Barrel of Sherry

Certified Sherry Wine Specialist Seminar

Lustau, maker of top quality Sherries, presents a brand new wine certification available to all wine students and aficionados: the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist. Offered by Lucas Payà, Certified Sherry Educator and Lustau’s Brand Educator, this brief course offers Intermediate Level study material that has been reviewed and approved by the Regulatory Council of Jerez.

After many successful SOLD OUT workshops, ICC has partnered with Lustau again to host certification classes in both NY and CA. Buy your tickets below!

Saturday, October 6th
10:00am-12:30pm
International Culinary Center
700 West Hamilton Ave | Campbell, CA 95008

Cost: $40 per person

Thursday, November 15th
3:30pm-6:00pm
International Culinary Center
28 Crosby St, 5th Floor | New York, NY 10013

Cost: $35 per person

EVENT DETAILS

The program consists of a 2.5-hour class that includes:

    • Instruction on the history, geography, climate, viticulture, wine-making, and wine styles.  When studying the styles of sherry, students will learn about their differences, pairings, and best ways to serve.
    • A tasting of 6 wines, including all the basic styles (Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, and Dulce).
    • A 28-question test, graded after the course to award the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist recognition to those with a passing score of 20 or higher.

The Certificate of Achievement will be signed by both Lustau’s CEO and César Saldaña, Director of the Regulatory Council of Jerez. They will be numbered and a list of those that passed the course will be shared with the Regulatory Council.  A Certificate of Recognition will be issued to those that do not achieve the passing grade but only signed by Lustau.

Attendees must be at least 21 years of age.

Instagram Tips for Food Businesses

In August, ICC welcomed the professionals at Instagram for a one-day workshop on everything food business & restaurant owners need to know to reach new and existing audiences through their social channels. Taught by the leading product management & marketing teams at Instagram, we learned tips, tricks and tools for boosting our food businesses directly from the source. We’re excited to partner with Instagram to bring you this content to help culinary entrepreneurs harness the power of social media for their businesses.

If you missed our event, below are a few key takeaways that we learned from this special workshop. Plus, stay tuned for more in depth recaps, videos and more on the @ICCedu and @InstagramforBusiness channels.

101

  • 80% of Instagram users follow a business
  • 60% of Instagram users say they learn about products and services on Instagram
  • Instagram provides tools for businesses, including:
  1. Business profiles. Let users know that you are a business and gain access to specific tools for your business profile such as insights and the contact bar—now you can add a button to make reservations to your restaurant.
  2. Insights. In insights, you can take a look at your activity—how people engage with your profile and the downstream actions they’re taking—how your content is performing, and learn about your audience—including when they are the most active on Instagram.
  3. Messaging. Messaging is a key part of how you can connect with your audience in an authentic and responsive way. There are 150+ million people who use messaging each day! In addition to filters for messages to better sort responses, Instagram is about to release quick replies—a way to create/customize responses to commonly asked questions.

201

  • 2 in 3 business profile visits are from non-followers, so it’s important to think about your content as if a person has never seen your business before.
  • Feed posts can drive to stories (and back again!) Instagram stories can be used for behind the scenes content, and are a great way to help to drive business goals—according to Instagram, 1 in 3 stories receive a direct message. Here are 3 things Instagram suggests thinking about when creating stories content:
  1. Do it in Real-Time
  2. Keep it Unfiltered
  3. Make it Playful
  • Drive business goals. Don’t do anything unless it drives a business goal and is trackable. One way that restaurants can drive meaningful actions on Instagram is to encourage people to take action, such as making a reservation by adding a RESERVE button to your contact bar.

Panel

During a panel discussion moderated by Aishwarya Blake from Instagram’s Product Marketing team, three successful culinary entrepreneurs spoke about how they use Instagram to drive traffic to their restaurants, food products and more. The panelists included Dani Beckerman of Jars By Dani (@jars_by_dani), Claire Mosteller of Union Square Hospitality Group (@ushgnyc), and ICC alumnus, Michael Chernow (@michaelchernow), co-founder of The Meatball Shop and founder of Seamore’s. Our key takeaways from the panel include:

  • Stay true to your brand voice. Michael uses one brand voice throughout his restaurant’s Instagram channels—himself! This helps to give the restaurants more authenticity.
  • Stories can be more playful and less edited. Dani noted that stories do not have to be “as perfect” as a feed post. The other panelists agreed!
  • Giveaways can be a fun way to interact with your audience. Claire and Michael both noted that they ran a giveaway for a new restaurant promotion, and it helped to build buzz around the restaurants!

Stories School

We were treated to a special hands-on workshop to learn new tips, and some cool tricks, to optimize Instagram stories with never-before-seen hacks straight from the team! Here are some of the tools we learned:

  • Stories are a great way to drive traffic to your feed, website, and more!
  • Swipe ups are a useful tool for large business accounts to bring followers and non-followers where you want to point them to take action—back to your website, event ticketing page, or reservation page.
  • There are many fun ways to play around with Instagram stories, like motion pinning an emoji to an element in a video, different texts and colors, and even the rewind video option.
If you’re in need of more help, click here to see Instagram’s quick guide to help restaurants get started. You can also check out the @InstagramForBusiness handle for inspiration on what you could be doing to boost your social media presence.
Aly Moore

Bugs Are Sustainable

This month, ICC’s California campus hosted Aly Moore, founder of Bugible—a blog about the world of edible insects—and EatBugsEvents.com, for an insightful presentation and tasting about how and why we eat bugs. Opening a dialogue about how what we eat impacts our bodies and our environment, we discussed how to overcome the stigma surrounding edible bugs and encouraged chefs of the next generation to have an open mind to the opportunities that tasty critters offer. Students and guests had the chance to experience the delicate flavor profiles of edible insects, like grasshoppers and bamboo worms, first-hand.

With the world’s population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, we’ll need to find sustainable ways to deliver nutritious food to our growing population. So we asked Aly to share with our readers why bugs are not only a solution to this problem, but are also one of the more provocative food sources in discussion.

Written by Aly Moore, Founder of Bugible & EatBugsEvents.com

Bugs’ Culinary Potential

There are over 2,000 species of edible bugs, and many more to be discovered. They all have unique, beautiful flavor profiles just waiting to be explored.

Imagine that you have a friend who is an artist. She paints beautiful pictures, but only uses red, pink, and yellow. She can make lovely paintings, but one day you show her the other rainbow of colors that exist – the blues, greens, purples, oranges, silvers, and more. Now she can make even more vivid paintings.

That’s where we are in the culinary world. We have a huge range of raw ingredients that chefs use, but there are rainbows of additional flavors to explore with bugs! And bugs can be tasty.

One of the top restaurants in the world, Noma, has made use of bugs for many years on their menu. Fancy restaurants in France serve up snails – or escargot. Here’s another fun fact: Bugs are small enough that the quite literally are what they eat. If you have some crickets and feed them mint, they will have a minty flavor. If you feed your crickets banana, they will adopt a banana flavor. If you feed your crickets carrots, they will turn orange! There is so much we have to explore with bugs and we are just at the very beginning.

Some put bugs into three unofficial flavor categories. The first nutty and earthy. Crickets and mealworms are examples of bugs that taste a little like seeds, nuts, or mushrooms. The second is fishy and seafood-like. Locusts and scorpions are examples of bugs that have been compared to crab. The third is meaty and savory. Sago grubs are often called the bacon of the bug world.

How Chefs Carry Big Environmental Impact

Bugs are relatively unexplored treasures of ingredients. To communicate this with the world, we need innovative foodservice efforts to further establish the pleasure aspect of bugs in dishes with bug-forward menus. While it remains to be seen whether more restaurants will evaluate the environmental impact of their menus, recent surveys suggest that our understanding of sustainability issues continues to grow.

As the conversation around sustainability and impact continues to grow, we could see increased messaging around the environmental benefits of greater bug consumption. Additionally, restaurants and foodservice operations in all categories continue to make serious efforts to reduce their food waste (that often translate into cost-savings as well.)

Why Not Bugs?

Bugs are easier on the environment than traditional protein sources, packed with nutrition, and can taste great. There’s a reason why 80% of the world’s countries have been eating bugs for thousands of years. Choose any food enviro-metric you’d like: gallons of water, Co2 equivalents of greenhouse gases, acres of land, feed-conversion-ratio comparisons, you name it. Bugs come out ahead of traditional livestock like beef. Bugs are cold blooded, meaning they don’t waste energy converting feed into body heat. Bugs take 12x less food than cows, produce 100x less Co2, take 1000x less water to raise, and can be grown anywhere.

Not only are bugs healthy for the environment, but they are packed with nutrients for us as well. The nutrients of bugs vary depending on the species and on what they are fed. But as an example, if we compare 100g of crickets to 100g of beef, we might find the cricket has 2 to 3 times more protein, more calcium, more iron, more vitamin a, more fiber, potassium, and an ideal omega 3 to 6 ratio, and all 9 essential amino acids. Bugs are gluten free. They are about 60% protein.

Framing Bugs As Ingredients

There’s a saying: it’s always easier to go down than it is to go up. Actually, I’m not sure if that is a saying. But it’s certainly a known fact in the insect community that it will benefit the public perception of edible insects if we start with gourmet chefs and top restaurants rather than pushing bugs as an ’emergency food.’ Ideally, bugs will be available to empower communities already comfortable eating them and updated farming methods will make a big difference in malnourished communities. But if we want bugs to be an ‘everybody food,’ a staple rather than a novelty, we must start at the top.

We must admit to the catch-22 situation: while it’s hoped bug eating will become a notable global trend, turning them into an ‘aspirational’ food trend like kale or wheatgrass means certain bug dishes won’t be affordable for everyone… yet. But bugs have to be affordable for people to access them on a wide scale, and to get to that point we must increase the demand.

The father of cooking with bugs, Chef David George Gordon (aka The Bug Chef) shared some insight on how we might better work with chefs, “With insects, it’s challenging because most chefs in our country don’t have much experience or expertise in that arena. But there are many culinary tricks of the trade that chefs can bring to play, making the dishes they serve look and taste good, regardless of how many legs they ingredients may have. As such, they are important contributors to the process of gaining acceptance for bug cuisine.”

He brings up a great point. Many chefs might be hesitant to work with bugs simply because they don’t know how yet. We can change that with a strong educational push.

For this reason and many others, I’m thrilled and grateful to the International Culinary Center for opening their minds and mouths to the idea of eating bugs. The members of the ICC community continue to demonstrate their commitment to innovation and global mindfulness.

About Aly Moore:
Aly studied food policy at the Yale University of Public Health and gained experience through work at  the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity Research, the National Health Services (NHS ENGLAND), and Monterey Tech Public Health (Mexico). She founded a startup called Spylight.com and continues her work in the space of entrepreneurship and entertainment at somebodystudios.com. Her overwhelming curiosity about edible insects lead her to found Bugible, a blog about the world of edible insects. After hosting fun and memorable events around eating bugs—bug wine pairings, bug dinners and bug cooking classes—EatBugEvents.com emerged as a way to make entomophagy accessible, educate the public, and support the great bug-entrepreneurs.

50th Restaurant Day Celebration

Win tickets to join the sweet festivities this September!

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to taste the Pastry School experience—learning to master everything from cookies and tarts to laminated doughs, wedding cakes, sugar showpieces and more—you won’t want to miss ICC’s 50th Restaurant Day celebration!

Join us for an afternoon of never-before-tasted sweets and treats brought to you by the students of the Professional Pastry Arts program. After 600 hours of professional pastry education, Restaurant Day showcases everything our students have learned in an imaginative, curated menu of original restaurant-quality desserts. Find out how you can attend below!

Friday, September 21st
12:15pm & 1:15pm Seating
International Culinary Center
28 Crosby St, 5th floor | New York, NY 10013

Giveaway

For our 50th iteration of Restaurant Day, ICC is teaming up with Dean of Pastry Arts, Jacques Torres, to host a celebratory afternoon of confectionery delights! Invited guests, including students’ family and friends, will have the opportunity to take part in an exciting, restaurant-style dessert service complete with a pre-dessert, selection of original desserts, and perfect petits fours—bon bons, macarons, pâte de fruit, the list is endless! Plus, we’re bringing back one of Mr. Chocolate—Jacques Torres’—signature desserts to add to the sweet festivities.

And, while Restaurant Day happens about a dozen times a year—near the end of each Pastry Arts program—this is the first time that we’re giving 4 lucky winners the chance to experience it for themselves!

So, how do you enter to win a seat for you and a guest at the 50th Restaurant Day on Friday, September 21st and meet Jacques Torres, lead judge of Nailed It! on Netflix, in person?

  • Check out our giveaway on @JacquesTorres Instagram in the morning on Thursday, September 6, 2018
  • To enter, you’ll need to like the @JacquesTorres post, follow @ICCedu & tag 2 friends in the comments that you’d love to bring to the 50th Restaurant Day.
  • We’ll DM 4 lucky winners by 10am the next morning with details!

If you’re interested in ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program, or know someone that has a huge sweet tooth, you won’t want to miss this special event!

WHAT IS RESTAURANT DAY?

When ICC re-launched the Professional Pastry Arts program in 2014, the curriculum was updated to better serve today’s pastry chef, educating our students to understand the science and technique behind a wide range of pastry skills to unlock their creativity—to think beyond a single recipe. It was during this time that Restaurant Day was born, providing students with the opportunity to demonstrate everything they’ve learned in the 600-hour program to their friends and family in a fun and unique dessert tasting. Every Restaurant Day menu is different, designed, created and produced by the students with a unifying theme to best represent their experiences in the program. Throughout the years, over 250 original desserts have been created—including a Matcha Cake Trifle, Carrot Beignets, Coquito Cheesecake and Sweet Corn Fraisier—showcasing the creativity of the next generation of pastry professionals completing ICC’s program.

About our Host— Jacques Torres, ICC's Dean of Pastry

The youngest recipient of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Pastry Chef of France) in history, he spent 12 inspired years as executive pastry chef at Le Cirque before leaving to open his renowned wholesale, retail, and e-commerce chocolate company, Jacques Torres Chocolate, in New York City. As dean of Pastry Arts, he regularly presents demonstrations to students in New York, helping students learn in 6 months what took him years as an apprentice. Chef Torres has won numerous awards, including the James Beard Foundation Pastry Chef of the Year, Chefs of America Pastry Chef of the Year, and Chartreuse Pastry Chef of the Year. He is a member of the Académie Culinaire de France, and in 2003 he was inducted by the James Beard Foundation into Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.

FAMED CHEF FROM ONE OF WORLD’S TOP RESTAURANTS TO HOST MASTER CLASS AT ICC

MASTER CLASS & DEMONSTRATION WITH CHEF JOAN ROCA

Co-Owner & Executive Chef of El Celler de Can Roca
Wednesday, September 19th | 2:30-4:00pm
ICC Amphitheater
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor | NYC
Open to ICC Students & Alumni* ONLY

This September, current students of the International Culinary Center will have not one, but two unique opportunities to learn from world-renowned chef Joan Roca, Co-owner & Executive Chef of El Celler de Can Roca—named in the top five on Restaurant magazine’s coveted World’s 50 Best Restaurants list since 2009, including top spots in 2013 and 2015.

The annual BBVA-sponsored world culinary tour brings the Roca brothers and the culinary team of El Celler de Can Roca to New York City for two dinners at Cipriani Wall Street on September 18 and 19 for invited diners to enjoy a taste of the contemporary Catalan cuisine showcased at their Girona, Spain-based restaurant. As part of this partnership, select International Culinary Center students will be invited to work in the kitchen with Chef Joan Roca and the El Celler de Can Roca team to prepare for the dinners. This special volunteer opportunity is open to current ICC students only to cook alongside the Roca team and learn some of their innovative techniques first hand. At the end of the event, one ICC student volunteer will be selected by the Roca team to receive a scholarship to continue their education with an internship to train for 4 months at their famed restaurant in Spain, currently named No. 2 restaurant in the world on the 2018 World’s 50 Best Restaurant list.

In addition to the dinner, ICC will be hosting the only NYC master class with Chef Joan Roca on Wednesday, September 19th at 2:30pm for current ICC students and alumni* as part of the educational activities of their New York City tour. Chef Roca, known best for his ground-breaking sous-vide techniques, will discuss the history & inspiration behind the family-operated restaurant, while demonstrating the same modern techniques used to transform Catalan cuisine at their restaurant in Girona, Spain. This special opportunity to learn from one of today’s most influential chefs will be open to current ICC students, with limited seating available for ICC alumni* and media guests.

*ICC Alumni, please contact events@culinarycenter.com to RSVP for this event as seating is limited. Standing room may be available.

Prosecco

DUELING BUBBLES: Prosecco ConVal Workshop with Alan Tardi

The two most popular sparkling wine categories in the world today are undoubtedly Champagne and Prosecco. Despite fundamental differences in image, production, process and price, the two bubblies have — surprisingly — much in common, such as their origin, history and evolutionary development of these otherwise different wines.

Monday, October 15th | 3:00-5:00pm
International Culinary Center
28 Crosby St, 5th Floor | New York, NY 10013

Cost: $25 per person

*Must be at least 21 years of age and an ICC Intensive Sommelier Training Student, Graduate, or Wine Industry Professional*

 

EVENT DETAILS

Join us for a special workshop and tasting with Alan Tardi, award-winning wine author, comparing Champagne and Prosecco—noting the obvious differences, while focusing on the many fundamental aspects the two wines have in common. Through the tasting we’ll clarify what makes Champagne and Prosecco essentially unique categories, while also showcasing the commonalities in their individual trajectories. We’ll also showcase the surprisingly diverse and complex terroir of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area and the many different typologies within the appellation. In the end, you’ll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of both wines, and the nature of sparkling wine in general.

Some of the wines we’ll taste will be coming directly from Italy for this event, including the sneak preview of a brand-new soon-to-be-released prosecco with super-extended lees aging in autoclave.

Wines tasted will be focused on uncommon prosecchi including:

  • Still prosecco without bubbles
  • Bottle re-fermented prosecco
  • Prosecco with extended lees ageing
  • Single village and/or single vineyard prosseco from a variety of different terroirs
  • Proseccos in a variety of residual sugar levels

Examples of corresponding Champagnes will be noted, but not tasted.

Who is Alan Tardi?

AlanAlan Tardi initially became interested in wine while working as a cook and chef in some of New York’s finest establishments (Chantarelle, Lafayette, Le Madri). After opening his own restaurant in New York City in 1992, Alan began sitting in on panel tastings at the nearby offices of Wine and Spirits and eventually began writing for the magazine. In 2003, Alan moved to the village of Castiglione Falletto in the heart of the Barolo region in Piemonte, Italy, where he spent several years working in the surrounding vineyards and wineries through all phases of the growing and production process, an experience which completely changed his perspective on wine. His first book, ‘Romancing the Vine: Life, Love and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo’ (St Martins Press, 2006) won a James Beard Award for Best Wine and Spirits Book of 2006. His new book, “Champagne, Uncorked: The House of Krug and the Timeless Allure of the World’s Most Celebrated Drink” (Hachette 2016) won a Gourmand Best in the World Award in the French Wine category. Alan currently divides his time between New York and Castiglione Falletto.

Picture

Boost Your Food Business: Hosted by Instagram

Learn the tips, tricks and information that everyone wants to know directly from Instagram in an afternoon of hands-on workshops, presentations & panel discussions.

With 200 Million+ Instagrammers visiting at least one Business Profile a day, and 60% of users saying they discover new products on Instagram, it’s no wonder that Instagram has become a key tool for brands & businesses to reach new & existing audiences. So what does it take to harness the power of Instagram to promote your restaurant or food business? Come to our FREE workshop to find out!

RSVP to join us for this exclusive event!

Thursday August 30th | 3:30-5:30pm
 3:30 pm-5:30 pm
ICC Ampitheater
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor | NYC

 

*SOLD OUT* To join the waitlist, please email events@culinarycenter.com.
We will contact you if a seat becomes available.

EVENT AGENDA

101 COURSE

 

201 COURSE

 

HANDS ON

 

PANEL

Food Passions & Social Media: Learn from the Instagram team why food & social media are a powerful match, as well as how to get started

From Discovery to Action: Learn from the Instagram team advanced tips for how to drive new or existing customers into your restaurant, cafe, or other business establishment

Stories School: The Instagram team will walk through an interactive exercise on how to create compelling stories content that inspires customer action

Examples and Q&A: 4 successful culinary establishments will explain their unique social media journeys, and then open up to audience questions

PANELISTS

Mike Bronfin

Product Marketing, Instagram Local Team

• Worked on launching Business Profiles, Insights, Direct features for Businesses, Transactions
• Previously at Twitter and Boston Consulting Group

Gemmy Tsai

 Product Management, Instagram Local Team

• Worked on Instagram Business Profiles and Transactions
• Previously at OpenTable and Hired

Aishwarya Bhake

 Product Marketing, Instagram Local Team

• Worked on Instagram Business and Influencer Legitimacy
• Previously at BloomReach, ESPN and Walt Disney

Chocolate

Where Health Meets Decadence… 7 Reasons Why Dark Chocolate Can Be a Healthy Choice

Written by: Trees Emma Martens, Owner of Emma’s DelightsEmma

2013 Chocolate Candy and Confections Class

Emma’s Delights’ owner-chocolatière, Trees Emma Martens, was born and raised in Belgium and like most Belgians, she grew up with fine chocolates. Her mom was a great cook and a fabulous baker-pâtissière, and from a very young age, Emma spent countless hours helping her mom measuring and mixing ingredients in the family kitchen, and most importantly taking care of the ‘quality assurance’ of the finished product by tasting it at all the different stages of production. No wonder she claims that crafting chocolates must be ingrained in her DNA. 

Emma has been experimenting daily in her own kitchen since her college years. After moving to the Bay Area in 1996 with her family, she eagerly included a variety of culinary elements from the many cultures surrounding her into her own recipes. Emma’s Delights continues that tradition.

We‘ve all heard the saying, “dark chocolate is good for you,” and there are many studies claiming just that. Here are my top 7 health benefits attributed to a high cocoa percentage dark chocolate*:

  1. Fights Free Radicals: Dark chocolate contains plenty of antioxidants that reduce free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells).
  2. Protects Your Skin: The flavanols, a plant-based nutrient, found in dark chocolate absorb ultraviolet rays thus protecting your skin against their damaging effects. Please note that it’s still good to wear sunscreen!
  3. Improves Blood Flow: Dark chocolate is said to lower blood pressure and may even improve brain function by increasing blood flow, which can help you perform better on intellectual tests.
  4. Lowers Risk of Heart Disease: Dark chocolate (together with exercise and a healthy diet) can lower the risk of heart disease because it raises the HDL (good cholesterol) and decreases the oxidized LDL (meaning “bad” cholesterol has reacted with free radicals).
  5. Increases Productivity: Dark chocolate contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine (a blood vessel widener), but at a low enough level to not keep you awake at night.
  6. Reduces Stress: Apparently, dark chocolate also helps reduce stress hormones that can lead to collagen breakdown (wrinkles) and excess oil production (acne).
  7. Lose Weight: Eating a piece of dark chocolate as a snack will lower your craving for sweets and fatty foods and reduces feelings of hunger. This will make it easier to stick to your regular diet plan and help you to reduce body weight.

* If 90% cacao mass is too bitter for you, try a 70%. Just make sure that sugar is not the first ingredient listed and that your plain dark chocolate is truly dairy-free.

If all these scientific reasons cannot persuade you to include dark chocolate into your diet, just think of how good eating a piece of chocolate can make you feel… to indulge without guilt!

With Emma’s Delights, my goal is to handcraft high quality chocolates in small volume with emphasis on the uniqueness of Belgian chocolates. I want to stay as close as possible to the original art of Belgian ‘praline’ making, using traditional molds and soft fillings. I am also passionate about eating healthy so I use only ‘real’ ingredients for my fillings. I avoid any coloring or preservatives, I never use glucose or any other sugary syrups, and I only use organic cane sugar for caramelized fillings. Many of my customers are also happy to know that my fillings are dairy free and all are gluten free. In staying true to my motto, “where decadence becomes healthy,” I offer a large selection of gourmet products made with 70% cacao mass Belgian chocolate, nuts, seeds, or dried fruit.

While Emma’s Delights is mainly an online store that concentrates on “order only,” you can also find me at holiday markets and corporate pop ups. As a small business owner, my job description includes everything from janitor to CEO. In one day, I can go from purchasing ingredients and developing recipes to, fulfilling customer orders and making my chocolates and fillings. There is also a lot of administrative work and marketing involved, i.e answering emails and sending out quotes, writing newsletters, taking pictures for Instagram and, of course, there is always a lot of clean up.

Although maintaining such high standards for my products takes much effort, the “farm to table” movement has always been a way of life for me. In fact, I grew up eating healthy meals cooked from scratch, using fresh vegetables and fruit mostly grown in our own garden. I also have fond memories of assisting my mom every Saturday, baking cakes, pastries, and pies that we would deliver to our neighbors on Sundays as gifts. Even though my mom was an amazing amateur baker/pâtissière, the dessert ‘par excellence’ for me was definitely chocolate, and more specifically our famous Belgian chocolates.

Growing up in Belgium, we always had chocolate in the pantry and after moving to the United States, I especially missed those Belgian ‘pralines’ (hard shell chocolates with soft fillings). One particular year, my craving for them was so great that I decided to make them myself. I did a lot of research online, bought some chocolate molds, and started making my own chocolates. My first attempts didn’t always work out well, but I was intrigued by the process and wanted to learn more about tempering and the whole chocolate making craft. I began taking some amateur classes and became hooked. Since I wanted to really master the art of chocolate making, I was fortunate that the ICC was offering a 5-week course and eagerly signed up for it. Meanwhile, I had to practice a lot and shared my first results with friends and family. Even though my chocolates were still far from perfect, they were a big hit and people often encouraged me to start a business. I knew it would be tough, but the idea of becoming a chocolatière was appealing to me because I saw a niche for it: Belgian chocolates made by a Belgian in the Bay Area, using Belgian couverture chocolate.

Learn more about Emma’s Delights on her website [http://emmasdelights.com] and be sure to follow her on Instagram @emmasdelights!

If It Grows Together, It Goes Together – French Wines & Cheeses

In celebration of #FCIFlashback month, ICC hosted a special Bastille Day Wine & Cheese pairing event with specialty French cheeses provided by Paris Gourmet. For this event, which was the first wine and cheese pairing event I’ve ever attended, I was seated in a room with a Master Sommelier and 50 knowledgeable wine professionals. As a recent college graduate, a 22-year old lover of white wine (the sweeter, the better), and someone who knows little about wine, I was nervous. I rarely am intimidated by anything, but I felt clueless about how to participate in a tasting with people who had been doing this for who-knows-how long.

Sitting in the back of the room, I wondered whether I would actually have to spit into a cup (what is that even for?!) and if I should attempt to swirl the wine, or if should I just sip it out of its glass? Luckily, ICC’s Dean of Wine Studies and Master Sommelier, Scott Carney, took us through each wine and cheese pairing with ease and explained how to properly sample each pairing (for the record, you smell the cheese, then the wine, then combine the pairing). ICC’s wonderful Wine Program Coordinator, Elizabeth Smith, CS, who organized the event, also helped to create an informative slide show to help the newbie’s follow along (mostly me!).

Here is what I learned from the event, including each pairing and the different regions in France where they came from. Try to create these pairings at home, and remember the saying “if it grows together, it goes together… but the rules are made to be broken!”

  1. The Loire Valley is well known for its beautiful castles and scenery. A few hours’ drive outside of Paris, it was a popular place for châteaux to be built. The Loire Valley is also considered to be one of France’s most diverse wine regions, and popularity for their wines has been increasing throughout the last decade, even though they have been producing wines since Roman times.
    • The Pairing: For the first pairing of the event, we were given 2017 Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc and Le Chevrot, a goat cheese. I enjoyed this wine for its fresh citrus flavors, and Dean Carney was sure to point out how the tartness cleansed the palette and enhanced the creaminess of the cheese. I was indeed surprised how the wine somehow made the cheese creamier!
  2. Normandy is known for its seafood, pears and apples, and butter and cheese. The climate in Normandy – colder and somewhat more volatile than the rest of France – makes it ideal for apples, not so much for grapes. This is one of the many reasons that the best cider in the world comes from Normandy, and why Dean Carney decided to have us try a cider instead of a wine. If you ever have the chance, don’t miss the opportunity to try Normandy cider!
    • The Pairing: The second pairing was my personal favorite—a pear cider and Camembert cheese. The cider was Eric Bordelet’s Poiré Authentique, and in Dean Carney’s estimation, “they are one of the top producers of pear cider in the world.” It was so delicious and surprisingly light. The cheese—oh my, the cheese— was maybe one of the best cheeses I have ever tasted, and I am an avid cheese lover. It was made from the milk of Normandy cows, who are known for their rich, grassy milk. If you like mushrooms and truffles as much as I do, you must try this cheese. Somehow it tastes like truffles without actually having any truffles in the cheese.
  3. Jura, at the Swiss border near Lake Geneva, has a long history of cheese and wine-making. Arguably France’s most obscure wine region, Jura’s wines are unusual, distinctive, and completely different from wines made anywhere else in the world. It’s a tiny region, as in 5,200 acres planted, which is said to account for just 0.2% of French wine production overall. The Trousseau grape, which is what we sampled, is one of the grapes that Jura is known for.
    • The Pairing: This pairing was interesting and unlike any wine and cheese that I have tried. The cheese, a Montboissé, was strong and pungent in its aftertaste. There are two layers to the cheese; traditionally, one made from morning milk and the other from evening milk, separated by a thin layer of ash. The wine, 2015 Domaine Pignier Côtes du Jura Trousseau, was vibrant and tangy and somehow the cheese brought out buttery notes. While the cheese was not my favorite, I enjoyed the wine and would love to try it again.
  4. The Basque Region of France borders the better known Spanish Basque Region and has a population of less than 300,000. The region has a unique food and culture scene because of its complex cultural identity and history. Lesser known for their wines and therefore difficult to find, they are delicious and delightful when you come across them.
    • The Pairing: For this pairing we had the opportunity to try a cheese that is believed to be the oldest of all French cheeses, and said to be one of the first cheeses ever made. Ossau-Iraty smells oddly similar to Parmesan and has similar nutty flavors to Gouda. This cheese needs a fuller bodied wine since it has such a strong flavor, so Dean Carney paired it with 2016 Alain Graillot Saint-Joseph Syrah. Aged in 1-3 year-old neutral burgundy barrels which soften the edges of a wine, this particular wine was fruity and the pairing was perfection.
  5. The Occitanie Region, proclaimed by Vogue as “the new wine region to visit in France,” has had vines since the Greek planted them in 5th century B.C. Occitanie is also the birthplace of sparkling wine and one of the few places in the world where you can craft almost any type of wine. Remarkably, this region includes more acreage of vineyards than all of the land in Australia—almost 550,000 acres.
    • The Pairing: This was the pairing that I was most intrigued by. The 1997 Château Guiraud 1er Cru Classé Sauternes had a distinct caramel color and the most intense bouquet that I have ever smelled in a wine. The cheese was a sight not for the faint of heart. Most people are used to seeing the mold in bleu cheese, but this Roquefort had more craters of mold than I had ever seen. Even though it surprisingly did not have much of a smell, upon first bite its sharp, tangy flavor immediately made my eyes water. The wine itself was shockingly sweet despite its notes of maturity and perfectly paired with the pungent cheese. Despite its looks, the cheese was incredible and had a soft texture.

So if you’re just as inspired as I was by this afternoon of wine & cheese, try to recreate some of these pairings for yourself! Ask your local wine retailer for wines from these regions and visit Paris Gourmet’s website to try some of these unique cheeses.

Thank you to Paris Gourmet for the delicious cheese, ICC’s Dean of Wine Studies Scott Carney, MS for his perfect pairings and informative lecture, and ICC’s Wine Program Coordinator, Elizabeth Smith, CS, for her tireless efforts to put together the event.

A collage of food entrepreneur

CALLING ALL CHEFS – Citi Urbanspace Challenge

Citi and Urbanspace announced the launch of the Citi Urbanspace Challenge, a program designed to connect local chefs to New York City communities and offer small businesses the chance to operate a booth at Urbanspace’s Fall 2018 pop-up markets and for one winner to have a booth at Urbanspace’s market located at 570 Lexington Ave.

CALLING ALL ICC ALUMNI

Do you have what it takes? ICC believes you do!

ENTRY PERIOD
Thursday, July 12th – Monday July 23rd (Noon, EST)

Geared towards emerging culinary entrepreneurs, the Citi Urbanspace Challenge is a creative challenge whose aim is to help discover the culinary entrepreneurs of tomorrow and provide them a platform to connect with the New York market scene. If you’re an alumni of the Culinary, Pastry, Cake, Bread, Sommelier or Culinary Entrepreneurship programs with a creative, fast-casual restaurant concept, submit your ideas from now to July 23rd at noon EST for the chance to test your concept an an Urbanspace market!

Three finalists of the Citi Urbanspace Challenge will be placed in a rent free booth at Urbanspace pop-up markets: Mad. Sq. Eats, Garment District, and Broadway Bites during the Fall 2018 season.

THE WINNER OF THE CHALLENGE

From the three finalists, the overall winner of the Citi Urbanspace Challenge will be awarded a full customized, branded booth in the prime Urbanspace at 570 Lex location for three months beginning in January 2019! Winners will be determined based on a public vote hosted on Urbanspace’s website through the fall 2018 pop-up markets and a panel of expert judges, including restauranteurs and culinary influencers & experts.

DON'T MISS OUT ON THE CHANCE OF A LIFETIME—ENTER TODAY!