Business Bites Resources: Managing Your Staff

Maintaining a healthy team is vital to the success of your business. Whether you run a kitchen, own a bakery or are looking to open a restaurant, it’s important to learn the key steps to managing and motivating your staff to success. Jackie McMann-Oliveri, Director of Talent and Culture for Bold Food, joined us at Pastry Plus this March to answer everyone’s burning question, how do I retain employees and build a successful team? A certified Professional in Human Resources, Jackie is responsible for supporting all of Bobby Flay’s restaurants, and brings her HR knowledge and experience to ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship programs.

jackie mcmann oliveriIn her 75-minute breakout class on managing your staff, Jackie shared the importance of selection and hiring, training and retraining, and lastly, engagement and retention to a sold out class of pastry professionals—pastry chefs, bakery owners, and aspiring pastry business owners. Jackie began by discussing what makes a great leader. Great leadership encourages quality work and staff retention, the hallmarks of a successful establishment. Read below to see Jackie’s three qualities of great leadership and learn how you can adapt them for your team!

Select and hire amazing people.

Hire for character and a passion for the job, not necessarily skills, which can be taught. More time hiring means less time firing.

Give them the tools and support they need to do their job.

An employee handbook is a necessity for effectively managing your staff. This handbook clearly states the rules and expectations of your business. While many companies have a handbook, Jackie recommends going over one topic a week at a short meeting, which keeps the staff engaged and reminds them of the rules in the workplace that must be respected.

People follow leaders, not because they have to, but because they want to. Leaders listen more than they speak, are trustworthy, and accessible to their staff. Recognizing employees through rewards and other means goes a long way in retaining staff, as does actively promoting a work-life balance.

Practice consistent accountability.

Practicing consistent accountability is necessary so that the rules are enforced and respected. Conversations with unhappy employees are uncomfortable, but having the conversation is necessary and usually results in a positive outcome. Get to know your staff and trust your gut. While navigating this in small business models can seem more challenging than a large company, these fundamentals on leadership and staff management are applicable to all business models.

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.

products to use

Sour Cream Shortbread Recipe

Did you know that French butter is often considered best for baking because of its low water content, resulting in a better texture for baking? Beurremont butter, a traditional French butter, is one of the only butters made in the USA that is high in butterfat like it’s French counterpart. Beurremont is made without aging the cream or adding cultures to it, giving it a sweet flavor. It’s also low in moisture, resulting in a rich creamy profile that’s perfect for cooking and baking. So perfect, Team USA uses it as their official butter in the Bocuse d’Or Competition—notoriously the most challenging cooking competition in the world.

Great for decadent recipes, or when you need an extra hint of buttery flavor, it works especially well in our Director of Pastry Operations’, Chef Jansen Chan’s, Sour Cream Shortbread recipe! As he puts it, “Buerremont Butter is a great brand to incorporate in many types of recipes; it has a complex culture flavor balanced with a rich butterfat taste.”

Learn how you can make this quick recipe below, and many thanks to our Pastry Plus Gold Sponsor Beurremont Butter and Paris Gourmet for their support.

You Will Need...

  • 2 cup butter, unsalted
  • 3 1/3 cup flour, all-purpose
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz. sour cream
  • Additional sugar, as needed

Procedures

step 1

Cut butter into cubes and keep at room temperature until firm, but not soft.

step 2

mix ingredients

Place butter cubes, flour, sugar and salt into a mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment.

step 3

mixture
Mix at a low speed until mixture is very fine and crumbly, about 7-9 minutes. The dough should be able to hold together as crumbs when squeezed together. There should not be any visible butter chunks.

step 4

PRESS DOUGH
Press the dough into a parchment lined half-sheet tray.

step 5

refridgerate
Wrap the sheet tray of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 2-3 hours, or overnight.

step 6

spread sour cream
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Remove from refrigerator and spread sour cream evenly on top.

step 7

bake in oven
Bake for an hour, or until medium brown on top.

step 8

sprinkle sugar

Sprinkle the top generously with sugar while the shortbread is still warm.

STEP 9

cut into squares
With a serrated knife, and while the shortbread is still warm, cut into two-inch square pieces.

step 10

Enjoy!
Allow to cool and enjoy!
pastries

New York City’s Top Pastry Chefs Give Back At Pastryland

photography boardOn March 9th, the International Culinary Center held the second Pastryland Bake Sale benefiting Hot Bread Kitchen. More than 350 dessert lovers attended to taste exclusive pastries from 19 of New York City’s best pastry chefs, all while raising $5,350 for Hot Bread Kitchen, a non-profit organization providing culinary training to low-income women in NYC. The afternoon, which featured unique artisanal treats and re-imagined classics, showcased the talents and limitless imaginations of pastry chefs. Alumni of ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program donated some of the day’s favorites including Tyler Atwell’s (Lafayette Grand Café & Bakery) Chocolate Ring Ding, Anna Bolz’s (Per Se) Toasted Coconut Layer Cake, Lindsey Farr’s (Restaurant Marc Forgione) Snicker’s Donut, Charlotte Neuville’s (Charlotte Neuville Cakes + Confections) Miniature Cake Tasting, and Shaun Velez’s (Café Boulud) Mini Pistachio Gateaux. Even our very own Stephen Collucci, ICC Pastry Chef Instructor, got in on the fun with a Chocolate Dipped Fluffernutter cookie!

 

 

The event would not have been possible without the support of our Partner, Callebaut®, who not only generously donated the chocolate for all 19 chefs, but also unveiled the new RB1 ruby couveture in limited-edition desserts to consumers for the first time ever in New York City. A selected group of pastry chefs and chocolatiers rose to the occasion and crafted original sweets featuring the rosy color tones and fruity flavor of ruby cacao. The Ruby Velvet Choux from Monica Ng of Great Performances, Ruby Bon Bons from Christopher Curtin’s Eclat Chocolates, Mexican Ruby Scribble Cookie from Fany Gerson of La Newyorkina, Ruby Snack Bar from Dimitriy Shurygin of The Key Patisserie offered attendees a beautiful visual.

ruby

Gold Sponsor, Beurremont Butter, as well as Nielsen-Massey Vanilla provided our contributing pastry chefs with product to use in their sweet creations. This came in handy for bakery specialties like the PB+J Kouign Amann by Rory Macdonald of Patisserie Chanson, Baklava Croissant by Scott Cioe of Bien Cuit, and Sprezzatura Sourdough by Daniel Alvarez of Daily Provisions.

golden egg cream station

Specialty beverages provided by Joe’s Coffee and Rishi Tea & Botanicals, as well as Evian and Badoit, were available for purchase. In addition, guests were treated to a free Gold Egg Cream shot featuring a housemade Callebaut® Gold Chocolate syrup with milk, topped with Badoit sparkling water dispensed from giant gold chocolate eggs!

joes coffee
rishi tea
evian
badoit

jacques torres and ron ben israelFinally, a day of pastry fun wouldn’t be complete without an Instagram-friendly moment, or two! ICC’s Dean of Pastry Arts, Jacques Torres and Guest Master Pastry Chef, Ron Ben-Israel surprised attendees with a photo op at our 8 foot piped royal icing wall (which used a total of 110 pounds of royal icing).

We would like to thank all of the chefs, restaurants and bakeries who participated (see full list below), as well as our partners and sponsors who made this afternoon possible (see the full list here). A special thank you to everyone who came to Pastryland this year and gave back to the NYC food community in the sweetest way! Check out the weekend’s sweet treats below!

Exclusive Pastryland Desserts

All 19 Desserts Pictured

Chef Dmitriy Shurygin | The Key Patisserie | Ruby Snack Bar

Chef Lindsey Farr | Restaurant Marc Forgione | Snickers Donut

Chef Scott Cioe | Bien Cuit | Baklava Croissant

Chef Daniel Alvarez | Union Square Cafe and Daily Provisions | Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Chef Jin Capobianco | The River Cafe | Hazelnut Mocha Opera

Chef Rory Macdonald | Patisserie Chanson + Dessert Bar | PB+J Kouign Amann

Chef Stephen Collucci | International Culinary Center | Chocolate Dipped Fluffernutter

Chef Jeffrey Wurtz | Aureole | Dorayaki with Sweet Red Bean and Chocolate Sesame

The Bakers of Hot Bread Kitchen | Hot Bread Kitchen | Chocolate Babka

Chef Tyler Atwell | Lafayette Grand Café & Bakery | Chocolate Ring Ding

Chef Lindsey Bittner | Leonelli Restaurants | Cacao Nib Butter Cookies

Monica Ng | Great Performances | Ruby Velvet Choux

Chef Anna Bolz | Per Se | Coconut Layer Cake

Chef Charlotte Neuville | Charlotte Neuville Cakes + Confections | Mini Cake Tasting

Chef Fany Gerson | La Newyorkina | Ruby Scribble Cookies

Chef Shaun Velez | Café Boulud | Mini Pistachio Gateux with vanilla buttercream and raspberry pate de fruit

Chef Joe Murphy | Counter Hospitality | Meyer Lemon Madelienes

Chef Daniel Alvarez | Union Square Café and Daily ProvisionsSprezzatura Sourdough

Chef Christopher Curtin | Éclat ChocolateRuby Bonbons

Chef Julie Elkind | Bâtard Pate a Choux filled with Caramel Chocolate Ganache and Tropical Fruit Compote

career fair

2019 Spring Career Fair

All chefs get their start somewhere. This spring, meet your future employer and amp up your networking skills! ICC’s Career Fairs, held twice a year, allow current students & alumni to meet some of the most well-known restaurants and restaurant groups in NYC, coming specifically to ICC to meet YOU. From fine dining to fast casual, catering, bakeries and more, there is something for everyone and every career path!

Tuesday, March 19th | 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.

Acquolina Catering
B&B Hospitality/Del Posto
Blue Bird
Blue Hill
Breads Bakery
Celestine
Choc O Pain French Bakery and Café
Convene
Crafted Hospitality
Dinex Group
Eataly
Great Performances
High Street on Hudson
Hillstone Restaurant Group
Hire Society
James Beard Foundation
JP Morgan
Loring Place
Made Nice
Major Food Group
Restaurant Marc Forgione/American Cut Steakhouse
Martha & Marley Spoon
Matterhorn Group
Mercer Kitchen
Noho Hospitality/The Dutch
Padoca Bakery
Park Ave Winter
Patina
Quality Branded
Soho House
Starr Restaurants
The Culinistas
Vice Media
dorothy

Women’s History Month: The Legacy of Our Founder

Since the early 1980’s, Women’s History Month marks a time to recognize, honor and celebrate the achievements of women around the world throughout the month of March. There are so many prevalent women in the world of food to thank for shaping the culinary and hospitality industry as we know it today. To acknowledge the importance of this month—not just as Women’s History Month, but also as the 35th Anniversary of the school’s founding and our annual Founder’s Day celebrations—we are proud to pay tribute to the life and legacy of our Founder, Dorothy Cann Hamilton. The everlasting effect she has had on both the school and the food industry can still be felt today. Below, learn about the legacy of Dorothy and use her spirit as your guiding light as you begin your new career.

In 1984 across America and the world, everything was changing. Astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart made the first untethered space walk, while Steve Jobs sold the first Apple Macintosh computer to the public back on Earth. President Ronald Reagan defeated Walter F. Mondale with 59% of the popular vote, and as many of the achievements of men were being widely recognized, a culinary revolution was beginning on the corner of Broadway and Grand street. This would later give way to culinary giants & thought leaders like Bobby Flay, Dan Barber, Christina Tosi and so many more.

1984Since 1984, thousands of chefs, culinary & pastry professionals, sommeliers and industry leaders have received their education at the International Culinary Center, founded as The French Culinary Institute. The school’s reputation and graduate success can be credited to our Founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton’s original vision—to establish a culinary school that would educate aspiring chefs in a fast-paced program that got them into the workforce quickly and well prepared.

It all began while studying at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England, during which Dorothy made frequent trips to France that exposed her to the world of French cuisine. After spending time in the Peace Corps in Thailand following college, she ventured back to New York City to work with her father, the Founder of the Apex Technical School. During this time, she continued her education, attaining a Masters in Business Administration from NYU. With a deep love of food at her core, it was then that she envisioned a way to bring her passion for food and education together.

It’s hard to imagine there was ever a time in New York City without a variety of cuisines at your fingertips—before you could order from virtually any restaurant on Seamless. A time before the Michelin Guide was even handing out stars in America. But, it’s true. There was indeed a time when the diversity of food culture was absent and the infamy of chefs did not yet exist. Dorothy’s vision for culinary education began to take shape alongside the evolution of cuisine and dining in New York City during the late 80’s and 90’s.

Many have said this before, but Dorothy was a true visionary. Known for her ability to identify what was missing and find a way to fill in the gaps, she brought a limitless creativity and resourcefulness to any problem. She identified a void in the culinary education of chefs in America—all over the world chefs were being trained in the codified techniques of French, but there was no true equivalent in the US.

dorothy w deansOnly someone with Dorothy’s determination and fearless spirit could bring the right people together to make this happen. From gathering a roster of legendary deans—Jacques Pépin, Alain Sailhac, André Soltner and Jacques Torres—to the support of industry giants like Julia Child, some of the most well known chefs in the world joined her dream, believing in what she set out to accomplish. That was the special thing about Dorothy; she had a keen ability to connect people from all walks of life. Dorothy didn’t just have a seat at the table—she was the one that built the table for the culinary world. Her gravitas and ability to connect those around her was her superpower. For this reason, many sought out her mentorship, helping numerous individuals launch their own careers, businesses and ideas in the food industry and beyond.

She cared deeply about education and the success of her students. From creating the renowned TV series Chef’s Story—later a podcast on Heritage Radio Network, featuring candid conversations with the biggest names in the industryto her blog, and eventually book, Love What You Do, Dorothy was passionate about setting people up for success in their careers. Dorothy wasn’t afraid of failure; rather, it was another way for her to learn and educate others. Her desire to continue to learn allowed her to embrace new educational pursuits for the school, establishing ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program and Olive Oil Sommelier Certification programs in recent years. It was her passion for education that inspired the recent addition of a Professional Development Scholarship for industry professionals to continue the pursuit of their education at ICC.

Today, we hope that each student who walks through our doors charts their own successful career with Dorothy in mind. Her vision, passion for food and the culinary industry, as well as her innovative spirit can be applied to everything that you do.

riverpark farm

Understanding Your ‘Foodprint’ – April Sustainability Programming

Since 1970, Earth Day has provided a way to bring environmental challenges to the forefront of our conversations. A catalyst for ongoing education, action and change, Earth Day promotes environmental awareness and solutions while celebrating our connection to the Earth.

tomatoes being grownHere at ICC, we often think about the impact of practices in the culinary industry on the environment. Culinary education plays an important role in teaching one to think about the use of whole ingredient cooking. Our students learn the art of charcuterie and butchery to make use of the entire animal, in addition to learning to make stocks, sauces and more utilizing vegetable cut offs. Promoting usage from leaf-to-root and snout-to-tail not only minimizes food waste, but also cuts down on food cost.

In the Farm-to-Table extension of our Professional Culinary Arts program, students take their culinary education beyond the kitchen through the 4-day Farm Powered Kitchen field trip to Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. They also participate in lectures from the agriculture specialists and Stone Barns, as well as field trips to urban farms, green markets and more.

There are other ways to decrease food waste in the kitchen, one of which is composting. Since 2007, the school has composted an average of 350 lbs per day. When possible, the school also regularly donates food to The New York City Rescue Mission, including 3-tier cakes made in our Professional Pastry Arts program. To further efforts on campus to counteract our environmental impact through food, we implemented a Meatless Monday program into our Family Meals.

mushroomsMeatless Monday encourages people to eliminate meat from their diet just one day a week to see both increased health benefits and decrease their environmental impact. In just one year, by eliminating meat from our family meal each Monday, we eliminated 4,600 lbs of meat, saving 4.8 million pounds of greenhouse gases from being emitted into our atmosphere. Since an average car emits 12,000 pounds of greenhouse gases per year, that’s the equivalent of taking 400 cars off the road!

In honor of this year’s Earth Day celebrations, we’re dedicating our event programming in April to promote sustainability in food, farming and business practices to better understand your foodprint. We’ll look at the many ways food impacts the environment, like how sustainable seafood farmers and urban farm-to-table restaurants are shaking up the food industry and much more. Find a list of April demos & events below focused on sustainability and stay tuned for additional details as they become available!

Sustainable Seafood Demonstration and Lecture
with the Sustainable Shrimp Partnership
Wednesday, April 3rd | 3:30-5pm | ICC Amphitheater

Catch of the Day: Sustainable Seafood

As seafood starts to take centre place on many more plates, this session will discuss some of the important sustainability issues facing the sector and why choosing responsibly sourced products makes a big difference not only to taste, but quality, health, and to the environment.

With guests from two leading sustainability initiatives – Jose Antonio Camposano and Avrim Lazar, this session will explore how the farmed shrimp and salmon sectors are making sustainability a key attribute in delivering high quality products which benefit our oceans.

Plus live demos from Ecuadorian Chef Gabriela Cepeda and Vancouver’s Ned Bell will showcase some unique seafood dishes.

Gabriela Cepeda is owner of La Central Deli Shop in Guayaquil with 10 years of experience in the business, and was Head Chef of the Presidential House in Ecuador for 4 years.

Ned Bell is Executive Chef for OceanWise. He has experience working in some of Canada’s top kitchens and was, most recently, executive chef of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and YEW seafood + bar. Bell’s diverse background includes seven seasons on Food Network Canada’s Cook Like a Chef and he has been recognized as Canada’s Chef of the Year at Food Service and Hospitality magazine’s 2014 Pinnacle Awards.

 

Ned Bell

Long-time sustainable seafood ambassador Ned Bell is the Ocean Wise Executive Chef based at the Vancouver Aquarium. Bell’s cooking philosophy is globally inspired and locally created.

With the support of the Ocean Wise seafood program, Bell founded Chefs for Oceans in 2014 to raise awareness about sustainable seafood by riding his bike across Canada. Bell’s dedication to sustainable seafood has inspired many Canadian chefs to get involved in the cause – a movement that is having a meaningful impact on the way consumers think about the seafood they eat, where it comes from and how they, too, can help protect our oceans by making ocean-friendly seafood choices.

Bell was recently awarded the Global Seafood Award for Advocacy at the 2017 Seaweb Seafood Summit.

He has experience working in some of the country’s top kitchens and was, most recently, executive chef of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and YEW seafood + bar, a proud Ocean Wise partner. Bell’s diverse background includes seven seasons on Food Network Canada’s Cook Like a Chef and he has been recognized as Canada’s Chef of the Year at Food Service and Hospitality magazine’s 2014 Pinnacle Awards, Best Overall and Rising Star by Where magazine and Top 40 Foodies Under 40 by Western Living magazine in 2008.

Open to students & alumni – NO RSVP required. Limited seating available to the public, RSVP to events@culinarycenter.com.

Urban Farm-to-Table Demonstration with Riverpark
Led by Executive Chef Andrew Smith & Riverpark Farm Manager Jonathan Sumner
Wednesday, April 10th | 3:30-5pm | ICC Amphitheater

Nestled on a unique garden plaza with romantic East River views, Riverpark represents a dynamic culinary destination reflecting Chef Tom Colicchio’s overall vision as a restaurateur. With menus that change daily to reflect the seasonal ingredients that they have available in their urban farm, Executive Chef Andrew Smith and Riverpark Farm Manager Jonathan Sumner work together to reflect seasonality.

Join us for a demonstration and lecture with Chef Smith and Jonathan in an opportunity to learn how they create a dynamic environment for ingredients to flourish in the heart of New York City.

Open to students & alumni – NO RSVP required. Limited seating available to the public, RSVP to events@culinarycenter.com.

Business Bites: Reaping the Benefits of Going Green
Thursday, April 18th | 6:30-8pm | ICC Amphitheater
RSVP to events@culinarycenter.com

Learn more here!

63 million tons of food is wasted annually in the US—that’s equivalent to 180 Empire State Buildings—and the restaurant industry alone generates 11.4 million tons of food waste each year. There’s no denying that there remains great room for improvement to make food businesses and restaurants more sustainable. In addition to the environmental and social reasons, there are also many economic incentives for businesses to adopt sustainable practices. For instance, did you know that for every dollar invested in food-waste reduction, restaurants can realize about $8 in cost savings? Energy efficiency, composting, recycling, ingredient sourcing and packaging are all ways that food businesses can incorporate sustainable practices to improve their bottom line.

So what does it take to make your restaurant or food business sustainable through the front door and out the back?

In celebration of Earth Day this April, and part of our Understanding Your ‘Foodprint’ series, our latest installment of Business Bites, Reaping the Benefits of Going Green, will demonstrate how these ethical choices can help to reduce your bottom line. Hear from a panel of experts operating local restaurants with an emphasis on sustainability, as well as professionals working to bring solutions in food waste to consumers and food business owners a like. They’ll discuss NYC requirements for commercial organic waste, solutions for hauling food waste, composting, compostable packaging & products, sourcing ingredients, energy efficiency and more. Plus, 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!

Off the Vine: Careers in Wine

How to Jump-start Your Career in Wine

OFF THE VINE, brought to you by the Intensive Sommelier Training program at ICC, is a series of tastings, discussion panels and networking events designed to support wine professionals in the beverage industry. Each event is designed to provide education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.

The wine and beverage industry is dynamic & diverse, and offers many opportunities to build an exciting career—with options that suit different backgrounds, personalities and lifestyles. For those who are seriously considering a career in the wine industry, the possibilities are endless.

This month, we gathered for a dynamic panel discussion with Slim Mello, Head Sommelier at the Mandarin Oriental; Michele Thomas, Assistant Manager and Buyer at Greene Grape Wine & Spirits; Patricia Alazraki, Brand Manager for Monsieur Touton; and Cristina Coari, Wine Education and Press Manager for Vias Imports.

Together, we explored topics like career paths, hiring practices, qualities that employers seek and the paths that each panelist took to get to where they are today. Below, learn what our panelists said about translating skill sets, building your network, hiring practices, and salary expectations!

How can my skills translate to the wine industry?

wineWhen people consider changing careers to enter the wine industry, they are often worried that their skills won’t translate to wine. It’s intimidating to think about starting a new career at any point in your life, but if you share a passion for wine, you’ll fit right in to this new industry.

Your resume doesn’t always have to be perfectly polished—many of your previous work experiences can be translated into the skills needed to pursue the wine career of your dreams. So what are some of the skill sets that you can utilize in your future wine career?

For starters, a desire to learn, listen and study are all very helpful. Pursuing your wine education requires a dedication to study. Even as a professional, you’ll find it important to continue to learn about new wines, taste new producers, etc. Previous front of house or service experience is a plus, as well as any sales background. Being a people person and feeling comfortable speaking with others is very important. Don’t be afraid to ask questions—being able to read a room and help identify what someone wants is not a small task. Make sure you can talk about your previous experiences and apply them to what you want to do in the future. Use your qualifications as leverage and know that all experience is good experience!

How do I build my network?

Building your network is key in any industry, especially within the tight-knit community of wine. If you want to be a part of this community, you have to put yourself in the position to meet people. Attend a tasting event. Frequent industry meet-ups. Reach out to a professional contact on social media. Making a connection, even through social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can introduce you to new people who can become great resources in this business.

Panelist Patricia Alazraki, ICC alumna and Brand Manager of Monsieur Touton, found her current job through a friend’s social media post on Facebook. After reaching out to a mutual friend and asking to get coffee to learn from her expertise, her new contact ended up offering her a job. Never be afraid to reach out to someone already working in the industry or at a company you want to work for—more often than not, they are more than willing to help in any way that they can.

Speaking of social media, use your channels to build your own wine presence. Demonstrate your knowledge of wine by posting tasting notes and using popular wine hashtags. You never know who might reach out to you!

What do hiring managers look for when interviewing?

wine pouredAlthough a resume is important in any interview, all of our panelists—who are hiring managers themselves—agreed that two of the most important skills you can bring to your interview are not actually on your resume. Passion and people skills are integral to how you sell yourself in any interview. By bringing your passion for wine to the forefront of your interview, you’ll show that you’re able to connect with customers and consumers.

Interactions that you have in your interview are a good indicator for how you will interact with your customers. You have to be able to carry a conversation and learn about someone’s interests so that you can recommend the right wine to them and have them coming back for more.

What can I expect for my salary?

Like any industry, salaries in wine vary greatly. According to our panelists, who all have years of combined experience, you can expect to start at around $15-$20 while working in retail. Then, anywhere from $25,000-$50,000 is a great ballpark when you begin in a restaurant, not including what you’ll make in tips! From there, Head Sommeliers can make $70,000+ with experience, higher level certifications and percentages of monthly sales or tips. Brand Ambassadors can make anywhere in the $60,000-$90,000 range and added sales commission can increase salary.

Want to learn more about how ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program can help you pursue your wine career? Check out our next Off the Vine panel in April!

Barrel of Sherry

Certified Sherry Wine Specialist Seminar

Lustau, maker of top quality Sherries, presents a brand new wine certification available to all wine students and professionals: the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist. Offered by Lucas Payà, Certified Sherry Educator and Lustau’s Brand Educator, this brief course offers Intermediate Level study material that has been reviewed and approved by the Regulatory Council of Jerez.

After many successful SOLD OUT workshops, ICC has partnered with Lustau again to host the certification seminar this April. Register today to reserve your seat!

Monday, April 22
3:30pm-6:00pm
International Culinary Center
28 Crosby St, 5th Floor | New York, NY 10013

Cost: $35 per person

EVENT DETAILS

The program consists of a 2.5-hour class that includes:

    • Instruction on the history, geography, climate, viticulture, wine-making, and wine styles.  When studying the styles of sherry, students will learn about their differences, pairings, and best ways to serve.
    • A tasting of 6 wines, including all the basic styles (Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, and Dulce).
    • A 28-question test, graded after the course to award the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist recognition to those with a passing score of 20 or higher.

The Certificate of Achievement will be signed by both Lustau’s CEO and César Saldaña, Director of the Regulatory Council of Jerez. They will be numbered and a list of those that passed the course will be shared with the Regulatory Council.  A Certificate of Recognition will be issued to those that do not achieve the passing grade but only signed by Lustau.

Attendees must be at least 21 years of age.

spring scholarship specials

ICC’s Spring Scholarships Special Announced

LET YOUR EDUCATION BLOOM AT ICC THIS SPRING

Spring is just around the corner and while April showers bring May flowers, our Spring Scholarships Special is sure to brighten your day and help you pursue your culinary or pastry education this April!

We’re excited to announce FIVE of our largest scholarship awards are being offered to help you take the first step in pursuing your culinary or pastry career this spring. Begin in any of the Professional Culinary Arts of Professional Pastry Arts programs this April and you could be eligible to receive one of our spring scholarships with awards ranging from $10,000-$25,000 towards your tuition. Plus, if you begin in any of the evening culinary or pastry programs in April, you’ll receive instant savings with our Special Spring Pricing.

Submitting your application is easy! All you need is to submit your FAFSA, complete the scholarship application online, and share your educational and career goals in either a short essay or 1 minute video. Imagine, just 60 seconds could help you save up to $25,000 on your culinary or pastry education!

Did you know, based on your FAFSA, if you’re eligible for the maximum amount in Federal Grants, the $25,000 ICC Grand Culinary Scholarship could cover the remaining costs of the Professional Culinary Arts April evening program? Same goes for the $25,000 ICC Grand Pastry Scholarship and the April evening Pastry Arts programs! This means you could pursue your culinary or pastry dreams this summer with NO out-of-pocket expenses for your education!

Don’t wait to let your dream career blossom—check out all the ways you can get into the kitchen with a scholarship from ICC this spring. Submit your application today!

Culinary Scholarships

A student working

ICC Grand Culinary Scholarship

Financial need is a criterion for this scholarship. Applicants must complete a FAFSA.

AWARD AMOUNT: $25,000

ELIGIBLE CLASSES
Must be enrolled in one of the following PROFESSIONAL CULINARY ARTS programs:

  • 4/4/2019 Professional Culinary Arts (Mon-Fri, Day)
  • 4/8/2019 Professional Culinary Arts (Mon, Wed, Fri, Eve)

APPLICATION DEADLINE:

  • Applications are now closed. Please check back for future dates.

AWARD DATE:

  • March 29, 2019

Click here for eligibility requirements and application details.

A student working

ICC $15,000 Culinary Scholarship

Financial need is a criterion for this scholarship. Applicants must complete a FAFSA.

AWARD AMOUNT: $15,000

ELIGIBLE CLASSES
Must be enrolled in one of the following PROFESSIONAL CULINARY ARTS programs:

  • 4/4/2019 Professional Culinary Arts (Mon-Fri, Day)
  • 4/8/2019 Professional Culinary Arts (Mon, Wed, Fri, Eve)

APPLICATION DEADLINE:

  • Applications are now closed. Please check back for future dates.

AWARD DATE:

  • March 29, 2019

Click here for eligibility requirements and application details.

Pastry Scholarships

A student working

ICC Grand Pastry Scholarship

Financial need is a criterion for this scholarship. Applicants must complete a FAFSA.

AWARD AMOUNT: $25,000

ELIGIBLE CLASSES
Must be enrolled in one of the following PROFESSIONAL PASTRY ARTS programs:

  • 4/1/2019  Professional Pastry Arts (Mon, Wed & Fri, Eve)
  • 4/2/2019 Professional Pastry Arts (Mon-Fri, Day)

APPLICATION DEADLINE:

  • Applications are now closed, please check back for future dates.

AWARD DATE:

  • March 22, 2019

Click here for eligibility requirements and application details.

A student's dessert

ICC $15,000 PASTRY SCHOLARSHIP

Financial need is a criterion for this scholarship. Applicants must complete a FAFSA.

AWARD AMOUNT: $15,000

ELIGIBLE CLASSES
Must be enrolled in one of the following PROFESSIONAL PASTRY ARTS programs:

  • 4/1/2019 Professional Pastry Arts (Mon, Wed & Fri, Eve)
  • 4/2/2019 Professional Pastry Arts (Mon-Fri, Day)

APPLICATION DEADLINE:

  • Applications are now closed, please check back for future dates.

AWARD DATE:

  • March 22, 2019

Click here for eligibility requirements and application details.

friends of the icc

Friends of the ICC Scholarship

Financial need is a criterion for this scholarship. Applicants must complete a FAFSA.

AWARD AMOUNT: $10,000

ELIGIBLE CLASSES
Must be enrolled in the following PROFESSIONAL PASTRY ARTS program:

  • 04/27/2019 Professional Pastry Arts (Tues & Thurs, Eve, Sat, Day)

APPLICATION DEADLINE:

  • Applications are now closed, please check back for future dates.

AWARD DATE:

  • April 22, 2019

Click here for eligibility requirements and application details.

How Does Cacao Become Chocolate?

Raise your hand if you’re a self proclaimed chocolate lover! Whether you enjoy dark or milk chocolate, bon bons or bars, single-origin or blended, we can all agree that chocolate sparks joy in our lives. But do you know how cacao is turned into one of the most beloved treats in the world?

In Ecuador, cacao has been around since prehistoric times. Ranked 4th in the world for cacao production after the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia, they help to grow 65% of the world’s production and export 86.45 million pounds of cocoa beans to the US.

Jenny Conexion ChocolateIn celebration of National Chocolate Lover’s month, this February, the ProEcuador council in New York City visited ICC to discuss the intricacies of Ecuadorian cacao. As experts in exportable goods and services from Ecuador, alongside Ecuadorian chocolatier Jenny Samaniego of Conexion Chocolate, they shared their vast knowledge of cacao—from harvesting, fermenting and roasting to packaging and consumption—in a tasting of single origin cacao beans and chocolates. Below, check out what we learned about the different steps to turning cacao into chocolate!

 

Cocoa on the tree
Picture by Barry Callebaut

Harvesting

The harvesting of cacao pods is a culmination of years of hard work. It can take anywhere from 3-5 years for the trees to grow to the point that the flowers, and eventually cacao pods, will be ready to harvest.

Once ready, each tree produces around 30 pods each, depending on the size. The pods are then cracked open and approximately 40-50 seeds per pod are removed. It takes one tree’s entire annual harvest to make roughly 1 lb of chocolate—that’s a lot of beans!

Fermenting

Fermenting is a crucial step in the cacao to chocolate process. It is through this process that the natural aromas from the beans are brought out, and ultimately how the flavor is developed. As the beans ferment, a liquid excretes out and allows the bean to dry. This process can take around 7 days as the beans are left in the sun to dry, bringing out the flavors.

Roasting

After the drying process, the beans are cleaned to remove sticks and leaves. Similarly to coffee beans, cacao beans also have to be roasted before being turned into chocolate.

This roasting brings out the flavor from the fermentation process, but duration of roasting and at what temperature will depend on the chocolate manufacturer. During roasting, the bean are opened, allowing the part of the bean that can be eaten to be extracted.

Processing

cocoa powder
Picture by Barry Callebaut

After the roasting is complete, the outer cacao shell is removed the the inner “meat” is extracted. This is ground into a powder, which can also be separated into cocoa butter. It is this cocoa butter that can be liquefied and turned into cocoa liquor, which is then cooled and formed into blocks commonly known as bakers chocolate.

Packing

After all of these steps, the once cacao pod is turned into bakers chocolate, ready to be packaged and shipped to manufacturers!

Check out our photo gallery below from our Ecuadorian Chocolate & Coffee Tasting!