Alumni Spotlight: Melissa Carroll, Pastry Arts Class of 2012 [California]

In a new alumni spotlight feature, Professional Pastry Arts graduate Melissa Carroll talks to ICC on life after graduating from ICC California’s Professional Pastry Arts program in 2012. Following her California graduation, Melissa traveled the globe before landing in the pastry kitchen of the South Congress Hotel in Austin, Texas.

To me, ‘Love What You Do’ is an incredibly important phrase that everyone should tell themselves. If you’re not enjoying your career, you’re not enjoying your life. We all have to work to provide a life for ourselves. What’s the point in working a job your hate when you could be doing something you love? ”

– Melissa Carroll


ICC: Tell us a little bit about your day-to-day responsibilities working for the South Congress Hotel in Austin, Texas. 

Melissa: I am a pastry kitchen supervisor at the South Congress Hotel in Austin, Texas. My job entails everything I used to do as a pastry cook plus helping with ordering, inventory, and writing prep sheets for our pastry team of about 12 people. Because I work night shifts, I’m responsible for both plating desserts on the line and pastry production. Within the hotel, there are two restaurants, one event space, one ice cream truck, and one bakeshop/coffee shop that we produce for. 


ICC: How did you first get involved with the hotel? melissa-carroll-7

Melissa: Before moving to Austin about a year and a half ago, I applied for the job from Illinois and later had a phone interview with my Chef, Amanda Rockman. Once I arrived, we met for a formal interview and I was offered the position as a pastry cook.  


ICC: What inspired you to enroll in culinary school? Were there certain steps/ thoughts that lead you to the decision?

Melissa: I’ve loved cooking since I was about 12 years old. I always found myself watching cooking shows and enjoyed making dinner for my family every night. Going to culinary school was always something I knew I’d enjoy.


ICC: How and when did you know you wanted to work in the food industry? What about it was appealing to you?

Melissa: In high school, I had dreams of opening my own cafe one day. One of my favorite parts of cooking is being able to cook for other people. Seeing the look on someone’s face when they’re enjoying your food is very rewarding. After high school, I attended art school for a semester. I then took the following semester off to save up for culinary school. I later went back to art school while working in kitchens to finish up my Associates in Fine Arts.


ICC: What were your greatest challenges at school? And how were you able to overcome them?

Melissa: Some of my greatest challenges in culinary school were remembering all of the different types of creams and exact temperatures to cook certain things to. It’s something I still struggle remembering but flash cards were definitely my friends when test time came around.


ICC: If someone were hesitant about pursuing a culinary education, what you say to encourage them?

Melissa: If someone is interested in pursuing an education in the culinary industry I would suggest them to stàge at a restaurant they admire first. Restaurant life isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something that they feel they’d enjoy after stàging for a day or two, I’d say it’s worth it. Being able to cook for people and using your creativity with food as your medium is very fulfilling.


ICC: What is your fondest memory of culinary school? 

One of my favorite assignments at the ICC was coming up with my own seasonal dessert menu for a fictional restaurant concept. My chef instructors then picked two items from the menu and we had to present them. They chose the Gooey Butter Cake with a cranberry orange compote and cinnamon chantilly and a deconstructed “Fig Newton” with fig thyme jam, spiced shortbread, goat cheese anglaise, port wine reduction, and a candied thyme sprig. My favorite event that I was able to attend thanks to the ICC was a dessert tasting and tour at Farallon with Chef Emily Luchetti.

Student Life: Teamwork On The Line

Written by AJ Fusco
Professional Culinary Arts Student

The “line”, a stressful environment in the kitchen full of heat, noise and controlled chaos.  Adrenaline and your team get you through the next “push” as the tickets pour out, just like water out of a fire-hose.  

The “line”, heavy fifty foot lengths of hose filled with water, held onto by the “attack team” as they make the “push” down the hallway towards the fire.  Just like in the kitchen, adrenaline and teamwork gets you through it.

firefighterhoselineThis correlation between the firehouse and kitchen was clearly evident to me the first time a I cooked on the line at the restaurant.  It may seem obvious, but unfortunately it can be easier said than done.  Firehouses and kitchens are a conglomeration of personalities, some you can say “work well with others” while some prefer to try and get the job done on their own.  Unfortunately, the latter almost always leads to the job not getting done properly, efficiently or at all for that matter.  Teamwork on the line is best when it has almost become instinctual, you notice when the other cook may be falling behind and know exactly what needs to be done to help get through the situation.  Same thing applies to the fire-ground.  When you see your brother having a difficult time performing a task, you jump right in to help without them needing to ask.  And herein lies another common thread, the unwillingness to ask for help.line-cooks

We have all been there, you are in the weeds or the hose-line is getting heavy, yet you don’t ask for help.  More often than not it is due to some underlying self-pride or machismo that we fear may be in jeopardy.  There have been cases where firefighters should have called a “mayday”, the term used when you are in distress and need assistance, but don’t due to the same reasons cooks don’t ask for help.  Unfortunately in these cases it is worse than some burnt steaks or overcooked vegetables.

At the end of the shift, we all want to go home knowing we did the best we could.  Working as a team is essential for this to happen and sometimes we need to just swallow our pride and admit we need a little help.  

Like the saying goes, “teamwork makes the dream work”!


Connect with AJ through his website, http://www.forkandhoseco.com/ as well as @ForkAndHoseCo on Instagram + Facebook.

Alumni Spotlight: Avery Ruzicka, Bread Baking Class of 2011

Throughout Avery Ruzicka’s youth, cooking always played a big role. Her professional interest in food emerged from the extensive time she spent abroad during and after high school, leading to her  first restaurant job in college.

Every night we sat down to a home cooked meal and the entire family took part in preparation,” says Ruzicka, a Greensboro, North Carolina native.

Encouraged by her parents to explore and experience other cultures, Ruzicka moved to Spain as a high school sophomore and also spent a year in England before heading to college. Ruzicka attended the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where she studied political science, international studies, and creative writing. A study abroad trip to France later exposed her to a new world of award-winning cuisine and led her to explore food writing.

I thought if I wanted to get into food writing, I had better learn the ins and outs of a kitchen, so I worked at restaurants while finishing my degree. I loved the intensity, creativity, and collaboration that came from working in a kitchen and decided to focus on food over writing,” says Ruzicka.

Soon after, she enrolled at the French Culinary Institute (now ICC) where she earned The Art of International Bread Baking diploma in six months.


ICC: In what capacity do you work for Manresa Bread? What does your job entail, both in a broad sense as well as day-to-day?

Ruzicka: The exciting part about Manresa Bread is that my day-to-day responsibilities are ever-evolving. If I look at my role every six months, some part of that has changed in an exciting and positive way. It’s always been my goal to keep learning in the culinary world and the added joy of starting my own business has allowed me to do that every day. If you work in food, you get to do a lot of things. If you are really engaged in it, you can learn a new technique or process all the time. I’m no longer just a baker; I’m a business owner on top of that. It really opens up a number of other doors to continue to learn and challenge myself. There are days where I’m in the bakery wearing an apron and getting my hands dirty and other days where I’m at my desk or hitting up our retail locations in Los Gatos and Los Altos.


ICC: Did your ICC education help you land this job? Do you use the skills you learned at the ICC at work?

Ruzicka: The Art of International Bread Baking program at ICC’s New York Campus definitely gave me a good foundation that I was able to build on with time and practice. I left ICC with a core understanding of how bread works. That’s what I look to Manresa restaurant with me and that’s the foundation for Manresa Bread.


avery-2ICC:  What inspired you to enroll in culinary school? Were there certain steps/ thoughts that lead you to the decision?

Ruzicka: I was interested in getting into food writing and so I thought I should get into a kitchen. I loved it so much and immediately decided to pursue cooking, knowing that I could go back to writing if I wanted to.


ICC:  What were your greatest challenges at school? And how were you able to overcome them?

Ruzicka: There were so many opportunities available to us that it was hard to participate in everything between course work, a full-time stage, and the extra programming offered by ICC. Getting to know the instructors and looking to them for guidance and feedback really helped determine where I wanted to focus my time and energy.


ICC: If someone was hesitant to pursue a culinary education, what you say to encourage them?

Ruzicka: Spend time to self-reflect on pursing a culinary career. It is a quickly changing career choice. From an income point of view, the rewards are not going to be astronomical but it is incredibly gratifying if it is something you are passionate about. The culinary field is a creative and exciting career choice. It will ask a lot of you and you really need to love it. There are so many options within the culinary field that keeping an open mind and committing to trying different roles from line cook to something in research and development can be beneficial to finding the niche that’s right for you. Be imaginative – if you can dream about a role in the culinary world, you can create it.


ICC:  What is your fondest memory of your time at the ICC?

Ruzicka: The joy of learning how to make bread was pretty magical for me. Going in every morning and baking off loaves was always so exciting to me. I have a lot of memories of waking up early to bake – even the smell of the baking bread in the kitchen. That has stayed with me for years!


ICC: What is the best industry related advice you’ve ever received? 

Ruzicka: Be actively engaged and present in your work every day and hold yourself to the highest standard, regardless of any standard someone else is putting in front of you.


For more information on Manresa Bread, please visit: http://www.manresabread.com/ 

Team USA Wins Bocuse d’Or Competition in Lyon, France

Often referred to as the culinary equivalent of the Olympic Games, the Bocuse d’Or Competition celebrated its 30-year anniversary this week. During this year’s festivities, Team USA walked away from the prestigious cooking competition with the 1st place victory for the first time in its history.

Named after the Chef Paul Bocuse, famous for his commitment to excellence in the quality of his restaurants and perpetually cutting-edge approaches to cuisine, the competition is held every year at the end of January in his hometown of Lyon, France.

I promised Monsieur Paul 10 years ago that we’d make it to the top of the podium,” chef Thomas Keller, the president of Team U.S.A., told The New York Times.“We made it in nine.”’

 

Leading the team this year as head chef was Mathew Peters, 33, from Meadville, Pa.,most recently known for his executive sous-chef position at Keller’s New York restaurant, Per Se. His commis, or helper, Harrison Turone, 21, from Omaha, also worked at Per Se.

On the scene in Lyon, France to cheer on Team USA was ICC’s Director of Food Technology and Culinary Coordinator, Chef Herve Malivert. Pictured below with Mathew Peters, Malivert also mentored the 2016 winner of the Mentor Commis Competition and ICC graduate, Mimi Chen.

Chef Herve with Bocuse d'Or winner, Mathew Peters
Chef Herve with Bocuse d’Or winner, Mathew Peters

For the USA to win the Bocuse D’or with an all-star team including Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Jerome Bocuse and more requires so much hard work and commitment. Seeing Thomas Keller in tears after his speech at the closing gala was a special moment felt throughout the entire ceremony. We hope this inspires a new wave of culinary school students within America in the upcoming year!” – Chef Herve Malivert


 

Team USA’s Bocuse d’Or victory symbolizes the evolution of gastronomy in America over the last several decades. We at the International Culinary Center are very proud of Team USA and proud to be at the forefront of this evolution, educating America’s future chefs and culinary leaders. We’re especially proud of ICC grad, Mimi Chen, for her contribution to the team.” – Erik Murnighan, President of the International Culinary Center


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For more on Team USA’s win, read the full New York Times article. 

Celebrate Lunar New Year with a Black Sesame Gâteau Basque

In honor of the Lunar New Year this Saturday, January 28, Director of Pastry Operations Jansen Chan shares his recipe for a classic french pastry with an Asian twist. In collaboration Sinovision, Chef Jansen incorporates black sesame to further illustrate the fusions between French and Chinese cultures.

Watch and learn how to create this delicious treat to welcome in the year of the rooster.

“Traditionally, Lunar New Year is celebrated with a selection of confections or fresh fruit, which you can have out all day for visiting friends and family. The French pastry, Gâteau Basque, is rich and delicious, and this version incorporates a popular Asian ingredient, black sesame, in its creamy, custardy filling. It holds beautifully for a few days and is an unexpected dish to honor the New Year.” – Jansen Chan


Recipe: Black Sesame Gâteau Basque With Cherries
Yield: one – 8” cake

Ingredients for Gâteau Basque Assembly:

½ Gâteau Basque dough

½ Black sesame pastry cream, cooled

½ cup dried or poached and drained sour cherries

Egg wash

Black and white sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)


Procedures for Gâteau Basque Assembly:

  1. Prepare 8” cake pan or cake ring with butter or pan release spray.
  2. Place the dough batter into a piping bag fitted with a #4 piping tip.
  3. Starting in the center of the pan, pipe an even spiral of dough around the base of the pan, and up the sides, about 1” high.
  4. Place the pastry cream in the center well, making sure no custard is touching the sides of the pan.
  5. Sprinkle cherries on top of the pastry cream, pushing them in slightly to create a flat surface.
  6. Pipe another spiral of dough on top of the pastry cream, sealing the filling in. If necessary, spread the dough smooth on top.
  7. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with sesame seeds as desired.
  8. Bake at room temperature 375 F for 25-30 mins., or until a deep, golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool before unmolding.
  10. Serve at room temperature.

Ingredients for Black Sesame Pastry Cream:

100 g. black sesame seeds

60 g. sesame oil

500 g. milk

100 g. sugar

5 egg yolks

40 g. cornstarch

¼ t. salt


Procedures for Black Sesame Pastry Cream:

  1. Blend sesame seeds and sesame oil until it forms a thick paste. Reserve.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring milk and half of the sugar to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, and cornstarch together.
  4. Off heat, add ¼ of hot milk to egg mixture and whisk. Return entire mixture to the pot.
  5. Over medium heat, continue to cook with a whisk, until fully boiling. Allow to boil for 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and whisk in black sesame paste and salt.
  7. Transfer to plastic lined tray, cover with additional plastic wrap, and allow to cool.

Ingredients for Gâteau Basque Dough:

400 g. butter, at room temperature

400 g. sugar

6 eggs

1 t. vanilla extract

300 g. flour

1 t. baking powder

¾ t. salt

 

Procedures for Gâteau Basque Dough:

  1. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Slowly add the eggs and vanilla to the mixture, scraping occasionally.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add all the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and continue to paddle until just combined.
  5. Use immediately.

Alumni Spotlight: Rodrigo Schweitzer, Class of 2011

For our first ICC Alumni Spotlight of 2017, we caught up with Professional Culinary Arts alum chef Rodrigo Schweitzer. Explaining why he felt attending the International Culinary Center in New York was the right choice to pursue his culinary dreams, the Brazil based chef elaborates on ICC’s full immersion program. Learning the fundamental techniques and skills for success in only 6 months, an international student such as Rodrigo has the potential to save thousands of dollars in living expenses and tuition when making their culinary school decision.

The main reason why I chose ICC was because of the full immersion program. So, in my research, I knew that a student here could graduate in 6 months but being taught what they teach in other schools in 2 years. They taught me to be a prepared cook.”

Following up on life after culinary school graduation, Schweizer earned his spot as the winner of Hell’s Kitchen Brasil (Season 3), taking home the 100,000 gold bar prize. Becoming known as the ‘Fit Chef’ while on the show for sharing his weight loss story, Chef Schweitzer helps individuals reach their goals of losing weight through healthy eating habits. With the momentum of the Hell’s Kitchen win still strong, he shares plans to open an elevated pizzeria in Brazil with ‘nontraditional’ toppings.

Watch the full interview to learn about the chef’s new endeavor and more!

 

Click HERE for more information about how you can #LoveWhatYouDo at ICC as an international student.

Inside ICC Holiday Hacks: Homemade Sprinkles

Watch our final Inside ICC #HolidayHacks video for 2016 featuring Director of Pastry Operations Jansen Chan demonstrating how to create homemade sprinkles in your own kitchen! Use them as a garnish or mix-in your favorite cookie, muffin, or cake recipes for a colorful pop. Full recipe below. 

 


Ingredients:

400 grams confectioners’ sugar, plus additional as needed

7 grams dried egg whites

Pinch of kosher salt

50 g. water

Food colorings, as desired


Procedure:

  1. In five different bowls, place about 2 g. of food colors of your choice, separately. Ideally, bright and contrasting colors will be best.
  2. In a sixth bowl, mix together the sugar, dried egg whites and salt.
  3. Add water and mix to create a stiff dough. If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of water. If the dough is too wet, add a sprinkling of additional confectioners’ sugar.
  4. Divide the dough into six portions.
  5. Place each portion into the five bowls, reserving the sixth portion to keep white.
  6. Lightly roll the white dough into a ½” log and place on a lightly greased, parchment paper.
  7. Using gloves, working from the lightest color to the darkest colors, knead each mixture until it is fully homogenous. If the dough is too wet, add a sprinkling of additional confectioners’ sugar.
  8. Before moving on the next color, roll the dough into a ½” log and place adjacent to the initial white dough log.
  9. Repeat until all dough portions are mixed and placed the third log next to the second log and the fourth, fifth and sixth logs direction on top of the first three logs.
  10. Remove gloves and roll the parchment paper to compress the six logs to create one larger log.
  11. Unwrap from parchment paper and allow to dry 2-3 days at room temperature, unwrapped.
  12. Rotate the log after the first 24 hrs, to allow all sides to dry.
  13. Grate the dry log against a cheese grater and spread on another parchment paper to dry for a few hours as individual pieces.
  14. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, until needed.

It Takes A Village – The Support System of ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training Program

Written by Jared Gniewek
Intensive Sommelier Training Program Student

I am blessed to have support from many different avenues as I stumble through the ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training Program. I couldn’t imagine going it alone with the sheer amount of information we need to absorb and engage with. Wine is the quintessential rabbit-hole that gets deeper and deeper the further in you explore.

My family, employer, friends, students and faculty at the school create a support system from which I’ve benefited in some vital ways. Frankly, I don’t know if I could succeed on my own. The proverb is “it takes a village to raise a child” and I would extend that sentiment to myself becoming a pinned and certified Sommelier.

My family, who pushed me to begin the program, has truly been there for me. My wife has been the dutiful wine-widow as our schedules clash throughout the program. She hasn’t pressured me to drop hours at my day job or slack on my studies to spend more time with her and the cats and the endless streaming entertainment which haunts all our homes nowadays.

My Aunt, whom I saw at Christmas, received a Coravin as a gift. It was bonus wine tasting time while I showed her how to operate it (prime that needle folks!) and got to dig into a pretty elegant Burgundy 1er Cru followed by a brassy Napa sledgehammer.

My employer at the wine shop has adjusted my schedule to accommodate the class as well as allowing me to have anything in the store at cost so I can expand my palate without breaking the bank (and make me a better hand seller to boot). He has even allowed me to run tastings in the space with some of my fellow class members participating.  Five of us got together on a Sunday, just a few weeks ago and I pulled (at cost) 6 typical wines from France and set up a blind tasting right in the store. It was a great exercise for all of us who felt overwhelmed. Plus we had some laughs, which always help lock in content!

Speaking of my ICC classmates, we have been setting up events and been in constant communication through a messaging app one of my compatriots set up for us all. Keeping abreast of each other’s feelings on the pressures of the program and being able to reach out to each other has made the experience far less daunting.

The ICC faculty has made their availability clear but also that we need to be doing these types of things outside class in order to succeed. Wine must become a lifestyle for the months of the program. (Oh no! I’ve gotta devote myself to something I love! The DREAD!)  I try to keep it on my mind always, and part of my habits daily. This village is pretty rockin’!

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The Importance of Charcuterie: A Step-by-Step Process

The International Culinary Center lead chef-instructors are here to make sure you’re fully prepared for your home festivities. No matter which holiday your family celebrates, there’s never a wrong time to cook a ham from scratch.

Charcuterie is a major portion of the Professional Culinary Arts program within Level 3. Cured meats are a staple in the culinary world, no matter where you are in the world and the International Culinary Center’s program truly prepares you for every and any meat-based dish you may desire.

Lead Chef-Instructor Jeff Butler, explains the importance of acquiring a professional education regarding proper techniques and execution of charcuterie.

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Charcuterie is important because it differs greatly from regular cooking. It requires discipline, great attention to detail and patience. A dash extra of salt or the lack of an ingredient can result in an inedible product. In regular cooking, we can play with the seasoning and adjust until the moment we put it on the plate. In charcuterie, you might not know the results of a recipe until months later after the item has aged. Good charcuterie skills allow for the almost complete use of a pig from head to tail. It puts the chef in touch with ancient skills that go back thousands of years, history on a plate. You can’t learn it in a day and we put a lot of effort into the curriculum to give the student a strong foundation of charcuterie skills. Plus, you get to make hotdogs – and I love hotdogs.”

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Ingredients

  • 1- hind leg of pork with all bones removed except for the shank, approximately 10-12 lbs. 4.5-5.4 Kilo
  • 5 Liter cold water
  • 480 Grams of Kosher Salt
  • 20 Grams of Pink Curing Salt #1
  • 150 Grams of Honey
  • 5 Grams Brine Phosphate (optional)
  • Activa Meat Glue (optional)

Equipment Needed 

  1. 5 gallon Bucket
  2. Brining needle
  3. Ham netting
  4. Hog rings
  5. Hog ring pliers
  6. Immersion circulator
  7. Hand immersion blender
  8. Powdered sugar shaker

Step by Step Process: 

Step 1: Mix the water, salt, sugar, pink cure #1 and phosphate with the hand blender for approximately 2 minutes, until no solids are visible.

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Step 1.

Step 2: Using the brine needle, gently pump the meat. Keep the meat in a large tub so as to not lose any leaking brine. Pump the brine in a grid pattern with a 1 inch spread. Do not try to poke needle through skin. Do try to pump around the shank. When finished pumping, submerge meat in remaining brine  and the brine that has leaked off during pumping in the bucket.

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Step 2
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Step 2

Step 3: Let sit in refrigeration for 3 days. And then resume with the brine in the bucket and repeat step 2. This ensures that your meat is completely saturated with brine and the curing is complete.

Step 4: Let sit for 2 days. And remove from brine. Discard leftover brine. Pat meat dry with paper towel.

Step 5: Using Activa, in the powdered sugar shaker. Liberally dust the interior of the ham. This will keep the ham from having holes in the finished slices.

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Step 5

Step 6: Tie the Ham into the Ham netting.

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Step 7: Twist the Ham inside the netting to tighten it upon itself and  hog ring pliers to clamp the netting closed and to hold the tension. Use an extra hog ring to ensure it stays closed. Let the Ham sit in the refrigerator over night to set the Activa. You can also use butchers twine to truss the Ham, but take great care to keep it tight and trim loose ends to make sure they will not be caught in the immersion circulator.

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Step 8: Set up the immersion circulator and set it to 145 F or 63 C. Submerge the ham in the water bath and cook for 14 hours. You can vacuum seal the Ham prior but you do not have to. The water bath will be discarded when finished.

Step 9: Remove Ham from the circulator.  Take off netting , score the skin with a cross hatched pattern, be careful to not go into the flesh.

Step 10: Put ham in a roasting pan fitted with a rack.  Begin to bake at 250 F.  bake for 2 hours.

Step 11: Remove from oven and turn the temperature up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with the convection fan turned on if possible.

Step 12: Brush ham with vegetable oil and place in the 450 degrees Fahrenheit oven after fully preheated.

Step 13: When the ham is beautifully browned remove it from oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes and serve with the sauce of your choice.

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Step 14: ENJOY! 

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To learn more about the various levels of ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts program and reserve your spot during our January 30 start date, CLICK HERE.

Alumni Spotlight: William Roberts, Class of 2006

William is the Executive Chef at Dio Deka, an elevated Greek Tavern in Los Gatos, CA. Tonight’s special? California Sea Bass with ouzo, tomato, olives and capers.
William is the Executive Chef at Dio Deka, an elevated Greek Tavern in Los Gatos, CA. Tonight’s special? California Sea Bass with ouzo, tomato, olives and capers.

Highlighting our talented alumni from the Professional Culinary Arts program, ICC catches up with chef William Roberts from the class of 2006 to reflect back on 10 years in the culinary industry. As Executive Chef of Dio Deka in Los Gatos, California, Roberts leads the only Greek restaurant in the U.S. to be a Michelin Star Recipient and Michelin Star rated.

After graduating from the French Culinary Institute in New York, Chef William Roberts worked under various Michelin-starred chefs in New York City and Woodside (Queens) before heading west to San Francisco to join Michael Mina’s team in relaunching a flagship restaurant in San Francisco. While at Dio Deka, Roberts shares his passion for fine cuisine with guests and actively shows you can #LoveWhatYouDo throughout your career.

ICC: What made you choose to pursue a career in the culinary industry? 

Roberts: “The culinary industry chose me as much as I chose it. What started off as an interesting job grew into an obsession. I worked in restaurants for 5 years before I attended the FCI (ICC). Once I realized that this could be my career I looked to solidify my skills and resume. What has always drawn me to cooking was the transformation of raw ingredients from the earth into something delicious. The idea of creating pleasure and nourishment for a completed stranger is unique to the hospitality industry.”executive-chef-william-roberts-of-dio-deka-los-gatos-ca

ICC: What was the best advice you’ve ever received while in culinary school?

Roberts: “The best advice I ever received was to have relentless determination. Very few people are naturals at anything, for most of us it takes hard work, repetition, and putting in time. The biggest thing that I notice about the younger generations of cooks is that the majority of them doesn’t want to put the time in required to progress and develop into the next generation of chefs.”

ICC: What was your favorite memory attending ICC’s California campus?

Roberts: The FCI ( ICC) was a great experience for me. The network that they create stays with you for your entire career. The quality of the chef-instructors was very high and for the student with no previous experience it does prepare you for an entry level position in a kitchen.

A lasting memory of my time at the ICC is meeting my wife and building friendships that will last a life time.”