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Alumni Spotlight: Rodrigo Schweitzer, Class of 2011

For our first ICC Alumni Spotlight of 2017, we caught up with Professional Culinary Arts alum chef Rodrigo Schweitzer. Explaining why he felt attending the International Culinary Center in New York was the right choice to pursue his culinary dreams, the Brazil based chef elaborates on ICC’s full immersion program. Learning the fundamental techniques and skills for success in only 6 months, an international student such as Rodrigo has the potential to save thousands of dollars in living expenses and tuition when making their culinary school decision.

The main reason why I chose ICC was because of the full immersion program. So, in my research, I knew that a student here could graduate in 6 months but being taught what they teach in other schools in 2 years. They taught me to be a prepared cook.”

Following up on life after culinary school graduation, Schweizer earned his spot as the winner of Hell’s Kitchen Brasil (Season 3), taking home the 100,000 gold bar prize. Becoming known as the ‘Fit Chef’ while on the show for sharing his weight loss story, Chef Schweitzer helps individuals reach their goals of losing weight through healthy eating habits. With the momentum of the Hell’s Kitchen win still strong, he shares plans to open an elevated pizzeria in Brazil with ‘nontraditional’ toppings.

Watch the full interview to learn about the chef’s new endeavor and more!

 

Click HERE for more information about how you can #LoveWhatYouDo at ICC as an international student.

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The Importance of Charcuterie: A Step-by-Step Process

Written by Angela Samartano 
ICC Social Media Manager

Christmas weekend has finally arrived, and the International Culinary Center lead chef-instructors are here to make sure you’re fully prepared for your home festivities. No matter which holiday your family celebrates, there’s never a wrong time to cook a ham from scratch. While not a culinary student myself, I was able to watch along as Chef Jeff Butler and Chef Pascal Beric demonstrated the process of creating a holiday ham from scratch to the Level 1 students in the Professional Culinary Arts with Farm-to-Table program. Needless to say, it was a multi-sensory experience – eyes were opened (to the rigorous multi-day process), mouths watered and noses were not disappointed at the smell and taste of the final product.

Charcuterie is a major portion of the Professional Culinary Arts program within Level 3. Cured meats are a staple in the culinary world, no matter where you are in the world and the International Culinary Center’s program truly prepares you for every and any meat-based dish you may desire.

Lead Chef-Instructor Jeff Butler, explains the importance of acquiring a professional education regarding proper techniques and execution of charcuterie.

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Charcuterie is important because it differs greatly from regular cooking. It requires discipline, great attention to detail and patience. A dash extra of salt or the lack of an ingredient can result in an inedible product. In regular cooking, we can play with the seasoning and adjust until the moment we put it on the plate. In charcuterie, you might not know the results of a recipe until months later after the item has aged. Good charcuterie skills allow for the almost complete use of a pig from head to tail. It puts the chef in touch with ancient skills that go back thousands of years, history on a plate. You can’t learn it in a day and we put a lot of effort into the curriculum to give the student a strong foundation of charcuterie skills. Plus, you get to make hotdogs – and I love hotdogs.”

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Ingredients

  • 1- hind leg of pork with all bones removed except for the shank, approximately 10-12 lbs. 4.5-5.4 Kilo
  • 5 Liter cold water
  • 480 Grams of Kosher Salt
  • 20 Grams of Pink Curing Salt #1
  • 150 Grams of Honey
  • 5 Grams Brine Phosphate (optional)
  • Activa Meat Glue (optional)

Equipment Needed 

  1. 5 gallon Bucket
  2. Brining needle
  3. Ham netting
  4. Hog rings
  5. Hog ring pliers
  6. Immersion circulator
  7. Hand immersion blender
  8. Powdered sugar shaker

Step by Step Process: 

Step 1: Mix the water, salt, sugar, pink cure #1 and phosphate with the hand blender for approximately 2 minutes, until no solids are visible.

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Step 1.

Step 2: Using the brine needle, gently pump the meat. Keep the meat in a large tub so as to not lose any leaking brine. Pump the brine in a grid pattern with a 1 inch spread. Do not try to poke needle through skin. Do try to pump around the shank. When finished pumping, submerge meat in remaining brine  and the brine that has leaked off during pumping in the bucket.

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Step 2
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Step 2

Step 3: Let sit in refrigeration for 3 days. And then resume with the brine in the bucket and repeat step 2. This ensures that your meat is completely saturated with brine and the curing is complete.

Step 4: Let sit for 2 days. And remove from brine. Discard leftover brine. Pat meat dry with paper towel.

Step 5: Using Activa, in the powdered sugar shaker. Liberally dust the interior of the ham. This will keep the ham from having holes in the finished slices.

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Step 5

Step 6: Tie the Ham into the Ham netting.

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Step 7: Twist the Ham inside the netting to tighten it upon itself and  hog ring pliers to clamp the netting closed and to hold the tension. Use an extra hog ring to ensure it stays closed. Let the Ham sit in the refrigerator over night to set the Activa. You can also use butchers twine to truss the Ham, but take great care to keep it tight and trim loose ends to make sure they will not be caught in the immersion circulator.

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Step 8: Set up the immersion circulator and set it to 145 F or 63 C. Submerge the ham in the water bath and cook for 14 hours. You can vacuum seal the Ham prior but you do not have to. The water bath will be discarded when finished.

Step 9: Remove Ham from the circulator.  Take off netting , score the skin with a cross hatched pattern, be careful to not go into the flesh.

Step 10: Put ham in a roasting pan fitted with a rack.  Begin to bake at 250 F.  bake for 2 hours.

Step 11: Remove from oven and turn the temperature up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with the convection fan turned on if possible.

Step 12: Brush ham with vegetable oil and place in the 450 degrees Fahrenheit oven after fully preheated.

Step 13: When the ham is beautifully browned remove it from oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes and serve with the sauce of your choice.

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Step 14: ENJOY! 

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To learn more about the various levels of ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts program and reserve your spot during our January 30 start date, CLICK HERE.

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Watch ICC’s Culinary Arts Students Do the Mannequin Challenge

Watch as ICC Level 4 Culinary Arts students take a break from working hard in the classroom, to standing completely still. Watch as ICC students engage in the latest social media trend, the Mannequin Challenge. Special thanks to Chef Jeff Butler, Chef Herve Malivert and Chef Karen Chirgwin for participating as well!

 

For more information on our Professional Culinary Arts program, click here.

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Library Notes: New Books at ICC [October 2016]

The ICC library is continuously growing and evolving. In this new column, we will highlight a few favorites from our new acquisitions shelf.

Sushi Lovers alert! If you loved the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi then you are already familiar with Jiro Ono, the brilliant and delicate sushi craftsman. In Sushi Chef Sukiyabashi Jiro by Shinzo Satomi, the reader is welcomed into his kitchen. First published in Japan in 1997, it is only now available in English from translator Rei Perovic. With beautiful color photos as well as maps and diagrams, it is no stretch to call this book a sushi bible. Our own Chef Jeffery Moon loved it and called it the best sushi book he has seen. Satomi digs deeper that simple instruction during his interviews with Jiro providing an insight into his style and philosophy. This book is a must read for aspiring chefs, seafood lovers and Japanese food enthusiasts.

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As the weather starts to turn, we begin craving comfort foods that will fill the house with fragrance and cure an impending cold. The recipes in Small Victories by Julia Turshen fit the bill. Julia’s philosophy is the simpler the better and to grow as a cook and fund success in the kitchen, we must celebrate the small victories – each little step along the way.  While certainly geared toward the home cook, culinary students can take away from this an open minded, expansive approach to recipes. For each included in the book, Julia provides what she calls “Spin-Offs” or variations that completely change the recipe or utilize the ingredients in a whole new way. So whether you are craving Snow-Day Udon Soup  or Chicken + Pea Skillet Pie you will learn several other recipes right along with it. Recommended for simple go-to comfort recipes or novice cooks.

Chef Jose Pizarro owns three Spanish restaurants in London, but instead of creating a book dedicated to one of them, he chose to highlight the cuisine from his favorite city, San Sebastian. The Basque Book by Jose Pizarro is a beautiful colorful celebration of the famed Spanish city and the whole Basque region. All the recipes are labeled either “Pintxos” or “At the Table” – meaning small plates or main dishes.  However, says Jose “Sometimes I just think anything goes.” Dive in for his take on classics such as tortilla and empanada as well as new favorites like Swiss chard stew or chestnut flan. An excellent pick for photography lovers, Spanish food fanatics and fine dining fans.

We have these and many more new books available for check out now in the library. Follow us on Instagram for the most current updates @intlcullibrary

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ICC Distinguished Alumni Christina Tosi, Bobby Flay, David Chang and Dan Barber

Culinary Spotlight: ICC’s Trailblazing Alumni

International Culinary Center’s more than 15,000 alumni are making headlines around the globe in cities big and small, working in virtually every facet of the culinary industry, including restaurants, management, catering, food styling, business, TV, publishing and more. Some of our trailblazing alumni include pastry innovator Christina Tosi, Emmy Award-winning celebrity chef Bobby Flay, restaurateur David Chang and farm-to-table activist Dan Barber.

Christina Tosi: Chef, Owner and Founder of Milk Bar

You may know ICC Pastry Arts alumna Christina Tosi as one of the newest judges on Fox’s MasterChef and MasterChef Juniors, but this rising star has been making waves in the culinary industry since graduating from the International Culinary Center in 2004.

 ICC Pastry Arts Alumna Christina Tosi

When restaurateur (and fellow ICC alumnus) David Chang hired Tosi to write the food safety plan for his restaurant Momofuku, Tosi impressed Chang so much that he ended up hiring her as his pastry chef. At the time, there were no desserts on the Momofuku menu—something Tosi would soon address by founding Momofuku Milk Bar in 2008.

Named “one of the most exciting bakeries in the country” by Bon Appétit magazine, Milk Bar is the sister bakery to the Momofuku restaurant group and provides baked goods for six retail locations (with another opening soon) as well as other restaurants in the Momofuku group. As the founder of Momofuku’s dessert program, Tosi helped Momofuku Ko earn two stars from the Michelin Guide and Momofuku Ssäm break into Restaurant Magazine’s list of the top 100 restaurants in the world.

In 2012, Tosi received the James Beard Rising Star Chef award, and she was a finalist for the James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef award in 2014—an award she went on to win in 2015. In addition to being an award-winning professional chef and television personality, Tosi is also a published cookbook author. Her first book, Momofuku Milk Bar, was met with widespread praise and paved the way for her second book, Milk Bar Life.

Tosi and Milk Bar have been featured on television shows and in publications around the world, including The Today Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, Conan, The New York Times, Vogue, Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

Bobby Flay: Chef, Restaurateur and Television Personality

“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 Flay

 ICC Culinary Arts Alumnus Bobby Flay

Celebrity chef and serial restaurateur Bobby Flay graduated from ICC’s very first class in 1984. Since then, Flay has gone on to open multiple restaurants (including Mesa Grill, Bar Americain, Bobby Flay Steak, Gato and Bobby’s Burger Palace) and appear on countless cooking programs and specials on Food Network and Cooking Channel, including:

  • Beat Bobby Flay
  • Bobby’s Dinner Battle
  • Boy Meets Grill
  • Brunch at Bobby’s
  • Emeril Live
  • Grill It! With Bobby Flay
  • Iron Chef America
  • The Best Thing I Ever Ate
  • The Main Ingredient with Bobby Flay
  • The Next Food Network Star
  • Throwdown! With Bobby Flay

Flay has won three Emmys for his shows Boy Meets Grill, Grill It! With Bobby Flay and Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction. In June 2105, Flay became the first chef to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The accolades don’t stop there. In addition to multiple Emmy wins and nominations, Bobby Flay was named the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year in 1993 and received the James Beard Foundation’s National Television Food Show Award in 2005. In 2007, Flay was featured in the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America, and he went on to be inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2013.

David Chang: Restaurateur, Author and Television Personality

“One of the biggest pros that the International Culinary Center has is its network of alumni and restaurants.” – David Chang

 ICC Culinary Arts Alumnus David Chang

Restaurateur and innovator David Chang is perhaps best known as the founder of the Momofuku restaurant group, which includes the NYC-based Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Momofuku Ko, Momofuku Milk Bar and Má Pêche, as well as restaurants in Australia and Canada.

A best-selling cookbook author, Chang also publishes a quarterly food magazine called Lucky Peach, which he created with former New York Times writer Peter Meehan. Contributors to the publication include Anthony Bourdain, Christina Tosi, Wylie Dufresne, Ruth Reichl, Harold McGee and Daniel Patterson. When he’s not opening restaurants or publishing books, Chang appears on television programs such as HBO’s Treme, Top Chef: All Stars, MasterChef Australia, and the 16-part PBS series The Mind of a Chef.

Since graduation from ICC’s Culinary Arts program in 2001, Chang has won multiple awards and accolades, including maintaining 2 Michelin Stars for Momofuku Ko:

  • 2009-2015 Two Michelin Stars for Momofuku Ko
  • 2013 James Beard Outstanding Chef
  • 2010 Named one of the world’s most influential people by Time Magazine in the Time 100
  • 2009 James Beard Best New Restaurant for Momofuku Ko
  • 2008 James Beard Best Chef New York City for Momofuku Ssäm Bar
  • 2007 James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year
  • 2007 Bon Appétit Chef of the Year
  • 2006 Food & Wine Best New Chef

Dan Barber: Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns

ICC Culinary Arts graduate Dan Barber has always been an advocate for sustainable agriculture and the connection between farm and table. His writings on food sustainability, agricultural policy and the farm-to-table movement have been featured in The New York Times, Food & Wine and Saveur, among other publications. Appointed to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition by President Barack Obama, Barber has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the effects of everyday food choices.

 ICC Culinary Arts Alumnus Dan Barber

Barber’s views on the connection between local, sustainable farm systems and great tasting food come to life at his Blue Hill restaurants. Blue Hill New York and Blue Hill at Stone Barns feature local food and wine selections whose ingredients come from local farms that respect timeless artisanal techniques (including Blue Hill Farm and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture). Both Blue Hill restaurants have received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant in the U.S.

In 2002, Barber was named one of the “Best New Chefs” by Food & Wine magazine. He also received the James Beard Best New Chef: New York City award in 2006 and the Outstanding Chef award in 2009. Time Magazine named Barber as one of the world’s most influential people in the Time 100 in 2009.

Barber went on to partner with International Culinary Center to create the Farm-To-Table extension of their Professional Culinary Arts program. ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts + Farm-To-Table program builds upon students’ foundational chef training by connecting it to the beginning of the food chain. By exploring how food is grown, raised, packaged and distributed, students gain a better understanding of how quality ingredients make it to the kitchen and are equipped to make informed choices for their own dishes.

A loyal ICC alumnus, Barber also likes to hire ICC graduates for his own food businesses.

Join ICC’s Trailblazing Alumni Today

The road to success begins with a first-rate education from a world-class culinary school. The International Culinary Center’s award-winning Total Immersion curriculum and intensive, fast-track programs prepare graduates with the skills and credentials they need to forge their own path in the culinary industry. And with more than 15,000 alumni making headlines in nearly every facet of the culinary industry, ICC is well-connected and will work with you throughout your career. To learn more about how ICC can help put you on the path to professional success, please complete the form on this page.

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Tools of the Trade

By Renee Farrell
ICC Student/Professional Culinary Arts

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On the first day of our culinary education we were issued with a huge bag of tools and gadgets boldly emblazoned with the ICC logo. Brimming with excitement we tore through them and started to learn to tools of the trade, those trusted items we will use over and over again for years to come.

As culinary students, there’s a certain pride we gain from understanding the difference between a boning versus a fileting knife, or how to use a channel knife and trussing needle. We start to feel the departure from amateur towards professional and it’s exciting. The enthusiasm begins to swirl and it’s all about the tools. Or is it?

The most common school of thought falls under the category of: a fancy toolkit does not a chef make. This may have an association bias, as no one wants to surrender an ounce of their talent to a piece of metal. It also shows grit and substance to believe that a bad tradesman blames his tools. However, there will always be tools that make life easier, and others that you feel the urge to throw at the wall.

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Our head chef has a pretty mean looking toolbox full of items you can tell have been tried and tested, and the contents honed to his specific style. The surprising part is his most beloved tool is a small mesh strainer with a broken handle that is perfect to scoop things out of hot boiling water or fat. Seriously, a five dollar broken strainer! Another highly skilled Chef who is part of the Spanish Culinary Arts program at ICC told me he buys his knives and equipment from Ikea. Ikea! He may have told me this to prove his point: that it’s all about skill and your tools are merely instruments available to give you a hand. There is something very organic about this theory and the key tenet is demonstrated by rockstar chefs from the most revered eras of classic cuisine. After watching Jacques Pepin debone an entire chicken with his bare hands, stuff it with leaks, onions and thyme so that it resembled an intact, perfect chicken… well, I have to say I agree.

And this is all fine and dandy, but it may only be 99% true for us mere mortals. Tools do play an important part in the life of a professional. To prove my point, go to a Sur La Table on any given Saturday morning and you’ll see chefs perusing the cutlery section with the elevated enthusiasm of comic book enthusiasts at Comic Con. Cutlery obsessions are akin to technology obsessions, there is always something new and exciting available – ergonomic handles, Japanese vs European blades, peelers that will change your life and don’t even get me started on sharpening stones.

But they are just that. Tools. So at this early phase of our culinary ventures we put ourselves in the hands of our beloved German knives and taillage until our fingers hurt. Maybe those ergonomic handles are worth it after all.