James La Mar

Alumni Profile: James La Mar, Sommelier ’11

James La Mar is a 2011 graduate of the Intensive Sommelier Program at ICC’s Campbell, California campus. Like most students who enroll at ICC, James was looking for a career change and for something that he was passionate about. Before coming to ICC, he remarks that he was “all over the place,” mostly doing odd jobs to keep him occupied. He started with no experience, very little knowledge, and no contacts in the industry, but he knew that choosing ICC would give him the proper foundation to start and advance in the competitive world of wine.

After graduating, he spent 6 years working part time at the now closed Beltramo’s Wines and Spirits in Menlo Park, mostly helping out during the busy winter season. The store was over 100 years old and was one of the most important family owned wine shops in the history of California. He shares that he’s very glad to have been a small part of a wonderful legacy.

Fast forward to today, he now owns Grape Obsession, an apparel and accessory brand geared towards Sommeliers and wine fanatics.T Shirts from Grape Obsession James manages everything within the business, including creating designs, managing social media content, website maintenance, book keeping, sales, and everything else you can possibly imagine. With Grape Obsession, James aims to help his fellow Sommeliers show their passion through fun apparel and accessories, while helping new Sommeliers establish themselves in the industry—donating a portion of the profits to scholarships that benefit Sommeliers on their quest for knowledge and self-improvement. 

When asked about a piece of advice he would give to someone wanting to pursue an education in wine, he says “the only people who don’t succeed in life are the ones who never try.  Even if failure is a high possibility, do it anyway.  The struggle alone will make you a better person.  If you know in your heart that you want to do it, stop over thinking it and just do it.”

Before starting Grape Obsession, James tried on many different hats in the wine industry, including sales, wine retail, and even working as a sommelier and wine steward to find his best fit. He also believes that working in different parts of the industry is an important learning experience for any Sommelier, and helps to develop a sense of the bigger picture and where you fit in. Below is his take on the pros and cons of each profession in the industry.

Retail/Tasting Room

Wine retail is an especially great place in the industry if you are new to the business and still trying to figure out where you want to go.

Pros:

  • The wine buyer makes sure that you taste almost every wine that sales reps bring, which allows you to develop your palate.
  • Physically inspecting the bottles and the boxes as they come in helps put a lot of your wine theory into practice and gives a lot of needed context.
  • The hours you work would mostly be normal business hours, allowing for a decent work life balance, though you should expect to work some holidays.
  • You will be meeting a lot of wine sales reps; working in retail gives you some great contacts if you want to move into sales later on down the line.

Cons:

  • Working in the day means that you may have less opportunities to go to industry tastings and trade events that normally happen during the day on weekdays, unless you work your way into a management or wine buyer position where attending trade events is a part of your job.
  • Due to the nature of working in retail, you will be expected to work many weekends and holidays.
  • Entry pay is also lower in retail, though as you move up through management, compensation can range from average to above average.
  • Lastly, work can be humbling as you will be expected to work a cash register, lift heavy wine boxes, stock shelves, break down boxes, and clean floors, windows, and displays.

Sales & Distribution

If you have a competitive spirit, sales can be an exciting area of the industry to work in.  As a salesman, you will be responsible for motivating yourself to meet with wine buyers, taste products, make sales calls and write emails, and schedule your daily tasks weeks, sometimes months, in advance.  Being in sales is brutal especially if you are new to the game, but if you stick with it and persevere, there is a great sense of pride and accomplishment when you develop your territory and build strong lasting relationships with your buyers.

Pros:

  • This is great if you enjoy being a self-starter and working unsupervised.
  • You will have more work life balance, even though you will be extremely busy, and you will have more opportunities to see friends and family at night and on holidays.
  • There can be opportunities to travel for work to represent your brand or attend staff training trips.
  • You will be meeting frequently with clients and wine buyers, so you will be able to build a strong network within the industry.
  • You will also be responsible for supporting your accounts by leading tastings and classes on your products for their staff, which is fun as it allows you to pass on your passion for the brands you represent.
  • Earning potential is higher in sales. Because you are paid mostly by commission, you have the opportunity to make as much money as you are willing to work for.

Cons:

  • If you don’t have a strong competitive nature, sales can be difficult.
  • In sales, you will be faced with constant rejection; you will have to be able to take criticism of yourself, and the brands you represent, in stride.
  • As a sales rep, you will also be expected to be the problem solver for each of your accounts. The delivery truck missed a case of wine that your account needs for the weekend?  Stop by the warehouse and take the case directly to the account yourself.
  • You will need to check up regularly on your products at retail stores or check in with restaurants to see how they are doing on inventory. If the product is moving slowly, it is your responsibility to help the account make the product a success by offering to teach classes to the staff, making store marketing materials, etc.
  • It will also take some time before the money starts to come in, usually a few months to a year of building your territory up, so make sure you have a financial cushion when you start out.

Sommelier/Wine Steward

Are you a night person?  If you are, being a Sommelier may be the career path for you.

Pros:

  • Working nights frees up hours during the day to pursue many productive facets of your life, including having ample time for exercise, running errands, going to wine industry tastings and study groups, and most importantly having time to study.
  • Guest interaction is one of the greatest benefits, as there is great joy to be found in putting the needs of others in front of your own
  • You will also have certain management responsibilities, including staff training and assisting on the floor of the restaurant, which builds up leadership experience.
  • The amount of wine you try as a Sommelier is far greater than any other job in the industry— you will constantly taste exotic wines from your vendors, during restaurant service to make sure they aren’t corked, and at many different industry trade tastings that you will be invited to.
  • As you move up into a wine buyer role as a Sommelier you can also be invited to luncheons and occasionally have opportunities to be sponsored to travel to wine country by your vendors, your employer, or industry publications.
  • You have the job of building a wine program, which allows you to be creative and develop skills in purchasing.
  • Earning potential can range from average to above average as you normally will be making tips, though as you come up in the industry and move into a wine director position, earning potential can be even greater.

Cons:

  • Working nights and holidays is a challenge for anyone in the restaurant industry. You should prepare your friends and family that you’ll be working on a completely opposite schedule than most of them.
  • Like any job in the public sector, you will be dealing with people and will need to develop finesse to serve all guests.
  • Being a Sommelier is a very social line of work— you need to be comfortable with talking to complete strangers and charming them.
  • You will need to know how to manage a team and treat everyone with respect.
  • There are non-glamorous parts of the job, like carrying 40 pound cases of wine, counting inventory, publishing a wine list, and understanding the restaurant and the needs of your guests so that you make appropriate purchasing decision

Unlike other industries where moving around from different types of work can be a detriment to your resume, the wine industry appreciates job applicants with well rounded work experience, as the skills you build in different lines of work are often transferable and show that you have a passion for everything about wine, including the parts that are sometimes difficult or uncomfortable.  It is important for any Sommelier to be well rounded and to have a variety of experience in the industry in order to succeed in the long run.

Check out Grape Obsession’s awesome apparel and accessories here: www.grapeobsession.com and be sure to follow them on social by clicking on each icon below!

Things to Know Before Culinary School

As a new student at ICC, it is OK to have never cooked in a professional kitchen before and to not know everything– that is why you are coming to school in the first place! When you come to culinary school, you will develop a foundation for your career and set yourself up for future success. But, coming into any new situation can be nerve-wracking, so we put together some tips and terms to learn and practice before you begin your culinary journey. Read on to start the foundation of your success!

1. Test Your Technique

You’ll learn more than 250+ professional techniques in our Culinary and Pastry Arts programs, but we think these skills are great to practice before you come to ICC. These are skills that all chefs develop overtime, so working on them before you even come to school will make you feel prepared and ready to get cooking!

  • Clean as you cook. This is possibly one of the most important kitchen skills you can learn. Having a clean station is stressed in the classroom, and getting into the habit ofClean station being neat will set you up for your future professional career.
  • Learn the basics of the metric system. Units are typically codified into the metric system in the classroom and professional kitchens, so understanding the differences between ounces, liters, grams, and so on, will make it easier to get cooking.
  • Practice visualizing the steps of a recipe and writing out the steps in shorthand onto a notecard. Professional kitchens and the classrooms of ICC do not allow for recipes or phones, so it is important to know the recipe before you step into the kitchen. Writing out the steps is said to be the best way to study and truly understand material.

2. Know Your Kitchen Terms

Brigade is a system of hierarchy found in restaurants and hotels. The hierarchical structure can vary, depending on the kitchen. Some of the variations include:

  • 1 Executive Chef and Line Cooks
  • 1 Executive Chef, 1 or more Sous Chefs, and Line Cooks
  • 1 Executive Chef, 1 Executive Sous Chef, a Chef de Cuisine for each restaurant, a Banquet Chef, perhaps a Sous Chef for each Chef de Cuisine, a Pastry Chef

 

Mis En Place, also known as mise, is all of the prepped ingredients that a chef will need in order to have a successful service. These ingredients are readily available for the chef to quickly prepare the dish needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Sauces are the 5 sauces that every chef should have in their repertoire, and each one can be transformed into its own family of different sauces. They include:

  • Béchamel Sauce
  • Velouté Sauce

Fire: When this is heard in the kitchen, that means it is time to start preparing a dish! Typically, orders are made when they are received, but sometimes they have to be delayed to make the timing of the dishes spot on. If a table orders appetizers and entrees, the appetizers will be fired first!

 

Heard: If you’ve ever watched a cooking show before, you’ve heard this term! This is shouted back at whoever calls out instructions to the kitchen to let them know that they have been understood.

 

Behind: This term is key to kitchen safety. Any time you are crossing behind someone in a kitchen, it must be said so that the person who is dealing with the hot pan or plate of food does not injure someone else. Other terms to do with behind include sharp knife and hot behind.

 

Stage: Pronounced st-ah-j. This is the French term for externship/internship and is commonly used in kitchens and in the classroom.

 

Yes, Chef! is said in response to the head chef of the kitchen. This is to let the chef know that you have heard them and understood their message. Although it is a sign of respect and is earned in kitchens worldwide, it is also a safety measure to ensure that the kitchen runs smoothly.

3. Brush Up On Food Safety

In level one of the Professional Culinary and Pastry Arts programs, you’ll receive in-depth training on food safety & handling, and have the opportunity to receive your ServSafe® Certification from the National Restaurant Association. But before you learn the ins and outs of food safety, here are a few key tips to remember:

  • Perishable food should be kept below 45° or above 135°.
  • Dairy or protein based foods should not be left at room temperature
  • Refrigerators should stay below 41°F at all times
Duck from The Grill

ICC In The News: Highlights from August 2018

ICC In The News provides monthly highlights from articles published around the world that feature alumni, deans, faculty and more within the ICC community. Stories of our 15,000+ alumni network and their successes are continuously popping up across various prestigious publications. Below, we have brought together some of our favorites from August 2018, aimed to keep you connected with our community and inspire readers to #LoveWhatYouDo in the kitchen and beyond.

At West~bourne restaurant, you won’t find millennial pink banquettes or pineapple-print wallpaper, but you will get a homemade celery soda-kombucha, chia pudding with rose water and petals, and vibrant vegetable-grain bowls. Check out alumna and owner Camilla Marcus’ sustainable spot featured in NYLON.

Chef Matthew Kenney is one of the world’s premier chefs specializing in plant-based cuisine. Originally hailing from Connecticut, he graduated from ICC and spent the early ’90s honing his skills in kitchens throughout the New York dining scene. Read about the interesting new menu he developed for Folia at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.

Hither
VOGUE
Why This Oregon Town Could Be the Next Napa

According to Vogue, Ashland, Oregon is positioned to become the next Napa. If you journey to this beautiful wine region, be sure to stop by our alum’s market Hither, where co-founder Wesley Reimer is serving everything from coffee to natural wines with co-founder and wife Corrie.

Kris Feliz, graduate of ICC’s Italian Culinary Experience, is a line cook at the almost cartoonishly luxurious restaurant, the Grill, which opened in NYC to solidly enthusiastic reviews last year in the former Four Seasons restaurant. Every night, she is tasked with preparing the menu’s honey-mustard duckling, something of a signature dish that has come to define the kitchen’s commitment to turning out modern renditions of mid-century American classics. Find out why we can’t wait to try the honey-mustard duck in this Grubstreet feature.

A fascinating read on our grad David Chang and what he accomplishes in each of his restaurants with his chefs that many restaurateurs can’t: individuality within a large restaurant group. Catch our other grad too, Chef Jude Parra-Sickels, who is executive chef at Majordomo in LA. Read the article here.

Sofreh
NEW YORK TIMES
At 59, a Gutsy Chef Makes Her Restaurant Debut

 Nasimeh Alikhani is an ICC alumna and Chef/Owner of the newly opened Sofreh in Brooklyn, NY. Find a bold, modern take on Persian cuisine in a beautiful modern setting and read the NYT feature on her restaurant here.

Did you know there are many different routes you can take with a culinary education? Check out two of our grad’s, Alexis deBoschnek (Senior Culinary Specialist) & Rie McClenny (Video Producer) now working at Tasty, and remember that there are many different options for you after graduating from ICC!

Nourish began back in 2014 when alumna Mary Drennen co-founded the Birmingham-based meal subscription service. It features Southern-inspired meals with a premium on presentation and nutrition. Check out her subscription service here.

Majordomo Ribs
TEXAS MONTHLY
At Majordomo, David Chang’s Smoked Beef Short Rib Delights

David Chang’s newest restaurant venture, Majordomo, opened to rave reviews. The $190 dollar beef short ribs are worth the pretty penny, so check out his new place if you’re in Los Angeles!

Vanessa Greeley, graduate of ICC, is an award-winning TV chef—competing on multiple Food Network Challenge episodes, Food Network Cake Wars, and more—and now she’s teaching others to create edible masterpiece just like they see on TV. Celebrate the opening of the Vanessa’s Cake Designs studio in Warwick, NY.

 

Nicole Allyson Uy, a graduate of ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program, is making waves with her wildly successful hundred gram cookies at her bakery The Flour Girl in the Philippines. Check out the story of how she came up with her famous cookies, and opened her bakery here.

MY JEWISH LEARNING
This City is the Next Hot Spot for Jewish Food

With one of our campuses in NYC, it’s almost unheard of to talk about bagels from other cities. But our alumnus, Josh Pollack, is changing the narrative in Colorado. Read about how he recreated New York water in Denver, CO and now makes amazing bagels rivaling our NYC favorites!

Great Barrington, MA has a new restaurant and at the helm is alumnus, Chef Nicholas Browne. Among his accolades are winning Chopped in 2016, working at Michelin-starred restaurants across the globe, and now his newest venture, Botanica in MA. Check out his restaurant here.

 

Upstairs 2 is one of L.A.’s best-kept culinary secrets, a hidden gem that many do not know exists. Executive Chef Maiki Le, a Professional Pastry Arts program alum, cooks up a New American menu—market driven & sustainable—and boasts victories on Food Network’s “24 Hour Restaurant Battle” and “Chopped.”

Culinary Shows to Watch on Netflix

Whether you are heading back to school for the first time, in the midst of your culinary education, or even enjoy learning more about the culinary industry, we put together this list of shows on Netflix to get you inspired this back-to-school season. Check out the shows below, all of which feature ICC Deans & Alumni!

Chef's Table

Each episode of this Emmy nominated series profiles a different chef who’s innovations are changing the culinary scene and takes viewers through a journey of their lives and kitchens.

Our Graduates Featured:

Christina Tosi: 2004 grad, Christina Tosi, is changing the pastry industry from the inside out. When the producers of the show approached her to be one of the first pastry chefs featured, she was hesitant to go through with the show. We are so glad she did, as it gives us an inside look at the pastry giant’s creative mind.

Dan Barber is an alumnus and one of the leading voices in sustainability and food. His restaurants Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns are disrupting the culinary industry—starting from the farmers and purveyors all the way to the plate. In his episode, learn how he works with producers to breed new flavors into vegetables .

Ugly Delicious

Star chef and alumnus David Chang recognizes that good food doesn’t always have to be pretty. In his show, Ugly Delicious, watch as he takes his friends across the world in search of amazing food and conversations.

The Mind of a Chef

This show, which won multiple Emmy’s, explores the creative processes and artistry behind some of the greatest chefs in the world.

Season 1: Go back in time and see David Chang before his Momofuku empire took off! You’ll even see Christina Tosi in a few of the episodes.

Season 4, Episode 6: Shameless plug: this episode of The Mind of a Chef happens to be our favorite. It includes an interview with our dean, Chef André Soltner, filmed at our school!

Nailed It!

Jacques Torres, our Dean of Pastry Arts, leads Netflix’s Nailed It! as the head judge. Watch this show and prepare to laugh as home cooks try to recreate difficult, and sometimes wacky, pastry trends!

Career Fair September 13th, 2018

All chefs get their start somewhere. This September 13th, meet your future employer and amp up your networking skills! ICC’s Career Fairs, held twice a year, allow students & alumni to meet some of the most well-known restaurants and restaurant groups in NYC, coming specifically to ICC to meet YOU. With 50+ restaurants, restaurant groups, and more, there is something for everyone and every career path!

Thursday, September 13th | 3:00pm-4:30pm
International Culinary Center
28 Crosby St | New York, NY 10013
*Open to ICC Students & Alumni ONLY*
Email jobs@culinarycenter.com with inquiries

Below is the full list of employers, but be sure to visit the ICC Community page at my.internationalculinary.com for more information and for any updates to the employer list.

Abigail Kirsch/Pier Sixty
American Cut
B&B Hospitality Group
Breads Bakery
Celestine
Contra/Wildair/ Una Pizza Napoletana
Charlie Bird/Pasquale Jones/ Legacy Records
Choc o Pain Bakery and Cafe
Contra/ Wildair / Una Pizza Napoletana
Convene
Crafted Hospitality (Craft Restaurants)
Dinex Group of Chef Daniel Boulud, The
Eataly
Gramercy Tavern
Gabriel Kruether
Harvest Restaurant Group
Hello Fresh
Indiana Market & Catering
James Beard Foundation
Kruether Handcrafted Chocolate
Le Coq Rico
Loring Place
Madison Lee’s Cakes
Indiana Market & Catering
James Beard Foundation
Kruether Handcrafted Chocolate
Le Coq Rico
Loring Place
Madison Lee’s Cakes
Martha & Marley Spoon
Matter House Group (Estela, Café Altro Paradiso & Flora Bar)
Mercer Kitchen
NoHo Hospitality Group
Padoca Bakery
Park Avenue Seasonal,Quality Branded Group
Perrenial
Quality Branded (Quality Meats, Quality Italian, Park Ave, Maloney & Porcelli, Smith & Wollensky, Quality Eats)
Restaurant Marc Forgione
SoHo House
Starr Restaurant Group
Tao Group
The Culinistas
Thomas Keller Restaurant Group
Union Square Hospitality Group
Jeremy

An Unapologetic Passion for Wine

 Written by Jeremy Troupe-Masi, 2016 Intensive Sommelier Graduate

Food has always represented something far bigger than just nourishment in my life and the addition of wine has only added a fulfilling complexity. My passion for hospitality stems from a desire to expound upon the joy I feel when in the engaged service of others. I did not get into this industry simply because I love food or wine. First and foremost, I have a passion for people and I have found that when enjoying a thoughtfully prepared meal, you get to see people in their most genuine state.

For me, the transition from school to the real-world has presented many challenges, but never-losing sight of my vision is what has kept me pressing forward. I have worked hard over the last eight years building my network and have never leveraged them as much as I am now. I like to consider my network as my team; just as they have had my back through my journey, I would likewise support any of them in theirs. This bond has confirmed for me that relationships are the driving force for greatness. No one can tackle the world alone, and surrounding myself with like-minded individuals has given me with the tools necessary to act.

What is more, without having completed the Intensive Sommelier Training program at ICC, I would not be who or where I am today. This full-on immersion program not only gave me a solid foundation that further developed my vision, it also added an immense depth to my character that I wouldn’t trade for anything. To those who suspect that they are meant for the hospitality or culinary industry, I would strongly advise them to consider educating themselves first. For those hesitant or intimidated by an education specifically in wine, I would implore you to just try it out. Wine is a gateway to endless amounts of information in relation to language, culture, and much more. From it, I have found that I am able to engage with far more people than ever before. What better way to have a discussion than over a glass of wine?

During my training, I learned about soil as if I were a pedologist, studied culture as if I were becoming a historian, in many cases all while trying to open a bottle of Pol Roger’s 2002 Sir Winston Churchill. The learning environment was intimate, and it allowed the Master Sommeliers to spend more time with each of us, assuring that we all received what we individually needed to succeed. Looking back, the most impactful moment for me at ICC was receiving my certification from The Court of Master Sommeliers. On that day, being in a room full of like-minded men and women was intoxicating, and the energy was truly pure with excitement. After 15 weeks of intensive study, I felt as if I was only getting started.

My first job came along soon after receiving my Sommelier Certification. I spent two years as the Beverage Director at Sabio on Main. This job allowed me to not only apply what I had studied, but also immerse myself into the region of Livermore Valley. As it turned out, operating as the buyer for such a notable establishment was a sure, fast way to garner relationships and further ground my network. Additionally, spending everyday interacting with the community showed me the growth potential of Livermore Valley.

Today, I am involved with many projects. At Nottingham Cellars I act as a Branding Strategist working alongside winemakers and the marketing team to build and publish digital media campaigns. Nottingham Cellars is positioning themselves as industry leaders in Livermore. They have three of the best winemakers in the valley in Colin Cranor, Craig Sploof, & Alex Wolfe. Their wines are bold, daring, and progressive while offering a unique and focused sense of place in each bottling. We are in a unique place in time where social media has allowed us to speak directly with our target audiences and consumers, so it is exciting to bring this into my work.

As the Livermore Regional Ambassador for Which Winery, the world biggest winery-based travel site, my objective is to engage and work with wineries to create unique consumer experiences. The company’s goal is to connect people with wineries all over the world. As an ambassador, I hope to use this platform to shed light on this beautiful region.

As the Administrative Consultant for Sidewinder, a new social lounge project by John Kinney of Occasio Winery, my tasks include team building, culture development, beverage management, concept design, developing membership program, conceptualizing digital branding strategies, and publishing an event catalog. The winemaker, and now distiller, David Hendrickson, not only makes the best Rosé in the valley, but he also makes incredible spirits now.

In order to stay sharp and connected to my industry, I also work as a Bartender for a new restaurant called Range Life. Chef Bill Niles comes from Michelin rated Tartine and is elevating the standard in which food is viewed here. Behind the bar, I can remain engaged with guests and see firsthand their perspective on the concept of the food and beverages coming together.

Having compassion and maintaining consistency have been the biggest contributors to the opportunities I have had thus far. One of the best pieces of advice I have received is that “you are always on the clock.” To me, this means that we shouldn’t only be hospitable when we are at work. It represents a steadiness that must be maintained whether you are being paid or not. For me this quote is a subtle reminder that work should not be the reason why I act as a thoughtful, respectful, and mindful individual. These traits originate from my upbringing and my belief that we are all in this together and are responsible for the betterment of one another.

JeremyAll in all, my experience at ICC enabled me to approach career progression with an excitement and confidence that I hadn’t had prior. Right now, I am very much in the process of setting myself up to enjoy what I do for the rest of my life. It is heart-breaking to think that so many of us are almost forced to spend over 3,000 hours a year working in industries that don’t inspire us. Considering the fact that we live in a world where digital media has given the everyday consumer the ability to brand themselves in ways not available before, many of us are enabled to share and, in some cases, monetize our passions. While there are still so many of us struggling to find our way, I believe that over the next decade “loving what we do” will not be such a foreign concept.

Hands holding food

ICC Alumni Participating in NYC Restaurant Week

Dining out in New York City offers some of the best culinary experiences, but with over 24,000 restaurants to choose from, eating at all can become expensive. This summer, don’t miss the highly anticipated NYC Restaurant Week, where you’ll find special prix-fixe menus at hundreds of restaurants across town. From July 23 through August 17, you’ll have the chance to sample the incredible array of eateries that make up NYC’s culinary culture with prix-fixe meals at over 380 of NYC’s finest restaurants (two-course lunch, $26; three-course dinner, $42).

So why does ICC love NYC Restaurant Week? With many of our 15,000+ alumni still working in NYC, many of the restaurants on this year’s list feature ICC graduates leading the kitchens of our favorite restaurants!

If you want to get a taste of just some of our graduates, check out some of the NYC Restaurant Week establishments where our alumni work and book your table here.

 

Aisha Momaney, Executive Pastry Chef

David Battin, Executive Chef

  • The Red Cat feels like a real neighborhood joint—the decor has a funky, homemade feel to it, with its hanging vintage lamps and barn walls—but the food is world-class. Grilled double pork chops are served with a black olive-and-roast cauliflower puree, while crispy sautéed skate wing is accompanied by sweet-and-sour eggplant.

David Chang, Executive Chef/Owner

  • Momofuku Nishi, located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, creates Italian-inspired dishes using unexpected techniques and ingredients. In addition to a la carte pasta, meat and fish offerings, the menu also features a house-made pasta tasting with an optional wine pairing.

Gerald San Jose, General Manager

Hooni Kim, Executive Chef/Owner

  • Danji showcases authentic Korean flavors prepared with classic techniques to enhance the taste, texture and aesthetic of each dish. They offer small but shareable portions served in multiple courses, allowing diners to enjoy each dish hot out of the kitchen.
  • Hanjan is Chef Hooni Kim’s second restaurant after Danji, located in the Flatiron District. Many of the dishes at Hanjan are meant to evoke Korean street markets that offer comfort food enjoyed by people in Korea in their everyday life.

Ian Coogan, Executive Chef

James Friedberg, Executive Chef

  • Nickel & Diner serves globally driven, re-imagined diner fare inspired by Chef James Friedberg’s experience in some of NYC’s top kitchens, including Le Cirque and Aureole. The menu changes often, reflecting the current season with local and seasonal ingredients from the surrounding neighborhood of Chinatown.

Jeremie Tomczak, Head Chef

Julian Medina, Executive Chef/Owner

Julieta Ballesteros, Executive Chef/Owner

  • La Loteria is a new take on authentic Mexican cuisine from celebrity chef Julieta Ballesteros. The West Village eatery features an exciting and surprising mix of Mexican recipes ranging from the deliciously elemental “street” taco to the luscious lobster quesadilla.

Karen Shu, Chef de Cuisine

  • Loring Place offers seasonal, local, American cuisine by chef Dan Kluger in the heart of Greenwich Village. The menu, comprised of small and large shareable plates, spotlights farms and farmers whom Kluger has gotten to know intimately over 20 years of frequenting the Union Square Greenmarket.

 

Don’t forget to make your reservations for NYC Restaurant Week and experience these wonderful restaurants, and more, throughout the city where our alumni work. With over 300 options, you can’t go wrong!

 

Baker Zoe in the kitchen

ICC In The News: Highlights from July 2018

ICC In The News provides monthly highlights from articles published around the world that feature alumni, deans, faculty and more within the ICC community. Stories of our 15,000+ alumni network and their successes are continuously popping up across various prestigious publications. Below, we have brought together some of our favorites from July 2018, aimed to keep you connected with our community and inspire readers to #LoveWhatYouDo in the kitchen and beyond.

  • Chef Fausto Mieres, an alumni of FCI, opened a fast casual, made-to-order healthy restaurant in Westchester. Check it out here if you’re looking for a delicious and healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner!
  • Opened in 2014, Madame Sou Sou Cafe is a delightful treat where you can go to enjoy owner Effie’s French creamy cheesecake or the pistachio cake paired with an iced espresso or whipped frappe. Effie is a graduate of FCI’s French Pastry making course. Read about the cafe here.
  • Heart Health Weekend is happening Aug. 4 and 5 at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel in Harrison. NY. Curtis Cord – the Executive Director, Olive Oil Sommelier Certification program – will discuss the benefits of olive oil use and offer a tasting. Read more here.
A dish from Claro
EATER
THE 38 ESSENTIAL NYC SUMMER 2018 RESTAURANTS

Looking for a new spot to try this summer? Look no further than Claro, which serves up Oaxacan fare in Brooklyn, New York and is featured as an essential restaurant to try. Alumni Chef Jose Alvarez will be sure to wow you with the up and coming Oaxacan cuisine.

  • Chef Andrae Bopp — the former owner of a landscape and sprinkler business – decided to attend FCI and eventually worked in the kitchens of acclaimed NYC spots such as Le Bernardin, Bouley and Balthazar. Now he owns Andrea’s Kitchen, a gourmet gas station eatery. Check it out if you’re in Walla Walla, Washington.
  • The Surf Lodge in Montauk has our very own FCI alumni, Chef de Cuisine Angela Bazan. Together with the Head Chef, Ron Rosselli, they bring together local suppliers and years of experience to create Italian and Mediterranean inspired cuisine.
Inside of Hyacinth
EATER
INSIDE GRAND AVENUE’S ALMOST OPEN ITALIAN EATERY 

On August 14, Hyacinth will open in St. Paul. The Italian eatery is the work of chef/owner Rikki Giambruno, chef de cuisine Paul Baker, and general manager Beth Johnson. Giambruno is a graduate of ICC and an alum of several New York restaurants. The menu is a modern mix of Italian dishes included pastas, entrees and antipasti.

  • Embrace the island life at Tommy Bahama in NYC– no, we don’t mean the clothing store! FCI Alum Chef Jeremie Tomczak is cooking up island flavors on 5th ave in NYC. Don’t miss it!
  • Chef Cesare Casella, Dean of Italian Studies at ICC and head of the Department of Nourishment Arts at the Center for Discovery, works at the residential and educational facility for people of all ages with complex disabilities in Sullivan County, New York. Read how they are working to bring accessible nutrition to everyone.
  • If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, look no further than Montclair, New Jersey, a short distance from New York City. Be sure to eat at Marcel or MishMish, from alumni Chef Meny Vaknin. Read more about his restaurants.
FORTUNE
40 UNDER 40

Chef Christina Tosi, creator of MilkBar and a 2004 graduate of ICC, was listed on Fortune’s list of 40 Under 40. Fortune creates this ranking annually of the most influential young people in business. Read her feature and meet the other honorees.

  • Chef Allison Katz, a 2003 graduate of the Professional Culinary Arts program, has been a staple on the North Fork, NY foodie scene for several years. Chef Katz has a long culinary résumé and will soon be at the helm of her very own place, Ali Katz Kitchen, in Mattituck. Read more about her.
  • Krishni Shroff, a 2010 alum, is a “bread baker of exceptional talent.” Shroff attended ICC’s The Art of International Bread Baking course to perfect her sourdough baking skills and now owns a bakery in Mumbai, India. Read more from GQ India here.
Zoe Kashan's headshot
RESY
BREAKING BREAD AND BREAKING GROUND

Baker Zoe Kanan, a 2010 graduate of the Professional Pastry Arts program, is “breaking bread and breaking ground” at Studio and at Simon & The Whale. She is head baker for both restaurants, and people flock to them for her sugary chocolate morning buns or anise-flecked black bread. Read about her journey.

  • Every summer, at Hayground School in Bridgehampton, NY world-renowned five-star chefs gather to raise much-needed financial aid for the school and its Edible Garden/Kitchen Science program. This year’s Hayground Chefs Dinner will be held Sunday, July 29, and our Dean of Special Programs, Chef Jacques Pépin, is being honored.
  • Casa Peal will open in Williamsburg, VA in October 2018, and they will serve seafood bites, tacos and twists on American Southern classics. Chef Mikey Maksimowicz, who is a 2005 graduate of the Professional Culinary Arts program, is opening the restaurant with wife and Chef Chelsea Maksimowicz.
Chef Mark Demonstrating

Sustainability: Beyond the Plate

 Written by: Mark Duesler, Chef Consultant for the Food Service Technology Center

Chef Mark

My name is Mark Duesler. I am the Chef Consultant for the Food Service Technology Center (FSTC), a resource for foodservice professionals. In California, we have programs set up specifically for energy efficiency in the foodservice sector and for good reason: refrigerating, cooking, holding, and serving food is incredibly energy intensive! On average, foodservice facilities use 5-to-10 times more energy than other commercial businesses.

To give you a better idea of this disparity, in 16 hours, a small fast food restaurant uses about the same amount of energy as a Home Depot or other big box store would in 24 hours. And with so many restaurants, it is important to consider energy use not only from a business perspective, but from an environmental approach as well.

From rebate incentives for energy-efficient equipment to invaluable design consultations and equipment demonstration programs, the FSTC offers many programs to culinarians as they grow and learn about their craft. We’ve collected several ways to curb energy use in foodservice operations from instituting best practices among staff to avoiding common pitfalls leading to unnecessary consumption. Check them out below!

 

Best Practices

  • Fix Water Leaks– While they may seem small, that constant drip adds up.
  • Replace Worn Refrigerator Gaskets– Refrigeration is always running. If the door gaskets are worn, a cooler or freezer is working harder than necessary, it is sucking energy and shortening its life. From experience, walk-ins always seem to go down at the end of service on a Saturday night (and that is no fun).
  • On/Off Schedules– Most modern equipment only needs about 15 minutes to preheat. If it doesn’t need to be on, then shut it down. This practice also keeps the space more comfortable.
  • Purchase Rebate Qualified Equipment– Rebate-qualified equipment has been designed/tested to be more efficient. This often means that the equipment performs better as well. Lost revenue to utility bills can be much more costly in the long run than the initial up-front cost of purchase.
  • Energy Audits– A free service provided by the FSTC (for PG&E customers). We can come out and identify where the best energy efficient opportunities are in your kitchen.

Common Pitfalls

  • All equipment is the same”– These tools are the backbone of any operation. Not taking the time to examine the various energy pits in your operation ends up costing more money and precious time.
  • Not Cleaning Condenser Coils– If you don’t clean the refrigerator’s coils, it is being starved of much needed air to cool the unit. This can also lead to a short life span and increased energy usage.
  • Complacency– Ask questions and keep asking. There are a lot of resources out there to help you. Restaurants are constantly evolving with many moving targets, so the answer today may not be the same answer tomorrow.

Did you know you can try out the most advanced appliances without committing to a purchase? At the FSTC, we have an inventory of high-end demonstration equipment such as combination ovens, high-speed ovens, pressure fryers, vacuum sealers, and immersion circulators. These pieces of equipment are available for you to test your recipes and hone your skills. As a cook, it is a terrific way to expand your knowledge as you further your career. It’s an opportunity to learn what tools and technologies are available, which can help you gain an advantage in the particularly competitive culinary world.

 

Missed our Foodservice Sustainability Workshop? Learn about energy saving practices with Chef Mark Duesler & Matt Greco, owner of Salt Craft Restaurant, at the Food Service Technology Center on Thursday, July 19th. Event is free & open to the public. Click here to learn more.

Chef Mark demonstrating

Chef Tory Miller Cooking

ICC In The News: Highlights from June 2018

ICC In The News provides monthly highlights from articles published around the world that feature alumni, deans, faculty and more within the ICC community. Stories of our 15,000+ alumni network and their successes are continuously popping up across various prestigious publications. Below, we have aggregated some of our favorites from June 2018, aimed to keep you connected with our community and inspire readers to #LoveWhatYouDo in the kitchen and beyond.

Jacques Pepin and Anthony BourdainKQED | JACQUES PÉPIN SHARES MEMORIES OF ANTHONY BOURDAIN

Longtime friend of the late Anthony Bourdain and Dean of Special Programs at ICC, Jacques Pépin, shares memories of Bourdain and the importance of his work in the food industry. Read Pépin’s interview here.

In Other News:

  • Chef and restaurateur Judy Joo joined the Today show for the make-ahead Monday series, to cook up her deliciously crispy, juicy Korean fried chicken, that then turns into burgers and kimchi fried rice. Read about how to make it here.
  • Alumna Christine Byrne, shares that her impulsive decision to go to culinary school was in part inspired by the late Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, and thus she moved to NYC and spent 10 months at then FCI learning to cook. Read her full story here.
  • The Ottomani, a chic Middle Eastern restaurant in Singapore, created a series of visiting guest chefs called The Nomad Series. ICC alumni and James Beard nominated author Chef Jason Licker kicked off the series with his take on exotic Middle Eastern flavors. Read about it here.

 

EATER | THE WORLD’S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS 2018

Congratulations to ICC Alumni Chef Dan Barber, chef/owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and Chef Joshua Skenes, chef/owner of Saison, on making the 2018 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list at numbers 12 & 46 respectively.

In Other News:

  • Aaron Sanchez hosted a fundraising event at Redbird on June 5, featuring names like Ben Ford, Nancy Silverton, Jonathan Waxman and more. The event helped to benefit a scholarship for the Latino community looking to attend The International Culinary Center. Read more.
  • Anticipation for FCI grad John Wipfli’s latest project, a 33 ft long BBQ trailer with Apple Seedhouse + Brewery is taking Minneapolis by storm! Read about what he is cooking up in his smoker here.
THE DISH | THE ICONIC CHEF TORY MILLER

Read about ICC alumni and Chef, Tory Miller,  and how he got his start in the culinary world and took it by storm.

In Other News:

  • Eric Suh, FCI graduate, talks about the bittersweet move of the New Star Fish Market (a family owned business) from the Essex Street Market to the new food hall location which will expand to include a kitchen space with small menu of daily seafood offerings.
  • Chef Shorne Benjamin, FCI Grad, was one of two Caribbean born chefs handpicked to cook at this year’s Citi Taste of Tennis DC event. Chef Shorne infuses a contemporary approach of Caribbean cuisine to create what he calls New Age Caribbean. Read about him here.
  • ICC and Pace University Alumni James Park shares his experience in the 2017 ICC Cookie Games Competition and his original recipe for the Honey Butter Chip Shortbread Cookies, inspired by the addictive Korean snack, Honey Butter Chips.
EATER | EATER YOUNG GUNS 2018

Congratulations to ICC Alumni Gerald Addison, co-Executive Chef of Maydan & Compass Rose in DC and Zoe Kanan, head baker for the Freehand Hotels’ Studio and Simon and the Whale on their Eater Young Guns 2018 Nominations!

In Other News:

  • Mordi’s Schnitzel Truck opened in April 2014 out of the love of two things – Israeli street food + Jersey City, and it has now blossomed into a brick-and-mortar spot in Jersey City. Chef and owner Mordechai Chichportiche is a graduate of FCI. Read the blurb about his new spot here.
  • Huascar Aquino, an alumni of ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program, competed on June 19th’s episode of Chopped on Food Network. His shop, Huascar & Co. Bake Shop, is known for its delicious cupcake creations and much more. Read about him here.
  • The new Wells St. Market in Chicago combines some of Chicago’s star chefs in a sleek new food market. This market includes 11 restaurants, one of which is owned and operated by an alumni of ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts program, Chris Chowaniec. His restaurant, Chow Brothers, offers an innovative and modern take on Polish treats.
OLIVE OIL TIMES | OLIVE OIL SOMMELIER PROGRAM RETURNS TO ICC’S CALIFORNIA CAMPUS

The Olive Oil Sommelier Certification program will return to Campbell, California September 10-15. Participants will be led through guided tastings of more than 160 olive oils in this six-day, two-level program spanning production, quality management, and advanced sensory assessment.