A Student in the kitchen

3 Tips to Prepare for Culinary School in the New Year

Is attending culinary school on your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2019? Before you begin cooking or baking in the kitchens of ICC, there are many things that you can do to get prepared to go back to school! While experience is not necessary to begin in any of our programs—even our professional ones—it doesn’t hurts to gain tips from an experienced chef, practice a fundamental technique or read a new cookbook! While the holidays can be great to rest and recharge before the New Year, they are also the perfect time to plan your resolutions and prepare for your future. So, while you’re in between holidays, delve into a new recipe, get inspired watching Chef’s Table or even mark your calendar to join us for a chef demonstration in 2019 at ICC.

Below, find a few tips to jump-start your resolution to begin a new culinary or pastry career in the New Year!

Watch the Pros Work

Whether its binge watching seasons of culinary shows on Netflixcheck out our list of favorites featuring ICC deans and alumni—or attending a live chef demonstration, watching the pros work will open your eyes to the culinary world and help to expand your knowledge of the food industry.

Chef Joan Roca

Chef demonstrations and tasting events are essential to the student experience at ICC, providing additional opportunities to learn outside of the classroom from some of the best chefs in the world! Plus, as a student, you’ll have the opportunity to volunteer at chef demonstrations—learning alongside world-renowned chefs like Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca and famed cake artist Ron Ben-Israel. If you’re considering enrolling in culinary school, we encourage you to attend one of our demonstrations to see what it’s like. Contact your Admissions Representative, or check out our upcoming events on our Facebook Page.

Learn a New Technique

Piping skills

Solid technique is the foundation for a successful career in any aspect of the culinary industry. Although experience is not required to enroll, before attending culinary school, it can be helpful to try your hand at some of the basic skills you’ll use in school! Whether you practice how to chiffonade basil or pipe a rosette, you’ll become familiar with kitchen tools and techniques before beginning.

At ICC, we offer skills workshops, available to all current career program students, to practice proper techniques outside of the classroom. Just like study hall, these workshops offer additional time in the kitchen with your chef instructors to brush up on key techniques before an exam or practice a skill that you need more time to master. Some of the many skills workshop topics include: knife skills, butchery, piping skills, chocolate tempering and more!

Break Out a Cookbook

Cookbooks from the library

Cookbooks, or other food & beverage titles, can be a great way to gain insight into the industry, while also inspiring you to expand your culinary horizons. Steal some alone time between the holidays and check out our culinary reading list to prepare you for a culinary career and give you the motivation to go back-to-school! You’ll find all of these titles, and 5,000+ more in the ICC Library, free for students and alumni to keep connected with the latest trends and industry conversations.

If you’re ready to take the next step in pursuing your culinary or pastry education, we’re here to help! Schedule a tour or RSVP for an Open House to learn more about ICC’s programs, see our kitchens in action and find out how to get started!
Careme's creations

French History: The First Celebrity Chef

At the height of the French Revolution in 1792, a young eight year old boy named Marie-Antoine Carême was abandoned by his family. Carême, the 16th child born to his very poor family, began working as a “kitchen boy” in Paris.

Walking down the streets of Paris in the early 1800’s, the Eiffel Tower—built in 1887—was still decades away from becoming a fixture of the Parisian skyline. At the time, restaurants were just becoming a staple of Parisian culture, as French cuisine began finding its footing in history and became codified into the cuisine that we know today.

Careme portrait
Photo from Getty Images

By 1810 the once orphaned child, Carême was a young man making a name for himself as the first celebrity chef in history. Working under well-known pâtissier Sylvain Bailly, he became one of the first modern chefs to focus on the appearance of plating and presentation, contributing to its importance in many cuisines today. After designing Napoleon Bonaparte’s wedding cake to his second wife, Marie-Louise of Austria, he solidified his place in history as the founding father of French cuisine.

Times had changed by 1814. 30 years after Carême was abandoned by his family, he found himself surrounded by crowds gathered outside his shop, Patisserie de la Rue de la Paix. And, just as he gained notoriety in France, Carême left to travel the world and cook for nobility, furthering his fame. While he once struggled to survive, decades later, he found himself sought after by many.

Throughout history, Carême worked for many notable figures including Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (Talleyrand)—Napoleon’s chief diplomat, Napoleon himself, Russian Emperor Alexander 1, Russian Princess Catherine Bagration and finally in the kitchens of Baron James de Rothschild. All of these famous figures in history helped to cement his reputation as the first celebrity chef and allowed him to create the many lavish items we still recreate today.

French cuisine is one of the most well documented cuisines in history, which, in addition to its timelessness, is one of the reasons it is the foundation for cooking throughout the world. The impact that Marie-Antoine Carême had on Haute Cuisine in the 18th and 19th centuries—and later, the world of cooking itself—would be forever immortalized in his many cookbooks and writings on French Cuisine. In part due to Carême’s need for fame and adoration—which led to a photograph in each of his cookbooks so people would recognize him—French cuisine was finally chronicled and able to be passed down.

Chef Ben teaching students

Today, chefs wear a white jacket and toque in kitchens for many reasons—cleanliness, prestige, and order, among other elements. Even this can be credited to Carême’s desire to be noticed and create a distinction among his peers in the kitchen. His creation of the four mother sauces—béchamel, velouté, espagnole and allemande—would help to build many foundational French entrées for centuries to come. Today, with credit to Escoffier’s adaptation, they are taught as the five mother sauces, replacing allemande with hollandaise and sauce tomate. Carême’s influence expanded to pastry as well. He perfected the souffléwas possibly the first chef to pipe meringue through a pastry bag, and codified many elements of modern gastronomy.

Jacques Torres making a croquemboucheThe croquembouche, which Dean of Pastry Arts Jacques Torres, demonstrates every year as a holiday tradition, can be credited to Carême when he first fashioned it to impress royalty. While Escoffier remains more widely-known than Carême, he popularized Carême’s initial ideas of the brigade system and modernized it to the system we have today. Even today, we tip our toques to Carême for codifying the fundamentals of French cooking as we know it.

The hive

ICC In The News: Highlights from December 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 December 2018, aimed to keep you connected with our community and inspire readers to #LoveWhatYouDo in the kitchen and beyond.

jacques torres and nicole byer

Nicole Byer and Jacques Torres Are the 2018 TV Duo of the Year

Dean of Pastry, Jacques Torres, is the primary judge on the hit Netflix series Nailed It! with co-host Nicole Byer. According to Eater, their co-host chemistry is undeniable, and they won the 2018 TV Duo of the Year! Click here to check out the article.

Chef Peter Prime, of Caribbean-inspired smokehouse Spark, will focus on a whole range of island flavors from his native Trinidad and Tobago at his forthcoming spot, Cane in Washington, D.C. Check it out in early 2019!

Chef Will Baxter, a Professional Culinary Arts graduate, is opening the coolest restaurant concept in Louisiana with his mother. His grandmother owned an antiques store inside of their home for more than five decades, which heavily impacted his love for everything French. Now, he is excited to open a French bistro inside of the old antiques shop and continue his grandmother’s legacy with his mom. Check out the story here.

There’s more to Prosecco than you think. Alan Tardi sat down with Wine4Food and demystified this beloved Italian bubbly and gave his insight into what makes it so special. Watch here!

The Hive
The Hottest Restaurants in Brooklyn Right Now, December 2018

If you’re in Brooklyn and looking for a new restaurant to try in 2019, look no further than our graduate Anton Dayrit‘s establishment The Hive. Find delicious, classic American fare with international twists.


The New York Times released their list of New York’s Top 10 New Restaurants of 2018. Superstar restaurant Atomix captured the #1 spot, and our graduate Jhonel Faelnar is the restaurant’s Wine Director. Read about it here.

Provenance Meals is an organic, prepared meals service that delivers clean eating options right to your door. Executive Chef Serafina Alonso earned four diplomas from ICC and is cooking up delicious meals for the delivery service. Check it out here on Delish.com.

Alan Tardi, award winning James Beard author and wine expert, stopped by ICC during the fall to give an insightful workshop and tasting on Prosecco. Read Wine4Food’s article on the 5 things you didn’t know about Prosecco here.


Need to spruce up your holiday cookies this year? Watch our Director of Pastry, Chef Jansen Chan, as he shares his tips to create homemade, colored sugar.

Feeling like you need extra holiday spirit and inspiration? Read about our graduate, Dru Tevis—the new corporate pastry chef for SoDel Concepts—and how he created the winning gingerbread town for the 2018 Rehoboth Beach Gingerbread Contest!

Graduate Michael Maksimowicz recently opened Casa Pearl in Williamsburg, VA with his co-owner, chef, and wife Chelsea Maksimowicz. If you’re in the area, check it out to see tacos and oysters collide! Read more here.

fried sardines

Dean Cesare Casella shared his simple, melt in your mouth recipe for fried sardines. Check out his recipe in Wine Enthusiast and add it to your holiday menu!

Samantha Capaldi, a.k.a. Samantha Sommelier, is a graduate of ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program and Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. As a gourmet food connoisseur with a passion for making wine approachable, her wine pairing tips help even beginners get started. Read her tips here.

Rudy’s Bakery and Cafe in Ridgewood, Queens, is filled with german sweets, history, and our grad, Cristina Nastasi as its pastry chef. Check it out if you’re in Queens, and be sure to try their seasonal treats.

Year in review header

A Year in Review at ICC

As we come to the end of another year, we wanted to take the time to share some of our favorite moments and highlights from 2018 to give you a sneak peek at what a year in a culinary school looks like! From eliminating the emission equivalent of 400 cars through our Meatless Monday initiative, to celebrating the 19 alumni, and dean, awarded Michelin Stars for their tireless efforts, we’re reflecting on another great year at ICC. Check out our year in review below and join us in ringing in 2019—which marks the 35th Anniversary of the International Culinary Center!

CountriesOver the past 35 years, our students have come from more than 90 countries around the world. During 2018, students traveled thousands of miles from 30 different countries to attend our school in New York City. Some of the many countries they traveled from include the Philippines, Sweden, Puerto Rico and Japan!

In addition, our students traveled from over 200 cities in this year alone. From Anaheim, CA and Austin, TX to even Huixquilucan, Mexico, students attend ICC from so many diverse places!

Michelin starsSince 2005, the first year U.S. restaurants were eligible for Michelin Stars, our alumni and deans have been awarded 150+ Michelin Stars. Just a few weeks ago during the announcement of the 2019 recipients, ICC deans and alumni were awarded another 28 combined Michelin Stars for their outstanding work in the industry.

James Beard awardsKnown as the Oscars of the food world, the James Beard Awards celebrate the best in restaurants, chefs, food media, cookbooks and more! This year, our alumni and deans were nominated for an astounding 19 James Beard Awards!

New york timesThe New York Times has been an institution in national and local news, current events, and culture—especially food & dining—since 1851. This year, the New York Times wrote 100 articles about ICC alumni, deans and chef-instructors! Check out our monthly ICC In the News articles to stay connected each month.

wine glassesThroughout 2018, 12,600 glasses of wine were poured in our Intensive Sommelier Training program for our budding Sommeliers to taste!

meatless mondayFounded in 2003, Meatless Monday is a movement to eliminate meat from your diet just one day a week to improve your overall health, the nation’s health and the planet! Livestock agriculture accounts for nearly 15% of all greenhouse gasses. By eliminating meat from our family meal each Monday, we saved more than 4,600 pounds of meat in 2018!

CarsGreenhouse gases include carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuels, as well as methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) from agriculture and waste. By eliminating meat from our Family Meals once per week, we saved over 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!

baguettes12,000 crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, French baguettes were baked in our Art of International Bread Baking program in 2018.

eggsMore than 169,000 eggs were used in 2018— from the classic Hollandaise sauce that our Professional Culinary Arts students learn to make in Level 1 of the program, to the 6 egg yolks that it takes to make a lemon meringue pie in Level 1 of our Professional Pastry Arts program, eggs are a daily staple of our programs!

demosAvailable to ICC students and alumni, our series of chef demonstrations, tastings, book signings, and business workshops are a way to enrich your education outside of the kitchen. Over the course of 2018, we held 58 different events—that’s more than one a week!—including a chef demonstration from world-renowned Chef Joan Roca, a discussion & book signing with our alumna Christina Tosi, and many more!

butter20,000+ pounds of butter were used in all of our programs combined during 2018!


5,160 cakes were decorated in 2018 by students in our Professional Pastry Arts and Cake Techniques and Design programs, including 3 and 4-tiered wedding cakes, cupcakes and more!


7,700+ pounds of chocolate were shaped, molded, and used to create beautiful showpieces and delectable bon bons in 2018.

knivesMore than 4,100 knives were distributed to our students in 2018 to help them chop their way to a successful career!

hot bread kitchenAfter launching our partnership with Hot Bread Kitchen earlier this year, 129 women have trained in our kitchens through HBK’s Culinary Training Program, more than doubling the number of low-income and immigrant women graduating from the program and entering the food industry!

holidays around the world

Holidays Around The World

The holiday season is a time for family, and friends, to come together and create lifelong memories while celebrating the cherished traditions of their culture. For most, these gatherings are centered around sharing meals with loved ones that highlight some of the best food traditions the world has to offer! Since our chef-instructors hail from many different countries around the world, we asked them to share some of their favorite holiday food memories and cherished traditions of their childhoods. Read their stories below and get some inspiration for your holiday menu!

1. Chef Jürgen David, Associate Director of Pastry

Vienna, Austria

“One of my favorite childhood memories was going to the big Christmas Market in front of Town Hall in the heart of Vienna. The largest Christmas Market, it was beautifully decorated with sparkles, candles gingerbread and Christmas trees everywhere. The town hall would be lit up with lights that you could see from a mile away!

There would be lots of tasty morsels and hot cider, but the best thing was having your pockets filled with roasted chestnuts. We would get a little paper cone—there would be about 10 to 12 little pieces—and you put them in your cold pocket. Not only were they delicious, but they would also keep your hands warm while you walked around the market. These were my favorite thing to eat during the holiday season. It still warms my heart every time I think about it, and makes me homesick—in a good way. It’s not Christmas without roasted chestnuts, so I make them every year!”


Chef Jurgen
Chef Jürgen getting chestnuts at a Christmas Market as a child

2. Chef Natalia Pozzi, Events Coordinator

São Paulo, Brazil

Chef Natalia Pozzi

“Every year, the Christmas dinner would happen at my grandmother’s house where she lived in the country, and we would have our traditional Brazilian Christmas supper. Usually it includes turkey, Chester chicken, salted Bacalhau, rice—of course, because we are from South America—a lot of fruits and a panettone. My favorite part of the meal also included Farofa, which is a toasted manioc flour mixture. It can be sweet with fruits or salty with bacon, and I remember my mom always making this for any holiday occasion.

My favorite Christmas memory has to do with my father. Two months before Christmas, I would go with my dad to a place where they raised suckling pig. He would choose the pig to eat at Christmas, and he would marinate the pig in the fridge for days and baste it for hours before the meal. At the end, he would pour the hot oil over the skin and it would become crispy and golden. I remember him putting the pig on the table, and every year he would serve it because he knew the proper way for everyone to get the moist meat and crispy skin.

Both of my parents are very good cooks, so all of my inspiration about flavor and traditional technique comes from them. My dad in particular loves to cook anything Brazilian style. Nowadays, we compete to see who is the better cook, and he always wins!”

A young Chef Natalia dressed as Santa Claus

3. Chef Kir Rodriquez, Associate Pastry Coordinator & Chef-Instructor

Puerto Rico

“Growing up in Puerto Rico my family was all about food, specifically during the holidays.  My grandfather had a big farm with pigs for lechón, chickens for arroz con pollo, cows for fresh cheese and root vegetables like taro root, malanga, potatoes, as well as other vegetables like plantains and bananas for pasteles. And let’s not forget about the coquito (like an eggnog without eggs and lots of rum).

The holidays were a big family event and everyone was involved in the preparations. Holidays for us meant the whole month of December all the way to January 6 which is Three Kings, and then we would start the Octavitas, which was an extension of the holidays for two more weeks.

So much fun. I still celebrate Three Kings with a big party for all the family in our home in New Jersey.”

Chef Kir shares a Christmas photo celebrating the holidays with his mom

4. Chef José Menéndez, Chef-Instructor

Madrid, Spain

Chef Jose“Most people have memories of Christmas celebrations during their childhood, and although I lived a happy childhood thanks to my parents, I remember Christmas as a time of work for my whole family. My parents, both Chefs, had several restaurants in Spain, and we grew up surrounded by the constant hustle and bustle of the kitchens. During Christmas and around the busy holiday season, the work quickly multiplied by ten.

So, instead of a picture of my family enjoying a dinner at home, I wanted to share a picture of my father’s first restaurant in 1952, as this is how I remember my childhood. My brothers and I worked to help my parents, as they would give many of the staff the time off to enjoy the holidays with their families.

Our Christmas dinners were with all the staff of the restaurant, so that memory and reality has accompanied me throughout my professional life. Even so, I remember the dinners with a great union and camaraderie that I have always taken with me wherever I have gone. The classic main course of the holiday dinners would always be a roasted milk fed lamb which I remember to this day.”

Chef Jose's father's restaurant
Chef Jose’s father’s restaurant in 1952. His Father, Emilio Menendez, is second from the left.
Sommelier Students

ICC Announces New Professional Development Scholarship for 2019

Over half a million dollars in scholarships available for industry professionals over the next two years!

2019 marks the 35th anniversary of the International Culinary Center’s founding in New York City, and with it, over three decades of educating culinary, pastry and wine professionals for success in the industry. To celebrate this achievement and to continue our mission to train the next generation of culinary leaders and innovators, ICC is excited to announce the launch of a new scholarship—the ICC Professional Development Scholarship—to support the educational pursuits of professionals working, or with experience, in the culinary and hospitality industry. Over the next two years, ICC will award up to $720,000 in scholarships to industry professionals seeking to continue their education at the International Culinary Center in one of our four specialized programs of study—The Art of International Bread Baking, Intensive Sommelier Training, Cake Techniques & Design, and Culinary Entrepreneurship.

Student Baking BreadThe ICC Professional Development Scholarship will provide continuing education opportunities for professionals either currently working in, or with past experience in the culinary and hospitality industry to expand the scope and depth of their skills. Over 200 scholarships will be available from now until 2020 to enroll in ICC programs and receive certifications in bread baking, cake decorating or wine studies—or in the case of our Culinary Entrepreneurship program, a business plan to start your food business.



cake studentLeland Scruby, Vice President of Education, spearheaded the scholarship development and understands the importance of creating opportunities like this for our industry. “ICC has always believed in helping industry professionals advance to the next step in their careers through continuing education”  says Scruby. He shares that this special scholarship program “will help those who have already gained some experience in the food world enhance their skills in food business, bread baking, cake design and sommelier training. Expertise in one of these areas can help distinguish professionals in their job search and make them a far more desirable candidate to an employer.”

Sommelier studentWith many scholarship candidates looking to go back to school while continuing to work, ICC’s fast-track courses are designed to deliver the maximum education in the minimum amount of time with schedule options that help to accommodate the working professional. Whether it’s the option of studying in the full-time day or part-time evening Intensive Sommelier Training programs, or in the blended in-person and on-line 6-week Culinary Entrepreneurship program, ICC’s programs help students acquire the skills and certifications needed to stay ahead of the curve in just weeks, not months.


Incoming students with verified industry experience on their resume and a letter from their present or past employer will be eligible to apply for these partial-tuition scholarships toward the Culinary Entrepreneurship program, or professional programs in bread baking, cake design, and sommelier training. Scholarship applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis and awarded upon acceptance in eligible programs. Click here to learn more about the the ICC Professional Development Scholarship!

Learn more about the programs eligible for the ICC Professional Development Scholarship here:


Holiday Gift Guide 2018

The holiday season is in full swing, and although Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, the season of giving is just beginning. If you’re scrambling to think of a unique gift for your loved one, friend, or even your favorite sous-chef, look no further than our Holiday Gift Guide!

This year, we highlighted three different areas of gift giving. Whether you’re shopping for the professional in your life, the foodie that knows every restaurant in Manhattan, or someone in between, check out all of our suggestions below!

For the Professional

For the culinary, pastry or wine professional in your life—from pro gear to great reads—these professional gifts are sure to delight any friend working in the industry, colleagues or your boss. But if you don’t need to impress your executive chef, you can always pick up one of these gifts for yourself!

Tilit Apron

Tilit Chef Apron

Tilit is redefining work-wear for the hospitality industry from stove to street. For the chef in your life, a Tilit Apron is wearable, durable, and long lasting. Check out their line of aprons, all made right here in New York City!

The Pastry Chef’s Little Black Book

The Pastry Chef’s Little Black Book

It’s a great time to be a pasty pro! If you are looking for a book that is traditional, but none the less very professional, check Professional Pastry Art’s graduate Michael Zebrowski’s The Pastry Chef’s Little Black Book. Be warned—this book is anything but little! It includes any and everything you may need for a professional pastry kitchen.

The Sommelier's Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe

The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe 

For more serious Sommelier studies, this beautiful book, The Sommeliers Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europegoes beyond the basics through the classic wines of Europe. Not only covering what to drink and where it’s from, this guide offers tips on how to taste and highlights many producers. It is a visual book with great design, layout and photos that are sure to be treasured by anyone who is serious about wine.

Cocktail Kingdom Essential cocktail kit

Cocktail Kingdom® Essential Cocktail Kit

Cocktail Kingdom is the world’s premier manufacturer and distributor of professional barware, offering a wide spectrum to meet the needs of the restaurant industry. This essential cocktail kit is an ideal gift for the busy restaurant owner who needs an upgrade in their life.

Polka Pants

Polka Pants

Featured in Vogue and founded by Professional Culinary Arts graduate, Maxine Thompson, Polka Pants offers tailored chef pants for women designed for functionality, comfort and style. Pick up a pair for the kitchen professional in your life, or buy a pair for yourself!

For the Young, Aspiring Professional

A student cooking

Teen Camps at ICC

For the young, aspiring chef in your life, our Teen Camps are a perfect way to get them into the kitchen. With Culinary and Pastry camp options, your teen is sure to be inspired during the week-long cooking & baking sessions. Relax knowing that your teen is learning from experienced, dedicated chef instructors (the same chef instructors who teach our Professional Culinary and Pastry Arts programs!)

For the Foodie

For the foodie friend or family member who knows all of the latest restaurants, keeps up with new food trends and has an envious home kitchen for entertaining!

Delicacies jewelry

Delicacies Jewelry

A perfect conversation starter and accessory to amp up any outfit, Delicacies Jewelry is a great way to celebrate your foodie’s favorite ingredient. They’re all about tasteful jewelry for people who love food, so whether it’s dainty farfalle pasta, or a beautiful pineapple, you can find the right option for anyone.

All About Cake

Milk Bar: All About Cake

Something that every foodie should have in their home baker tool kit is ICC Alumna Christina Tosi’s newest book—Milk BarAll About Cake. Learn how to bring the Milk Bar flavor home using her basic recipes with flavors that are anything but! This book includes bundt cakes, sheet cakes, cupcakes and, yes, the famous cake truffles. If someone in your life loves Milk Bar or even if they just love sweets, this book is the perfect gift.

Scone and coffee

One-Day Recreational Class at ICC

Give the gift of “experience” with a cooking class! Our one-day recreational classes are the perfect present for the avid home cook or bake sale guru in your life. With 20+ classes in cooking, baking and wine studies to choose from, there’s something for everyone at any age! Not sure which class they’d want to take? A gift certificate is a perfect option to let them choose!

Jacques Torres Chocolate

Jacques Torres Chocolate: Holiday Special Edition

We know we tend to favor our Dean of Pastry Arts’ amazing chocolates, but many people around the world agree that Mr. Chocolate, Chef Jacques Torres, makes some of the best bon bons around. We particularly love his Holiday Special Edition chocolate box that can satisfy any sweet-tooth. If you’re really in the holiday spirit, sit down with your box of chocolates and tune into the premiere of Netflix’s Nailed It! Holiday! season airing December 7th to see Jacques Torres as lead judge.

Essential Tools, Tops & Techniques for the Home Cook

Essential Tools, Tips & Techniques for the Home Cook

For the home cook ready to take their culinary game to the next level, pick up a copy of the newly released Essential Tools, Tips & Techniques for the Home Cook by Michelle Doll. This ICC alumna and adjunct Chef-Instructor has developed the perfect culinary compendium for the foodie to keep on hand in the kitchen. Without overwhelming, Chef Michelle walks the reader through essential culinary school techniques and tips to elevate their recipes. The book also includes recipes for every occasion and even a section for pressure cooker fanatics.

Menus: A book for your meals and memories

Menus: A Book For Your Meals and Memories

Legendary Chef, author of 29 cookbooks, acclaimed television host, Legion of Honor award winner and our Dean of Special Programs Chef Jacques Pépin has been hand-illustrating menus to keep track of what he cooked for friends, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and holidays. This book brings together Pépin’s favorite paintings so you can commemorate your own dinners with everything from the menu to the guests that joined you!

ICC Staff Picks

For when you want some help from the pros! Aren’t sure what to buy the professional, foodie, or family member who loves to entertain? Our staff are some of the most knowledgeable in the culinary industry, so if you’ve ever wondered what we use in our kitchens, look no further than our picks below!

ARY VacMaster

From our President, Erik Murnighan

When ICC President Erik is at home, he likes to pull out his ARY VacMaster chamber vacuum sealer for food preparation, preservation, and cooking sous-vide. Unlike a traditional Food Saver, a chamber vacuum sealer allows you to easily seal liquid and/or items with liquid. Whether he is making his signature hot sauce, turkey legs confit for Thanksgiving dinner, or any type of sous-vide cooking, vacuum chambers have a variety of uses. There are many new models and brands, but check out this option here.

Vitamix blender

From our Vice President of Education, Leland Scruby

Our Vice President of Education Leland is a graduate of ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts and Intensive Sommelier Training programs, and recommends a Vitamix blender as a must have kitchen staple for any avid home cook. Used by professionals all over the world, it is an amazing blender that has many different features like puréeing, chopping, and even emulsifying. ICC is proud to be a Culinary School Partner of Vitamix, which provides a discount to the ICC Community. Click here and use promo code: ICCVitamix21216 to view the offers!

Gefilte fish

From our Assistant Director of Education, Judson Kniffen

Supporting our community is in our DNA, so it was easy for Judson to recommend one of our Culinary Entrepreneurship instructors Liz Alpern’s Gefilte Fish from her business The Gefilteria. Gefilte Fish is a traditional Ashkenazi appetizer served around the holiday season, and Liz’s can’t be missed!

Spatula from williams sonoma

From our Career Services Coordinator, Cortney McKenzie

For a fun gift that gives back, Cortney, graduate of both ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts and Intensive Sommelier Training programs, recommends a celebrity-designed spatula that benefits No Kid Hungry. 30% of the proceeds from every spatula goes towards helping feed children. Check out all of them here!

Kitchenaid Mixer

From our Assistant Director of Admission, Stephanie Baril

When Stephanie, ICC Professional Pastry Arts graduate and Assistant Director of Admissions is baking at home, the one thing she can’t live without is her ruby red KitchenAid Mixer. She uses her mixer whenever she gets the chance; from custom order cakes for clients, to cookies and mashed potatoes for family, a KitchenAid Mixer is a tool you’ll come back to time and again.

Wine Food: New Adventures in Drinking and Cooking

From our Librarian, Sara Quiroz

This year, Sara completed our Intensive Sommelier Training program, so she is all about wine for her staff pick! For any wine lover, pick up a copy of Wine Food: New Adventures in Drinking and Cooking by Dana Frank and Andrea Slonecker. The simple, yet creative recipes with fun and unique wine pairings will make anyone a pro-hostess, as well as surprise seasoned wine lovers. It also includes fun “Pairing Cheat Sheets” such as what pairs with take away or what to drink when you don’t feel like eating!

Larmandier-Bernier "Cuvée du Levant" Vieilles Vignes Brut

From our Wine Coordinator, Elizabeth Smith

From one of the first producers to bottle single-vineyard Champagne & to champion low dosage comes this absolute stunner of a vintage cuvee. Larmandier-Bernier “Cuvée du Levant” Vieilles Vignes Brut 2007 comes from the oldest Grand Cru vines in the village of Cramant, farmed biodynamically & hand-harvested. Whether you’re looking to treat yourself or impress another, this treasure of a Champagne is a perfect choice.

And One More...

Champagne gift set

In thinking about the holidays and bringing the community together, we wanted to share a piece of advice from our late Founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton. Dorothy was a visionary in culinary education and helped to shape the food world as we know it today. In addition to her vast culinary knowledge, she was well versed in the world of wine and wrote an article about how a great wine must be paired with the correct glass. To pair with our Wine Coordinator Elizabeth’s amazing champagne selection, pick up a a champagne gift set that has all of your needs to accompany a beautiful bottle of champagne.

Angela Garbacz for Forbes

ICC In The News: Highlights from November 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 November 2018, aimed to keep you connected with our community and inspire readers to #LoveWhatYouDo in the kitchen and beyond.

Rebecca and Jansen

Watch: The Architecture-Trained Chef Creating Sky-High Pastries

Our Director of Pastry, Jansen Chan, and 2007 Professional Pastry Arts graduate & host of Eater’s new series Sugar Coated, Rebecca DeAngelis, constructed a towering re-designed Croquembouche.

Read this review of our grad Ashish Alfred’s new restaurant, Duck Duck Goose in Balimore. It offers a sophisticated take on European cuisine without the accompanying pretense, and has amazing honey-roasted duck. If you’re in Baltimore, be sure to check out his restaurant!

Chef Hervé Malivert, Director of Culinary Arts & Technology, and Chef Jürgen David, Associate Director of Pastry Arts explain how to save your Thanksgiving feast from the most common kitchen mistakes like dry turkey, lumpy mashed potatoes, and more! Click here to watch more on CBS New York.

bacon egg and cheese sandwich
Manresa Bread to Debut All-Day Fare at New Cafe

Manresa Bread, co-founded and operated by Art of International Bread Baking graduate Avery Ruzicka, is opening a third location in California. Stop by one of their amazing bakeries for a delicious treat and read about the third location here.

lauren bush lauren and lani halliday

As the stylish founder of Brutus Bakeshop and graduate of our Culinary Entrepreneurship program, Lani Halliday is known for her gluten-free custom creations. Get her gluten-free cookie recipe here and read about her team up with Lauren Bush Lauren.

A dish from momofuku ko
The 38 Best Restaurants in America

Eater released their 38 Best Restaurants in America. Three of our graduates were featured on the list, including David Chang, owner of Momofuku Ko, Dan Barber for Blue Hill At Stone Barns, and Steven Cook, co-owner of Zahav. Congratulations to our alumni! Check out their restaurants on the list.

Chef Hervé Malivert, Director of Culinary Arts & Technology, shared his Turkey Safety Tips, from how to thaw your turkey to the proper internal temperature of your cooked turkey. And, if you insist on deep frying your turkey, Chef Hervé also shares his recommendations to keep you and your loved one’s safe. Click here to watch the video feature on CBS New York.

Few spots remain in the first London edition of the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program, an international course jointly produced by the Olive Oil Times Education Lab and ICC. Check out the program and learn more here.

Love decorating with sprinkles but tired of the same old rainbow colors? Now you can make your own sugar sprinkles at home, in any color and shade you please! Chef Jansen Chan shows two great baking decorating techniques in one, how to make royal icing and how to turn that royal icing into your own homemade sprinkles. We went with fall colors, but you can easily adapt this for any time of year! Click here to see how in this Chowhound video.

Angela Garbacz in Forbes

Angela Garbacz’s passion for pastry began at a young age and led her to study Pastry Arts at ICC. After discovering she had a dairy intolerance, Garbacz decided to use her knowledge of ingredients and classical techniques to craft beautiful, delectable sweets that catered to a variety of restricted and alternative diets. Read more about her and her shop, Goldenrod Pastries in Forbes.

Matt Monahan, Professional Culinary Arts ’07, co-founded Other Half Brewing in New York in 2014. Years later, it’s made it on Thrillist’s list of Best Craft Breweries in every state as the best brewery in New York. Read about it here.

David Chang
David Chang’s Culinary Universe Is Still Growing

Read the Wall Street Journal feature on our Professional Culinary Arts graduate David Chang. Year over year he continues to expand his restaurant group Momofuku, and people continue to line-up out the door to get a taste of his latest creations. Read more about him here.

While it’s hard to think of a more American tradition than Thanksgiving, it’s actually quite easy to add a little French flavor to your dinner. Chef Alain, Chef Hervé, and Chef Marc give their recommendations for their favorite French classics that pair perfectly with turkey! Click here to read the feature in France-Amérique Magazine.

Alex LaPratt, Master Sommelier and adjunct instructor for our Intensive Sommelier Training program, was recently profiled by Wine Spectator. Read to get a glimpse into the day of a restaurant owner and Master Sommelier!

Don’t have time to make a pie crust this holiday season? No problem! Chef Jansen Chan’s pumpkin pie hack lets you make one from scratch in less than 30 minutes. Click here to see how in this Chowhound video.

Peter Sherman sees bacon as more than a side dish for diner eggs. At BarBacon, his 84-seat sports bar in Hell’s Kitchen, the salt-cured and smoked meat receives its culinary due by being battered then deep-fried, infused into whipped cream or covered with chocolate, among other treatments. Stop by his bacon focused restaurant in NYC!

atomix dish

Congratulations to our grads for making Esquire’s list of the 20 Best New Restaurants in America. From Executive Chef and Co-Owner Scott Tacinelli’s (Professional Culinary Arts ’08) evolution of Italian-American cuisine at Don Angie, Jhonel Faelnar’s incredible wine list at cutting-edge Atomix NYC(Intensive Sommelier Training ’14), and Kate Williams (Professional Culinary Arts ’07) Irish-influenced menu at Lady of the House, we are proud to recognize these amazing alumni! Read more about them here.

Quick Guide to Foraging

Quick Guide to Foraging

Foraging has gained popularity in the last decade as the movement for fresh and sustainable ingredients has grown. While many chefs nowadays use suppliers or farmers markets to find the perfect ingredients for their restaurant, foraging can be a great way to bring new ingredients to their kitchens. For chefs who enjoy the hunt of searching for food or provisions, it can also be a fun hobby to pick up outside of the kitchen.

While it may seem like chefs would inherently know what to hunt for, foraging actually takes years of experience and knowledge to safely gather ingredients in the wild. However, there are some simple tips to follow and easy ingredients to identify that will help you become a successful beginner forager. Read below to find our guide to getting started and easy ingredients to look for begin your first foraging adventure!

Tips to Getting Started

  1. Foraging in New York by Steve BrillInvest in Books. This seems obvious, but books are a great resource for foraging. There are many knowledgeable experts who have spent decades researching and writing about foraging. Expert forager Steve “Wildman” Brill, who has been foraging for 35+ years and lives in the New York City area, has written many books on the subject. If you are foraging in New York, we recommend starting with his book Foraging in New York: Finding, Identifying and Preparing Edible Wild Foods.
  2. Find a Mentor and Speak With Experts. Finding a mentor is the key to foraging safely. While you may be able to find many ingredients in your own backyard, it can be dangerous to ingest them without consulting an expert. An expert or a mentor can help to identify plants, and can be a great resource for learning more about what to forage.
  3. Start in Your Own Backyard. Like we said, foraging in your own backyard is possible and fun! When you become familiar with the plants in and around your backyard first, it will help you to gain your foraging confidence before you venture elsewhere.

What to Start Foraging

There are endless edible plants and wild mushrooms to forage for, but it can be daunting trying to identify them all. Depending on your level of expertise, start with these plants below and, as always, consult with an expert before you eat anything. As a rule of thumb, always consume small quantities to ensure that you are not allergic to anything first.

Level 1: Dandelion Greens

You read that correctly— those pesky weeds that pop up everywhere are edible. These “weeds” are easy to identify due to their yellow flowers and pointy leaves, and are safe to eat. Expert foragers use dandelions in everything from salad to pesto, coffee and even wine! The entire plant is edible, so research recipes beforehand to get the most out of the plant. It is also recommended to forage for these in your own backyard because they have a tendency to be sprayed with pesticides.

Level 2: Field Garlic

Field GarlicOn a recent foraging trip to Prospect Park, our Professional Culinary Arts with Farm-to-Table class experienced field garlic firsthand. Like dandelions, field garlic is found almost everywhere and during every season of the year. It is easy to identify and has a distinct garlic/onion smell. With long green stems that look like chives and bulbs at the end of the stems, the whole plant can be utilized anywhere that you would normally use garlic. Note that it does have a lookalike that is toxic, but the lookalike plant does not have a smell. Before you eat field garlic, make sure that you smell a distinct garlic smell first.






Level 3: The Foolproof Four

Mushroom hunting is perhaps the most exciting part of foraging. Mushrooms are delicious, versatile and harder to find, which makes for a fun hunt. The difficulty of finding mushrooms is that they can be found in different locations, and from year to year, can grow in different areas. Although you may have found a delicious chicken of the woods mushroom, on a tree trunk one year, the next year it may not be there.

Giant PuffballThe foolproof four in mushroom hunting includes morels, chanterelles, giant puffballs, and chicken of the woods. These mushrooms are the easiest to identify and are widespread. Morels are one of the most sought after wild mushrooms and have a distinct, wrinkled look. Chanterelles have a wavy cap and can vary from a yellowish color to an amber. Giant puffballs are easy to spot in the woods and can grow to be the size of a volleyball—and often times look like one! They are white in color and vary in size. Chicken of the woods are also easy to spot due to their yellow and orange color. Growing mostly on tree trunks, their edges are the best for eating as the center of the mushroom is often tough.

It is best to go on tours with experts and forage in groups when you’re first starting out. This makes foraging more fun, but it also makes it safe.

Books are a great resource when first getting started, but should not be the only resource you use to identify plants. Experts in the world of foraging are an easy resource at hand and can typically identify plants using pictures. When in doubt, never ingest something that you aren’t sure of, and always be sure to forage in a sustainable way! Click here to check out our tips for safe foraging!

Students and Wildman

Foraging in New York City

Chef’s often find inspiration in supermarkets, seasonal farmers markets, and even from their cultural heritage to create delicious and unique dishes. But, what many chefs and home-cooks often overlook is the inspiration that can come from the forest or your backyard.

Students foragingOn a recent sunny but cold Saturday afternoon, Steve “Wildman” Brill led a group of Professional Culinary Arts + Farm-to-Table program students through Prospect Park to get a hands-on foraged-to-table experience. Wildman Steve is one of the preeminent foragers working in America today, foraging for more than 35 years. Foraging on one of Wildman Steve’s tours is an amazing way to connect with nature and learn about ingredients that you can find in the wild to bring to your table.

Within minutes of entering the 526 acres of park in Brooklyn, Wildman Steve was pointing out what students could bring back to the kitchen to add to various dishes. Learn about what we found in the city’s backyard of Prospect Park below, and be sure to send pictures to an expert before ingesting anything you find while foraging!

Ginkgo Nuts

Ginkgo leaf

The bright yellow hue of ginkgo leaves in the Fall helps to distinguish the tree from others and points the way to the edible part of the tree, ginkgo nuts, found on the branches.

You’ll know you’ve found the right fruit when you see the fan-like leaves and smell a pungent scent when you break into it. Many sidewalks are littered with the strong-smelling fruits of ginkgo trees and can be easy to miss since the nuts themselves, found inside the fleshy fruit, are small. At first, they don’t give off much smell, but once the fruit is exposed, the stench often reminds people of strong cheese. The fruit pulp can also cause skin blisters to people that may be allergic to it, so it is best to wear gloves when harvesting the fruits.

Once you look past the smell, and the potential skin rash, the cooked nuts—always be sure to roast them—have a flavor resembling edamame, potato and pine nuts. The Asian culture considers them a delicacy and uses them in desserts, soups and meat dishes. It is best not to consume more than a few seeds at a time as the toxins can build up in a harmful way. Also, be sure not to consume the fleshy part of the fruit as it is poisonous.

Field Garlic

Field GarlicPerhaps the most familiar find of the day, field garlic is everywhere. Found on lawns, backyards, open woods and yes, even Prospect Park, it is common throughout the continental US. Even in the coldest winter months, field garlic can be found poking through the snow, ready to be harvested.

With hollow stems and a distinct garlic/onion smell, it is difficult to mistake field garlic. There is a toxic lookalike plant that has no smell, so be sure to sniff out the garlic smell and consult an expert before eating. The leaves grow in bunches and look similar to a chive or a green onion, and in the Spring sprout a beautiful purple flower. Field Garlic

Once pulled from the ground, the green stems end with a small, edible bulb. The leaves can be used wherever a chive or green onion would normally be used and are a delicious substitute. The flavor of the bulbs can vary between patches, so it is important to try them before cooking with them, as it is with any ingredient.

Paper Mulberry

paper mulberryBright red-orange and resembling a pom-pom, the paper mulberry was the sweetest thing found in Prospect Park all day. Typically blooming from April to June, it was extremely late to find paper mulberries in the park, but it was a treat not to be missed!

Composed of many cylindrical seeds coming out of a hard ball, the seeds are edible, crunchy and explode with a mild honey-like sweetness. Picking them right off the tree is the best way to eat them, as they do not store for long.


One of the more difficult ingredients to forage for, mushrooms can task even the most seasoned foragers with a difficult hunt. Some familiar-looking species have poisonous lookalikes, while others can trigger hallucinations. As with anything that is foraged, it is important to send many pictures to experts before ingesting anything. Do not try to identify any mushrooms based on these pictures. Be sure to have a good firsthand familiarity, as well as experience eating and preparing foraged mushrooms, as it can be extremely dangerous to eat a foraged mushroom without that knowledge. Generally speaking, beginner foragers should avoid all mushrooms with “gills” underneath the mushrooms.

Although foraging for mushrooms can be quite dangerous, if you are with an expert like we were, it can be quite exciting! Mushrooms can be found everywhere from the forest ground, trees, and even grassy fields. Keep your eyes peeled for a delicious mushroom, as they really can grow anywhere!

Shaggy Mane

Shaggy Mane mushrooms are very easy to find, and a great choice for beginner foragers. Extremely delicate and easy to break, Shaggy Manes resemble a squid and can vary in size. They excrete a black ink and are also commonly referred to as an inky cap. The ink can even be used to color dishes as a natural food color as it gives off a deep, black color.

You can typically find them in late summer and fall, so we were extremely lucky to find them in November in Prospect Park. Although late in the season, it does sometimes happen that they grow during the late fall. It is best to forage for shaggy manes when they’re young and to cook them within a few hours. It is rare to find them in restaurants because of the quick decomposing process, but they are great in a creamy risotto and add a subtle earthy flavor.



PuffballsAccording to experts, Puffball mushrooms are one of the “foolproof four,” also known as the four most easily identified mushrooms, along with chicken of the woods, chanterelles, and morels. There are many lookalike species that can be poisonous, but puffballs, when cut open, are pure white and have no mushroom gills.

It’s important to put puffballs into the fridge after harvesting as they can spoil quickly. Once harvested, they are extremely versatile and can be used as a substitute for tofu, on a pizza or even in a delicious plate of pasta.

Foraging takes years of experience and knowledge to be able to safely ingest harvested ingredients. While it can be time consuming, it is rewarding and filled with hidden treasures around every corner!

Throughout our trip to Prospect Park, we were guided with knowledge from our expert, Wildman Steve. Finding, identifying and preparing edible wild food is a great way to use the resources around you and to connect with nature. But, be sure to consult with an expert and attend one of Wildman Steve’s tours to help you get started!