Here at the International Culinary Center, we offer the Farm-to-Table extension to our Culinary program. If you are interested in local foods, farming and sustainability, this could be a great option for you. To be a Farm-to-Table chef, one must first be an excellent chef. Everyone we work with emphasizes this, the primary objective is to build the skills and techniques necessary for success in a professional kitchen. With Farm-to-Table, in addition to these essential classes, we offer a series of enrichment activities throughout your time at ICC. While they take a slightly different form each session as the local food movement grows and evolves, they always include field trips, lectures and events with fascinating innovators in the field.
We recently had one such talk from Wen-Jay Ying, founder of Local Roots CSA. What is Local Roots? Local Roots has re-imaging the traditional CSA model to fit the needs of everyday New Yorkers and created a new food system within the city. The ordering process is very simple and available online. Pickups are at various bars, cafes and workplaces throughout the city (Including ICC! Stop by the library if you would like to join!) and most importantly, the company is driven by core values and focused on community building.
During her talk, Wen-Jay invited our Farm-to-Table group to spend some time reflecting upon what each of them holds as a core value system and we then spent time discussing it afterward. This is a useful exercise for any chef who is just starting out. Wen-Jay shared the Local Roots value statement and guided our group through developing their own. We reflected on questions such as What is your value system as a chef? and What solution do you offer to our food system or dining culture? The answers were as diverse as our group, some focused on education of children, some on health and others on bringing joy and creativity through dining. “Write these down, and keep them with you,” said Wen-Jay, “Because once you are out in industry, it’s so easy to have a hard day where you feel like giving up but you have to remember your motivation and why you started.”
This is excellent advice, perhaps even the key to longevity in the kitchen and a sustainable career. Local Roots pick up is available at ICC every Tuesday afternoon. You can sign up in the library or check here for more info: http://localrootsnyc.org/