Tips To Grow Your Beverage Program

This month, our Business Bites Resources—brought to you by ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship (CE) program—provides tips for food businesses looking to bolster their drink menu.

the panelists from the eventAt the beginning of November, members from the culinary community gathered for a panel to discuss the importance of having a beverage program in your restaurant that gets customers back to the bar.  The four panelists were experienced members of the culinary and beverage industry, including Jason Hedges, Bar Director of Gotham Bar & Grill and Partner of BarIQ; Noah Rothbaum, Editor of Half Full from The Daily Beast; Nora Favelukes, President of QW Wine Experts; and Vanessa Da Silva, Sommelier at Ninety Acres.

In the discussion, they shared their tips for creating and managing a successful beverage program, as well as how to turn your drinks into dollars. We’ve gathered some of their tips for success below!

Specialty Cocktails Drive Sales

Our panelists all agreed that specialty cocktails can drive sales and bring in new customers, while increasing margins for the business. Not only are cocktails experiencing a renaissance among bar scenes, but they can also be a fun and visual “Instagram-able” feature on your menu, increasing brand awareness. One tip that we learned from our experts—using fresh juice not only makes a cocktail more delicious, but is surprisingly a way to save money as it can be cheaper than buying expensive pre-made mixes.

Invest in Ice

For most guests, their first experience in a restaurant is ordering a cocktail, so why not take your cocktail to the next level? Ice is a daily requirement in all restaurants, and a universal ingredient in bar drinks. Despite its importance, ice can often be overlooked. Many bar programs are turning to ice blocks, specialty cubes and more to provide a better appearance and experience for their customers. In the end, the cocktails look better, but can also taste better as ice that is higher in quality won’t dilute a cocktail with water as fast.

Bar Software

Bar software can make or break a restaurant in today’s world. According to San Pellegrino, 100% of US restaurants on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list are using a software called BinWise. In addition to these restaurants, Jason Hedges and Vanessa Da Silva, both panelists that work in the restaurant industry, also use BinWise to manage their restaurants inventory and more. There are many other options on the market, so the key is to find a software that works for your business. In the end, bar software programs can increase time saved during inventories, help to gain insights into what products are being poured the most, create a database to have information readily available, and help to recapture lost money.

ABOUT BUSINESS BITES

The BUSINESS BITES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels, networking events and resources designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry.

Incubators for Entrepreneurs

This month, our Business Bites Resources—brought to you by ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship (CE) program—provides tips for food businesses looking for shared kitchen spaces in the wake of the sudden closing of Pilotworks earlier this month. Out of nowhere, 175 small businesses were displaced “after failing to raise the necessary capital to continue operations.”

Specialty food businesses are becoming more prevalent than ever before in today’s fast-paced retail sales market. In 2014, in the US alone, specialty food businesses were worth over $85 billion dollars. This billion dollar industry didn’t just appear out of nowhere—it came from hardworking, determined individuals who had a dream and a concept that they’ve developed into a viable food business, as many of our students have done through the CE program.

More often than not, these food business concepts started in shared kitchens and incubators around the country. Shared kitchens are the lifeline for small business entrepreneurs looking to turn their idea into a working business. They offer a commercialized kitchen space that follows federal food safety laws where innovators can create their products in a safe environment. Incubators on the other hand also help to develop the packaging, marketing, and selling of products, while still offering the shared kitchen component. Often, these incubators and shared kitchens are much more economical for small businesses that aren’t making enough money to rent out a whole commercial kitchen themselves.

Each incubator also tends to work a little differently. Our partner, Hot Bread Kitchen, allows new businesses on a rolling basis. Many incubators start new businesses in a group and only allow applicants a few times a year. The differences extend from there, including capital offered, applicants accepted, and training programs.

These incubators offer support and allow businesses to grow and flourish, which is why it was devastating to learn that Pilotworks abruptly closed their doors to 175 small businesses.

Our Culinary Entrepreneurship graduate and owner of Brutus Bakeshop, Lani Halliday, was one of the small businesses affected by the Pilotworks shut down. Halliday and her business partner, Woldy Reyes of food service company Woldy Kusina, were in the midst of planning Dominga, a cafe opening in 2019, when they were told about the news of the closing via an email. Lani, recipient of the Stacy’s Scholarship for Female Culinary Leaders, attended ICC’s program this fall on a full-tuition scholarship to formalize the business plan for Dominga.

Lani told us that “we aren’t sure what happened as it was so sudden and unexpected, but we are just trying to stay positive and use this as fire to launch Dominga.” She also shared that “it’s been beautiful to see the community coming together in such a short amount of time.” In an effort to reconcile all that they lost in the Pilotworks closing, our Culinary Entrepreneurship instructor, Alek Marfisi, started a GoFund Me to support Lani. Check out the fundraiser for Dominga here.

In support of the food business community at large, our Culinary Entrepreneurship program compiled a list of commercial kitchens, shared kitchen spaces and incubators in the NYC & Tri-State area that are available for businesses.

Shared Kitchens

Manhattan

Hot Bread Kitchen
1590 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10029
Phone: 212-369-3331
Email: Incubator@hotbreadkitchen.org
Website: www.hotbreadkitchen.org

City Cookhouse
1325 Fifth Avenue @ 111th Street
Manhattan, NY 10026
Phone: 646-580-1325
Email: info@citycookhouse.com
Website: http://www.citycookhouse.com

Brooklyn

Hana Kitchens
34 35th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
Phone: 718-369-7594
Website: http://www.hanakitchens.com

NYC Commercial Kitchens
Phone: 516-698-7087
Email: info@nyccommercialkitchen.com
Website: www.nyccommercialkitchen.com

Bronx

NYC Commercial Kitchens
Phone: 516-698-7087
Email: info@nyccommercialkitchen.com
Website: www.nyccommercialkitchen.com

Queens

Mi Kitchen es su Kitchen
36-46 37th Street
Long Island City NY 11101-1606
Phone: 212 452 1866
Email: MiKitchen1866@aol.com
Website: www.MiKitchenEsSuKitchen.com

BAO Food and Drink Organic Food Incubator
23-23 Borden Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101
Phone: 718-391-0009
Website: www.organicfoodincubator.com
Contact: Pete Herman

NYC Commercial Kitchens
Phone: 516-698-7087
Email: info@nyccommercialkitchen.com
Website: www.nyccommercialkitchen.com

Tiny Drumstick
48-18 Van Dam Street,
Long Island City NY. 11101
Phone: 718.392.9092
Email: info@tinydrumsticks.com
Website: http://www.tinydrumsticks.com

Entrepreneur Space
36-46 37th Street
Long Island City, NY 11101
718-392-0025
Website: http://www.entrepreneurspace-qedc.com

Industry City
https://industrycity.com

New Jersey

Saveur Creole
131 Grove Street
Montclair, NJ 07042
Phone: 973-687-5612;
Contact: Magalye M.

Jersey Girl Cafe – Madeline’s Table
Hamilton, NJ
Phone: 908-421-6434
Contact: Chef Kathy

Bella Casa
2 Acme Street
Belleville, NJ 07109
Phone: 973-985-1224
Contact: Peter Norton

Cherry Street Kitchen
1040 Pennsylvania Ave.
Trenton, NJ 08638
Phone: 609-695-5800
Contact: John

Hesperides Kitchens
150 Florence Avenue
Hawthorne, NJ 07506
Contacts:
Albert (845) 216-1696
Lisa ( 845)216-1282

Jesse’s Cafe & Catering
139 Brighton Ave.
Long Branch, NJ 07740
Phone: 732-229-6999
Contact: Jesse Novak

Puccini Foods
1 Morris St,
Paterson, NJ
(973) 796-7677
Contact: Anthony Salvator

NY - Outside NYC Area

Battenkill Kitchen
PO Box 784
58 E Broadway
Salem, NY 12865
President: Will Lennon
Phone: 518-854-3032
Website: http://www.battenkillkitchen.org

Cook & Bake Center
360 C Mount Pleasant Av
Mamaroneck, NY 10543
Phone: 914-698-3663
E-mail: info@cookandbakecenter.com
Website: www.cookandbakecenter.com

Hometown Foods, LLC
362 Eichybush Rd
Kinderhook, NY 12106
Owner: Anna Dawson
Phone: 518-758-7342
Website: www.hometownfoods.net

ABOUT BUSINESS BITES

The BUSINESS BITES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels, networking events and resources designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry.

Business Bites raise the bar with your beverage program

Business Bites: Raise the Bar with Your Beverage Program

The BUSINESS BITES SERIES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels and networking events designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry. Each event is designed to provide education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.

BUSINESS BITES: RAISE THE BAR WITH YOUR BEVERAGE PROGRAM

DEVELOP AND MANAGE YOUR WINE, BEER & SPIRITS

Thursday, November 1st | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

Turning your beverage program into a profitable venture for your business takes a lot of hard work, but with the right knowledge and dedication, it can be the key to your restaurant, bar or food business’ success and longevity. From preventing over pouring to curating the best cocktail, beer and wine lists for your audience, learn how to navigate some of the common mistakes that many restaurants make, and understand the impact that your beverage program can have on your profitability.

So what do you need to know to turn your drinks to dollars?

Join us for an informative discussion with experts in the beverage industry—including wine directors, beverage consultants, bar owners, and distributors—to help make your beverage program more liquid. Our panel of experts will share tips and tools for getting started, how to grow and manage your beverage menu, finding the right solutions for your restaurant or bar, and more. You’ll also have ample time for networking and the opportunity to learn how ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program can take you from concept to business plan & pitch in just 6-weeks!

MODERATOR

Alek Marfisi, Upwind Strategies
Alek Marfisi – Owner, Upwind Strategies & ICC Entrepreneurship Instructor

Alek Marfisi is a native New Yorker with a passion for building things and helping people. After working advising small businesses for five years, Alek launched Upwind Strategies in 2015 with the mission of providing deeper and more relatable services to small businesses: the anti-business-school services firm. He previously worked with the NYS Small Business Development Center where he dove into the exciting intricacies of making entrepreneurial projects a reality. Since then, Alek has logged more than 11,000 hours working with small businesses and has been recognized as one of the top drivers of economic development in the country.

PANELISTS

jason hedges
Jason Hedges, Bar Director of Gotham Bar & Grill and Partner of BarIQ

Jason Hedges is a New York based wine and spirits professional and the Bar Director at Gotham Bar and Grill. His consultancy, Bar IQ, helps new and existing bar and restaurant concepts achieve ultimate quality and profitability. Jason is a judge of both wine and spirits for The Ultimate Beverage Challenge and also sits on the tasting panel for Wine and Spirits Magazine. Jason has developed award winning beverage programs for multiple Michelin rated restaurants in NYC. He is passionate about creating quality.

Jason is a Court of Master Sommelier’s Certified Sommelier, and has also successfully completed the Beverage Alcohol Resource’s intensive course and is certified with distinction.

noah
Noah Rothbaum, Editor of Half Full from The Daily Beast

Noah Rothbaum is the editor of The Daily Beast’s Half Full section. He also hosts the podcast Life Behind Bars with legendary cocktail historian David Wondrich.

In addition, Rothbaum is the author of the book The Art of American Whiskey: A Visual History of the Nation’s Most Storied Spirit, through 100 Iconic Labels and the associate editor of the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails. Rothbaum’s first book, The Business of Spirits: How Savvy Marketers, Innovative Distillers, and Entrepreneurs Changed How We Drink, was published in 2007.

According to Chicago magazine’s chief dining critic, Jeff Ruby, “Rothbaum knows drinking like Newton knew gravity, but he’s not all high and mighty about it, creating laws and whatnot.” And The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog called him “one of the smartest tipplers (and writers on spirits) we know.”

He is the former editor-in-chief of Liquor.com, and has contributed to the Wall Street JournalNew York TimesO MagazineDetailsMen’s JournalMen’s FitnessFood & WineGastronomica, and more.

Nora Favelukes
Nora Z. Favelukes, President of QW Wine Experts

Leading Expert on Imported Wines to the United States, Influencer, Spokesperson, Presenter and Moderator.

Wine expert with years of international experience; equipped with rare understanding of the inner workings and complexities of the U.S., South American and European wine industries. A skilled spokesperson, moderator, negotiator and a natural diplomat.

Ms. Favelukes entered the wine trade in her native Argentina in 1984. Her early professional credits include the post of Export Director at Bodegas Navarro Correas, Argentina. In 1988, she moved to the United States to work as East Coast Sales Manager for Vinos Argentinos. In 2000, she became National Sales Manager for Billington Imports – where she was responsible for the introduction of Bodegas Catena. And, from 1995 through 2001 she was Director of Fine Wines for Palm Bay Imports.

Today, Ms. Favelukes is President of QW Wine Experts, a consulting firm she launched in 1995, which is dedicated to the nationwide public relations, marketing and sales of imported fine wines to the United States market.

Professional credits:
•Past-President of the Wine Council of Argentina in the United States
•Guest lecturer on South American Wines
•The Foreign Service Institute in Washington DC
•The Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University
•New York City College of Technology on South American and Iberian Peninsula

urce’s intensive course and is certified with distinction.

IMG_20180825_151954_551
Vanessa Da Silva, Sommelier at Ninety Acres

Vanessa Da Silva grew up in rural Maine. While studying abroad in Florence, Italy, she took a recreational wine class and became enamored with wine.  After graduating from the University of Maine with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing & International Business, Vanessa pursued a career in marketing but soon realized her budding interest in wine was more than a hobby. Vanessa completed the Intensive Sommelier Training Course at the International Culinary Center in January of 2013 and simultaneously passed the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory and Certified exams.

After several years working as a Sommelier in Manhattan restaurants, Vanessa returned to the ICC where she took on the role of the Wine Coordinator, working on the educational side of wine. In 2017, Vanessa decided to return to the restaurant industry and took on a role at Ninety Acres – a farm-to-table restaurant in Pepack, New Jersey. Vanessa is currently honing her Sommelier skills as she prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Examination.

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!

Old photo of Jacques Torres, Andre Soltner, Jacques Pepin, Julia Child, and Alain Sailhac in the Bread Kitchen at ICC

Flashback to FCI this July with French Demos, Tastings & More

In celebration of Bastille Day this July, we’re looking back at our days as The French Culinary InstituteTM with a whole month of programming dedicated to honoring French cuisine and culture, as well as our founding as FCITM. Join us for three events this July that celebrate everything we love about French culinary techniques, as well as French food & wine favorites that never go out of style!

Observe the masterful Chef Jacques Pépin, Dean of Special Programs, in his La Techniques demonstration to learn the fundamental knife skills every good cook must know. Learn the art of pairing through a tasting of French wines and cheeses carefully selected by Dean of Wine Studies and Master Sommelier, Scott Carney, with cheeses provided by Paris Gourmet. Or, travel to the region of Alsace with a demonstration and tasting of traditional and modern techniques for three Alsatian summer dishes and desserts from Chef Marc Bauer’s hometown. Check out the event details below & RSVP to attend!

Plus, we’ll be showing you how the International Culinary Center is still The French Culinary InstituteTM throughout the month of July on our social channels! Follow us all month long as we unlock the FCI vault with photos, stories, recipes and never-before-seen archives of our history. Test your knowledge with Tuesday Trivia on our Instagram stories and see how much you know about the history of FCI/ICC. Tune in every Friday on Instagram for Ask the Chefs as we hear from our FCI/ICC Chef-Instructors about their favorite French dishes, FCI memories and more! Watch us live on Facebook on July 12th at 12pm EST for 20 questions with Chef Jurgen David who has been an FCI/ICC Pastry Chef-Instructor for 20 years.

If you’re an FCI grad, Chef Instructor, or frequently dined at L’ Ecole, we want to hear from you! Share your favorite FCI memories with us using #FCIflashback and tagging @iccedu on Instagram and Twitter. Your photos may end up in our #ThrowbackThursday posts with other photos from our archives.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL

#FCIFLASHBACK

INSTAGRAM
@iccedu
TWITTER
@iccedu
FACEBOOK
@InternationalCulinaryCenter

JULY DEMOS & TASTINGS

Chef Jacques Pepin
La Technique with Chef Jacques Pépin
Wednesday, July 11 | 3:30-5pm
ICC Amphitheater

Join us for an exclusive demonstration with ICC’s Dean of Special Programs, Chef Jacques Pépin, as he shares the fundamental techniques to improve your knife skills.

white wine & rose wine in glasses
Bastille Day Wine & Cheese Tasting
Thursday, July 19 | 3:30-5pm
ICC 5th floor

ICC’s Dean of Wine Studies and Master Sommelier, Scott Carney takes us through a carefully curated pairing of French wine & cheeses, provided by Paris Gourmet, to highlight the principles behind each pairing success.

Chef Marc Bauer plating
A TASTE OF ALSACE WITH CHEF MARC BAUER
Wednesday, July 25 | 3:30-5pm
ICC Amphitheater

Defined by its rich and vibrant traditions, Alsace is a region known for its cooking, where Alsatian chefs have been particularly ingenious in their ability to use day-to-day ingredients when creating culinary masterpieces! Get a taste through this demonstration of three Alsatian summer dishes & desserts inspired by Chef Marc’s childhood.

Business Bites: Launching Your Food Product, spoon and light bulb

Tips to Getting Your Food Product on Shelves

Written by: Judson Kniffen, ICC’s Associate Director of Education

On June 21st, ICC’s New York campus held the latest installment of the BUSINESS BITES SERIES. This discussion, which focused on launching your food product, featured four panelists who have successfully taken food products from stove to store as entrepreneurs and food business owners, as well as grocery buyers and brand consultants.

So what do you actually need to know to take your idea from stove to store? Check out the secrets from our entrepreneurs below.

Write a Business Plan. It doesn’t need to be perfect and you don’t even need to stick to it as your business evolves, but having a written business plan forces you to focus on your financials, and sets benchmarks to which you can measure your success. The Brooklyn Public Library has a competition that has helped some of our food entrepreneurs gain financial and marketing skills and focused their business, and ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program is designed to help you build your business plan.

Packaging is Key. Your product needs to stand out from the competition – but not be so different that it’s unrecognizable. The packaging needs to sell itself. Go to a store and look at similar products on the shelf. How can yours be unique but also share the same shelf space?  What shapes and colors will make it stand out? There are lots of stock packaging options that can be customized, which is an easy and affordable way to get started.

Get Feedback (And Listen to it!). Ask friends, coworkers, and strangers what they think of your product. They might see something you’ve overlooked or taste something you don’t. Have demos at shops and talk to your customers. The more face time you have with the public, the more successful your business will be. If someone gives you a valuable piece of advice, listen to it and ask yourself how you can incorporate it into your business.

The Department of Agriculture is Your Friend. Trying to find regulatory information on your food product? Looking for classes in food safety? Call the Department of Agriculture and speak to someone on the phone about your specific product and questions. The people who work at the DOA are knowledgeable and can be very helpful when you are looking for a quick answer. Get certified in food safety education. Their knowledge and resources are vast and are at your disposal.

Get Started Now! If the big picture is too daunting, making small, incremental steps will ultimately lead to many accomplishments. ­­

Surround Yourself with Other Culinary Entrepreneurs. Listen to podcasts on your subject. The community momentum will help you keep going.

Be resilient! You’re going to hear a lot of “NOs” at every stage of your business, but it is important to persevere and remember why you started in the first place.

The BUSINESS BITES SERIES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels and networking events designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry. Each event is designed to provide education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.

fci alumni ed hardi demo

6 Things to Know Before Opening Your Food Truck

Written by: Judson Kniffen, ICC’s Associate Director of Education

Ed Hardy explaining how to open a food truck to ICC students and alumniFCI graduate Ed Hardy, Class of ’06, recently returned to his Alma Matter to lead a business workshop and cooking demonstration for ICC students and alumni. Ed owns and operates the award-winning food truck, Bacon ‘n Ed’s Mobile Gourmet Kitchen, in the DC metro area. He specializes in private events where he features his famous fried chicken banh mi, Swedish meatball sub, and many other delicious items!

 

 

While discussing the business aspects Chef Natalia serving Bacon n Ed's demo samplesof owning and operating a food truck, Ed and his chef-partner Evan Henris demonstrated how to make quick pickles for their celebrated Banh Mi sandwiches, and they discussed the multi-week long process for making real sauerkraut. Fermentation is hot right now, and Chef Ed works hard to stay on top of the food trends.

 

 

 

Thinking of opening your own food truck? Here are the 6 key lessons we learned from Ed Hardy:

1. Focus on a concept.

Really think about your menu, and whom your audience is. Is your food able to be prepared and served in a truck? What practical necessities will you need to serve the most amount of people in the shortest amount of time?

2. Chose your vehicle wisely.

Airstreams look cool, but those curved corners are big wastes of space. Think about maximizing every square inch of your food truck. What is the flow of the cooking and serving? Is there enough storage for food and cleaning supplies?

3. Systems equal success.

Gey your systems in place before opening: payment, scheduling, cleaning, organizing.

4. Start your paperwork early.

There is a lot of licensing, tax forms and other paperwork that need to be submitted. It’s not the fun part of the job, but it’s an unavoidable reality.

5. Be present on social media.

Let your followers know where you will be and keep them engaged. Respond to all question and comments just as you would in person.

6. Be unique

Competition is fierce these days. Your truck and your food need to stand out. Invest in good graphic design and be creative, and consistent, with your brand image. Maintain your quality — don’t lower your standards to increase margins, customers will notice.

Business Bites: Launching Your Food Product, spoon and light bulb

Business Bites: Launching Your Food Product

The BUSINESS BITES SERIES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels and networking events designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry. Each event is designed to provide education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.

BUSINESS BITES: LAUNCHING YOUR FOOD PRODUCT

FROM STOVE TO STORE AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN

Thursday, June 21st | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

Turning an idea for a food or beverage product into reality is a dream for many, but it takes more than a delicious product and eye-catching packaging to bring your product to the shelves. From testing your concept and researching competitors, to manufacturing, packaging and distribution, entrepreneurs face many unique challenges in today’s competitive food product space.

So what do you need to know to take your idea from stove to store?

Join us for an informative discussion with experts in entrepreneurship, branding, financing and retail to help get your food product off the ground. Our panel of business owners, brand consultants, and specialty buyers will share tips and tricks about where to start; branding, design & packaging; shared commercial kitchens & co-packers; sales & distribution strategies; and what everyone wants to know – what buyers are looking for! You’ll also have ample time for networking and the opportunity to learn how ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program can take you from concept to business plan & pitch in just 6-weeks!

Plus, learn more about the Stacy’s Scholarship for Female Culinary Leaders, a full-tuition scholarship to ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program for women who have plans to open a culinary business!

MODERATOR

Alek Marfisi, Upwind Strategies
Alek Marfisi – Owner, Upwind Strategies & ICC Entrepreneurship Instructor

Alek Marfisi is a native New Yorker with a passion for building things and helping people. After working advising small businesses for five years, Alek launched Upwind Strategies in 2015 with the mission of providing deeper and more relatable services to small businesses: the anti-business-school services firm. He previously worked with the NYS Small Business Development Center where he dove into the exciting intricacies of making entrepreneurial projects a reality. Since then, Alek has logged more than 11,000 hours working with small businesses and has been recognized as one of the top drivers of economic development in the country.

PANELISTS

Liz Alpern, Owner of The Gefilteria, Business Bites panelist
Liz Alpern – Owner, The Gefilteria

Liz Alpern is the owner of The Gefilteria and co-author of The Gefilte Manifesto. She is on the faculty of ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program and is a consultant for national non-profit, Fair Food Network.

Follow Liz: Instagram @lizalpern @queersoupnight
Follow The Gefilteria: Facebook, Instagram & Twitter @gefilteria

Jill Frechtman, Brand Consultant, Business Bites Panelist
Jill Frechtman – Brand Consultant

Jill Frechtman is an entrepreneur with a passion for building inspired, authentic, and impactful brands. Jill’s unique approach to branding incorporates her 16+ years of experience as a designer, specialty food entrepreneur, and a creative strategy and brand marketing consultant. She is the founder of chocolate pretzel company, Fretzels by Jill, and is a consultant for a number of other entrepreneurs and businesses, in a variety of industries, developing, designing, and growing their brands.

Laura Heifetz, Grocery Buyer, Greene Grape, Business Bites Panelist
Laura Heifetz – Grocery Buyer, The Greene Grape

Laura Heifetz is a native New Yorker with a love of all things edible. She attended the Natural Gourmet Institute and worked as a personal chef, before discovering her passion for cheese and specialty foods. Having worked behind some of NYC’s most famous cheese counters for 5 years, she took over as Grocery Buyer in 2014 at the Greene Grape, where she keeps the shelves stocked with some of the world’s best foods. She regularly works with local small batch producers to help develop their products from concept to shelf.

Follow Laura: Instagram @cheflaura126 | Twitter @curdbird
Follow The Greene Grape: Facebook @thegreenegrape | Instagram & Twitter @greenegrape

April Wachtel, Owner of Swig + Swallow, Business Bites Panelist
April Wachtel – Founder/CEO, Swig + Swallow

April Wachtel is a passionate educator, an experienced mixologist, a cocktail and spirits instructor, and founder of Swig + Swallow, the cocktail mixer company. She is a 22 year veteran in the beverage and hospitality industry, working in every role from busser to bartender to beverage director, to brand ambassador to beverage consultant. April has appeared on The Today Show, and Fox & Friends, as well as The Pitch Podcast, The Travel Bite, Tech Bites, The Main Course, Sharp & Hot, and more.

Follow April: Instagram @aprilwachtel
Follow Swig + Swallow: Facebook & Instagram @swigandswallow | Twitter: @swig_swallow

5 Takeaways from ICC’s Ask The Alumni Demo with Adam Lathan, Co-Founder and Executive Chef of The Gumbo Bros.

Written by: Cathi Profitko 

Adam Lathan, co-founder and Executive Chef of The Gumbo Bros., is a native of the Gulf Coast of Alabama and a graduate of ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program. In 2016, he and his business partner Clay opened their first location in Brooklyn to rave reviews. He recently joined ICC students for an Ask the Alumni event where he shared his experiences and advice on opening your first restaurant …as well as some secrets to making a great Gumbo.

Opening a restaurant is both exciting and overwhelming. It means you are creating a business that not only feeds your soul but will pay your bills. A big difference between those who succeed and those who don’t, is how they prepare for and manage the unexpected. How did Adam approach this? Here are some highlights from his discussion.

1. First things first, prepare a business plan.

A business plan is your road-map and will make you focus on all aspects of your business – not just the ones you are best at but more importantly the ones you are not.

2. Be generous with your estimates and set aside contingency to cover the inevitable yet unexpected.  

One area that many people miss is that in addition to construction and other startup costs, you also have operating costs (lease, utilities, insurance) to pay, even before you open. Setting aside sufficient working capital to cover this is critical.

3. You will need help.

Use resources and the network at ICC to assemble a team of advisers that will give you honest feedback and advice. The Gumbo Bros. has been operating successfully for well over a year yet Adam still actively maintains and expands his relationships with advisers and mentors.

4. Work with people you trust.

In addition to your advisers, mentors, and business partners, find a real estate broker and an attorney that care about your business as much as their own. You are tied to your lease for at least 10 years… be ruthless in making sure it is the best you can get. Remember, if you can’t take it with you when you leave, negotiate to have your landlord pay for it.

5. Understand what each member of your build out team – Architect, Engineer, Contractor(s) – is responsible for and hold them accountable.

Having had plenty of experience in general contracting while working for his father, Adam understood a lot more than most going into the build out. He recommends hiring a self-certifying architect to save time on approvals, working a “no change order” clause into your contractor agreements and take LOTS of pictures throughout the ENTIRE process. You don’t want to have to take down an entire wall to find out where a leaky pipe is 6 months after you open.

This discussion on restaurant construction could have gone on forever as Adam is a wealth of knowledge… but we were all getting hungry so Adam made us some Cajun Gumbo (the roux is oil based). And, of course, it was delicious!


Fun fact: Do you know the difference between Cajun and Creole cuisine? Cajun is referred to as country cooking where ingredients harvested from the swamps and bayous are used prominently; Creole cooking is referred to as city cooking as it came out of the diverse kitchens of New Orleans where the ports supplied an abundant array of less local ingredients.

Celebrating Culinary Entrepreneurship Grads for National Entrepreneurship Month

November has officially been named as National Entrepreneurship Month, with the official day of recognition for Entrepreneurs’ Day landing on Tuesday, November 21. Throughout the years, the International Culinary Center (and formerly the French Culinary Institute) has provided the technical training to give students and hopeful entrepreneurs the opportunity to have their ideas flourish into reality.

This year, we focus on 6 fearless female graduates of ICC New York’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program to show you the businesses they built from the ground up after receiving their Grand Diploma from our SoHo campus. With ICC’s recently launched Stacy’s Rise Project scholarship, future female entrepreneurs have the chance to earn up to $6,950 toward their Culinary Entrepreneurship education. Through the program, students will receive mentorship and guidance to aid prospective entrepreneurs to go from concept to business plan in just 6 weeks.

The following women have completed the program and have moved on to start a business where they can love what they do on a daily basis.


Rosemarie McNish

ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship Graduate 2016

 Owner of KaRosie Cakes | http://www.karosiecakes.com

KaRosie Cakes, founded by Rosemarie McNish, was conceptualized in 2012 after years of watching her mother bake delicious cakes enjoyed by family and friends.  In an effort to keep the legacy going Rosemarie learned the recipes herself and expanded on her mother’s creations.  The flagship product of KaRosie Cakes is an authentic Jamaican-Style Rum Cake, a deliciously flavored, rum-infused cake that her mother created as a young girl in Jamaica.  Always made with love, and usually only available during Christmastime and weddings, Jamaican-Style Rum cake is now available all year round and for any event.

The name KaRosie Cakes is a combination of the two McNish daughters: Karina and Rosemarie (Rosie) and was also a common misnomer in the household whenever Dave and Jackie McNish were calling for their daughters.  Rosemarie felt it was extremely important to share how significant her family was in turning her dream into a reality and takes great pleasure in explaining the name to everyone.

KaRosie Cakes has developed over the years from the concept of just a Jamaican Rum Cake business to a Cake business focused on many Caribbean Flavors.  Thrilled to introduce unfamiliar flavors to the masses, Rosemarie enjoys adding a beautiful twist to the flavors she grew up with.

Officially launching the business in early 2017, Rosemarie is excited to embark on this new journey that’s been in the making for years.

 


Diana Egnatz

ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship Graduate 2016

Daaamn Good | http://www.dianaegnatz.com 

Diana is the founder of the Sweet Tooth Tuesday blog and the preserves company Daaamn Good. Daaamn Good offers modern twists on classic preserving techniques utilizing locally sourced produce + exciting flavors while providing our patrons with recipes that use our products in interesting ways. This project has been a long time coming for Diana. For years she has spent summers hauling pounds of seasonal produce from the Union Square Greenmarket to her tiny New York kitchen, and would jam up a storm! After coming home from work and going straight to the kitchen to make fig preserves, Diana realized that making jars of delicious goodness was an obsession worth creating a business around. Developing exciting and unusual flavor combinations that taste Daaamn Good is her mission; along with teaching customers how to use our products as more than just jam on toast!

A New York City-based artist, Diana is an honored alumna of the School of Visual Arts BFA Photography department and Mentor program. She works as the Director of Photography for the SVA yearbook. When Diana isn’t dancing around the darkroom or naked before her camera, she enjoys whipping up concoctions in her kitchen!  Winner of PDN Taste Award 2015.


Erica Barrett

ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship Graduate 2016

Southern Culture Artisan Foods
https://southernculturefoods.com

Erica Barrett is the Founder and CEO of Southern Culture Artisan Foods, a breakfast lifestyle brand she started after visiting the grocery store and seeing that there was a lack of quality breakfast products on the shelf. Erica is most notably known for appearing on the Emmy Award Winning Show “ABC’s Shark Tank” where she went head to head with the Sharks and received two offers; one from Kevin O’Leary and one from Barbara Corcoran and ultimately landed a deal with Barbara Corcoran on the show. Erica’s approach to food is to always create the best version of what you love.

Southern Culture, Erica’s Breakfast lifestyle brand is a salute to breakfast and her strong Southern roots. Erica has built her business from the ground up with an idea, tremendous faith and a will to succeed. Her products can now be purchased at 4,000 retailers across the  U.S and in three countries internationally. Erica’s passion for food and desire to build a food empire has inspired Erica to launch her own YouTube Channel and Branded Restaurant Concept.

A native of Mobile, AL Erica is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University with a BA in Business Finance but was inspired to follow her dream to cook professionally after becoming the grand prize winner of a video recipe contest with Foodnetwork.com and Lea and Perrins. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center (formerly French Culinary Institute) with a Grand Diploma in Culinary Entrepreneurship.

 

 

 


Leticia Skai Young

ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship Graduate 2015

Lolo’s Seafood Shack http://www.lolosseafoodshack.com

Born and Raised in Harlem and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Leticia Young has amassed more than a decade of experience in hospitality, entertainment and tourism having worked alongside Caribbean Hotel Brands and Tourism Boards; including the Anguilla Tourist Board, Cuisinart Anguilla, ViceRoy Anguilla, and Cap Juluca. Leticia brings a unique blend of Ivy League acumen and entrepreneurial driven creativity to the hospitality industry, as a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Culinary Entrepreneurship program of the International Culinary Center.

Your next island getaway just got a lot closer!  Executive Chef Raymond Mohan and Restaurateur Leticia Young opened LoLo’s Seafood Shack in the Winter of 2014.  LoLo’s Seafood Shack serves up a variety of seafood from the coastal comfort foods of the Cape like sauced shrimp to Caribbean street eats like our crunchy conch fritters.  LoLo’s is a New York Times Critic pick that has been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, Eater, Potluck Video, The Infatuation, NY Post, NY Daily News, NY Magazine, Nation’s Restaurant News, Refinery 29, Food & Wine, Village Voice and Zagat among others.

Island time hospitality seeks to create transportive and uplifting dining experiences through people in the various hospitality concepts, and consumer packaged goods we develop.  They create restaurant concepts that become unique gathering places at the crossroads of every community that they serve and invest in. Taking inspiration from their authentic passion for culture, global travel, and the culinary arts, the mission at LoLo’s Seafood Shack is to provide freshly cooked quality ingredients with authentic flavors to the massive via fast and friendly service at accessible prices.


Annie Shamoon

ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship Graduate 2016

Just Hit Send
https://www.justhitsendgifts.com

Founded by Dallas-based events planner Annie Shamoon, Just Hit Send attempts to make gift giving easy — with just a click, they will design, package, and send unique, high-end themed gift boxes to your friends and family. Each box contains three to six items that fit a unique theme. For example, the Cheers to You box packs in sparklers, matches, confetti and champagne glasses.

Sending someone a gift adds meaning to the moment. And all you had to do was hit “send”! I hope you enjoy gifting these packages as much as I loved designing them.

 

 

 

 

 


Ellie Pegler

ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship Graduate 2016

Farine +Four
https://farineandfour.com

Farine + Four is a developing bakery, led by New York City trained, Ellie Pegler. Utilizing strict technique and simple ingredients, the company sets out to create thoughtful and forward-thinking breads, pastries, ice creams, and chocolates.

When it comes to making bread, Ellie Pegler definitely knows a thing or two. She grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska where she worked at a local bakery making cookies for 9 years while still in her teens, graduated from the University of Nebraska, then followed her heart to New York City to attend the French Culinary Institute (now The International Culinary Center) to learn the art of bread baking and entrepreneurship. She honed her skills working at top restaurants in New York including the Michelin-starred restaurants Aquavit and Marea, and Vaucluse as Head Baker. Passionate about baking, she is now launching Farine + Four in Omaha Fall 2017.


To learn more about our Culinary Entrepreneurship program now, click here

To learn more about the Stacy’s Rise Project Scholarship, click here.

Are you a graduate of the International Culinary Center (or French Culinary Institute) and an entrepreneur we should know about? We’d love to be updated on your culinary career! Email your story to asamartano@culinarycenter.com to be included in future updates.