KUGELHOPF – AUSTRIAN BOWL CAKE RECIPE

A recipe request by one of our Facebook fans after a photo was posted of our wonderful Pastry Chef-Instructor Kathy Sadler making this recipe on Kugelhopf Day!

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KUGELHOPF
AUSTRIAN BOWL CAKE

Recipe by International Culinary Center
Used in Professional Pastry Arts and Art of International Bread Baking programs.
Yield: 1 kugelhopf

For the Sponge
150 g all-purpose flour
30 g yeast
150 mL warm milk

For the Dough
140 g butter
140 g powdered sugar
1 t salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1 T vanilla sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
250 g bread flour
Pinch of nutmeg
50 g warm milk
150 g raisins, plumped in water and drained
15 to 20 whole blanched almonds
Powdered sugar, for finishing

For the Sponge
1. Prepare sponge with the all-purpose flour, yeast, and the 150 mL of milk. Set aside and allow the sponge to double.
2. Prepare the dough: Cream together the butter, powdered sugar, salt, lemon zest, and vanilla sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, and allow each to fully incorporate before adding the next.
4. Add the sponge to the creamed butter mixture.
5. Add the bread flour, nutmeg, and 50 g of milk to the mixture.
6. Mix/knead to develop gluten, scraping the sides of the bowl often.
7. Add the raisins and mix just to combine.
8. First proof: Place in oiled bowl, cover, and proof 30 to 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
9. Prepare the mold: Put almonds in the bottom of a buttered kugelhopf mold.
10. Turn dough when proofed, and place in prepared mold. Final proof and allow the dough to ferment in the mold. The dough should rise to ½ inch below the top edge of the mold.
12. Egg wash.
13. Bake the kugelhopf at 350°F (176°C) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until dark brown.
14. Unmold immediately after baking onto a cooling rack to prevent it from becoming soggy.

For the Finish
Lightly dust with powdered sugar.

Special Instructions
• To save time, cream the butter and sugar while the sponge is rising.
• Once the sponge and bread flour have been added, it will take several minutes to build up the gluten.
• The dough will remain very loose but gluten structure should be apparent.
• Add the raisins last to avoid breaking them apart and discoloring the dough.
• Be careful unmolding the bread; it will be very fragile while hot.

Learn more: Professional Pastry Arts
Art of International Bread Baking

Professional Pastry Arts: The Final Exam

By Julie Couture
International Culinary Center
2014 Graduate, Professional Pastry Arts

After six months of learning recipes and techniques, in addition to partaking in various tastings of coffee, tea, cheese and wine in the Professional Pastry Arts program, the final exam was upon us. To be honest, I was excited about it. As a career changer, I’d already been out in the real world; it can be overrated. I was excited because this was an opportunity to apply what I had learned in the program. It was go time.

In the pastry arts program, four and a half days are devoted to the final exam. By noon on the fifth day, our items are to be displayed for judging by local, esteemed pastry chefs. Day one was devoted to our written exam and to the construction of our showpiece. The showpiece served two purposes. The first was to display our desserts. We were each required to make a petit fours, chocolate, viennoiserie and a seasonal tart. The second was to showcase a theme, which was the International Culinary Center’s 30th anniversary. Our showpieces could be constructed from pastillage, chocolate, poured sugar, pulled sugar, and other sugar mediums we had learned in the program. Due to the humidity, the majority of us opted to use pastillage to avoid any issues with warping or collapsing showpieces.

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Our Chef-Instructor, Chef Tom Jones, told us on Day 1 there is always friction. I thought he was referring to tiffs in the classroom due to heightened stress. Instead, he meant circumstances beyond our control would pop up and we would need to deal with them. He was right… Friction visited us on day two when I realized the oranges for my orange truffles were playing hide and seek. It was chocolate day, and consequently, we referred to Day 2 as “The Day Chocolate Hates Us.” Although our classroom was well air-conditioned, some of us had difficulty tempering chocolate. The longer it took to temper chocolate, the more time it took away from doing other tasks.

The rest of the week was devoted to creating the other food items – the tarts, petits fours and viennoiserie. Friction popped in at times and threw things off a bit, requiring some of us to remake certain recipes and revise our showpieces. Through it all, we plowed forward. As recipes came together, we slowly felt more confident about our progress. We learned how to work around the inevitable friction and not get overwhelmed by it. Overall, we laughed instead of cried, and managed to deliver our products when the clock struck 12:00 pm on Friday.

In the midst of Finals Week, I couldn’t help but think back to my first month in school. While working on my croquembouche in Level 1, I burned myself four times on the caramel. Burns are an occupational hazard, but they, coupled with my disappointment at the finished product, left me feeling frustrated. I expressed my doubts about my abilities to Chef Christopher Ciresi, my Level 1 chef-Instructor. He didn’t buy it. Chef Christopher simply said the pastry arts program is a learning process. Even though I was frustrated that day, he said I was on track and I would improve.

Chef was right. During the week of finals, I noticed my progress. I’m not an expert pastry chef, but I feel faster, more organized and better able to multi-task. My work is nowhere near the level of my chef-instructors, but due to their instruction and feedback, I hope I will eventually get there.

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At noon on judgment day, two revered pastry chefs evaluated our work anonymously, focusing on flavors, techniques, and aesthetics. We all received constructive comments regarding what went well and what could be improved. Their feedback, along with six months of intensive training at ICC, can only help prepare us for our future careers as pastry chefs.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The final exam didn’t kill us…but it did make us stronger. Our diplomas are proof of that.

Learn more about Julie’s class: Professional Pastry Arts

No Whey! You can make cheese!?

By Danielle Marullo
International Culinary Center Student
Professional Culinary Arts

Cheese making began sometime around the domestication of milk-producing animals, roughly around 10,000 years ago. Can you stomach this one? Researchers believe that cheese was made by accident! Before plastic tupperware, take out containers and milk jugs, people had to get pretty creative when storing liquids, so they would actually store milk inside animal stomachs. As we all know, the stomach is a very acidic place, considering it has the ability to break down our solid foods with ease. Along with acid, there is an enzyme called Rennin (also called Rennet) that is often used in cheese making, that is found right in the lining of the stomach. This enzyme caused the milk to virtually “spoil,” separating the curds and whey leaving our lucky ancient friends with a cheese product. Although this is just a theory, it seems like a justifiable claim to me! At the end of the day, cheese is one of the most prized foods on the planet and I personally could not live without it.

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Now that I am done with my history lesson, lets move on to my science lesson.
The three ways to create cheese out of milk are as follows:

– You can sour the milk in a process called Acid Coagulation
– You can coagulate the milk and create the cheese “curds” with the lovely enzyme we discussed earlier, Rennet.
– A combination of 1 & 2!

There are a whopping 900 varieties of cheeses available to us worldwide, and therefore the coagulation process is just the beginning. After the initial cheese product is created, the cheese can be pressed, cut, heated or even allowed to ripen or mold for extra flavor and texture.

3 very important words used in cheese making that you must know are as follows:

– Casein- The main protein found in milk that give cheese its delicious flavor and form the curds.
– Curds- Are what you get when the milk coagulates with an acid (lemon juice, vinegar), Rennet or just on its own when it is kept at a warm temperature and it spoils.
– Whey- After the cheese curds form, the watery liquid that is left behind is the whey.

Now onto our cooking lesson! At the International Culinary Center we designate a whole class to cheese making. Cheese is found in just about all cuisines, making it a crucial skill to obtain when training to be a chef. Due to time constraints and labor, most restaurants do not produce their own cheese, but as a chef it is important to understand the flavors, textures and origins of different kinds of cheeses. During our cheese lecture we tasted roughly 15 varieties of cheese ranging from sheep’s milk to goat, both hard and soft. We made both homemade Mozzarella and Ricotta cheese which we then utilized in an incredible homemade Ravioli recipe on Pasta Day! Ricotta is a very versatile cheese that can be eaten by itself, in savory dishes and even in sweet desserts like Cheesecake and Cassata Cake! Below is a recipe for simple Ricotta, that will leave your friends and family saying “No Whey! You can make cheese!?”

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Ricotta
– 2 Kg Milk
– 3 g Citric Acid (You can usually buy it at the regular grocery store)
– 3 g Salt

Steps
– Place the milk, acid and salt in a small saucepan and heat until the mixture reaches about 195F. Be sure to store often to keep the milk from burning!
– Once the curds start to form turn off the hear and let the mixture sit about 10 minutes without stirring it.
Place a piece of cheesecloth in a fine chinois (strainer) and place the strainer over a pot or bowl.
Pour the Ricotta mixture into the cheesecloth lined strainer and allow the mixture the strain for a few minutes. Tie a knot at the top of the cheesecloth and hang it over a shallow pan for an hour or longer. Once a lot of the liquid has been removed, you are ready to eat! You can add some more salt or some fresh herbs for flavor, especially if you are using the ricotta in a pasta dish!

Learn more about Danielle’s course here: Professional Culinary Arts
For more recipes and instructional cooking videos, head to Danielle’s website, www.gotroomformore.com, or her YouTube Channel

Labor Day Recipe: Bar-Brew-Q Steak

A recipe by Danielle Marullo of Got Room for More
International Culinary Center Student
Professional Culinary Arts

There is something about local businesses that I just adore. I love the passion the owners have for their products, I love the way the employees strive to produce consistent, quality products for their consumers, and finally, I just love the sense of hominess and togetherness they bring to a community. Recently, a coffee company by the name of Brewklyn Grind began following me on Twitter. The adorable and clever name grasped my attention right away, so I just had to explore this business further. Craig from Brewklyn Grind was kind enough to send me two bags of their deliciously unique coffee blends titled, Guatemala Antigua Los Volcanes and Ethiopia Sidamo Oroma Cooperative. After tasting both beans, not only was I impressed by their extremely unique flavors, I was inspired to utilize them in a recipe. The Guatemala Antigua beans do not just taste like coffee, they taste like a beautiful blend of all the different spices you would find at a Moroccan spice market. I often add coffee to my chocolate desserts to enhance the flavor, but the spiciness and earthiness of these beans are a match made in heaven for meat. I created a delicious spice rub by simply using my nose. I smelled as many spices as I could find in my cabinet, until I found a blend that worked organically with the scent of the coffee beans. The final product was unlike anything I had ever created, in the best way possible. The coffee beans have such a smoky flavor from the roasting process that when they come together with the paprika and cayenne, the meat actually tastes like it has been smoked for several hours…amazing! The Coffee Honey BBQ Sauce brings some extra moisture to the dish, and really brings out the flavors of the spice rub even more. If you do not eat red meat, you can put this rub and BBQ sauce on pork loin, pork ribs, or even chicken wings! I promise you, you will be licking your fingers! Be sure to follow Brewklyn Grind on twitter @Brewklyngrind and check out their website at http://brewklyngrind.com/

Got Room For More recipes? Follow Danielle on Twitter and Instagram @gotroomformore

Recipe Feeds About 4-5 People
Ingredients-

Coffee Spice Rub-

1.5 lbs Sirloin Steak (or flank steak)
½ Cup of Roasted Coffee Beans- My favorite type to use is Brewklyn Grind’s Guatemala Antigua Roast
1 Tablespoon Paprika
½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
½ Teaspoon Onion Powder
½ Teaspoon Mustard Powder
1 Teaspoon Black Ground Pepper
1 ½ Teaspoons Kosher or Sea Salt
½ Teaspoon Whole Coriander Seeds
½ Teaspoon Dried Oregano
2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar

Coffee Honey BBQ Sauce-

3 Shallots Minced
1 ½ Tablespoons Olive Oil
¾ Cup Water
¼ Cup of the Dry Rub (see above)
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Teaspoon Siracha (Optional for a little extra heat)
2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
½ Cup Ketchup
4 Teaspoons Worchestire
1 Tablespoon plus 1 Teaspoon Honey
Steps-

Coffee Spice Rubbed Steak (Bar-Brew-Q Steak)-

-Place all spice rub ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the coffee beans are finely ground, and the spices are fully incorporated.
-Measure out ¼ Cup of the spice rub and set it aside in a bowl.
-Massage the remaining contents of the spice rub all over the steak (both sides). You want to make sure it is fully covered for maximum flavor!
-Cover the steak with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a few hours, or even overnight (I let mine marinate in the rub for about 4 hours). This will let the flavors soak into the meat.
-Heat up a grill pan or outdoor grill on medium heat.
Brush a small amount of the BBQ sauce (recipe below) onto both sides of the steak.
-Grill the steak on both sides to your preferred temperature. I prefer it medium rare-medium.
-Let the steak rest for 10 minutes so it retains its juices.
-Slice the Steak into thin slices.
-Serve with the Coffee Honey BBQ Sauce. I served mine with grilled veggies, garlic bread, and roasted potatoes.

Coffee Honey BBQ Sauce-

-In a medium saucepan place the Olive Oil and Shallot on medium/low heat. Cook the shallots until they start to get translucent and soft and have a wonderful aroma.
-Pour the water in and stir.
-Pour in all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
-Let the mixture simmer and reduce down until it is a thick BBQ Sauce-like consistency. Make sure you are stirring occasionally so the sauce doesn’t burn.
-When the mixture thickens remove it from the stove and strain it so there are no chunks of onion or large coffee grounds in it. You want it to be completely smooth throughout.
-Allow to cool in the refrigerator.

Learn more about Danielle’s course here: Professional Culinary Arts
For more recipes and instructional cooking videos, head to Danielle’s website, www.gotroomformore.com, or her YouTube Channel

Chez Franc: An East Meets West Kind of Story

By Jacquetta Lannan
International Culinary Center Alumnus
Professional Culinary Arts 2012
Fund Chez Franc’s Weiner Room!

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Chef Dan Sung (Culinary ’01) is from California: I grew up in the Midwest. He attended International Culinary Center’s Professional Culinary Arts program in New York and worked in California. I went to college in New England but attend ICC in Campbell, California. Dan is an artist; I am a lawyer. In so many ways, Dan and I are opposites, and that’s what makes us work.

While a student at ICC in California, I interned at the Village Pub, a Michelin starred restaurant in Woodside, California. It was at the Village Pub that I met Dan. Dan was working as Sous Chef there. I was impressed with his command of the kitchen and his great relationship with the chefs working the line. What impressed me the most was his ability to make the most delicious food.

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As the intern, I mostly chopped and blanched vegetables. One day I graduated to chopping fruit and while I was slicing peaches I struck up a chat with Dan. Earlier I had learned that Dan had been working at the Village Pub for nearly 10 years- in the restaurant world this seemed like many lifetimes. So I asked what he was going to do with the rest of his life. Dan’s response was, “I don’t know, I just want to make hot dogs.”

What I learned later was that Dan truly has turned the hot dog into a beautiful work of art. Not only does he make the most amazing hot dogs and sausages from scratch, but tops the francs, with amazing seasonal ingredients using techniques found at the finest restaurants.

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After my internship was over, I asked Dan if he’d like to be partners in a hot dog venture. I know he was nervous at first- and rightly so! But soon we found that opposites attract! We make the best team because we bring such different ideas and experience to the table.

Early this month we launched the Chez Franc Food Truck serving fine hot dogs in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties in California. In November, we’ll be opening our own brick and mortar restaurant in Palo Alto! The restaurant is currently under construction, but should be finished in a month or so.

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In the meantime, we are raising money through Kickstarter to help fund some of the hot dog and sausage making equipment in our restaurant. CLICK to check it out and support these opposites!

It’s Tasting Time! Tea, Coffee, Cheese, Wine

By Julie Couture
Professional Pastry Arts
2014 Graduate

The Professional Pastry Arts program curriculum focuses on French baking techniques, tempering chocolate, making ice cream, creating showpieces and learning plating designs. But for four afternoons, the focus shifts to tasting tea, coffee, cheese and wine.

It may not sound like it fits with the curriculum, but it does. Knowing what these food items taste like allows us to explain them to others and pair them with the proper foods.

TastingTea

We started off with tea, tasting white, green, and black and infusion teas. When the chef-instructors asked what the first tea tasted like, we noticed it tasted like grass. Actually, all of the teas smelled and tasted like grass. As the tea leaf is a plant, it makes sense. The chefs asked us to go beyond the smell of grass. When we did, we noted hints of orange and apricot and sometimes spices. Focusing on the full flavor of the tea allowed us to fully understand how to pair it with desserts.

Coffee was next. I’m not a big coffee drinker; actually, I’m probably one of four people in the world who doesn’t drink coffee at all. But, I was ready for the assignment. We tasted them without cream, sugar, milk or other additions. Black coffee is quite interesting, and I tip my hat to those who enjoy drinking it that way. The different types of coffee varied from each other in subtle ways that were not easy to detect. Consequently, I found it more difficult to determine dessert pairings for each type.

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Our third tasting was cheese. There were nine glorious cheeses to taste. Aside from one that tasted like mold – because it was supposed to – they were all outstanding. The different textures and flavors were more pronounced with the cheeses compared to our previous tastings. Some had hints of grass due the cows’ diets; others tasted like the material used to wrap the cheese. They also varied in texture which influences the dessert pairings.

The piece de resistance was wine tasting on day four. Vanessa Vigneault, the sommelier from International Culinary Center’s Intensive Sommelier Training program was very knowledgeable. She educated us regarding how grapes are grown, how wine is made, and the fungus – yes fungus – named Botrytis that contributes to the sweeter flavor of some wines. Each wine had its own unique smell, taste and color. Hence, each could be paired with different foods. I deemed port a winner as it goes well with chocolate.

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We still have much to learn about each of these food items. Two hours smelling and tasting tea, coffee, cheese and wine did not make us connoisseurs. For example, it takes years before someone can be a master sommelier. The tastings did provide a good building block in our careers. With time, practice, and more tastings, we will learn to understand the nuances of tea, coffee, cheese and wine, and with which desserts they should be paired.

The Hungry Hutch: Blueberry Corn Muffins

Take advantage of what this year’s blueberry season has to offer.  Blueberry Corn Muffins make a fantastic addition to any Sunday brunch, weekday breakfast or just a midday pick-me-up.

Blueberry Corn Muffins
A recipe by Aaron Hutcherson of The Hungry Hutch
International Culinary Center
Professional Culinary Arts, 2012 Graduate

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Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups corn meal
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 cups milk (or cream)
1/2 cup cane syrup (or honey)
1 cup vegetable oil
8 oz (1 1/2 cups) blueberries (frozen or fresh)

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Procedure:
Preheat oven to 375˚F.
Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients. Mix together wet and dry ingredients until fully incorporated.
Fold in blueberries. Portion into muffin tins.
Bake for 16-18 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack and eat.

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Learn more about Professional Culinary Arts.

Restaurant Day at International Culinary Center

By Julie Couture
International Culinary Center
Professional Pastry Arts, 2014 Graduate

Smart people and businesses reinvent themselves in order to adjust to current needs. The International Culinary Center (ICC) is one such business. In an effort to adequately prepare Professional Pastry Arts students for work in the industry, chef instructors teach techniques to create sophisticated plated desserts. The culmination of this training? Restaurant Day.

Knowledge is power, but knowledge + action yields amazing results. Restaurant Day is a one-day event with two weeks of preparation. During the first week, we were simultaneously taught two lessons. One focused on flavor profiles and texture composition. This lesson was imparted daily through the creation of deconstructed desserts such as carrot cake, tart tatin and baba au rhum. Each dessert included classic components in addition to gelees, foams and tuiles, which added new textures and flavors. The second lesson focused on the aesthetics of plating. We were taught how to make a plate visually appealing and how to arrange the flavors on the plate for maximum effect.

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In order to know which desserts to create for Restaurant Day, we needed a menu. Each student was required to create a restaurant menu consisting of six desserts, a pre-dessert and petit fours which reflected our interests, flavor profiles and influences. Of the menus presented, the Chef Instructor chose two for consideration. The pastry arts students in the class determined which menu would be used for restaurant day.

For my group, the lucky winner was Jennifer Solomon’s vision portrayed in her restaurant, Cercle Doux. Meaning “sweet circle,” her menu was a tribute to classic French techniques, flavors and desserts with a contemporary edge. Her focus was on using fresh, seasonal ingredients in order to develop innovative flavor profiles. One of Jennifer’s strengths is her ability to pair different flavors together. Hence, it was fitting her menu was chosen to represent our pastry arts class.

Jennifer’s menu included classic items with tweaks reflecting her style. For example, the chocolate mousse dessert consisted of chocolate mousse, filled with vanilla Bavarian creme, chocolate Rice Krispies® crunch and a caramel sauce. The lemon blueberry parfait contained layers of blueberry gelée, blueberries, lemon curd and a cookie crunch. We each created one dessert from her menu in addition to the pre-dessert of and the petit fours. Over the course of a week we tested our designated recipes. Some struck gold on the first try. But, for the most part, we found ourselves tweaking and modifying both the components of the desserts and our plating designs. This helped prevent any issues on the big day.

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With Restaurant Day upon us, we prepared our desserts for invited friends, family, ICC staff and prospective students. Chef Kir Rodriguez and Chef Cynthia Peithman were assigned to our class as Chef Tom Jones, our regular Chef Instructor, was out for the day due to official government business (translation: Jury duty). Chefs Kir and Cynthia were a dynamic duo and helped alleviate any issues that could potentially arise. While Chef Kir managed the orders and took feedback from the dining room, Chef Cynthia assisted us in the kitchen to ensure we assembled the desserts in a timely manner. Chef Kir wore his trusty microphone so he could communicate with us regarding which desserts to prepare. Sure, it occasionally got a little interesting when we couldn’t figure out if he was telling us to prepare a dessert or if he was talking to a guest about the dessert. Although it was a tad confusing, it gave us all something to laugh about…after it was over.

Given that Restaurant Day occurred in the middle of a weekday, the turnout was impressive and the comments were complimentary. One guest sweetly asked a student to make the cherry crisp for her once a week. With feedback like that, I’d say that Restaurant Day was a success.

Learn more about Julie’s class: Professional Pastry Arts

JBF Chefs and Champagne with Bobby Flay

By Danielle Marullo
International Culinary Center
Professional Culinary Arts Student
Blog: GOT ROOM FOR MORE

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Every Summer the James Beard Foundation hosts a spectacular event in the Hamptons titled “Chefs and Champagne.” This tasting party showcases the culinary skill of over 30 of the countries top chefs. This star-studded soiree is held at one of the Hampton’s most picturesque outdoor venues, Wolffer Estate Vineyards in Sag Harbor. Once a potato farm, this 55-acre stretch of land is now a gorgeous vineyard equipped with horse stables, a tasting room and an outdoor patio where you can listen to live music and snack on some cheese and charcuterie with friends. Wolffer Estate’s Rose is by far my favorite wine to drink in the summer. This wine is crisp, refreshing and fruity, and has all the characteristics you want in a beverage when you are soaking in the Hampton’s sun. What could be better than an evening full of delicious food, endless wine and champagne and a tent full of people who have devoted their lives to the art of food, giving you a taste of what they can do in the kitchen.

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is “to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire.” This incredible organization had provided many scholarships to aspiring chefs and sommeliers over the years. The James Beard Foundation also hosts the “Oscars” of the Food and Beverage industry each year at Lincoln Center where top Chefs and restaurants from around the country are given the ultimate accolades in the business. This year, at Chefs and Champagne, the King of Food Network, Chef Bobby Flay was honored for his many years of success and service in the food industry.

Chef Bobby Flay is a graduate of the International Culinary Center (formerly the French Culinary Institute), and is one of the main reasons I decided to train at the ICC. I had the opportunity to speak with Bobby that evening, and we both expressed our appreciation for the ICC program. Bobby was never fond of school growing up, but he couldn’t deny that the foundation he received at the ICC will stick with him forever. There is no doubt that the program gave him the tools he needed to be successful. During the event, Bobby got up on stage and made a lovely speech defining the importance of the James Beard Foundation and James Beard himself. In his speech he proudly stated “the most important people I would like to thank are all my brothers and sisters who are serving the most incredible food tonight, everybody who is in an apron tonight, thank you from the bottom of my heart.” One of the highlights of this event and any James Beard Foundation event you will attend is you get a true sense of community when you are amongst these chefs. The culinary community is one big family, and the love and support that fills the room is undeniable.

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If you are reading this blog post, chances are you have a serious interest in food and the culinary arts, so let me get to the good part and share with you a few of my favorite dishes from the Chefs and Champagne event.

I will start with my favorite dish of the evening…

Pork

Crispy Suckling Pig Presse with Farofa and Stone Fruit Mostarda by Chef Jason Hall-
This dish was not only incredibly innovative, it was downright delicious! The chef took succulent shredded pork meat and pressed it into a rectangular pan and then topped it with crispy, caramelized pig skin. Since the meat was so compact, they were able to cut it into squares like a cake! The Stone Fruit Mostarda was the perfect sweet and spicy addition to the dish. Just to give you an idea about how much I liked this dish, my sister, my best friend and I were going to share one since the portion was rather large, but I took one bite and said “sorry sistas you are on your own!”

Homemade Ricotta Crostini with Heirloom Tomatoes, Flying Pigs Farm Bacon and Ancho Chile Salt by Chef Alex Guarnaschelli-
In a tent full of complex dishes, this simple crostini was a breath of fresh air. Each ingredient in this hors d’oeuvre was top-notch quality making it hard for me to eat just one. Alex’s house made ricotta was perfectly creamy and the bread she used reminded me of the best Italian bread you get on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.

Tuna Crudo with Kizami Wasabi, Olives, and Basil by Chef Chris Jaeckle-
This was one of the first dishes I tasted and it set the bar high right off the bat. The tuna was so fresh and the flavors were so refreshing, it was the perfect food to serve on a hot summer day in July.

lamb

Za’atar- Grilled Lamb Chops with Tabbouleh and Greek Yogurt by Chef Rufino Rengifo-
These were by far the best lamb chops I have ever had in my life! The meat was so buttery and so tender that the juices dripped oh so delicately down my chin and I didn’t even care. This is a Chef I will be visiting really soon!

Chilled Corn Soup with Heirloom Tomatoes and Rye Crisp by Chef Jesse Schenker-
The way I can describe this dish is it was like eating pure silk. The corn gave the soup a sweet and summery flavor and the texture was creamy without being heavy at all, in fact it was incredibly light.

tarts

Tristar Strawberry-Valrhona Dulcey- Blond Chocolate Tarts with Marshmallow and Lemon Verbena by Stephen Colluci-
There is always room for dessert right!? These tiny tarts were rich and buttery but had a wonderful burst of freshness from the lemon verbena and the farm fresh strawberries.

Learn more about Danielle’s class: Professional Culinary Arts

Follow Danielle on her blog: GOT ROOM FOR MORE