Food For Thought: Recapping The Culinary Conversation Among Women

Written by: Sylvanie Tweed
Professional Pastry Arts Student

A loud roar echoed throughout the International Culinary Center’s Amphitheater as women from all walks of the culinary and hospitality industries converged on the evening of March 29th for­­ Food for Thought: A Culinary Conversation among Women. And with that roar, a strong female presence was felt. Food for Thought; a collaboration between ICC and Journee, brought together a diverse panel of women chef’s and industry insiders to discuss relevant issues affecting women in the Food Industry today.

photosbyarielle-67The evening commenced with a vibrant meet-and-greet session complete with delicate hors d’oeuvres and provided an excellent opportunity for students and guests present to network with fellow industry professionals. The amphitheater filled within minutes and the sustained buzz of excitement gently carried the ladies (and three very supportive gentlemen) to their seats as they settled in for what proved to be a heated, intense, and informative panel discussion.

Our moderator, Dana Cowin formerly of Food and Wine, lead the charge as the seven featured women discussed how to help women go further in our industry and have their voices heard and their stories told. The popular topics of financial management, confidence building and dealing with failure and mistakes all got their fair share of input, interspersed with lively banter and a few laughs all around. This segued into a question and answer segment where the heated question came from an ICC chef via the way of maternal leave in the Food Industry and its effect on women. Should women feel forced to choose between having a family and having a career? This was certainly #foodforthought!

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Connect with Sylvanie Tweed on Instagram via @CakeShoppeCo, www.facebook.com/cakeshoppeco or www.cakeshoppeboutique.com


James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalist: Ghaya Oliveira

Upon graduating from the Culinary Academy, Ghaya earned her degree in Restaurant Management from the French Culinary Institute. Ghaya joined Café Boulud in New York in 2001. As a pastry commis, under Executive Pastry Chef Remy Funfrock, Ghaya learned the importance of precision and refined her technique. At Café Boulud, Ghaya was promoted on several occasions, first to Pastry Cook, then to Pastry Sous Chef. She continued to learn from Chef Funfrock, as well as Daniel Boulud’s Corporate Pastry Chef Eric Bertoia. She credits the former with teaching her to cook fruit with delicacy, care and respect for their natural flavors.

When Chef Daniel Boulud opened Bar Boulud in 2007, he called upon Ghaya to become Executive Pastry Chef.She became responsible for menu development and sourcing ingredients, citing the local farmers’ markets as inspiration. When neighboring Boulud Sud opened in May 2011, Ghaya’s sheer talent and ambition led Boulud to make her the Executive Pastry Chef there, too. At Boulud Sud she debuted her Grapefruit Givré – a whimsical dessert composed of a frozen grapefruit filled with grapefruit sorbet, fresh grapefruit jam, sesame crumble, sesame foam and rose water loukoum, topped with halva ‘hair’– which has received countless press accolades and praises from diners.

In July 2013, Boulud named Ghaya Executive Pastry at his flagship DANIEL. She brings traditional French pastry training, a refined palate, and unexpected flavor combinations, juxtaposed with a sense of playfulness; but above all, she brings an unwavering desire to delight! Her professional approach and talent were recognized by the James Beard Foundation with a 2012 nomination for “Outstanding Pastry Chef” and again in 2015, 2016. “Working for Daniel means always reaching for the best,” she says. “It’s knowing how to be classic and modern at the same time.”

Nomination: Outstanding Pastry Chef (Daniel)

For more information on the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards Semifinalists, click here. 

Chocolate Demo with Dean of Pastry Arts, Jacques Torres 2/1/2017

To kick off the month of February, Dean of Pastry Arts Jacques Torres prepared the ICC community for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday. Sharing words of wisdom on chocolate trends, the business side of Valentine’s Day and advice on how the famous Jacques Torres Chocolate locations handle one of the busiest seasons of the year.

Watch the full Facebook Live video, here. 

Want the ability to use the techniques shown here by Dean of Pastry Arts, Jacques Torres? Click Here to learn more about ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program.

View the full gallery, here: 

Inside ICC: Creating Heart Sablée Cookies with Chef Jurgen David

In a brand new video, we get you geared up for Valentine’s Day 2017 with Senior Coordinator of Pastry Arts, Chef Jurgen David. Watch as Chef Jurgen elevates an average vanilla sablée cookie recipe into a festive edible arrangement sweet enough for your sweetheart. Follow his recipe below and watch along!

Want to learn from Chef Jurgen David? Click Here to learn more about our Professional Pastry Arts program in New York City.


Recipe: Vanilla Sablée Dough

Yield: 615 g

  • Ingredients:
    270 g all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 225 g butter, room temperature
  • 100 g sugar
  • 20 g egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Procedure: For the Vanilla Sablée Dough

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Slowly, add the egg and then milk. Mix to combine, making sure to scrape between additions.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the bowl all at once, then mix on low speed until just combined.
  4. Wrap dough well in plastic wrap and chill before rolling.
  5. The dough can be stored for 3-4 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

 

Alumni Spotlight: Melissa Carroll, Pastry Arts Class of 2012 [California]

In a new alumni spotlight feature, Professional Pastry Arts graduate Melissa Carroll talks to ICC on life after graduating from ICC California’s Professional Pastry Arts program in 2012. Following her California graduation, Melissa traveled the globe before landing in the pastry kitchen of the South Congress Hotel in Austin, Texas.

To me, ‘Love What You Do’ is an incredibly important phrase that everyone should tell themselves. If you’re not enjoying your career, you’re not enjoying your life. We all have to work to provide a life for ourselves. What’s the point in working a job your hate when you could be doing something you love? ”

– Melissa Carroll


ICC: Tell us a little bit about your day-to-day responsibilities working for the South Congress Hotel in Austin, Texas. 

Melissa: I am a pastry kitchen supervisor at the South Congress Hotel in Austin, Texas. My job entails everything I used to do as a pastry cook plus helping with ordering, inventory, and writing prep sheets for our pastry team of about 12 people. Because I work night shifts, I’m responsible for both plating desserts on the line and pastry production. Within the hotel, there are two restaurants, one event space, one ice cream truck, and one bakeshop/coffee shop that we produce for. 


ICC: How did you first get involved with the hotel? melissa-carroll-7

Melissa: Before moving to Austin about a year and a half ago, I applied for the job from Illinois and later had a phone interview with my Chef, Amanda Rockman. Once I arrived, we met for a formal interview and I was offered the position as a pastry cook.  


ICC: What inspired you to enroll in culinary school? Were there certain steps/ thoughts that lead you to the decision?

Melissa: I’ve loved cooking since I was about 12 years old. I always found myself watching cooking shows and enjoyed making dinner for my family every night. Going to culinary school was always something I knew I’d enjoy.


ICC: How and when did you know you wanted to work in the food industry? What about it was appealing to you?

Melissa: In high school, I had dreams of opening my own cafe one day. One of my favorite parts of cooking is being able to cook for other people. Seeing the look on someone’s face when they’re enjoying your food is very rewarding. After high school, I attended art school for a semester. I then took the following semester off to save up for culinary school. I later went back to art school while working in kitchens to finish up my Associates in Fine Arts.


ICC: What were your greatest challenges at school? And how were you able to overcome them?

Melissa: Some of my greatest challenges in culinary school were remembering all of the different types of creams and exact temperatures to cook certain things to. It’s something I still struggle remembering but flash cards were definitely my friends when test time came around.


ICC: If someone were hesitant about pursuing a culinary education, what you say to encourage them?

Melissa: If someone is interested in pursuing an education in the culinary industry I would suggest them to stàge at a restaurant they admire first. Restaurant life isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something that they feel they’d enjoy after stàging for a day or two, I’d say it’s worth it. Being able to cook for people and using your creativity with food as your medium is very fulfilling.


ICC: What is your fondest memory of culinary school? 

One of my favorite assignments at the ICC was coming up with my own seasonal dessert menu for a fictional restaurant concept. My chef instructors then picked two items from the menu and we had to present them. They chose the Gooey Butter Cake with a cranberry orange compote and cinnamon chantilly and a deconstructed “Fig Newton” with fig thyme jam, spiced shortbread, goat cheese anglaise, port wine reduction, and a candied thyme sprig. My favorite event that I was able to attend thanks to the ICC was a dessert tasting and tour at Farallon with Chef Emily Luchetti.