Professional Quality in Cake Techniques & Design

Written by Michelle Apiar
Assistant Director of Admissions & ICC Pastry Grad ’04
Chef/Owner of Haute So Sweet Cakes

When I saw this Slimer cake, I was taken aback by the professional quality of the cake.  Being in the special occasion cake industry for over 10 years, this is the type of cake that customers would ask for.  It is a symbol of something that is hot in pop culture right now (and in the 80s with the original Ghostbusters) I could see this being either a Groom’s Cake or a Kid’s cake.  The level of skill on this cake is advanced.  For example, the difficulty of carving the creases in the body with cake and covering with fondant can be very difficult, and the fact that there are no tears or cracks in the fondant is impressive.  Carving out the mouth area and adding the sculpted fondant tongue and teeth seamlessly inside is a high-level skill.  The details in the cheeks, nose, and eyes brought in the personality of the character that brought the cake to life.  Not to mention that the fluorescent green is a perfect match to the original character, and the hot dog is an iconic detail as well.

This cake holds all the elements that are in demand in the cake industry right now and this student created a cake that I would be proud to present to my customers.  If the students are learning these types of skills in the Cake Techniques and Design class, they will be well equipped to work in the cake design industry or build a cake business of their own.

Click here to learn more about ICC’s Cake Techniques & Design program.

Follow along with Michelle’s cake design business via @HauteSoSweet on Instagram or Facebook.


Library Notes: June 2017 [California]

Written by Savannah Sharrett
ICC Communications Liaison

View the books in our California campus library that will get you in gear for National Fruit & Veggie Month.

The Book of Greens: A Cook’s Compendium by Jenn Louis

Personally, when I think of “greens,” I imagine one of three things: collard, kale, or lettuce. Author, Jenn Louis, a Southern Californian native, comments that although having grown up in an area plentiful with green produce, it wasn’t until she traveled out of the country that she, “was delighted by the number of different varieties of greens in the markets”. She points out that North American diets tend to only include greens as salads and side dishes and shared her discovery that the rest of the world integrates them more fully. Today, in California especially, with the availability of more produce in this farmers market culture, variety is no longer our problem. As many might agree, “learning to buy and cook NEW vegetables can be intimidating”.  The table of contents lists 40 different types of greens, some I had never hear of, like Caltuce, Gai Lan, Mache, Purslane, etc. This book takes each of those and breaks them down, providing background information, what season it grows, how to choose the best quality, how to clean, store, refresh, cook and what to pair it with. Despite the few carefully thought out recipes towards the back, this book is more of an encyclopedia.


The Power of Vegetables! Turbocharged Recipes for Vegetables with Guts by Peter Meehan and the Editors of Lucky Peach

As always, Lucky Peach takes an unorthodox view of matters and I happen to be a huge fan of their style.  Most veggie cookbooks emphasize what’s in season or claim to hold the key to wellness and healthfulness but instead, Meehan states simply, “I wanted weeknight all-caps cooking for people looking to eat more vegetable-centered meals”.  It is interesting to note that although meat is primarily a non-option in this book, these recipes are not prejudiced towards the occasional toss of bacon or the use of anchovies to achieve that umami flavor we are all seeking these days. Although usually very trendy, this time Lucky Peach strays from the ever so popular grain-bowls or egg-on-top-bowls and encourages home cooks to have a broader, more international view of food without overwhelming them. For example, one might try their hand at Gomen Wat, an Ethiopian dish or Sarson Ka Saag, from the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan, and even Quiche Lorraine, a French staple.  One of the most useful parts of this book might be the list of ingredients that will make a home pantry versatile and complete such as miso, bread crumbs, capers, and shitake mushrooms.


On Vegetables by Jeremy Fox

I have definitely heard of the concepts of farm-to-table and nose-to-tail but I never thought about seed-to-stalk vegetable cooking. Author, Jeremy Fox, defines this idea in saying, “if you’re going to kill something, you @&!% better not waste any of it”. He goes further and asks, “what if cooking responsibly isn’t just about honoring things with heartbeats”? The book challenges readers not to take the easiest or standardized approach to cooking but instead to cook intentionally and deliberately; to consider how the dish today carries over to the dish tomorrow. Interestingly, Fox takes the time to explain that he is not a vegetarian nor is his book a guide to being vegetarian, rather it is a manual on how to “eat what is around you”. The onset of the book spends time paying homage to the farmers and farms that provide produce for his restaurant, Rustic Canyon located in Santa Monica, CA. The book then goes on to give tips on storage and purchasing key ingredients. Something can be said to the fact that every recipe is one page with plenty of white-space.

 

ICC Announces Baking Demonstrations at New York Cake Show June 10-11

Patiently waiting for this year’s New York Cake Show?

The 2-day event spanning from June 10 & 11 at Pier 36 gets better with a stage of demonstrations sponsored by The International Culinary Center. The award-winning culinary school is proud to announce a series of exciting baking demonstrations from pastry chefs, covering a range of topics from healthy baking substitutions and gluten-free baking to cookie crafting and French macarons.

The demonstration stage will feature ICC Pastry Chef-Instructors including the school’s Director of Pastry Operations, Chef Jansen Chan, as well as Senior Coordinator (Pastry), Chef Jurgen David, and Chef Michael Zebrowski, Chef-Instructor and ICC Alumni. Additional ICC alumni on the roster will be Justine MacNeil, Executive Pastry Chef of Del Posto, Chef Pietro Aletto, Executive Pastry Chef at Boutrous, plus many other established pastry professionals.

Each demonstration will be 45 minutes long, and attendees will receive tastings and recipes during each sitting. Tickets to attend the demonstrations are $25. Don’t miss the opportunity to watch and learn from these leading pastry chefs. Check out the full schedule of ICC demonstrations below and register via the links below.

DEMONSTRATION TICKETS
GENERAL ADMISSION
NY CAKE SHOW WEBSITE
Full Schedule:
SATURDAY

10:00am
Healthy Baking Substitutions 
Chef Michelle Olson, Owner of Michelle Doll Cakes & Resident Chef of Sur La Table

1:00pm
Torta Barozzi: Italian Flourless Chocolate Cake 
Chef Justine MacNeil, Executive Pastry Chef of Del Posto

2:00pm
Roulades: Sponge Cake Construction 
Chef Jurgen David, ICC Senior Coordinator & Pastry Chef Instructor

3:00pm
Brioche Baklava Bun
Chef Pietro Aletto, Executive Pastry Chef of Boutros

4:00pm
Perfect Cake Mixing Methods 
Chef Jurgen David, ICC Senior Coordinator & Pastry Chef Instructor

SUNDAY

10:00 AM
Gluten-Free Baking
Chef Antonella Zangheri, Chef/Owner of Krumville Bake Shop

11:00 AM
Classic Home Style Layer Cakes 
Chef Katie Rosenhouse, Owner of Buttermilk Bake Shop

1:00 PM
Crafting Cookies with ICC 
Chef Jansen Chan, ICC Director Of Pastry Operations + ICC 2017 Cookie Games Winners: Madeline Dudek & Clara Lim

2:00 PM
Pie 101
Chef Michael Zebrowski, ICC Pastry Chef Instructor

4:00 PM
French Macarons & Fillings 
Chef Michael Zebrowski, ICC Pastry Chef Instructor

International Culinary Center Students Win 2017 Culinary Clash in San Francisco

The InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts is proud to announce the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco and Anna Ruiz, a culinary student at the International Culinary Center®, as the winner of the sixth annual Ultimate Culinary Clash, which took place on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco Hotel. With the assistance of the hotel’s Executive Chef Michael Wong and student sous chef Sarim Yaun, also from the International Culinary Center®, Anna received top honors while competing against three other culinary students who were paired with top chefs from InterContinental properties in the U.S. and Mexico. She received a $5,000 scholarship from the InterContinental brand and student sous chef Sarim Yaun received an additional $2,500 in scholarship. Winning student Anna Ruiz impressed the judges with her Glazed Pork Belly, Fennel Pollen Grits, Dandelion Greens dish while student sous chef Sarim Yaun served an Asparagus Veloutée alongside Anna’s dish.

Part cooking competition and part scholarship fundraiser, the Ultimate Culinary Clash brought together the winners of four regional Culinary Clash competitions to face-off against each other. The student chef finalists presented a small plate of their winning entrée from the regional Culinary Clash to an esteemed group of judges, composed of a special group of hotel executives, media, and renowned chefs, including Ryan Scott, Top Chef Alum, Emmy-award winning host of “Food Rush,” author of “One to Five,” and regular guest on NBC’s Today Show. Each dish in the competition was judged and scored on taste, creativity, and presentation. Winning student Anna Ruiz impressed the judges with her Glazed Pork Belly, Fennel Pollen Grits, Dandelion Greens dish while student sous chef Sarim Yaun served an Asparagus Veloutée alongside Anna’s dish.

David Neves, Head of F&B Solutions, InterContinental Hotels Group said: “The InterContinental brand’s commitment to its world-class restaurant and beverage program means that we constantly innovate menus that pair local flavors with global inspiration, with our Michelin-starred chefs and celebrity restaurateurs. It gives us great pride to foster the development of the next generation of culinary talent with the Culinary Clash.”

Over the course of three months, four InterContinental properties across the United States and Mexico held local competitions with culinary students. The first place winners from each hotel received the opportunity to move forward to the Ultimate Culinary Clash in San Francisco, and the following is a list of this year’s student participants:

The Ultimate Culinary Clash serves as an opportunity for the InterContinental brand to showcase its commitment to culinary excellence. The regional competitions began six years ago as a local annual cooking competition at the InterContinental San Francisco hotel’s Luce restaurant. The competition invited students from a local culinary school to compete for a chance to work with the restaurant’s Michelin-star Chef Daniel Corey and showcase their own menu for one night in Luce. The competition was later expanded to include other InterContinental hotels from the U.S. and Mexico.

Why Become an Olive Oil Sommelier?

Written by Curtis Cord
Founder of Olive Oil Times and Executive Director of ICC’s Olive Oil Sommelier Certification program


There’s never been so much interest in high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Why?

Two reasons: First, there are the health benefits revealed in a never-ending stream of research that credits components in EVOO with helping us live longer, healthier lives.

And, there’s the taste. Extra virgin olive oil is an unprocessed fruit juice that reflects its terroir much like wine, and chefs around the world are only beginning to discover how to use different olive varieties to elevate their dishes to heights they never imagined.

But something else that has come to the forefront is the importance of choosing a high-quality olive oil to get the full advantage of these benefits. There’s a huge difference between a really great olive oil and one pretending to be. Mislabeled and substandard oils are a major concern for people who are responsible for making choices in this category.

Luckily for us, there are more excellent olive oils, from more regions, than ever before. At this year’s New York International Olive Oil Competition (an annual event that was launched at the ICC five years ago) there were 910 entries from 27 countries — and more winners than in past editions.

That’s great news for those of us who care a lot about what we eat and seek the best quality, especially in products as important as extra virgin olive oil.

But, there’s a problem. The only way to really know if an olive oil is good or not is to learn how to taste it. Most people can’t tell a high-quality olive oil that deserves the investment from an old, rancid one that shouldn’t be on the store shelves, to begin with.

In fact, we’ve been eating poor-quality olive oil for so long that a recent study found most people actually chose a rancid oil that has virtually none of the touted health benefits, over a fresh, healthful one simply because they didn’t know what they should be looking for and selected the one that seemed more familiar to them.


So what does good extra virgin olive oil taste like?

First of all, it can’t reveal what we call “defects” in olive oil sensory assessment. Some of the most common are rancidity (basically spoiled fruit, like a banana that has turned black), fustiness (when the olives have undergone advanced fermentation often by sitting around before they were milled) and muddy (that results from unclean milling equipment).

There are also what are called the “positive characteristics of olive oil”  — fruitiness, bitterness, and pungency — that are indicators of fresh, healthy fruit and careful processing. Trained tasters look for oils that exhibit a nice balance of the three.

To recognize defects and positive attributes take time and practice, but with so much at stake, more chefs, producers, food buyers, foodies and others are finding it well worth the effort to know how to assess the quality of this vital food for themselves, their families and the companies they represent.

The Olive Oil Program at the International Culinary Center brings the world’s foremost olive oil experts and educators to the New York and California campuses in a comprehensive series of courses spanning production, quality management, and advanced sensory assessment.

There has never been a greater need to foster a deeper understanding of this important food among today’s culinary leaders, and there is no better place than the International Culinary Center to lead the way to greater knowledge.

Register today to join our upcoming Olive Oil Certification courses at our California Campus beginning in October 2017 (click here). Course One runs from October 2-4 and Course Two runs fr October 5-7

 

5 Diverse Argentinian Wine & Food Pairings for Summer

Written by: Vanessa DaSilva
ICC Wine Studies Coordinator
Certified Sommelier

Chef & Sommelier Pablo Ranea is as warm & welcoming a presence as the diverse wine from Mendoza that he represents. Chef Pablo has the unique experience of being both a Chef & Sommelier in the heart of Mendoza; and being so, Chef Pablo knows better than most the great diversity that Argentinian wine has to offer.

1. Spicy empanadas with 2015 Filus Torrontés, Salta IG

Torrontés is a white grape variety that is most often found in the Salta region of Northern Argentina. Its tropical aromas of ripe peach, lychee and honeysuckle balance spicy flavors & its refreshing acidity contrast well with the crispy texture of the fried dough.

2. Grilled octopus with 2013 Corazon del Sol ‘Luminoso’, Uco Valley IG

This red wine from the high altitude vineyards of the Uco Valley (over 1,00 meters) is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre & Syrah, grapes commonly found in Rhone Valley blends.  The high altitude vineyards give an almost light body & beautifully balanced characteristics to this wine with flavors of cured meat, ripe plums, and just a touch of cigar smoke, those gamey smoky qualities will make a lovely pair with grilled octopus and the round acidity from the Syrah grape will cut through the fattiness of the Octopus.

3. Chocolate Tart with 2013 Gauchezco ‘Oro’ Malbec, Mendoza IG

This is not your typical Malbec! This single vineyard wine is reserved & complex with notes of ripe blackberries, toasty nutmeg, savory tarragon, and potpourri. You read that right, we’re suggesting dessert with this red wine! Try a bitter chocolate tart with berry coulis, a rich chocolate flourless cake, or red wine poached pears with lots of spice. The fruitiness of this wine will help it to compliment the sweet aspects of the dessert, and the soft tannins will make the bitter chocolate taste even sweeter, keep the dessert on the savory side & it should be a beautiful pair.

4. Lamb & grilled endive with 2014 Gascón Malbec Reserva, Mendoza IG

This malbec has 3% Petit Verdot giving a ripe wine with aromas of plum & jammy blackberry firm structure and lovely aromas of violets & freshly turned earth.  The gamey nature of lamb & smokiness from the grilled endive will contrast the ripe nature of the wine while also complimenting the more earthy tones. A great pair for grilling on a warm night.

5. Goat Al Asador with 2014 Rutini Cabernet Sauvignon / Malbec,  Mendoza IG

This wine from the Tupungato region of Mendoza is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon & 50% Malbec. It is warm, full & complex with tones of purple flowers, smoky tobacco, cloves & cured meat. Chef Pablo told us about the traditional method of cooking goat ‘Al Asador’ where the animal is stretched out & roasted slowly over an open flame. This slow roasted gamey meat will pair beautifully against the soft tannins & complex nature of the wine.


ICC New York Campus to Host Upcoming Japanese Cuisine Competitions

The following (2) organizations promote the development of Japanese cooking abroad and are aimed to improve the quality of chefs working at Japanese restaurants — in Japan and throughout the world. These organizations are offering (2) upcoming competitions to help expand a chef’s knowledge of Asian cuisine and provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to the right chefs.


The Japanese Culinary Academy (NPO)

Established in 2004 in efforts to promote the global understanding of Japanese cuisine, The Japanese Culinary Academy (JCA) helps contribute to the population of Japanese food chefs for the next generation. Active in programs such as the Food Education Project, the Japanese Culinary Art Competition, and the Japanese Culinary Fellowship aimed at top-level chefs overseas.

The Japanese Cuisine Academy works on educational, cultural and technological research as well as dissemination activities in order to promote the development of Japanese cuisine for people living in various parts of the world as well as in Japan. Providing the opportunity to study abroad in some of Japan’s most fine dining venues, The Japanese Culinary Academy competition is aimed at chefs eager to experience new flavors, and challenge yourself by “creating an aroma.” This is an opportunity for young, motivated chefs to compete against each other to create a new Japanese cuisine.

The Japanese Culinary Competition will commence at the International Culinary Center (NYC) on Sunday, October 29th for the pre-competition. To enter the competition and potentially win the 1st prize of 1,000,000 yen, submit your application by the June 30, 2017, deadline!

For more details on how to enter, visit: http://culinary-academy.jp/eng/usa/index.html 


Japanese Cuisine and Food Culture Human Resource Development Committee

This organization runs the Japanese Cuisine and Food Culture Human Resource Development program which invites 15 selected foreign chefs to learn and master Japanese cuisine. If chosen, the opportunity lands the chef in Japanese language training at Naganuma School, Japanese cooking training in Taiwan at The Academy of Hospitality Kyoto Culinary Art College. From there, the chosen chefs will spend 6 months in a top-class Japanese restaurant mastering their craft.

Last year, 3 ICC graduates completed the program, where they studied in Kyoto, Japan. Applicants must have cooking experience already, and be serious about Japanese cuisine.

Enter by May 31, 2017, to be considered! Visit http://www.tow.co.jp/program/ to learn more.

 

Library Notes: The Cookie Books – May 2017 [New York]

It’s almost time for the Cookie Games, the annual competition where Pastry and Culinary Students compete for celebrity judge votes and an audience favorite. The rules are simple, choose an inspirational country of origin and bake four dozen cookies, but sometimes the inspiration is not so simple. That’s why here in the ICC Library we have a great selection of cookie books to help you develop your recipe. Stop by and take a look!

Celebrity judge Dorie Greenspan knows cookies, she just released the James Beard Award-winning Dorie’s Cookies last year! This book covers classics like chocolate chip and macrons, but she also developed unique recipes such as Moroccan semolina cookies and chocolate olive cookies. With such a wide and unusual variety of cookies, it is no wonder the book is award-winning. Beyond the great recipes, Dorie covers solid tips and techniques of cookie making that will help the newbie and improve seasoned bakers.

The Gourmet Cookie Book is like a primer on the history of the United States through cookies. The book compiled the best recipe from the magazine each year from 1941 through 2009. You can see how tastes, skills, and techniques changed over time and the influences of different events throughout history.  For instance, cinnamon sugar crisps of 1944 were selected because they could be sent in parcels to troops. By the 1970’s the food processor was introduced and cookie recipes such as Kourambiedes or Greek Butter Cookies proliferated.

With a foreword from Dean Jacque Torres, you know Milk & Cookies is going to cover plenty of chocolate, and you know it’s going to be a great book. Tina Casaceli does indeed include recipes for double chocolate chip mint cookies and coconut macaroons (dipped in chocolate) but she also features cookies with baked chow mein and honey lavender shortbread. The book is divided by base dough, be it vanilla, oatmeal or peanut butter. Each chapter then offers multiple variations on that base, perfect if you need guidance on how to tweak a recipe you already have to make it, even more, competition worthy!

If you are curious which cookies are favored in the kitchens of your favorite restaurants, check out One Sweet Cookie from Tracey Zaber.  Chefs from such celebrated restaurants as Eleven Madison Park, Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Le Bernadain all contribute recipes. Even our very own deans, Alain Sailhac, Andre Soltner and Jacques Torres submitted their picks for the favorite cookie. So, what do they choose? Well, you will just have to come and borrow the book to find out.

5 Ways Food Can Help The Environment

Written by Kaya Daniels
California Campus, Professional Culinary Arts Student

I’ve only been in culinary school for four months, and I’ve already learned so much. Training with some of the most amazing chefs has taught me not only pristine cooking skills but also some unforgettable life skills. I’ve learned how to be a better chef, student, and overall person. As days go by, I’m beginning to realize the impact my peers and I make on the planet just by the way we cook in the kitchen. You wouldn’t believe how much one wastes until you realize what all you can make out of a single vegetable.

Although it is to be considered a new trend, sustainability and nutrition are very important to not only cooking but our planet as a whole. Knowing what you are taking out of the environment is essential to creating delicious dishes but knowing how to replenish the environment is even more important. As Earth Day just passed, I’d like to dedicate my first article to five ways food can change the environment.


1. Compost — Not Trash!

It may be very difficult to get into a new routine when you’ve already grown familiar to one. For a while, I was just tossing out scraps of vegetables and fruits. Now, I’ve learned that instead of throwing it away, compost it, so that it can be used to grow more vegetables and fruits.


2. Buy Organic

Yes, organic produce is more expensive than your regular produce, but these vegetables and fruits aren’t covered in pesticides or mutated with unknown DNA. How does this help the environment? Well, you, yourself, are a part of the environment so why would you want to harm yourself with chemical-ridden vegetables and fruits? Plus, the fewer people buy produce covered in pesticides, the more people will join together and realize that pesticides aren’t the best way to protect our produce.


3. Save the Cows!

I’m not saying go vegan or vegetarian. I’m saying you should be knowledgeable of where you get your meat from and how the livestock is treated. You do not want to support a feedlot or farm/barn raised cattle. This means that these animals are kept in poor conditions. Allowing the livestock to roam will not only affect the flavor of the meat but will also create a better life for the animals. Always be appreciative of the meat and produce that you can have from the environment.


4. Buy Local

This supports small businesses as well as the environment. Attending the weekly farmers’ market will introduce you to farms in your area that produce whole, clean produce. It is rare, but there are always a few people who like to false advertise their produce. So be cautious and research before you buy.


5. Eat Less

As Americans, we tend to want it all! The worst part is, we get it all, and then we can’t use it all at once, and then we waste it. Prevent waste by buying only what you need. Stop stocking up at Costco on things that will surely go bad quickly, and limit the number of things you put in your fridge. The less you buy, the less you waste. This will save you money and save the planet.

 

Before all of this, I didn’t know “Saving the Planet” was so easy. I was so quick to assume that it was a long and boring process, and honestly, I was annoyed by those that cared so much. After realizing the huge impact humans make on this planet, instead of turning a blind eye, I’m going to start making some serious life changes. I owe it to myself, the food industry and whoever comes after me to do so.


Follow along with Kaya on Twitter via @kayaelizabeth__ and on Instagram via @kaya.daniels
To view the original article published on The Odyssey Online, click here.

Celebrating 5th Year of The Cookie Games at ICC New York Campus

The International Culinary Center® New York campus will be holding its fifth annual school-wide cookie competition on Thursday, May 25th from 3:30-5:30 PM in the ICC Amphitheater.

The Cookie Games was developed to challenge current ICC students to create an original cookie recipe inspired by a country of their choice. Teams of one or two submit a name and recipe for their cookie concept. Recipes should have a country of origin and will be judged based on creativity, execution, and taste. Based on submissions, an in-house committee will select 10 finalist teams to produce their cookie for a high-profile judging panel. The judges will award first, second and third place winners. In addition, all audience and press attendees at the ceremony will have a chance to try each of the eligible cookies and vote for a Fan Favorite.

Each year students deliver a wide assortment of international concepts such as Duck Fat Cookies (France), Rosy Taro Cookie (China) and Mole Cookie (Mexico). Winning entries have included: Dulcetto Bar (Russia) by Bojena Linton (2013), Coconut Daun Pandan (Malaysia) by Vianna Sinnan (2014) and Chocolate Cardamom Button (India) by Savita Bhat (2015).

This year, our judge’s panel will feature Angie Mar (Chef/Owner at Beatrice Inn), Dorie Greenspan (Cookbook Author), Florian Bellanger (Executive Pastry Chef at MadMac), Robb Riedel (Managing Editor of Food Network Magazine) and Erik Murnighan (President of the International Culinary Center).

Judges in the past have included: Kate Heddings (Senior Editor of Food & Wine), Daniel Holzman (Chef/Owner of The Meatball Shop), Bob Truitt (Corporate Pastry Chef of Altamarea Group), Jacques Torres (Chef/Owner of Jacques Torres Chocolate), Christina Tosi (Chef/Owner of Milk Bar) and Emily Luchetti (Chief Pastry Officer of Big Night Restaurant Group).

The 2017 event occurs with generous support from our premier sponsor, KitchenAid, as well as additional sponsorship from Michele Et Augustin and Island Ware. 

 

Use the official hashtag #TheCookieGames to share your favorites on social media!