By Renee Farrell
International Culinary Center Student
Professional Culinary Arts
I am a food media junkie. And I should qualify that social media just doesn’t cut it. If I can’t hold it, flick through it, chances are I’ll forget about it and get distracted by an app pop-up halfway through. As a pious consumer of cookbooks, food magazines and food TV, I consider the culinary library at ICC my Mecca.
The library is an incredible source of inspiration, and it’s the only place I know with more cookbooks than my house. Libraries are often criticized for their stale moth-ball environment, but the ICC library has a vibrancy to it and it’s extremely current. The latest and greatest are there. Just look at the range of magazines: Cherry Bombe, Kinfolk and So Good are anything but stuffy.
This feeling of currency and relevance is pretty much expected as ICC has its finger to the pulse. But all of this has no depth unless the classics are present, and they are. The reference section is deeply technical and is relied upon by students and chef-instructors in equal measure. Classic cuisine is the soul of ICC, and it’s a regular occurrence for of the authors of these books to be gracing the hallways. Today, I’m reading a book with Jacques Pépin on the cover; tomorrow, I’m watching him give a live demonstration in the school’s amphitheater. It’s almost surreal.
As an additional nod to tradition and legends past, the ICC library stocks a collection of Gourmet Magazine dating back to 1969, paying homage to its relevance as a pioneering brand of food media. The female-centric ads in earlier editions are a lesson in cultural progression… but that’s another story entirely.
The culinary library truly is one of a kind. It’s an incredible resource for the students at ICC, who can be found there on any given day absorbing culture by researching recipes from Mexico, refining their food styling skills from masters like Donna Hay and Martha Stewart, or expanding their repertoire with a new Japanese technique. Whatever the culinary need, it’s bound to be filled within the glass walls of this fish tank full of food media.