holiday cocktail

Chef Jeff Butler’s Cranberry Bourbon Sparkler

Looking for a new holiday party cocktail recipe? You’re in luck! ICC’s very own Chef Jeff Butler shared his famous cranberry cordial recipe that he always makes around the holidays.

Growing up in Pine Barrens, New Jersey, there was always an abundance of cranberries—the town is home to more than 2,000 acres of cranberry bogs!

Below, get his recipe for the perfect cocktail that’s sure to delight any holiday crowd!

Note this recipe is for ages 21+, please drink responsibly!



1.5 Cup Water
1.5  Cup Light Brown Sugar
12 oz Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
1 each Star Anise Whole
2 each Cinnamon Stick
10 each Black Pepper Corns
1 Orange


1 Part Cranberry Syrup
1 Part Bourbon
3 Part Club Soda
Ice As Needed
Orange Slices for Garnish
Reserved Cranberries


  1. Zest and Juice the orange.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a pot.
  3. Bring up to a simmer and cool.
  4. Cool overnight.
  5. Strain syrup to use a as a mixer and reserve the cranberries for garnish.


  1. In a bar shaker mix 1 part Cranberry Syrup with 1 Part Bourbon. Top with ice and shake to mix.
  2. Strain off ice into an Old Fashioned Glass and top with 3 Parts Club Soda.
  3. Garnish Glass with Orange slice and Cranberry.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
holiday gift guide

ICC’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

ICC’s annual holiday gift guide is back and we’re excited to bring to you our must-have culinary gifts of the season. We’ve gathered some of our favorite kitchen gadgets, tasty treats, and chef gear to share as you search for the perfect gift this holiday season. You’ll want to snag a Vitamix blender using our exclusive discount code, spruce up your work uniform with Tilit’s new Supply line, and snack on ALL of the holiday treats we’re recommending made by ICC graduates. Plus, don’t miss out on our picks from the pros—ICC chef-instructors & staff recommended what they’re putting at the top of their lists, and we have to say, they’ve got some good taste!

Check out the five different areas of gift giving that we’ve highlighted below. Whether you’re shopping for the professional chef in your life, the cookbook lover, or the charitable gift giver, you’ll find something for almost everyone on your shopping list!

For the Professional

For the culinary professional in your life that seems to have every kitchen tool you could imagine, look no further than these picks for the pros, from the pros. These additions are sure to inspire them in the kitchen!



$21 – $195

Our Director of Culinary Arts & Technology, Chef Hervé Malivert, loves these dishes for the beautiful accent they add to any table and the way they make his food pop!



Starting at $349.95

Need a new tool for your kitchen? Get a gift for yourself and use code ICCVitamix21216 for 20% off.

burlap and barrel



 Our friend Ethan Frisch started Burlap & Barrel to create ethically sourced spices and creates exceptional ingredients. We love this Chef’s Choice Collection, featuring unique seasonings like Wild Icelandic Kelp and Flowering Hyssop Thyme, and know the chef in your life will too!



For the craft beer lover in your life—get them any number of ICC alumnus Matt Monahan’s highly sought after Other Half Brewery cans (so exclusive, you’ll have to wait in line for a few hours), then purchase a special glass for them to drink it out of!

holiday socks



When the chef in your life gets into a uniform rut and wants to spruce things up, ICC Pastry Chef-Instructor Michelle Doll recommends this adorable advent calendar gift box!




ICC Pastry Chef-Instructor, Kierin Baldwin recommends an immersion blender for their endless variety of pastry applications.

tilit apron



Our friends at Tilit just launched this brand new line of chef wear, Tilit Supply. We love it for it’s street wear aesthetic—get this for your kitchen staff and thank us later!




ICC Chef-Instructor Ben Grebel has a Sauerkrock at the top of his list! He wants this to create different fermentations at home, and if you know someone who’s been wanting to get into fermentation, this is the perfect starter kit.

Canning Kit



The perfect accessory to accompany the Sauerkrock! Chef Ben also recommends this DIY canning kit so the chef in your life can start creating their own pickling projects.

For the Foodie

For the foodie friend who knows all of the best restaurant spots, wants to develop their cooking skills, or makes the best sous chef in the kitchen, these gifts will keep them at the top of their culinary game!

studmuffin desserts



ICC graduate Seth Raphaeli went from banker to baker and we’re so glad he did! He creates buckets of treats that will delight any dessert lover. There’s even gluten-free options too!

chefanie straws



ICC graduate Stephanie Nass creates beautiful products for your home and we love her reusable straws! Environmentally friendly and so chic, it’s a win-win all around.




If the foodie in your life would rather get into the kitchen, check out all of ICC’s one-day classes and purchase them a gift certificate! There’s a class for almost everyone on your list from the pasta lover, to the busy baker and wine enthusiast.

my little sous



ICC Pastry Chef-Instructor Michelle Doll loves the Little Sous subscription boxes for families and children to connect in their home kitchens! 




Chef Kierin Baldwin loves silicone spatulas in her kitchen, but this is her absolute favorite one! This one has no nooks where water can get trapped when you’re cleaning it, so it’s perfect for the kitchen.

splendid spoon



For the foodie in your life who doesn’t always have time to cook for themselves, get them breakfast and lunch delivered right to their door! ICC graduate Nicole Centeno created Splendid Spoon to provide healthy options that the whole family will love.

momfuku salt



Momofuku Seasoned Salts have been the secret to ICC alumnus David Chang’s kitchens for the last 10 years, and now they’re finally selling them to the world! Order these for your favorite home cook and be sure to get one for yourself too.




For the amateur home cook who’s just starting to get more serious about their cooking, we love this knife set from our friends at Korin!

instant pot



ICC President, Erik Murnighan loves the Instant Pot for creating delicious, quick dinners for his family, plus other fun projects! Don’t underestimate the power of an Instant Pot.



$1,150 for 5 days

For the young, aspiring chef in your life! Give them the gift of a lifetime with our 5-day Culinary or Pastry Summer Teen Camps. Check out our 2020 class schedule here.

For the Cookbook Lover

For the person with an already impressive cookbook collection, add a few more of these newly released and classic titles to their shelves.

dynamite chicken



Running out of new ways to love everyone’s ultimate dinnertime winner? ICC graduate Tyler Kord solves all of your chicken problems in this cookbook.

the last course



Pastry legend Claudia Fleming’s beloved dessert book returns. It’s finally being reprinted after many years out of print, so our pastry instructors are grabbing their copies and you should too!

the joys of baking



Cooking may be a necessity—everyone needs to eat—but baking is different. Inspired by the the best selling cookbook The Joy of Cooking, ICC alumna Samantha Seneviratne delivers a delicious cookbook filled with 75 ways to bake yourself back up when you feel like you’ve hit the bottom.

butcher and beast



ICC alumna Angie Mar’s debut cookbook is so much more than your traditional cookbook. Angie showcases over 80 recipes with her signature unconventional approach to flavor, including Beatrice Inn favorites like Milk-Braised Pork Shoulder and Duck & Foie Gras Pie.

the flavor bible



ICC Pastry Chef-Instructor Kierin Baldwin recommends this cookbook to almost everyone she teaches in our kitchens!

heirloom kitchen



In Heirloom Kitchen, ICC alumna Anna Francese Gass showcases recipes from immigrant women across the world. A beautiful, inspiring cookbook for the holidays.

For the Charitable Gift Giver

We all have that special someone in our life that has just about everything, or the minimalist who prefers not to receive gifts. Instead of racking your brain, and possibly even coming up short, why not donate to a charity in their honor? Check out three of the beloved charities we work with, all of which help students achieve their culinary dreams!

aaron sanchez scholarship fund


The Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund provides recipients with fully paid culinary scholarships to ICC and a paid internship upon completion of ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts program to aspiring chefs from the Latin community in New Orleans, El Paso and Puerto Rico.

mino foundation


The Made in New Orleans (MiNO) Foundation enriches lives through food and mentorship by providing scholarships to ICC’s Professional Culinary & Pastry Arts programs and entrepreneurial resources.

jacques pepin foundation


Our Dean Jacques Pépin’s foundation supports free culinary and life skills training, through community based organizations and helps individuals detached from the workforce gain confidence, skills, and employment in food service.

For Your Holiday Party

Don’t show up empty handed! Whether you’re in need of a gift for the host that has it all, or want to be the hero of your family holiday party but don’t have hours to spare in the kitchen, grab one of these delicious treats from our grads. Pro tip—most of these recommendations are offering special holiday editions of their products, so be sure to ask what they have in stock.

baz bagels



ICC graduate Bari Musacchio is creating some of the best bagels in New York City at Baz Bagels. Pick up a box and be the hero of any party you attend with fresh, authentic NYC bagels, complete with all the fixings.




The food world was devastated when ICC alumnus Chef Wylie Dufresne closed wd~50, but thankfully, he recently returned to the scene with Du’s Donuts. He’s creating delicious donuts with his signature gastronomic flair that are hard to resist.




ICC grad Erika Nakamura, along with wife and co-owner Jocelyn Guest, created J & E Small Goods after starting a family and realizing that high quality, natural sausages and deli meats were hard to come by. You’ll find the products you’ve always dreamed of feeding your family at J & E Small Goods!

brewers crackers



ICC grad Kyle Fiasconaro created Brewer’s Crackers to offset food waste with the boom in the craft brewing industry. He takes spent grain used to create beer and turns them into delicious crackers. Environmentally friendly crackers, what’s not to love?

milk bar

ICC In The News: Highlights from November 2019

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 2019, aimed to keep you connected with our community and inspire readers to #LoveWhatYouDo in the kitchen and beyond.

milk bar
Inside Milk Bar’s Huge New Flagship, a Sugar-Fueled Playground

Christina Tosi’s new flagship location of Milk Bar—you know, the bakery that everyone is obsessed with (including us!)—is a must visit. With create your own cookie and cake stations and a mini convenience store stocked with the CEO and ICC alumna’s favorite snacks, you won’t want to miss out on this playground of sweet treats from the imagination of Christina Tosi. Read more about the new location in Eater New York.

Turkey tips from the pros! Check out what ICC’s Director of Culinary Arts & Technology Chef Hervé Malivert recommended to CBS New York to create the perfect turkey for your Thanksgiving table.

ICC alumnus Alex Roberts just celebrated 20 years of operating Restaurant Alma in Minnesota. Read his interview in Star Tribune to learn how he’s grown as a CEO + Restaurateur and what it’s like to be one of the best restaurants in the Midwest.

Want a new snack that you can feel good about? Professional Culinary Arts graduate Kyle Fiasconaro is brewing up something delicious with his line of crackers! Brewer’s Crackers is a “spent grain” cracker company driven to reduce food waste in the craft brewing industry. Read more about it in The Upstocker.

Check out the review of ICC graduate, Chef Meny Vaknin’s Mediterranean restaurant MishMish in North Jersey! Recently renovated, critics returned to the restaurant and couldn’t get enough of his delicious food inspired by his childhood. Read the review here.

bon appetit
Erika Nakamura and Jocelyn Guest on Butchering, Motherhood, and Starting Over

Erika Nakamura, along with wife & business partner Jocelyn Guest, recently opened J & E Small Goods to focus on sustainable sausage. Check out their interview in Bon Appétit to get insights into the world of owning a food business all while juggling life as new parents.

The Hand Sell: Top Wines From New Jersey Sommelier Vanessa Da Silva

Vanessa Da Silva, ICC’s 2019 Outstanding Alumni Award Winner for Outstanding Sommelier, spoke with Forbes to give her favorite wines of the moment. Check out the article and see which wines she’s recommending to her customers now!

Thinking about a career in pastry? Culinary Agents spoke with Rachel Kwon, one of ICC’s dedicated Pastry Chef Instructors and learned her tips and tricks for excelling in the sweet world of pastry. Read more here.

At Farine + Four in Omaha, customers can’t get enough of ICC alumna Ellie Pegler’s breads. Before bringing her talent back to her home state, she trained at Michelin-starred Marea and Vaucluse, where she was head baker. Read more about her bakery in Omaha World Herald!

Professional Culinary Arts graduate Jeffrey Finkelstein, also known as Montreal’s best baker, is expanding his popular bakery Hof Kelsten to a new bakery named Hof Sucrée. Grab some of his creations at the Time Out Montreal market! Read more about the bakery here in Time Out.

ICC alumna Clarice Lam, owner of the popular bakery, Baking Bean, shared her Mulled Wine Poached Pear Pavlova with Mascarpone Cream in Pastry Arts Magazine. Get her recipe and recreate this warm and cozy recipe for the holiday season here.

Mark Bittman, author of over 15 cookbooks and guest lecturer at Columbia’s School of Public Health, hosted some of his recent classes at ICC. In this article with Medium he shared this seasoning blend, suya spice from Nigeria, which was taught in the class. Get the recipe here, you won’t be disappointed!

make lasagna
How To Make Lasagna For Two from Don Angie

Want to learn how to make lasagna the Don Angie way? Watch ICC’s 2019 Outstanding Alumni Award Winner for Excellence in Culinary, Scott Tacinelli, along with wife and co-owner Angie Rito, make their signature dish with Munchies! You’ll love the crispy edges and gooey cheese—watch here.

Watch David Chang, ICC alumnus and star of Netflix’s new show Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner try to guess which celebrity made this dish! Attempt to guess the correct celebrity answer before he does on Buzzfeed’s Tasty Youtube channel, watch here.

food business fundamentals

Business Bites Resources: 4 Steps To Cultivating A Better Work Culture

We’ve heard it before, building and maintaining a healthy team is vital to the success of your business. But these days, it seems to be getting harder for businesses to retain their top talent. With compliance costs increasing alongside ever changing labor laws—like the increase of minimum wage or required anti-harassment training—it can be difficult for businesses to find ways to attract top talent without additional budget to do so. At our most recent Business Bites conversation, one of the questions that continued to resonate with our audience was apart from financial compensation, how can business attract top talent?

Our panelists Dorina Yuen, Associate Director of Human Resources at Union Square Hospitality Group, and Oron Franco, Director of Culinary Operations at Westville Restaurant Group both agreed, money matters, but it’s not the most important thing. The culture of your company is what dictates the longevity and retention of your employees. We asked our panelists to share their best practices for fostering a healthy, safe workplace that allows for employees to grow. Below, check out their advice for hiring, staff development, feedback and compliance!

Hire Well From The Start

When Yuen and Franco reflected on what they look for when hiring, they both agreed—it’s what can’t be taught that’s important. While chopping onions and plating to a restaurant’s specifications can all be learned, the intangibles that a potential employee demonstrates during an interview is what truly matters. Both Yuen and Franco agree that these are the things to look for when you’re interviewing someone:

  1. Do they demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit?
  2. Are they ambitious?
  3. Do they take initiative?
  4. Will they go out of their way to find solutions and do the right thing when no one is looking?

It’s all about finding the person that can and will versus someone who can, but won’t.

Invest In Your Employees

The age old saying is true—it’s less costly for your business if you invest in your employees, rather than trying to find new talent elsewhere. Use the resources around your business to create a staff development program that can educate and inspire your employees. For instance, the vendors that you work with can become the perfect resource to provide workshops and skills building opportunities for your staff. The same goes for your managers! You’ve hired them for a reason, most likely because they’re subject matter experts in an area key to your industry, so use their expertise to teach your employees and allow them to grow.

Create A Culture of Feedback

Employees crave recognition in the workplace and developing a culture that promotes feedback is imperative to the well-being of your employees. Feedback should be a two way street. The first step is to schedule quarterly, bi-annual, or annual one-on-one meetings with your employees to discuss their growth within the business and provide them with observations on where they excel, as well as areas for improvement. In addition, it’s important to encourage your employees to provide you with feedback about the business, operations, etc which is valuable to improving the culture of your organization. It shows your employees that you’re open to hearing their thoughts and that you value their opinions.

Take Compliance Seriously

Not only should you invest in being compliant because it’s the law, but taking compliance seriously shows your employees that you care. By investing in compliance measures, your employees will feel safe, which will cultivate a healthy environment to work in. You should also remember that as a chef and restaurateur, it’s impossible to know it all. Consult with experts to stay up to date on the ever-evolving world of compliance.

Building a better culture for your restaurant or food business will help to ensure the longevity of your business. By hiring well from the start, investing in your employees, developing a culture of feedback, and staying up to date on the latest in compliance, you’ll be on your way to building a business that your employees can feel proud to work at. Plus, when they leave for their next opportunity—and they should if they’re talented and deserving—they’ll be great representatives for your business to find the next talent. Remember, your previous employees are a reflection of your business and can be your greatest asset in attracting top talent!


The BUSINESS BITES, brought to you by the Food Business Fundamentals program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels, networking events and resources designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry.

Ready to get started on the business plan for your restaurant, food truck, food product or other dream culinary concept? Maybe you’re looking to scale a family business or grow an existing concept? Register for ICC’s Food Business Fundamentals course, and you’ll have a solid business plan & pitch ready in just 6 weeks! Click here to learn more.
canned goods

#GivingTuesday: How These ICC Grads Use Their Culinary Training to Give Back

Each year, communities around the world celebrate #GivingTuesday—global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. In this spirit, we wanted to highlight just a few of the many ICC alumni using their culinary training to give back to their communities, working with their organizations to create change everyday.

greg silverman

Greg Silverman graduated from ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts program in 2003, but that wasn’t the beginning of his culinary journey. Prior to enrolling in culinary school, Greg joined the Peace Corps for 2 years in Mali and worked with women’s groups focused on food production. He went on to open multiple successful restaurants in Ithaca, New York. Needing a change, he sold his restaurants and moved to London. Across the pond, he was the Director of Slow Food Fast, INC and consulted with organizations focused on food social enterprises. After London, he worked in D.C. and New York helping to develop and grow campaigns like No Kid Hungry and Wellness in the Schools. Now, he’s the Executive Director of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger—a food pantry that works to bring dignity back to those in need.

Christine Carroll went to college to become a scientist, but shortly after traded in her lab coat for a chef’s coat. After working in England for a number of years as a sous chef, she came to ICC to develop her culinary skills. Before graduating from ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts program in 2007, Christine worked for Full Plate Media, as well as in the test kitchen for Saveur Magazine. Then, she worked as the Director for the Whole Foods Market Culinary Center in lower Manhattan, as well as co-authored Come In, We’re Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World’s Best Restaurants. In between all of this, she founded CulinaryCorps, the nation’s first volunteer service organization for culinary professionals.

Below, check out how these graduates are working with their organizations to bring about change in communities around the world!

West Side Campaign Against Hunger

In 1993, West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH) opened as the first customer-choice, supermarket style for food pantries. This model allows customers to select their own groceries from shelves, rather than receiving pre-packaged supplies. By empowering customers to choose the food that they want for themselves and their families, they are also helping to reduce food waste across the board.

food pantry
A volunteer in the supermarket pantry

But WSCAH is more than just an emergency food pantry—they also offer culinary training and have a social service counseling center. Their Culinary Pathways program, taught by fellow ICC alumna Elizabeth Richards, offers a free, bilingual 12-week culinary training program to learn knife skills, sanitation, nutrition, menu-planning, and culinary math. When we visited Greg and WSCAH, the building was buzzing as everyone was preparing for one of the largest events of the year, their Harvest Dinner, to raise money for the organization. The Culinary Pathways students, along with chef instructor Elizabeth, were cooking the meal as a part of their final project for the program. Some 200 guests would fill the building that evening to raise more than $250,000.

Greg and Elizabeth in WCAH's kitchen
ICC graduates Greg and Elizabeth in WSCAH’s kitchen

After completing their program, WSCAH works with companies like Great Performances Catering and Union Square Hospitality Group to get jobs for their students. To keep all of this running, WSCAH has 24 full-time staff members, as well as 1,800 volunteers, who all run under the direction of Greg. The majority of the 24,000 volunteer hours every year are performed by incredible community volunteers, many of them customers of WSCAH themselves who want to give back.

Dignity, community and choice. These are the principles that WSCAH operates on. Directly after the Harvest Dinner, WSCAH switched gears to raise $125,000 for their Thousand Turkey Challenge. Through this initiative, they’ll provide Thanksgiving holiday meals for New Yorkers in need. No matter what, they’ll give out turkeys to everyone who needs one to make sure that they’ll have a holiday meal for their family.

Culinary students and graduates alike can help WSCAH in so many ways—by volunteering, engaging as a restaurant or chef to hire their trainees, and even organizing donation coalitions for their organization. To find out more about how you can help, click here.


Christine Carroll is the Founder and Executive Director of CulinaryCorps. In 2006, while still in culinary school at ICC, she was chosen to participate in the Share Our Strength conference in New Orleans that brought together chefs and culinary students from all across the nation for a long weekend. In addition to lectures, classes, and food events, half a day was devoted to a community service project, and Chefs were tasked with painting a school flooded by Hurricane Katrina.

About mid-way through the day, Christine glanced around at the professional chefs painting and knew that their talents were better suited to the kitchen. When she returned home from the trip, she tried to find an organization that organizes short-term volunteer trips for culinary professionals, but came up empty. That’s when she decided to start one of her own! Fundamentally, CulinaryCorps began because she believes that good food has the potential to do good.

The 2019 CulinaryCorps team in Calais, France cooking with NGO partner, Refugee Community Kitchen.
The 2019 CulinaryCorps team in Calais, France cooking with NGO partner, Refugee Community Kitchen.

CulinaryCorps is a 100% volunteer, woman-led, all-inclusive, grassroots organization that promotes their mission and message to the world through their networks. Before CulinaryCorps, chefs were often asked to pitch in by fundraising for a cause or volunteering at different events where needed. Now, there are so many ways that chefs can share their culinary strengths with their communities. During each service trip, 10-12 chefs join CulinaryCorps and embark on a week-long service trip to the chosen community to implement project initiatives that are custom designed for each of their project partners. Whether its launching an after-school cooking curriculum Cooking at the Club for The Boys and Girls Club of the Gulf Coast, or working behind the stoves at Bill’s Kitchen, an organization that serves daily hot meals to people living with HIV/AIDS in San Juan, Puerto Rico, CulinaryCorps individually impacts each community that they visit.

The CulinaryCorps team helped to make over 5,400 meals during their one week outreach trip to serve to the refugees of Northern France.
The CulinaryCorps team helped to make over 5,400 meals during their one week outreach trip to serve to the refugees of Northern France.


To learn more about CulinaryCorps and to see how you can get involved, visit their website here. If you have an idea for a new trip to a community in need, please email CulinaryCorps at


4 Ways To Minimize Your Food Waste This Thanksgiving

Creating a beautiful Thanksgiving table that’s both tasty and environmentally friendly doesn’t have to be difficult. We spoke with Chef Ben Grebel, ICC Chef-Instructor of 6 years and one of our Professional Culinary Arts + Farm-to-Table program coordinators to learn how he eliminates food waste and makes his Thanksgiving table more sustainable.

Below, get his tips for using all of your scraps, fats and bones to create a delicious meal while minimizing food waste!

Break Down Your Turkey

Breaking down your turkey should be the first step in creating your Thanksgiving meal. Chef Ben recommends removing the turkey breasts and legs from the carcass and setting these aside. Then, break down the actual carcass and roast the bones in the oven—if the turkey neck is inside of the turkey, this can be roasted as well.

By roasting the carcass, you will be bringing out layers of flavor and using this to create a stock. This will make it so that you won’t have to make a separate stock or a demi-glaze from the store, saving you time and money.

Save Your Scraps

When you’re prepping vegetables for your stuffing or side dishes, save any scraps that you produce. These scraps can be sautéed and used in the next waste saving tip!

Make a Stock

Use the sautéed vegetable scraps to add flavor to your stock! Add the roasted turkey carcass and vegetables, in addition to thyme, bay leaf and black pepper to a stock pot with water on your stove. The offal from the turkey can also be added to the pot, which will give your stock a more mineral flavor.

Reserve The Fat

On the day of Thanksgiving, season and roast the turkey breasts and legs. While the stock and turkey are cooking, skim any residual fat from both and use this to incorporate into any other recipes that need additional flavor—the fat is particularly perfect for stuffing!

By using these methods to reduce your waste, you can get the most out of the ingredients that you’re using, save money, and positively impact the environment, all while infusing more flavor into your food. Happy Thanksgiving!

will pacio

How Pared Is Solving Staffing Needs For The Restaurant Industry

will pacio

By Will Pacio, ICC Professional Culinary Arts ’03 and CEO & Co-Founder of Pared

A veteran in the restaurant industry. Will started as a cook at Per Se in New York and went on to run IT for Thomas Keller’s restaurants. He was founder and CEO of Spice Kit, a popular fast-casual concept. Studied at Stanford. Trained at the French Culinary Institute, now the International Culinary Center.

From Per Se & The French Laundry To Opening My Own Restaurants

In 2003, I moved from California to New York to attend the International Culinary Center (what was then the French Culinary Institute) and pursue my dream of becoming a chef. I can still remember how nervous I was walking into the classroom that very first day, but being within earshot of some of my childhood heroes like Jacques Pépin and André Soltner was a dream come true. It was a crash course on how to become  a chef and learn the fundamentals of classic cuisine, all while balancing the fear of messing up as my chef instructor, Chef Sixto, watched my every move.

Will in 2003
Will in 2003 in what was then the level 1 kitchen of The FCI.

After graduating from ICC, I was lucky enough to land my dream job as a commis on the opening team of Per Se in 2004. ICC had given me the foundation of technique, but working for Thomas Keller for the next 5 years changed my entire mindset about what could be accomplished in the restaurant world. I learned how to execute with exacting standards at a breakneck pace—all while building a mindset that nothing is impossible because the team around me would do anything to ensure guests got exactly what they wanted. Being part of a team that earned 3-Michelin stars and 4 stars from The New York Times was not only validation for us, but a reason to keep pursuing excellence.

After working at Per Se and The French Laundry, Thomas Keller’s other 3-Michelin starred restaurant in California, I started my own restaurant, Spice Kit, in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010. Entrepreneurship and opening restaurants are their own school of overcoming the impossible. From finding investors, negotiating with landlords, and dealing with construction and permit delays, I’m amazed that we were able to open not one, but three restaurants over the course of a few years. During those years, I met many other ambitious chefs that were opening restaurants across the country—I became more amazed at the entire food industry.Thousands of chefs, just like me, were also taking on the same challenges of opening a restaurant to make their own dreams come true.

Will with Thomas Keller
Will with Thomas Keller

Throughout my journey as a culinary student, a cook, a chef, and a restaurant owner, I experienced the reality of our industry: it’s hard work. As a young cook, it’s difficult to make enough money and to find the right opportunities. As an operator, it feels impossible to keep a restaurant fully staffed while trying to keep all of your guests happy and making enough money to keep the lights on.

Innovation In The Restaurant Industry

These realities brought me to the next step of my journey in this industry, founding Pared. Our mission is to make restaurant life easier. Pared is a technology platform and mobile app that solves staffing needs for our industry. We are accomplishing this by giving the professionals in our industry a digital resume where their career lives, enabling them to earn more money with each new job. We’re allowing them to find opportunities that help them level up their skills and careers. Our platform also assist restaurant owners, managers, and operators by helping them keep their restaurants fully staffed with skilled people. Having a fully staffed business means they can focus on serving their customers and grow a thriving business instead of spending all of their time posting jobs and interviewing candidates.

In just a few short years, we’ve expanded from San Francisco to New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. We now have over 100,000 professionals on our platform. We still have a long way to go, but everyday I’m inspired to make restaurant life easier for the one in ten Americans who work in our industry. Our goal is to help everyone who works in food service—from the culinary student at ICC who is looking for their first job, to the restaurant owner in Toledo, Ohio who wants to open their next location. It may seems impossible to solve these challenges in our industry, but I don’t think so.

Want to try out Pared for your food business? Click here to sign up and get $50 off the first gig for any new location using an exclusive code for the ICC community (ICC2019). Offer ends 12/31/19.
irish cream

Impress in a Pinch: Homemade Irish Cream in Less than 5 Minutes

By Stefanie Baum, ICC Professional Culinary Arts Student

If your family is anything like mine, there’s a lot of pressure this Thanksgiving to arrive at the family gathering with a dish that will impress. Now that I’m in culinary school, my family expects me to bring something that’ll really delight their palates. But what many of them don’t realize is that there just isn’t enough hours in a culinary student’s schedule (especially for one that works multiple jobs in addition to school) to dedicate the time, energy and creativity to prepare a dish that won’t get Chopped. There may be no shortcuts in a professional kitchen, but instead of an elaborate turkey or side, I decided to develop a recipe for a special elixir that’s still sure to please (and makes a great low cost hostess gift!).

My homemade Irish Cream recipe has been in the works for years—about a decade ago, I was bartending at this tiny craft beer bar on the north shore of Long Island and a regular customer of mine from Ireland brought in a bottle of her Homemade Bailey’s as a gift to me around the holidays. It was a kind gesture, but it was abysmal—in fact, it was undrinkable. It was basically just whiskey and cream—and if that doesn’t make your stomach curdle, then looking at the separated mixture would. But, it was the effort and thought that stood out to me most, and it got me thinking about creating my own version that wouldn’t curdle and would at the very least be drinkable and at the very most, something my friends and family would look forward to receiving and drinking each year. 

My first few attempts were admittedly too strong, unbalanced and too thin. But that’s why recipe testing exists. I like to approach it like a science experiment, and my working hypothesis was that I could create a version of Bailey’s that would be well-balanced, thick but not too thick and would have a shelf life of at least 30 days. I set out to prove a lot and in the process developed my own method for recipe testing. 

Step 1: Establish Flavor

I picked up a bottle of store bought Bailey’s and had a taste (ok, many tastes), and noted the flavors present—its creamy, slightly nutty, chocolatey sweet, boozy with a hint of coffee. Now, what ingredients can I use that will achieve those flavors? 

Step 2: Establish Texture

Bailey’s has a viscous texture on the thicker side, but not quite a milkshake. What can I use to thicken cream without whipping it? Sweetened-condensed milk! Now, which whiskey is going to blend the best? 

Step 3: Combine Flavor Elements to Preserve Texture

This is the tedious part of trial and error and recording each measurement for each batch. But the real fun part is taste-testing each batch to lock in the best ratio.

Step 4: Test Shelf Life

This is a little annoying because you’re intentionally ruining a perfectly fine batch, but it’s worth it because you wouldn’t want to give a gift to a loved one that is spoiled or will potentially spoil quickly. For this, I left three bottles in the fridge for varying amounts of time, in different containers. One was a mason jar, one was a recycled wine bottle with a screw cap and one was a recycled wine bottle with a reused cork. The corked bottle spoiled in 2 weeks, the screw cap wine bottle spoiled in 5 weeks and the mason jar kept for a whopping two and a half months—but I recommend setting the expiry date in conjunction with the expiration date of the cream used, although the alcohol does help preserve it longer. Better safe than sorry.

Step 5: Lock in the Recipe

It’s so easy to fall into the cyclical trap of the retesting and re-tasting. Once you have something you’re happy with—write it down, stick to it and enjoy it!

Homemade Irish Cream

Note this recipe is for ages 21+, please drink responsibly!

blended ingredients
finished irish cream


1 cup heavy cream

1 14-ounce can sweetened-condensed milk

1 ⅔ cups Irish Whiskey (I prefer Tullamore Dew)

3 T dark chocolate syrup

1 t vanilla extra

¼ t almond extract

1 t instant coffee granules


  1. Combine all ingredients in blender. 
  2. Blend 1 minute and 30 seconds. 
  3. Enjoy immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 30 days. Shake well before serving.

Generally, I recycle screw cap wine bottles to store the Irish Cream. Tie a bow on it with a tag and personal message and voila, you’ve just made a beautiful and delicious holiday gift. 

I hope this recipe helps you out in a time crunch this holiday season!

About Stefanie Baum

stefanie baumStefanie Baum spent the better part of the past decade as a creative manager working on social media marketing and advertising campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the world like Google, Cheerios, Pepsi and Twizzlers. As exciting as that was, she always wanted to do something that directly made people happy and for her, that’s cooking. She’s currently enrolled in the Professional Culinary Arts Program and works as culinary assistant to Nikki Dinki, author of Meat on the Side and Food Network Star contestant, recipe testing and producing social media content. 

tiptree showstopper

Showstopping Popover Recipe From Heritage Bakers

Last year, ICC Professional Pastry Arts graduate and owner of Heritage Bakers, David Shalam took home the gold for his signature Heritage Bagel at the inaugural Tiptree World Bread Awards USA supported by American Bakers Association. This year, in addition to winning gold again for his Heritage Bagel, he also took home the top prize for his Little Scarlet Cream Filled Popovers.

David is known throughout Glen Cove, New York for the popovers at his bakery. Light and airy, his popovers are best described as a crossover between challah and brioche breads. At the World Bread Awards, the category of Tiptree Showstopper was created to highlight the award show’s partner, Tiptree. For this category, bakers are challenged to submit a bread that incorporates the best of Tiptree’s products. David immediately thought of one of their most popular jams, the Little Scarlet Strawberry Preserve, and a match was born! He knew that the tartness of the strawberry jam, combined with a sweet crème légère, would be the perfect filling for his signature popovers.

You can recreate David’s recipe that won bread gold using these ICC recipes below, combined with Tiptree’s Little Scarlet Strawberry Preserve! It’s a perfect addition to your holiday table, sure to impress your family and friends.

david shalam

Little Scarlet Cream Filled Popovers

Little Scarlet Cream

Crème Pâtissière

Yield: Approximately 750 g


475 mL milk

½ vanilla bean, split and scraped

125 g granulated sugar

50 g whole eggs

40 g egg yolks

50 g pastry cream powder


  1. Combine the milk, scraped vanilla bean, and half of the sugar (125 g) in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, and then remove it from the heat.
  2. Mix the whole eggs and egg yolks with the remaining sugar and pastry cream powder in a bowl. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Whisking constantly, pour one-third of the milk mixture into the egg mixture to temper it.
  4. Next, add the tempered egg mixture to the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture over medium-high heat.
  5. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until it is fully cooked and has thickened to the desired consistency. (Tip: If making a large batch of crème pâtissière, allow the milk in the saucepan to return to a boil before adding the egg mixture).
  6. Remove the crème pâtissière from the heat and transfer it to a plastic wrap-lined sheet pan. Remove the vanilla bean and discard or save for another use. Gently smooth out the mixture, then place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface. This will prevent a skin from forming on top of the pastry cream. Set aside to cool completely. Refrigerate the crème pâtissière once it has cooled to room temperature and use within 1 week.

Crème Légère

Yield: Approximately 450g


300 g crème pâtissière

150 g heavy cream

100 g Little Scarlet Strawberry Preserve


  1. Separate out 300 g of crème pâtissière and place into mixing bowl.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the crème pâtissière until smooth.
  3. Prepare a crème fouettée with the cream; whip to stiff-peak stage. Fold the crème pâtissière into the crème fouettée to make a crème légère.
  4. Fold 100 g of Little Scarlet Strawberry Preserve into the crème légère.


Yield: 6 popovers


1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

½ tsp salt

150 mL milk

85 g all-purpose flour

50 g sugar

25 g cinnamon


  1. Preheat an oven to 425°F. Mix the whole egg, egg yolk, salt, and approximately one-fourth of the milk.
  2. Whisk the flour into the egg mixture, making sure to whisk out all of the lumps before adding the remaining milk.
  3. Whisk in the remaining milk.
  4. Pour the batter into buttered muffin or popover pans, filling the molds only halfway; the popovers will triple in height.
  5. Place the pans in the hot oven and bake the popovers for approximately 25 minutes, or until puffed and well-browned.
  6. Allow popovers to completely cool. Combine sugar and cinnamon and roll popovers into mixture.
  7. Pipe Little Scarlet Cream into popovers and enjoy!

Special Instructions

  • Using only one-fourth of the milk with the egg mixture makes it easier to break up any lumps when the flour is added.
  • Buttering the top of the muffin pan as well as the insides prevents sticking.
  • The popovers will get very dark during baking, but must be baked thoroughly or they will collapse.
  • Unmold the popovers immediately after baking.
  • Popovers must be made as close to service as possible.
thanksgiving breads

3 Easy Breads For Your Thanksgiving Table

ICC’s Associate Director of Pastry, Chef Jürgen David loves Thanksgiving, but he didn’t grow up with the food and family fueled holiday. Hailing from the land of Apfelstrudel and Sachertorte, Thanksgiving was a culture shock to Chef Jürgen when he came to America in 1996 from Austria. Now, 23 years after coming to America and joining ICC, he loves Thanksgiving and regards it as one of his favorite holidays because he gets to spend time with family and friends.

As he was developing these Thanksgiving bread recipes, he thought about ingredients that he incorporates around his holiday table. Years ago, he told one of his family members that he wanted corn on the cob for the table, but was swiftly reminded that corn isn’t in season during November. So, to appease the Thanksgiving masses, he created this recipe for a Jalapeño & Bacon Corn Bread! He also created the Pumpkin Pecan Crumb Cake to combine two of everyone’s favorite holiday pies—Pumpkin and Pecan Pie—and Cranberry Scones made with orange and cranberry to highlight fall fruit flavors.

Check out the three recipes below and remember, these breads can be made ahead to alleviate some stress in prepping for one of the biggest foodie holidays of the year!


Yield: Two (9 x 5 x 2½ in) loaves

225 g granulated sugar

335 g all-purpose flour

85 g cornmeal

20 g baking powder

1 tsp salt

3 eggs

280 g milk

150 g vegetable oil

2 fresh jalapeños, diced

100 g browned bacon, cubed

100 g frozen corn kernels


  1. Butter and flour the pans and set aside.
  2. Mix the granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together. Add the jalapeños, browned bacon and frozen corn kernels to the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the liquid ingredients and stir just to combine; mixing as little as possible to avoid working up the gluten.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
  5. Bake the bread at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Unmold onto a cooling rack.

Special Instructions:

  • To make a savory corn bread, fresh corn kernels, red bell pepper, jalapeno peppers, or sauteed bacon can be added for a savory loaf.
  • The batter can be refrigerated for several days.
  • Baked corn bread can be stored, tightly wrapped, for a week in the refrigerator or frozen for longer storage.
  • The oil gives this bread a long shelf life.


Yield: One (9 in) cake

For the Crumb Topping

50 g butter

130 g pecans, chopped

110 g brown sugar

65 g all-purpose flour

2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Cake

330 g all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

150 g butter, melted

150 g granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

110 g sour cream

110 g pumpkin puree

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger


For the Crumb Topping

  1. Butter and flour a 9-in cake pan.
  2. Prepare the crumb topping by cutting the butter into the other ingredients until large crumbs form. Set aside until needed.

For the Cake

  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger and salt.
  2. Mix together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, sour cream and pumpkin puree.
  3. Combine the two mixtures; do not overmix.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, top with the crumb mixture, and bake the coffee cake in a 325°F oven for 35-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. The cake may be dusted lightly with powdered sugar before serving.

Special Instructions

  • The pecans should be coarsely chopped.
  • The crumbs may be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
  • Do not combine the wet and dry mixtures until ready to bake. Chemical leaveners, such as baking soda, react immediately when exposed to an acid such as sour cream. If the batter is not baked immediately after mixing, the leavener will be spent and the cake will be dense.


Yield: 8-12 scones

For the Scones

325 g bread flour

20 g baking powder

45 g granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

110 g butter, cut in small cubes, chilled

100 g dried cranberries

grated zest of 1 orange

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

100-140 mL heavy cream



  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Cut the cold, cubed butter into the dry ingredients until it is the size of dried lentils. If the butter is cut up too much, the scones will not be as flaky.
  3. Add the dried fruit to the flour mixture.
  4. Put the whole egg and egg yolk in a measuring cup and add enough cream to measure 200 milliliters. Lightly beat the egg and egg yolk with the cream and add it to the dough.
  5. Add the egg/liquid mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix until a dough forms, but do not overwork the dough—it should be soft and just come together.
  6. Pat or roll out the dough until approximately ¾ inch thick.
  7. Cut the scones into the desired shape and place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Brush the scones with additional cream.
  8. Bake the scones at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottoms and around the edges.

Special Instructions

  • The scones may be cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter, or into squares or wedges.
  • The dried cranberries should be soft. If dry, plump them before using by soaking in water. Drain before use.
  • The scraps of dough can be reused once but will lose some of their delicate texture.
  • The scones may be brushed with egg wash or heavy cream and sprinkled with sugar for color and flavor.
  • Baked scones should be served the day they are made.