 g. Almond Flour
115 g. Sugar
115 g. Whites
¼ t. Salt
Powdered sugar, as needed

Procedures:

– Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
– Prepare a half-sheet pan by applying pan release and parchment paper to the bottom.
– Place the chocolate in a bain-marie over low heat and stir to melt. Remove from heat when completely melted, and allow to cool slightly.
– In a bowl, sift the almond flour and reserve.
– Prepare a French meringue: Combine the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.
– Gradually add the sugar a little at a time, until soft peaks form. Continue to whip the mixture to stiff peaks.
– Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the almond flour into the meringue in three additions.
– Add about a quarter of the batter to the melted chocolate and stir vigorously to incorporate.
– Return the chocolate mixer to the remaining meringue and fold gently.
– Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan.
– Dust with powdered sugar.
– Bake the dacquoise in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or springy to the touch.
– Let the dacquoise cool completely before unmolding.
– Release the dacquoise from the pan by running a paring knife along the edges.


SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Yield: 1050 grams 

Ingredients:

150 g. Callebaut® Dark Couverture Chocolate, 60.6%
165 g. Egg whites*
285 g. Sugar
¼ t. Salt
450 g. Butter, cut into cubes
½ t. Vanilla extract

Procedure

– Place the chocolate in a bain-marie over low heat and stir to melt. Remove from heat when completely melted, and allow to cool slightly.
– In the bowl of an electric mixer, lightly whisk together the egg whites, sugar and salt and place over a pot of simmering water.
– Lightly whisk the mixture over the simmering water until the mixture is hot to the touch or a candy thermometer reads 140° F.
– Place the bowl on the electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on medium-high speed until doubled in volume.
– Whisk until the mixture reaches medium stiff peaks and has cooled down.
– Remove the whisk and replace with the paddle attachment.
– Begin adding the butter a few pieces at a time as it beats into the meringue.
– Add vanilla extract.
– Raise the speed of the mixture and beat until the buttercream is light and fluffy
– Remove about 1/3 of the buttercream and reserve on the side.
– With the remaining buttercream, pour in cooled, melted chocolate and stir quickly to incorporate.

*pasteurized egg whites may be used, if desired


PORT GELÉE

Yield: 250 grams
Ingredients:
4 shts. Gelatin, silver
50 g. Sugar
200 g. Port wine

Procedures:

– Soak the gelatin sheets in ice-cold water for about 5 mins. Drain well and reserve.
– In a small pot, bring 50 grams of water and sugar to a boil.
– Remove from heat, and add drained gelatin.
– Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in port.
– Allow mixture to set in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.
– Using a whisk or a pair of forks, break the gelée into coarse, snow-like consistency.

Reserve chilled.

ASSEMBLY:

– Trim the chocolate dacquoise into 3” circles.
– Fill a pastry bag, outfitted with a star tip, with chocolate buttercream. Pipe a border of teardrops just within the edge of each cut cake.
– Fill the center generously with fig jam and ½ tsp. of port gelé
– Top each cake with a 3” chocolate disc.
– Fill a pastry bag, outfitted with a star tip, with plain buttercream. Pipe a small rosette on top of the center of each cake.
– Place black mission figs, cut in half*, on top of plain buttercream.
– Just to the right of the fig, garnish with additional port gelé

*If preparing in advance, brush the cut side of the fig with warmed apricot glaze prior to using.


For more information on Callebaut®, click here.

Remembering Dorothy Cann Hamilton

Almost one year ago, the International Culinary Center tragically lost the school’s Founder, Dorothy Cann Hamilton. Shortly after her untimely passing, ICC was faced with the task of memorializing such an immense spirit who inspired and changed the lives of countless culinary luminaries. Dorothy was one-of-a-kind. To honor the life of Dorothy Cann Hamilton, ICC reached out to several friends of both the school and Dorothy to share how their lives were touched by the late visionary. Culinary icons and professionals such as Daniel Boulud, Alain Sailhac, Jacques Torres, Danny Meyer, Judy Joo, Claus Meyer, and more all shared stories of their admiration for the fearless food aficionado through a touching video shown during her memorial service.

Today, August 25, we remember the life and spirit of the late Dorothy Cann Hamilton on her birthday by sharing this video with the world, for the students, faculty, and the culinary community that never had the opportunity of knowing such a guiding light. The International Culinary Center will continue to honor Dorothy’s spirit and vision in all that we do.

 

To continue Dorothy’s drive for inspiring the next generation of culinary professionals and passion for hunger prevention, please consider making a donation to Friends of the ICC or Feeding America in her name.

  • Donations to the Dorothy Cann Hamilton Scholarship can be made through Friends of the ICC here. Please direct gifts In Memory of Dorothy Cann Hamilton.
  • Donations to Feeding America, an organization that Dorothy was very passionate about, can be made here.

Hard Work Tastes Like Miso, A Friday Evening at Hachi ju Hachi

By Savannah Sharrett,
Communications Liaison

For a refreshing, crash-course in what it means to have passion, spend a little time with Chef Suzuki and his team.

Recently, I spent a Friday evening at Hachi ju Hachi, located in downtown Saratoga, CA. Entering the restaurant, the first thing I noticed was a sense of calm to the dimly lit space. Looking in from the front door, the sun light reveals long walls lined with small tables. Straight ahead is a sushi bar with a clear view of the open kitchen.

This understated gem has been open for 8 years and has many loyal, regular customers. Looking up at the ceiling and around the walls, there is clear evidence of appreciation. Written in Sharpie, you’ll find hundreds of comments of praise. Beaming with pride, Owner & Chef, Jin Suzuki says of the walls, “You’ll notice that there is not one celebrity and only ordinary people”. The restaurant is open for regular business hours but every two weeks, the doors close to the general public to host a special sushi night where they invite a small group of people for a carefully curated tasting menu.

From time to time, students from the ICC have had the opportunity to work under the apprenticeship of Chef Suzuki. Currently, you can find two of our alumni working alongside each other in his kitchen. Working under Chef Suzuki’s guidance and training in the art of Japanese Cuisine, EJ, a 2013 culinary graduate and Kristen, a 2016 culinary graduate are cultivating qualities like patience and respect for their craft. There is something to be said about the precision and attention to detail this team of 3 is able to maintain consistency.

In an effort to understand the success of HJH, I asked EJ to share his thoughts on the restaurant’s philosophy on food. He said, “Chef Suzuki is not just a mentor. It is not just food; its philosophy and life. To survive in this kitchen you must have the mindset that this isn’t just food or recipes, it’s a lifestyle. You have to respect that”. He added, “Techniques are done correctly. Make your mistakes but don’t do it again.” In reference to the passion that has grown within him over time, EJ asks himself, “Do you want to cut cucumbers every day? Yes! Do you want to crack eggs every day? Yes! I want to.”

Although they were given a foundation in French Techniques from their schooling at the ICC, I appreciated that both EJ and Kirsten had an ease using Japanese terms. When I asked them if that was a requirement for working at HJH, EJ said, “Learning the proper words shows respect”.  Working with Chef Suzuki has certainly added to their culinary repertoire and given them versatility.

When I had first arrived that evening, EJ had been working on Saba mackerel, preparing them to be marinated at room temperature and then overnight in the fridge. I asked him if there were certain techniques he had especially enjoyed learning at HJH and he mentioned something called San Mai Oroshi– a 3 part technique used to open a fish that results in 2 full fillets with the spine still intact. He was also very proud to show me and let me taste his frozen sweet potato puree that was served like an ice cream.

I then asked Kirsten to share her thoughts on the restaurant’s philosophy. She was quick to say that, “It all starts and ends with respect”. Throughout the evening, I was impressed to hear her call Chef Suzuki, Itacho, which means in Japanese, “head of the cutting board”. Having now worked at HJH for a year, she has gained many new skills from her mentor. She was kind enough to give me a demonstration on the difference between Japanese and French knife techniques. She also mentioned that she was currently learning something called, Katsuramuki. This term refers to the ability to slice a vegetable such as a cucumber or a daikon into one long, thin sheet. For this technique, she was taught to use a Usuba, a “single-bevel knife used for cutting veggies”. Initially feeling like this task was daunting, Kerstin describes the learning process as a practical lesson in discipline and now feels driven to do it every day. She notes that her constant goal is, “doing better than the last time. I did this today and I’ll do it tomorrow”. Comparing her limited year of experience to her mentor, Chef Suzuki, she happily exclaimed, “I’ll meet you there in 30 years”!  Being the newest to the kitchen, Kirsten benefits from the experience of not only Chef Suzuki but also her fellow apprentice, EJ. In regards to her training under both of them, she noted, “They never go easy on me but I know it’s because they care and that in turn makes me care as much as them”.

Even with his 30 years of experience, Chef Suzuki doesn’t hesitate to point out that he is still learning and feels that it is his responsibility to pass on the knowledge he does have. He comments, “Most people are looking for an instant result but cooking isn’t about that.  It takes patience and discipline. The journey is not 6 months, it takes years”. Chef made sure to note that he will never claim to a master chef. Explaining that personal joy is essential, he expresses, “ I just like what I do and that’s enough”.  I asked him how he received his own training and he explained that throughout his early career in Japan, he had 3 different mentors. With that attitude in mind, the ICC is looking forward to hosting Chef Suzuki on our campus this August for a class on the history and usage of miso. (Click here to learn more.

Later that evening, Chef Suzuki asked me to stay for dinner and was very generous. I left the restaurant that evening feeling peaceful and energized. If you ever find yourself in the Bay Area, Hachi ju Hachi should definitely be on your itinerary.

 

 

 

Discover The May-Mei Italian Culinary Academy

Calling all culinary professionals – May-Mei Italian Culinary Academy is launching a new, modern Culinary Institute for the hospitality industry, young professionals, culinary institutions and Italian cuisine enthusiasts around the world. Beginning this year, May-Mei will offer intensive short courses for individuals, with limited time availability, who wish to learn or refresh their knowledge of Italian cooking techniques, Italian food products, the flavors, the traditions and culture of the Italian table.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Founded by Tony May, Sergio Mei and Bruno Libralon, May-Mei Italian Culinary Academy offers a five-day short intensive course, arriving in Italy on Sunday and returning home on Saturday. Perfect for young students and professional development, this course combines theory and practical lessons with hands-on experience and field trips to local producers. Each day culminates in the kitchen where students cook what they learned during the day.

SPECIAL OFFER FOR ICC ALUMNI

The board of the May-Mei is extending an exclusive offer to ICC Alumni for the initial course, September 17-23, 2017 at Gambero Rosso in Rome, of 25% off the published website price.


 

Interested in attending? Please contact Tony May at tonymayitaliancuisine@gmail.com.

To review the course program at Gambero Rosso, price, studies, and visits to producers for this inaugural class, please visit https://www.may-mei.org/en/schools/#rosso for details about the offer.

For more information and a schedule of the 2017-2018 dates, please visit www.may-mei.org or www.may-meiitalianculinaryacademy.com.