This autumn, as the weather turns cool and the sky begins to darken early, we at the ICC Library have been lucky enough to partner with the lovely tea company, Rishi. Our “Sip & Study” began in October and throughout the cooler months, we will be offering a selection of 3 different teas each Wednesday and Thursday specially curated for us by Keiko Niccolini, the Director of Luxury and Brand Alignment.
In addition to our weekly tastings, we will be partnering with Rishi for additional tea events sporadically. Our first such event was a tea blogger tasting hosted right here in the ICC Library. Rishi decorated the room beautifully and provided a selection of mochi and macarons to pair with the delicate Japanese teas. The tasting contained 4 flights and a total of 12 teas! Keiko expertly prepared each tea in the traditional style and grouped similar flavor profiles together for the best opportunity for comparison.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, be sure to stop by for “Sip & Study” and keep an eye on the events calendar for future tea events.
See what tea bloggers are saying about our recent event with Rishi Tea below!
“Loved the green tea tasting with Rishi and Keiko at ICC. It was a treat to be able to taste so many different variations of green tea in one setting with people who love tea as much as I do!” –Jee Choe, tea blogger behind Oh, How Civilized.
“The tea flight event was exceptional. Going in I assumed the teas we would be served would be very high quality, and they were. However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that Keiko’s preparation and presentation elevated the experience. In addition, the company of tea women who participated in the event was phenomenal. I am pleased to have been a part of the tasting.” — Georgia Silvera Seamans of the Notes on Tea blog.
‘This formidable experience included an aggressive and complete tasting (11 Teas) with tea comparison suggestions and sweet pairings. An outstanding feat curated and executed with perfection. Thank you Keiko” – Jo of Scandalous Tea
Written by Olivia Hamilton Current Culinary Arts Student
The Sweet Genius and Guest Master Pastry Chef, Ron Ben Israel treated us to a beautiful demo last week. He showed us how to design one of his beautifully crafted 3-tier cakes with a marble finish. This was a real treat (especially eating it after).
Before he started on the main part of the cake design, he and his “elf helpers” (student volunteers) worked from the outside in. The cake was to be an autumn theme, so what is fall without some leaves? Chef Ron Ben Israel used a pasta maker during the demo to roll out the sugar paste, which he said: “each machine is different but it’s better than by hand for consistency”. After going through the machine to achieve the desired thickness, the “elves” started placing the thing sugar paste into silicon molds or using cookie cutters to make the leaves.
You don’t want to use metallic when working with the silicone since it is likely to damage it. Once the leaves had a shape, Chef showed them how to make the leaves seem more lifelike. The trick is using a metal ball fondant tool to thin the edges out a bit more to replicate real leaves which are “thin, delicate and elegant”. You also always want to be working close to yourself to help with accuracy. Another key factor is, once the sugar paste is ready you must work fast or it will dry out. Next, Chef started creating the fondant to be used on the exterior of the cake. The challenging part about making marble designs is you never know how it will turn out.
To be able to complete all this, one must be very organized. Chef Ron Ben Israel credited his organizational skills when he was a disco dancer back in the day. Chef Israel was actually a professional dancer for about 15 years after being in the Israeli army. So I asked, “how did you realize that cakes were your passion?”. To which Chef responded, “I was in the desert and saw a burning bush and saw a wedding cake in that burning bush”. He then explained that when he was younger he always liked the kitchen and would spend time there with his mom. Though, she would always kick him out since he never liked to clean! Pastry chefs always seem to be somewhat of a happy comedian and Chef Israel is no exception. Perhaps it’s all the sugar they consume.
How did he really get involved in the pastry world? Well, it’s much like anyone else when you move to a new place, you need a job. When Chef Ron Ben Israel first moved to the US he needed income and new the right person to ask. He asked his friend who helped him get a job at a chocolate store and after 2 weeks he was addicted.
He then became a cake designer and would create displays for store windows. Luckily for him, Martha Stewart walked by one day and wanted his help for her wedding magazine she was starting. The hustle was real; Chef Ron Ben Israel also rented a space at night from a caterer that had everything he needed for doing cakes. Hard work, determination, talent and a bit of luck is really what is needed to become successful. He credits networking for helping him establish his business. Later in his career, Founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton invited him to do a cake demo and after talking to her for 5 minutes, he decided to become an instructor (something he never thought he would do).1
Back to putting together the cake, Chef Israel had many interesting tools including a PVC pipe that he purchased at a local plumbing store. Chef Ron is very serious about supporting locals business. The PVC he said is great because it can be put in the dishwasher along with it being the right weight to place on top of the fondant. Of the 3 tiers, the top and bottom already had their marbling fondant thanks to one of our graduates (Margret) who works for Chef Ron Ben Israel. He also said that his Sue Chef is another ICC grad that was hired years ago and has never left.
The marbling look was created by placing pieces of different shades of grey fondant overlapping then rolling it out. Every marble look is unique since there is no exact way to do it. Chef Israel then draped the fondant for the middle tier cake and used his tools to flatten the top and keep the sides in tight, along with cutting off the bottom. The cake is almost complete! Chef likes to be very precise so he uses miter boxes to cut the bamboo dowels that help support the cake. It’s important to measure your dowels based off the original cut dowel, otherwise is easier to get a variation of sizes. Each dowel was placed an inch from the outside of the cake to help support the next tier. After they had all been stacked, Chef Ron Ben Israel uses nontoxic kids glue to help glue the outside bottom for the ribbon (not edible).
The leaves were then painted with shades of gold for some pop, then placed all around the cake. Royal icing can be used as glue but it makes a space, turns white and/or leaves a mark. Whereas piping gel is clear and if you mess up you can wipe it off without leaving a mark. Once all the leaves were placed, the most important part of cake creation took place; pictures and eating it! It was the best fall spice cake I have ever had. This is what I want for my birthday, wedding, anniversary, and any other good reason to enjoy such an amazing masterpiece!
Written by Olivia Hamilton Culinary Student, Level 1
ICC had a sweet treat yesterday with Chef Jacques Torres, also known as Mr. Chocolate and the Dean of Pastry Arts at ICC. He is multi-talented in the world of desserts but one of most impressive disciplines he practices (in my opinion) is his work with sugar. As a current Level 1 student in the Culinary Arts program, it’s exciting to see how the other half (pastry) lives.
Sugar is hard to work with no matter who you are, or how long you’ve been working with sugar. It will burn you if you aren’t careful, along with breaking or falling apart just when you thought you had it finished. Even with these obstacles, Chef Jacques Torres made his sugar sculpture demonstration seem like a walk in the park while keeping us laughing. Whether he was using molds or manually pulling the sugar, we, the audience, were on the edge of our seats the whole time knowing how delicate sugar can be.
While filling the molds with the hot liquid sugars, Torres explained that it is best to use glucose with poured sugar. Whereas pulling sugar is more successful mixed with vinegar because it stays pliable for longer, but is also more delicate to work with. The molds were to be used to create the base structures for the sugar masterpiece that was unfolding in front of our eyes.
The Dean then showed us how to properly mix the color into pulling sugars which reminded me very much of an omelet. Clear pulling sugar is placed on a Silpat then drops of red, blue, and green food coloring is added about 3 inches apart only using the bottom half of the sugar. Chef then used a cake tester to spread a bit of the food coloring within each section. Then came the folding; he folded the sugar over in half like you would with an omelet before presenting it. Then Chef separated it into 3 sections (by color) and began to knead the sugar almost how you would with bread dough.
Torres shared with us that no matter how many years he has worked with sugar, he always seems to have the red food coloring dye his hands. While working with the super hot sugar, he also explained how your reflexes may not always help you. When you burn your finger, your first instinct is to put it in your mouth but then you burn your finger and your mouth. The best thing to do when you have sugar burning you is to wipe it off in a towel/apron or place your finger in cold water. Also sometimes you’re too late to realize that you have burned your hands and may end up with blisters that can last up to 10 days.
With all that potential of getting burned, the Dean still prefers to work without gloves, since that is the way he started doing it almost 40 years ago. Also when he started working with sugar, gloves were hard to come by and could only be purchased at a medical store. Though sweat can affect the sugar, Torres noted that his hands no longer sweat, or perhaps he sweats sugar?
Once the sugar was the right temperature to pull, Chef started to place celery sized pieces of each colored sugar next to each other. He then started to pull and stretch the sugar with a pastry students help. The sugar was pulled so far it seemed as if it was as long as the student was tall. He then used this long, skinny, multi-colored ribbon to create a bow that looked like it belonged on a birthday present.
Next, Torres showed us how to make a beautifully blossomed rose for the display piece. He started with an oval type of shape about the size of my thumb. After, he would create each petal by pulling a bit of sugar from the colored sugar patty increasing in size with each petal. He said the trick with making a good rose is, “the less you touch it, the better it is”. Another important part of making beautifully pulled sugar is that if it is too warm when you pull it, it won’t be shiny.
The master of sugar then showed us how to make a bird with a cute bonnet upon its head. The body was about the size of a hummingbird and a knife was used to help define its neck. Similar to the rose, he created the bird’s wings by pulling it piece by piece laying 5 on top of each other in a fan style. He then “glued it” by using the torch to melt the wing slightly enough that the melted sugar would help it stick to the body. He then repeated this for the other wing and did the same technique to place on the beak.
Watching Chef assemble this piece was like seeing someone play Jenga with puzzle pieces. Each piece of sugar, whether it was the stand, backdrop, or the delicate ornaments (like the bow, bird, and flower), had to be placed ever so carefully. It would be so easy for this whole creation to be destroyed in a split second, but Dean and Chef Jacques Torres is a master for a reason.
Master Chefs of France: The Cookbook is the new standard for all modern French cookery. It is the first cookbook produced by the MCF. This authoritative book features recipes by 77 of the 80 member chefs of the prestigious Maîtres Cuisiniers de France North American chapter (MCF-USA/Canada). Some of these chefs you will have seen on TV; some have won multiple awards at prestigious Culinary Recognition Events, and some will not be known to you yet. Regardless, it will be a treasured volume in every cooking library.
Each recipe is beautifully photographed by the world-famous Battman, and presented in striking color with an 8.75” x 12” hardcover landscape format. Curated by MCF-USA/Canada President Jean-Louis Dumonet, and under the passionate direction of Karen Dumonet, this exciting collection of savory dishes, 154 in all, is equally tempting to both palate and eye. Foreword and Preface messages are provided by two giants of the French culinary tradition, Paul Bocuse, and Jacques Pepin.
The chefs live and work in 21 States in the US, in Canada, Grand Cayman, and St. Lucia. You will have seen some of them on TV; some have won multiple awards at prestigious Culinary Recognition Events, and some will not be known to you yet. With only 500 Chefs worldwide in the global organization, you will enjoy their vibrant and creative vibe. Aside from our Dean of Special Programs, Jacques Pepin, the cookbook also features recipes from two of ICC’s own Master Chefs, Chef Marc Bauer and Chef Hervé Malivert.
Maîtres Cuisiniers de France is the most envied title that chefs aspire to have, but not everyone can become a Maître Cuisinier. The worldwide Association of Maîtres Cuisiniers de France was founded in 1951 and is the first savory culinary organization worldwide. Its motto is “to preserve and spread the French culinary arts, encourage training in cuisine, and assist professional development.”
“The know-how and wisdom of the MCF members is a conduit to the past and a passport to the future to ensure the posterity of the French unique culinary and cultural heritage. Close to 80 MCF from all over North America have contributed their recipes to this unique and beautiful cookbook, many of them personal friends. I am looking forward to cooking from this book with friends and family while sharing a glass of wine and many of the memories and stories attached to these recipes.” – Jacques Pépin, ICC Dean of Special Programs
The book is available for purchase now on Amazon and autographed copies [by the photographer] are available at www.thechefsconnection.com
BOOK LAUNCH EVENT
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5 | 3:30-5PM
To celebrate the release of Master Chefs of France: The Cookbook, the International Culinary Center will be holding an exclusive demonstration and book signing with Chef Marc Bauer and Chef Hervé Malivert on Thursday, October 5 from 3:30 pm to 5 pm at the school’s New York City location. Within the 90-minute event, the two French Master Chefs will be demonstrating their personal recipes from the cookbook and will be enlightening the audience on their inspirations behind the dishes through a spirited Q&A session. Cookbooks will be available for purchase during the event and Chefs Marc and Hervé will be signing copies on-site. We hope to see you there!
Article by Katie Malkin Professional Pastry Arts Student
As someone who’s new to the professional pastry world, I was excited to volunteer for the International Culinary Center’s first conference for pastry professionals and listen in on some of the talks, panels, and conversations to hear what has the pastry industry abuzz.
As it turns out, there are a number of current trends that happen to be popular in the minds of top pastry chefs. While these are just the tip of the iceberg, please reference my takeaways on three of these trends below.
Sustainability and Wellness – Bill Yosses, Pastry Chef to the Obama’s while they were in the White House, discussed the need for pastry chefs to show leadership in considering the health impacts of their products, both to consumers and to the environment. Dessert has a place in our diets, but Bill asked chefs to encourage their customers to indulge responsibly.
Insta-worthiness – Magritte Preston, freelance food writer, talked about the struggle of pastry chefs to compete in the world of Instagram, on which followers tend to flock toward eye-popping, yet taste-devoid desserts. She explained that chefs could incorporate decadence, novelty, and nostalgia into their social media posts to get views while maintaining their professionalism.
High-Tech – Beyond the mobile technology that’s changed the way chefs promote their food, there have been a number of other technological advances that are changing the way chefs make their food. In one example, Oliver LeRoy from Sasa DeMarle discussed advances in manufacturing, such as 3D printing, that allows them to create custom molds for chefs. These kinds of innovations are helping to democratize tools for creativity throughout the industry.
Determining how to combine sustainable products and practices, Instagram-friendly desserts and experiences, and cutting-edge technologies is a difficult, yet exciting, challenge facing pastry chefs today. Pastry Plus offered industry leaders a platform for sharing ideas on how to tackle this challenge with their peers. Hopefully, there will be future opportunities and platforms for collaboration in the pastry industry. Aspiring pastry chefs like myself will keep our fingers crossed.
View the full photo gallery below with highlights from the full day of panels with some of the biggest names in the pastry industry including Emily Luchetti, Ron Ben-Israel, Jacques Torres, Miro Uskokovic, Jiho Kim, Kelly Fields, and more.
This fall, the International Culinary Center hosted the first-ever Pastryland Bake Sale, benefiting City Harvest. An afternoon for the ultimate sweet tooth, Pastryland celebrated the innovative talents and imaginations of pastry chefs, showcasing never-before-tasted desserts from the chefs of Per Se, The Modern, Del Posto, Patisserie Chanson, & many more. The event featured an 8-foot tall piped wall of royal icing (which used a total of 120 pounds of sugar), and an Ice Luge of white & dark chocolate shots presented Callebaut® and Five Acre Farms.
ICC would like to thank all the chef and restaurant participants for their delicious, one-of-a-kind contributions during the charity bake sale. As a result, ICC will be donating $5000 to support City Harvest in their hunger relief efforts.
The success of Pastryland would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors (listed below) and numerous attendees. In addition to the prestigious pastry chefs mentioned below, Pastryland also gathered social media curators such as Nina Joy of @TheFoodJoy and Sarah Merrill of @BigKidProblems as well as Dessert Professional, Dessert Buzz, The Wandering Eater blog, Union Square Hospitality Group and many others.
Think you can create a tapa that pairs perfectly with a Rioja? Do just that and you could win a culinary trip to Spain!
The 2nd International ‘Rioja Wine & Tapas’ competition is underway and there’s still one more month to submit your proposal!
For the second year running the D.O.Ca. Rioja, in collaboration with the Basque Culinary Center, launches this international competition to pair tapas with Rioja wines. Aimed at gastronomy school students, this competition seeks to award recipes that reflect the multicultural reality of gastronomy. Proposals must include a written recipe, image of the recipe prepared, the Rioja wine is chosen to pair with the tapa and a brief explanation of why that wine was chosen.
The winner will receive a gastronomic holiday in Spain, where they’ll visit one of the main wine producing regions–D.O.Ca. Rioja–and visit San Sebastian to eat at a renowned restaurant and enjoy a tapas tour accompanied by an expert.
Each year the James Beard Foundation hosts the JBF Leadership Awards as part of the annual JBF Food Summit. The awards aim to shine a light on the importance and complexities of sustainability, food access, and public health.
This year the foundation celebrates ICC Alumnus, Chef Dan Barber, as one such visionary “for his work in blending the dining and educational experience to reduce waste, improve food taste and sustainability, and promote a soil-to-table approach.” Dan Barber, chef/owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, is best known for his innovations in the dining experience that promotes a more sustainable food world. But what many don’t know is that his collaboration with ICC’s Farm-to-Table extension of the Professional Culinary Arts program is actively training the next generation of chefs to cook responsibly. Through the program, Chef Dan Barber is challenging the chefs of tomorrow to make sustainable choices in their kitchens that create a healthier and safer food world.
Ready to join the conversation? Attend the two-day JBF Food Summit: Consuming Power October 23-24 in NYC. This year JBF is bringing together a diverse group of experts, including Chef Dan Barber, from across disciplines to look into the genesis and changing dynamics of consumer power and apply that knowledge to various food-system issues we’re facing today. Learn what Americans want from their food, the challenges and opportunities for a sustainable food system in our new political landscape, and the role chefs and other culinary leaders can play.
Our inaugural Pastryland charity bake sale, benefiting City Harvest, commenced on Saturday, September 9 as a part of the school’s Pastry Plus weekend. The generous Callebaut® Chocolate brand held the Platinum Sponsor title throughout the weekend, providing delicious variants of the finest Belgium chocolate. Making their product accessible to attendees, our bake sale also featured a chocolate luge where those who wanted to indulge chose between white and dark chocolate tastings.
Using Callebaut® Dark Couverture Chocolate, the International Culinary Center’s Director of Pastry Operations, Jansen Chan, created an exclusive dessert for the bake sale alongside ICC’s Pastry Chef-Instructor, Chef Cynthia Peithman, to sell to patrons of the Pastryland festivities.
My collaboration with Chef Cynthia Peithman was a celebration of two loves: chocolate and fig. We focused on creating textures with Callebaut’s dark chocolate – a tender chocolate sponge and a luscious chocolate buttercream – and pairing its flavor against the higher, sweeter notes of late summer figs.” – Jansen Chan, ICC’s Director of Pastry Operations
Watch the highlights from the weekend below and view the recipe to see how you could recreate this chocolate dessert at home.
Yield: 14 – 3” cakes
Chocolate Biscuit Dacquoise
Plain & Chocolate Buttercream
Fig Jam, about 250 grams
Chocolate Décor, 3” discs
Black Mission Figs, 7 pieces
CHOCOLATE BISCUIT DACQUOISE
Yield: One half-sheet pan Ingredients:
100 g. Callebaut® Dark Couverture Chocolate, 60.6%
130 g. Almond Flour
115 g. Sugar
115 g. Whites
¼ t. Salt
Powdered sugar, as needed
– Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
– Prepare a half-sheet pan by applying pan release and parchment paper to the bottom.
– Place the chocolate in a bain-marie over low heat and stir to melt. Remove from heat when completely melted, and allow to cool slightly.
– In a bowl, sift the almond flour and reserve.
– Prepare a French meringue: Combine the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.
– Gradually add the sugar a little at a time, until soft peaks form. Continue to whip the mixture to stiff peaks.
– Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the almond flour into the meringue in three additions.
– Add about a quarter of the batter to the melted chocolate and stir vigorously to incorporate.
– Return the chocolate mixer to the remaining meringue and fold gently.
– Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan.
– Dust with powdered sugar.
– Bake the dacquoise in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or springy to the touch.
– Let the dacquoise cool completely before unmolding.
– Release the dacquoise from the pan by running a paring knife along the edges.
SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
Yield: 1050 grams
150 g. Callebaut® Dark Couverture Chocolate, 60.6%
165 g. Egg whites*
285 g. Sugar
¼ t. Salt
450 g. Butter, cut into cubes
½ t. Vanilla extract
– Place the chocolate in a bain-marie over low heat and stir to melt. Remove from heat when completely melted, and allow to cool slightly.
– In the bowl of an electric mixer, lightly whisk together the egg whites, sugar and salt and place over a pot of simmering water.
– Lightly whisk the mixture over the simmering water until the mixture is hot to the touch or a candy thermometer reads 140° F.
– Place the bowl on the electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on medium-high speed until doubled in volume.
– Whisk until the mixture reaches medium stiff peaks and has cooled down.
– Remove the whisk and replace with the paddle attachment.
– Begin adding the butter a few pieces at a time as it beats into the meringue.
– Add vanilla extract.
– Raise the speed of the mixture and beat until the buttercream is light and fluffy
– Remove about 1/3 of the buttercream and reserve on the side.
– With the remaining buttercream, pour in cooled, melted chocolate and stir quickly to incorporate.
*pasteurized egg whites may be used, if desired
Yield: 250 grams
4 shts. Gelatin, silver
50 g. Sugar
200 g. Port wine
– Soak the gelatin sheets in ice-cold water for about 5 mins. Drain well and reserve.
– In a small pot, bring 50 grams of water and sugar to a boil.
– Remove from heat, and add drained gelatin.
– Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in port.
– Allow mixture to set in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.
– Using a whisk or a pair of forks, break the gelée into coarse, snow-like consistency.
– Trim the chocolate dacquoise into 3” circles.
– Fill a pastry bag, outfitted with a star tip, with chocolate buttercream. Pipe a border of teardrops just within the edge of each cut cake.
– Fill the center generously with fig jam and ½ tsp. of port gelé
– Top each cake with a 3” chocolate disc.
– Fill a pastry bag, outfitted with a star tip, with plain buttercream. Pipe a small rosette on top of the center of each cake.
– Place black mission figs, cut in half*, on top of plain buttercream.
– Just to the right of the fig, garnish with additional port gelé
*If preparing in advance, brush the cut side of the fig with warmed apricot glaze prior to using.
Almost one year ago, the International Culinary Center tragically lost the school’s Founder, Dorothy Cann Hamilton. Shortly after her untimely passing, ICC was faced with the task of memorializing such an immense spirit who inspired and changed the lives of countless culinary luminaries. Dorothy was one-of-a-kind. To honor the life of Dorothy Cann Hamilton, ICC reached out to several friends of both the school and Dorothy to share how their lives were touched by the late visionary. Culinary icons and professionals such as Daniel Boulud, Alain Sailhac, Jacques Torres, Danny Meyer, Judy Joo, Claus Meyer, and more all shared stories of their admiration for the fearless food aficionado through a touching video shown during her memorial service.
Today, August 25, we remember the life and spirit of the late Dorothy Cann Hamilton on her birthday by sharing this video with the world, for the students, faculty, and the culinary community that never had the opportunity of knowing such a guiding light. The International Culinary Center will continue to honor Dorothy’s spirit and vision in all that we do.
To continue Dorothy’s drive for inspiring the next generation of culinary professionals and passion for hunger prevention, please consider making a donation to Friends of the ICC or Feeding America in her name.
Donations to the Dorothy Cann Hamilton Scholarship can be made through Friends of the ICC here. Please direct gifts In Memory of Dorothy Cann Hamilton.
Donations to Feeding America, an organization that Dorothy was very passionate about, can be made here.