Tosi

Tosi4

Christina Tosi is the pastry chef, owner and founder of Milk Bar, called “one of the most exciting bakeries in the country” by Bon Appetit Magazine. As founder of the dessert program within David Chang’s restaurant group, Momofuku, Christina helped Momofuku Ko earn two stars from the Michelin Guide and Momofuku Ssäm jump onto Restaurant Magazine’s top 100 restaurants in the world list.

Chef Christina Tosi — 2004 graduate of ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts Program — has been recognized multiple times by the James Beard Foundation; she is  the recipient of the James Beard Rising Star Chef award (2012), a finalist for the James Beard Outstanding Pasty Chef award (2014) and the winner of James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef award (2015).

Christina is now on the judging panel for MasterChef Junior and MasterChef. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her three dogs and eats an unconscionable amount of raw cookie dough every day.

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hoonipic 260x300

hoonipic 260x300

EXCELLENCE IN CULINARY ARTS

Born in Seoul, Korea, Kim grew up in New York, but when it came time to attend college, he headed west to the University of California at Berkeley, studying for a medical degree before a nagging passion for food had him drastically changing gears. Inspired to cook for a living, Kim returned to the East Coast to attend The French Culinary Institute. He followed his formal training with jobs at not one, but two Michelin® three-star restaurants; Daniel and Masa. Backed by his strong pedigree, Kim was in prime position to open Danji, which earned one Michelin® star, the first ever for a Korean chef. This year, he opened Hanjan, an updated, big-city homage to the old travelers’ taverns of Korea. Kim is clearly succeeding for his homeland and hometown, one innovative dish at a time.

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WebsiteFlay

WebsiteFlay

“Every day I cook in my restaurants, I’m using techniques that I learned at ICC.  Every day. And I always will for the rest of my life.”

Bobby discovered his culinary identity at the age of 17, working as a cook at the famed theatre district haunt, Joe Allen’s. The job had been arranged by his father, who was partner in the restaurant. After a short time, Joe Allen himself became so impressed by Bobby’s talents that he paid the young cook’s tuition to The French Culinary Institute. He graduated in the very first class in 1984.

Soon after, Bobby worked with restaurateur/owner Jonathan Waxman at Buds and Jams, where he first discovered the sweet-heat of Southwestern ingredients. He then caught the attention of restaurateur Jerome Kretchmer who offered him the opportunity to create his own sensation at Mesa Grill, which opened in 1991. In the years since—with his unique amalgam of innovative food and inviting hospitality—Bobby has opened several restaurants including Bolo, Bar Americain, Bobby Flay Steak and eighteen outposts of Bobby’s Burger Palace. In March of 2014, Bobby opened GATO, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in New York City’s NOHO district.

Bobby shares his knowledge and enthusiasm for food through his cookbooks and television programs. His twelfth cookbook, Bobby Flay’s Barbeque Addiction (Clarkson Potter) hit bookstores in April 2013. Since debuting on Food Network in 1994, Bobby has continuously hosted programs that bring cooking tips and information on American regional fare to a national audience. His first show, Grillin’ & Chillin’, premiered in 1996; other programs include Iron Chef America and Beat Bobby Flay.

A recipient of several awards, including three Emmys, Bobby works tirelessly to challenge the way Americans view and taste food – making it bold, zesty and always fun.

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JoshSkenesCloseUp

JoshSkenes

“Everything you make has to have a connection to tradition[…]At the International Culinary Center I felt like I connected to the tradition of French cooking.”

Josh Skenes

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

Current city: San Francisco, CA

Course of study: Classic Culinary Arts

Graduation year: 2001

One food/beverage you can’t live without? I couldn’t possibly choose

Describe your culinary POV in three words: purity, balance, restraint

Best meal of all time? In an alley in Beijing I had a meal cooked over a fire by a friend of a friend, a chef. It was the total experience—the ingredients, the place, the fire.

What would your last meal consist of? Sukiyabashi Jiro, a sushi place in Tokyo

Website: saisonsf.com

When did you decide you wanted to be a chef?

It’s something I’ve always had in mind. There are pictures of me making mud pies in the backyard wearing a stupid hat and an apron. Later it became a way of communing with nature. When I was 17 years old, I grew herbs in my garden and used them to cook omelets. I don’t know why.

When did you decide to go to the International Culinary Center?

I was living in Boston. It was right after high school, and I was going to go to college. I remember picking up a brochure, and it just kind of hit me: Let’s do this. So I moved to New York.

Did you look at other schools?

I did, but ICC was obviously the most attractive. I liked the emphasis on French technique. And New York, of course, is amazing, the culinary capital of America, along with San Francisco, I’d argue.

What was the biggest lesson you learned at ICC?

The discipline, honestly. I was a rambunctious little kid, so to come to a structured place was important. With the classic French chefs, that’s really how it is: “Oui, chef. Non, chef.” Learning that at a young age proved key in my working life.

How else does your experience at ICC play into your cooking today?

Everything you make has to have a connection to tradition. It has to be rooted in substance, depth, and soul. It’s your personal tradition—the catalogue of memories, tastes, flavors, likes, and dislikes—but it’s also culinary tradition. At the International Culinary Center I felt like I connected to the tradition of French cooking.

Can you talk about your transition after school?

In 2003 I came out to San Francisco. When I was 24, I started as an executive chef. In retrospect it’s ridiculous, but it worked out. I made a lot of stuff I wouldn’t make any more. Then I got poached by Michael Mina and we opened a restaurant. I knew nothing about the business of restaurants, so it was amazing to work with those guys.

How did your own restaurant, Saison, come about?

We started one day a week in 2009. It was a pop-up thing, even though we had no idea what a pop-up was. I developed a unique way of cooking, a synthesis of the primitive and the modern. We do a lot of cooking with fire. We forage in the wild. We grow our own vegetables. We get wild fish and meat and game. We were one of the lucky ones. The place worked from day one, and so we expanded to three days. And now here we are, a full restaurant, open five days a week. In six months we’re going to expand our space with a move to Jackson Square.

You said you earlier that San Francisco rivaled New York as the food capital of America. What did you mean by that?

You know, New York is obviously the restaurant capital, but I’d say San Francisco is the capital for ingredients, in terms of flavor and purity. Each year I’m out here I discover a new tangerine. I bite into it and think, “This is the best tangerine I’ve ever eaten.” Then it happens again the next year. I’ve been here seven years and had a better tangerine every year. There are some great restaurants in New York, but if you put them here they’d be 100 times better.

Any advice for International Culinary Center grads who aspire to open their own restaurants?

Go to work for the best people and put in your time—but make sure you put in serious time. And don’t settle for just anything. Work with the best and you’ll become the best.

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WylieDufresne2014

WylieDufresne2014

“All of my research and development is grounded in the skills I learned at ICC.  They taught me how to apply my creativity.”

Wylie Dufresne has established himself as one of the most creative chefs working today. Combining his love of food with a thirst for knowledge, he creates innovative dishes by incorporating science and new, cutting-edge techniques. Wylie is considered the leading American proponent of molecular gastronomy.

Before giving birth to dishes like pickled beef tongue with fried mayonnaise at his now-famous wd~50, Wylie studied philosophy, graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Colby College. While studying Nietzsche and honing his critical thinking skills, he took a summer job before his senior year working at Al Forno’s, an Italian restaurant in his hometown. It was this experience that made him realize he belonged in the kitchen. After he finished his senior year, Wylie enrolled at the International Culinary Center and never looked back.

Although many consider Wylie as a chef with unorthodox techniques—pushing buttons and boundaries—he firmly believes that having a solid foundation of basic cooking knowledge and skills is necessary for any creativity to bloom. “It’s essential to have a solid grounding of traditional techniques—I still use many of them.”

After graduating from ICC, Wylie worked on the opening of Jean Georges, later becoming its sous chef. His experience there was deeply influential on his style of cooking, and Wylie considers Jean-Georges Vongerichten a friend and a mentor to this day. In 1998, Wylie packed his bags and moved to Las Vegas to become the chef de cuisine at Vongerichten’s Prime in The Bellagio. A year later, he returned to New York to become the first chef at 71 Clinton Fresh Food, garnering a James Beard nomination in 2000 for Rising Star Chef.

In April of 2003, Wylie opened wd~50 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Armed with a state-of-the-art kitchen, it is here that Wylie has melded his ideas and skills into his famous dishes. Building upon “solid grounding” of techniques, he re-imagined classic dishes, deconstructing them into familiar, but entirely, new creations. The result is a taste experience that is both familiar and distinctive. A signature dish, eggs Benedict, takes an old recipe and turns it inside out, turning hollandaise sauce into fried cubes held together with hydrocolloids and modified cornstarch, accompanied with columns of perfectly textured egg yolk.

His work at wd~50 has awarded him with several James Beard nominations for Best New Restaurant (2004) and Best Chef, New York City. In 2013, he won the James Beard Award for Best Chef, New York City after six nominations. In the same year, he opened Alder, a well-reviewed neighborhood spot that applies innovative techniques to comfort food. In 2015, he won the James Beard award for Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America.

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barber

barber

“Today more than ever, we are in need of highly trained culinary professionals whose skills transcend the slice of a blade. [..] The French Culinary Institute (now ICC), where I earned a Grand Diplome in Culinary Arts, is training this next generation.”

Hometown: New York, NY
Current city: New York, NY
Course of study: Classic Culinary Arts
Year of graduation: 1994
Famous quote: “Great flavor begins in the field”
Currently:  Executive chef/co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns and author of The Third Plate:Field Notes on the Future of Food (May 2014, Penguin Press)
Websites:  bluehillfarm.com  & thethirdplate.com

DAN BARBER is the Executive Chef of Blue Hill, a restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, located within the nonprofit farm Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. His opinions on food and agricultural policy have appeared in The New York Times, along with many other publications. Chef Dan Barber has received multiple James Beard awards including Best Chef: New York City (2006), the Country’s Outstanding Chef (2009), and Writing and Literature for his book The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food (2015). His two restaurants have received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant in the U.S. for Blue Hill New York (2013) and Blue Hill at Stone Barns (2015). In 2009 he was named one of TIMEmagazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”

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