Celebrity Cookie Couture From The Red Carpet

Which actress stole the show? #CookieCoutureICC

To celebrate the fashion frenzy of the awards season, pastry chef-instructors at the award-winning International Culinary Center (http://bit.ly/1KHdMvP) recreated some of the most iconic dresses to ever grace the red carpet. Made of sugar paste and sweet cookie dough, each model took eight hours to construct–less time than most actresses take to get ready for an awards show. The edible stage design features a red-velvet carpet runway, surrounded by adoring cookie fans and paparazzi.

Alumni Spotlight: Liz Button

With Cúrate landing on Forbes Travel Guide‘s list of “8 Secret Dishes We’re Only Telling You About” for their panuelo de chocolate dessert, we thought it would be fitting to boast about our wonderful graduate Liz Button, owner of the acclaimed tapas bar.

CLICK HERE to see the full article in Forbes.

In 2007, Liz Button was running a charter aviation company in New Jersey and her daughter Katie was headed to Sweden to complete a Ph.D. in Chemistry. Today, they are the proud owners of one of North Carolina’s hottest restaurants, Cúrate Bar de Tapas in Asheville.

At first, their shared love of food took them on different paths. Katie, disenchanted by academia, accepted a front of house position at José Andrés’ Café Atlántico/MiniBar in Washington DC, while Liz pursued her lifelong dream of opening a restaurant by enrolling at ICC. She decided on the Restaurant Management Course because “I wanted to feel confident knowing the ins and outs of the business.” The class was so rewarding she decided to pursue a culinary degree as well. Still impressed by the overall instruction, the culinary technology was most memorable. “I was blown away at the innovation.”

Katie, it seems, was also blown away. At Café Atlántico, not only did she discover a passion for restaurants, she met her future husband, veteran manager, Félix Meana. A native of Roses, Spain—home to Ferran Adrià’s famed elBulli—Félix worked at the legendary restaurant for five years prior to joining Café Atlántico. Before long the couple returned to elBulli, where Katie completed a highly coveted seven-month stage in the kitchen.

It soon became obvious—Liz’s dream restaurant would be a family affair specializing in authentic Spanish cuisine. In 2011, Cúrate opened to raves and as The New York Times wrote last month, “it’s popularity continues to grow.” When reflecting on her success, Liz credits the wisdom of age, her natural stamina and drive, and a good business plan. “I followed the Restaurant Management business plan to a ‘T’ and it was the foundation for Cúrate.…When we shopped it around to the banks—and
we had to see all of them because no one was lending back then—they
all said ‘Wow, I’ve never seen a business plan like this. This is impressive.’”

Indeed it is. This month Katie and Félix were awarded the 2013 Rising Chefs Award for Sustainablity from StarChefs.com and the family has plans to open a nightclub with a Spanish take on American bar food in downtown Asheville. Continued success!

Learn more about ICC’s once-a-year Culinary Entrepreneurship course! Classes run from late January through May and alumni get up to a 15% discount.

A Note on Trailing

A blog by 2013 Professional Pastry Arts graduate Julie Couture.

In the culinary world, in-person interviews are a piece of the puzzle in getting a job. In order for employers to decide if they want to hire you, they ask you to do a trail.

Like many people new to this industry, I had no clue what this meant. I soon learned a trail involves working a few hours at the establishment. The responsibilities on each trail can vary based on the chef. On my trails, I was asked to make brownies, lime filling, and granola.

I’ve made all of these items – or variations of them – in school or at home. It is a different story when making recipes in a new, unfamiliar kitchen.

Some people thrive in these conditions. Adrenaline flows, stress builds and these thrivers turn out one recipe after another as though it is child’s play. Others, like me, feel immense pressure, making me wonder where my brain is hiding.

If you do well under pressure, I salute you. If you don’t, all is not lost.

With most things, continually doing something can help improve your confidence. Going on trails in different kitchens and making various recipes can better your skillset. Sure, it’s a tad nerve-wracking, but so was learning how to ride a bike and you figured that out, right? With practice and patience, success will happen.

Lest you get discouraged because you make mistakes, remember that making mistakes is part of the process. Those who are the most proficient and most revered in their chosen fields didn’t get there overnight. Rather, they spent weeks, months and years practicing and making mistakes in order to get where they are today.

Nothing beats a fail but a try. When it comes to trails, try…and keep trying.

Learn more about Julie’s class: Professional Pastry Arts

Frosted Chocolate Cranberry Cake

A recipe by Chef Jansen Chan, Director of Pastry Operations
Yields: 1’-9” CAKE


    6 oz. Cranberries, fresh
    2 c. Wate
    6 Tbsp. Cocoa
    1 c. Dried Cranberries
    1 Tbsp. Brandy or orange juice.
    6 oz. Butter
    1 ¾ c. Brown sugar, dark
    2 Eggs, large
    4 oz. Sour cream
    1 ¾ c. Flour
    1 tsp. Baking soda
    ½ tsp. Salt
    1 c. Chocolate, semisweet, chopped
    2 c. Powdered sugar
    ¼ c. water

1. Place the cranberries and water in a medium size pot and simmer for 15 mins., stirring occasionally, until the cranberries break open. While still hot, add the cocoa. Puree the cranberry – cocoa base until smooth with an immersion blender and set aside until cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a 9” cake pan by coating the sides with nonstick release. Place a parchment circle on the bottom of the pan. Pour brandy over dried cranberries and allow to soak. Reserve.

3. In a mixer, begin by creaming the butter and sugar with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time, scraping occasionally. In the meantime, mix together the cooled cocoa – cranberry mixture with the sour cream. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Back in the mixer, alternate additions of the liquid cranberry mix and the dry ingredients. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom occasionally. Add the soaked dried cranberries and chopped chocolate. Pour the batter in the cake pan. Bake for 60-75 mins, or until springy to the touch. Allow cake to cool for 10 mins. before un-molding.

4. Preheat oven to 450 F. Stir together powdered sugar and water until dissolved. Add more water if the consistency is too thick, or add more powdered sugar if it is too thin.

5. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake, spreading with a spatula if necessary. Place on a sheet pan and bake for 5-8 mins., or until the frosting is set. Allow to cool before serving.

Happy Holidays from the International Culinary Center!

International Culinary Center – Award-Winning Culinary School

©2012 The International Culinary Center, LLC. For non commercial use only. Recipe cannot be copied, stored or transmitted electronically, or sold without written consent of the International Culinary Center.

Study Professional Pastry Arts

Christmas Eggnog Yule Log

A holiday spin on a classic taught at International Culinary Center.

Director of Pastry Arts Jansen Chan
Yields: 1-10” Yule Log

Sponge Ingredients

    ¾ cup + 1 ½ tsp. Flour, cake
    ½ tsp. Salt
    6 Eggs
    2 Egg yolk
    ¾ cup + 1 ½ T. Sugar
    ½ tsp. Vanilla extract
    As needed Powdered sugar

Prepare a 9” x 13” sheet tray by lining it with parchment paper and lightly greasing and flouring the surface. Remove any excess flour. Sift the cake flour and salt and reserve. In two bowls, separate the eggs. Transfer the egg whites to a mixer bowl and whip the whites with a little bit of the sugar. As the mixture becomes foamy, increase the speed and slowly add the remaining sugar. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Add the egg yolks and whisk quickly until only just combined. Remove the whisk and gently fold the sifted flour into the egg mixture in several additions. Carefully spread the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle generous with powdered sugar. Bake at 400F for approximately 15-18 mins, or until a light, golden brown. Let the cake sit for 5 mins and gently transfer the cake, with the parchment paper to another tray. Gently roll the cake, against the width, and allow to cool fully in this shape.

Eggnog Custard Filling Ingredients

    1 cups Milk
    ½ tsp. Nutmeg, grated
    ¼ tsp. Cinnamon
    Pinch Ginger, cloves, all spice (each)
    6 Tbsp. Sugar, split
    4 Egg yolks
    4 tsp. Cornstarch
    1/4 cup Alcohol of your preference (rum, brandy, or bourbon)
    2 oz. Butter

In a medium size pot, boil milk, half of the sugar, and the spices. Cover and let steep for 15 mins. Whisk the egg yolks, remaining sugar, and pastry cream powder together. Temper ¼ of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and continue to cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture boils. Allow to boil for 1-2 mins. Transfer immediately to a plastic wrap lined tray. Cover the top with additional plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool to slightly warm. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and add the alcohol and butter. Whisk carefully until homogenous. Reserve at room temperature, as needed.

Crème Chantilly Ingredients

    2 cups Heavy cream
    2 Tbsp. Sugar
    Pinch Salt
    ½ tsp. Vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a mixer and whip until stiff peaks are formed. Reserve, covered, and chilled.

Additional Decorations
Eggnog Custard Filling
Simple Syrup (1/2 cup water dissolved with 1/2 cup sugar, cooled)
Rum, brandy, or bourbon (optional)
Crème Chantilly
Cocoa powder

Unroll the cooled sponge and remove the parchment paper. Sprinkle 2 tsp. of alcohol around the cake, if desired. Spread eggnog custard filling, all but 1” from the length of the sponge. Starting with the length without the custard, roll the cake tightly until a log is formed. Let rest 2 hrs. or overnight, wrapped in plastic. When chilled, slice the cake at 45˚ about 2” away from the end. Transfer the log to a serving tray and place the smaller cut piece on the tray, perpendicular to the cake, with the angled cut facing outward. Spread the crème Chantilly along the length of the cake and use a fork to create ridges. Carefully sift a light coating of cocoa powder on top. Decorate cake with meringue mushrooms.

from International Culinary Center!

Fulfill your New Year’s resolution with Professional Pastry Arts. 

Inside ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training

A review of ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program by Bottlenotes:

Inside ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training

“As the amount of wine Americans drinks continues to rise annually, so too does the number of people taking the Court of Master Sommeliers’ introductory exam,” reads a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. We scoped out the Intensive Sommelier Training program at International Culinary Center (ICC), based in Soho, NYC, and Silicon Valley, CA, to see the steps to somm-hood. The comprehensive course—the first and only approved by the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas—educates candidates with 300+ wines (the bar tab would equal $10,000+ in any other setting), and culminates in the exam given on-site.

drinkThe seven somm steps:

  • Taste and taste and taste with the school’s Master Sommeliers to develop powers of identification
  • Grasp the logic of food-and-wine pairing recommendations
  • Learn proper storage, aging and service to bring the best out of your bottles
  • Show your business brain—design a wine list based on a case study
  • Walk the vineyards, tour the cellar and do the “viti-vini” on a field trip
  • Live the 8,000-year history of wine making via countries that blazed the taste trail
  • Embrace the challenge of a learning journey that will forever change the way you live, wine and dine


As the ultimate gift for a wine lover or a new career path for yourself, ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training classes are held throughout the year. For dates and details, please go to culinarycenter.com.

Learn more about ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training Program.

Meatless Monday: Roasted Cauliflower Steak

A creative #MeatlessMonday recipe by 2013 Culinary grad Shikha Sharma.


Roasted Cauliflower Steak with Brussels Sprouts

Serves: 2


For the Cauliflower

  • 2 big slices of cauliflower
  • 2-3 springs of fresh thyme
  • Few Lemon peels, cut into strips
  • Coconut or Olive Oil
  • Salt & Fresh ground pepper as per taste

For the Caramelized Onion Sauce

  • 1 Medium Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 T Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • Salt & Fresh ground pepper as per taste
  • Coconut Oil for cooking

For the Brussels Sprouts

  • 1/2 lb of Brussels Sprouts, cut off ends and peel off any damaged leaves
  • 1 Small Red Pepper, diced
  • Few Fennel slices
  • Pinch of Chili Flakes
  • 1 t of Curry Powder and more as per taste
  • Salt & Fresh ground pepper as per taste

For the Honey Mustard Sauce

  • 1 T Grape Seed Oil or Olive Oil and more as needed
  • 1 t honey
  • 1 t Grainy Mustard


For the Cauliflower

Sprinkle some salt and pepper, thyme leaves, and lemon peels on the cauliflower.

Brush some oil on the cauliflower and bake in the oven @ 350 F for 20-30 minutes or until tender. (You can test by inserting a cake tester or a knife)

Flip and roast the other side after 15 minutes.

When it’s done, cover and set it aside.
For the Caramelized Onion Sauce

Grab a medium pan; add oil, onions and sprinkle generous amount of salt. Cook until onions begin to soften and turn brown.

Next, – the pan with red wine vinegar and add 1 cup of water. Simmer and stir occasionally.

Blend the sauce to a smooth texture and then add a bit of water to thin out the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
For the Brussels Sprouts

Toss all the ingredients and add more seasonings as per taste.

Bake @ 350 F for 35 minutes

Whisk all the sauce ingredients and then combine it with the baked brussels sprouts.

Learn more about Professional Culinary Arts.

Thanksgiving Turkey Gravy

Chef Ray Dawson, Director of Culinary Operations, shares his recipe for Turkey Gravy.

Yield: 2 quarts

1.89L turkey stock
Turkey neck, cut into small pieces
Turkey giblets, except liver
Canola oil
1 onion cut into mirepoix
2 carrots cut into mirepoix
3 stalks of celery cut into mirepoix
1tbsp AP flour
Bouquet garni (a few thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns)
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2tbsp butter

1. In a large saucepan place some canola oil and put over a medium high flame. When the oil is hot add the turkey neck and giblets. Brown the neck and giblets well.
2. Add 1tbsp butter and 1 tbsp flour to a pan over medium heat. Mix well to make a roux. Add most of your turkey stock, leaving a little extra on the side to adjust the consistency of your gravy. Once your stock is thickened, remove from heat and set aside.
3. Once your giblets are browned, add the onions, carrots and celery and brown well.
4. Add the thickened turkey stock and bring to a simmer. Skim the top of the gravy and maintain at a simmer. Add the bouquet garni.
5. Simmer the gravy for 45 minutes, skimming as needed.
6. Strain the gravy to remove all solids and place back into the saucepan. Adjust the seasoning with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
7. Monte au beurre with the butter: Take saucepan off the heat and add cold cubed butter. Stir to incorporate. Serve with turkey and enjoy!

Happy Holidays from the International Culinary Center!

Learn more about Professional Culinary Arts: https://www.internationalculinarycenter.com/category/culinary-and-pastry-courses/professional-culinary-arts-programs/

Thanksgiving Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

Chef Ray Dawson, Director of Culinary Operations, shares his recipe for Cornbread Sausage Stuffing.

Yield: 12 Servings

1 large onion, ciseler
4 ribs celery, small dice
3 medium carrots, small dice
4 cloves garlic
1lb sweet Italian sausage meat, casings removed
10 cups stale cornbread, cut into ½” cubes
3 -4 cups chicken stock
10 sage leaves chiffonade
¼ bu thyme leaves roughly chopped
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2tbsp butter

1. Preheat an oven to 375˚F.
2. Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil over medium high flame. When the oil is hot add the sausage meat and break up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Sauté the meat until it begins to turn golden brown.
3. Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic to the pan and sauté the vegetables until tender and very aromatic.
4. Add the cornbread and mix everything well.
5. In small increments begin to add the chicken stock until the desired consistency is achieved. For a looser stuffing add more stock for a dryer stuffing add less.
6. Season the stuffing to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fold in the sage and thyme leaves.
7. Place the stuffing in an oven proof casserole dish and dot the top with the butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on top and the sides are bubbling.
8. Garnish the top with additional sage chiffonade.

Happy Holidays from the International Culinary Center!

Learn more about Professional Culinary Arts: https://www.internationalculinarycenter.com/category/culinary-and-pastry-courses/professional-culinary-arts-programs/

Thanksgiving Honey Roasted Turkey

Chef Ray Dawson, Director of Culinary Operations, shares his recipe for Honey-Roasted Turkey

Apple Cider Brine
Yield: 2 Gallons

1/2 Gal. Apple Cider
1 1/2 Gal. Water
1 Lb Kosher Salt
8 Oz. Sugar
4 Cinnamon Sticks
2tbsp Black Peppercorns
4 Bay Leaves
6 Points Star Anise

1. In a large pot, combine all ingredients.

2. Bring the mixture to a simmer to ensure that all of the salt and sugar are dissolved. Do not let it boil and reduce or it will be too salty.

3. Immediately cool the brine to below 41˚F. Do not submerge item to brine into a warm brine solution.

4. Place item in brine and brine according to the size. Large items require longer brining time and small items require less time

Honey Roasted Turkey

1 Brined Whole Turkey, Air Dried
2 Granny Smith Apples, Cut in Quarters
1 Pear, Cut in Quarters
1 Orange, Cut in Quarters
2 Shallots, Peeled and Cut in Quarters
8 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Crushed
4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Smoked Paprika
Butcher Twine
3lbs Mirepoix of Onion, Carrot and Celery, roughly diced
2 Cups Butter
2 Cups Honey

1. Preheat an oven to 375˚F.
2. Remove the wishbone from the turkey.
3. Season lightly the inside of the bird. Stuff the turkey with as much of the apple, pear, orange, garlic, shallot and thyme as will fit inside the bird.
4. Season the turkey lightly with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and the smoked paprika. Rub the seasoning and olive oil all over the bird. Be sure to get into all areas under the wings and legs. Truss the turkey with the butcher twine.
5. Place the mirepoix in a roasting pan and place the turkey on top of the mirepoix. Alternatively, a rack can be used instead of the mirepoix. The turkey should not be in direct contact with the pan or it may burn on the bottom.
6. Place the turkey in the oven and roast for an hour at 375˚F. Lower the oven to 350˚F and roast. While Turkey is in the oven, place butter and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer to combine and use to lightly baste the turkey throughout the cooking process.
7. Roast the turkey until a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part reads 165˚F. 18-20 minutes per pound is a good guideline.
8. Let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes covered loosely with foil before carving.

Happy Holidays from the International Culinary Center!

Learn more about Professional Culinary Arts: https://www.internationalculinarycenter.com/category/culinary-and-pastry-courses/professional-culinary-arts-programs/