Curry Guru // Indian Berry Sorbet recipe

By Swarna Koneru
Professional Culinary Arts student

I was born and brought up in the southern part of India. In 2007 I came to the US, like many others, to live the American dream. I got my Masters Degree in Computer Engineering in NY, followed by working as a System Analyst and a Product Owner/Manager in the corporate world.

Growing up as a pampered kid, I was never really into cooking. Occasionally, I tried the recipes from the Sunday magazines, but that was it. I still remember my first cooking fiasco. I was asked to make Indian puffed bread, which was to be deep-fried, and I dipped all 5 of my fingers along with the dough into the piping hot oil.


Cooking was an accidentally discovered passion after I got married. I was running out of options to feed my vegetarian husband and I quickly got bored with what I cooked. That’s when I started exploring other cuisines, cooking techniques, and experimenting with hundreds of new ingredients. I needed a place to document all these recipes and experiments, so I created my blog.


I found cooking to be therapeutic. In the midst of managing house chores, two extremely energetic dogs and a hectic IT job, cooking is what kept me grounded and relieved me of my stress. I found myself immersing in cooking whenever I was sad, stressed out or angry. The gratification I got from a good dish took all the stress away.


I wanted to get even more involved in the culinary world. The way I see it, every recipe speaks a story about a culture, a cultivation style or a lifestyle, about a specific country, a region, or a civilization. In America, we experience a very evolved and diverse culture. Food evolves the same way as we humans evolve and build new civilizations. I want to be at the forefront of that food evolution. Right now, I’m taking a break from work to explore the opportunities for becoming an Entrepreneur in the culinary world.


I bake a lot and I wanted to strengthen my culinary skills in addition to my pastry skills. I just finished Level 2 of the Culinary program at ICC, and I already feel so much more equipped with the basics that help me experiment and evolve with new recipes. The Chefs, the curriculum, the techniques and, most of all, the experience have been very rewarding at ICC.

For my newest recipe, an Indian Berry Sorbet, I combined the concepts of sorbet I learnt at school with Black Jamun, a fruit from India. As a kid, I used to sneak into someone’s backyard to get these fruits and eat them with salt. It grows during the rainy seasons and you get all muddy trying to pick this fruit. Rich in antioxidants, sweet, sour and sharp, it’s used to make syrup for Gola, an Indian version of shaved ice.

Indian Berry Sorbet



  • 2 12 oz packets of frozen or fresh Black Jamun (makes about 10 oz puree, can be found in Indian stores)
  • 1 cup simple syrup
  • pinch black salt
  • pinch black pepper powder
  • juice of 1 small lemon

ice-cream machine


  1. The night before, place the ice-cream machine bowl in the freezer.
  2. Squeeze the jamun with your hands and extract all the seeds. Puree and strain the pulp through a sieve. You should get about 10 oz. puree.
  3. Add the simple syrup, black salt, pepper powder and lemon juice to the puree and mix well. The amount of sugar you need in a recipe can be determined by placing a raw egg in the mixture: if the egg floats as much as shown in the picture (below), it is the right density. If it floats only a little you may need to add more syrup. I was taught this concept by my favorite chef at school!
  4. Chill well, add it to the ice-cream machine and make sorbet.


Additional Tips:

  • Refreeze it for a firmer sorbet and scoop to serve.
  • You can adjust the lemon juice and sugar level to your taste.
  • If you do not have an ice cream maker, you can: a) freeze the liquid, then scrape it into a shaved ice, or b) pulse it in a cold food processor and refreeze it, repeat this process a couple of times so that the mixture obtains a smooth sorbet texture and is not icy.

Nagelkaas Cocktail Cookie

By Maureen Naff,
ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts student,
Third Place Winner of the ICC 2015 Cookie Games

Yield: 48 cookies


  • 200g almond flour
  • 200g well-aged Gouda, finely grated
  • 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 40g confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin, to taste
  • Sanding sugar infused with whole cloves


  1. Paddle butter and sugar till fluffy. Add cheese and spices till well mixed.
  2. Add the almond flour till just mixed, then turn out on surface and work by hand into a flattened round.*
  3. Wrap and chill dough for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Roll dough on lightly floured surface (approx. 1/4″ thick) and cut to desired shapes, small rounds work well.
  5. Prior to baking, sprinkle with clove-infused sanding sugar. As the saltiness of the cheese will vary, bake a test cookie. If you find it needs salt, mix some Kosher salt into the sanding sugar. (A thin craquelin in place of the sanding sugar also works well, adding the perfect sweetness.)
  6. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake. Remove immediately from pan and cool on rack.

*Alternative: Form dough into tight log no larger than 1 1/2″ in diameter and chill. Brush chilled log very lightly with egg wash, roll on flavored sanding sugar, slice and bake.

Try mixing in finely-chopped dry fruit like apricots, figs or cranberries, or dipping an edge of the baked cookie into tempered dark chocolate. Serve as part of a cheese plate or simply nibble with a cold, crisp cider.

ICC's Pastry Chef-Instructor Jurgen David and "The Cookie Games" winner Maureen Naff during their baking demonstration of Nagelkaas Cocktail Cookie at Bloomingdale's.
Above, ICC’s Pastry Chef-Instructor Jurgen David and “The Cookie Games” winner Maureen Naff during their baking demonstration of Nagelkaas Cocktail Cookie at Bloomingdale’s.

Chocolate Cardamom Buttons

By Savita Bhat
First Place Winner of the ICC 2015 Cookie Games

This cookie is a mix of my love for Indian desserts that have a hint of cardamom and my other love for chocolate.

Yield: 50 -2 inch cookies


  • 7 oz./200 g. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 5.3 oz/150 g. butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 5 oz./140 g. molasses
  • 20 g white vinegar
  • 3 c. + 1 tablespoon bread flour
  • ¾ c. cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • Additional raw/ turbinado sugar, for dredging
  • 7 oz/200 g. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 7 oz/200 g. heavy cream

Chocolate Cardamom Cookie Recipe


  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. When fully melted, remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Slowly, pour in the molasses, vinegar and melted chocolate.
  5. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and spices in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter minute and mix until combined.
  6. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill until firm.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Scoop the chilled dough into roughly 50-2 teaspoon portions. Roll dough into rounds.
  9. Dredge each piece of dough in raw/turbinado sugar and place onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet about 2-inches apart. Press down on each cookie to slightly flatten them (using the bottom of a glass) and create a small, round indent in the center of each cookie with a finger.
  10. Bake cookies in the preheated oven until sugar crust cracks on surface and cookies are firm in the middle, about 8-10 minutes.
  11. Remove cookies from oven and let cool on the sheet pan.
  12. For the ganache: in a small saucepan, bring the cream to a heavy boil. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour the cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes and then gently whisk until combined. Let sit at room temperature until needed.
  13. Once the cookies are cooled, place room temperature ganache in a piping bag fitted with a #2 plain tip and pipe small button of ganache in the center of each cookie.

Bloomingdales cooking demo by International Culinary Center

Michelin 2016 announced star recipients

Michelin, the Paris-based publisher of gastronomic guides, has released its annual list of starred ratings for New York City, San Francisco and Chicago restaurants. The guide’s reviewers (commonly called “inspectors”) anonymously award restaurants with either one star, two stars, or three stars. The stars are awarded as follows:

  • One star: A good place to stop on your journey, indicating a very good restaurant in its category, offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard.
  • Two stars: A restaurant worth a detour, indicating excellent cuisine and skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality
  • Three stars: A restaurant worth a special journey, indicating exceptional cuisine where diners eat extremely well, often superbly. Distinctive dishes are precisely executed, using superlative ingredients.

Congratulations to all the Michelin 2016 winners! We’re excited to congratulate the following ICC’s alumni and faculty who made us incredibly proud this year:

Three Stars (“Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”)

Manresa // David Kinch

320 Village Ln.
Los Gatos, CA

Saison // Josh Skenes

178 Townsend St.
San Francisco, CA

Two Stars (“Excellent cuisine, worth a detour”)

Momofuku Ko // David Chang

8 Extra Pl.
New York, NY

One Star (“A very good restaurant in its category”)

Blue Hill // Dan Barber

75 Washington Pl.
New York, NY

Sepia // Andrew Zimmerman

123 N. Jefferson St.
Chicago, IL

Public // Dan Rafalin

210 Elizabeth St.
New York, NY

Meadowsweet // Polo Dobkin

149 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY

Play with your food: Apple Slab Pie

By Nick Wuest,
ICC Pastry Arts student

(read more about Nick)
Follow Nick on Instagram

“Why pastry?”

I’ve been asked that question quite a bit these past few weeks. It’s a question I’ve thought about a lot before this recent influx of inquiries. I’ve touched on some reasons here but it’s still hard to quantify clearly. Imagine trying to explain why your favorite color is what it is. I’m sure many have a reason but for most people it just is.

So why pastry?

Lately we’ve been going over plating desserts and something that comes up often in class is the idea of finding your “voice.” I think that’s a good place to start. If you’ve been following along I think my “voice” is clear but still hard to explain, which is just how I like it. A while back I came across a French literary concept known as “jouissance.” Without turning this into a blog on literary theory let me briefly explain. Jouissance is the sense of enjoyment and pleasure that occurs when an experience falls outside of the cultural norm. Basically it’s the “oh wow” moment you feel when you see a pirate ship made entirely of chocolate. It’s the sentiment that keeps the heart of “Play With Your Food” beating.

So. Why pastry? (We’re getting there!)

As I learned how to cook I learned two things. The first is that pastry has a ton of rules. The scientific foundation required is immense. The second is that all of those rules can be bent or broken and in doing so the “oh wow” moment is achieved. With some creative thinking anything is possible! Seriously, right now I’m working on a fully functional farm wagon showpiece that moves.

It’s that freedom of creation that drove me to pastry even before I fully understood what was happening. I’ve traded the Legos of my childhood (and early teen years that I’m totally not embarrassed about at all) for pots of 320F sugar. Play-Doh is now sugar paste and modeling chocolate. Finger paint is still paint, only now I won’t get yelled at for eating it.

I know I’m new to the industry but I really believe that you need to still be a kid somewhere inside to push it in pastry arts. That youthful exuberance in the face of discovery and breaking from tradition is crucial.

So here’s a traditional recipe for Apple Slab Pie!

Here’s the deal. It’s apple season. I love apple pie. It’s one of the only traditions I refuse to mess with much since you can’t really fix something that is already perfect. But you can make it brownie shaped for maximum face cramming.

Special Equipment:

Stand mixer with paddle

Pistachio Pate Brisee Dough

  • 360g all-purpose flour
  • 125g cake flour
  • 50g pistachio flour (grind shelled roasted pistachios until very fine)
  • 21g sugar
  • 8g salt
  • 339g butter, cold ~1/2” pieces
  • ice water

Combine all of the dry ingredients and the butter in the stand mixer and paddle everything to cut the butter until the mixture is sandy.


Slowly add the water until a loose dough just forms. Mix for a few seconds to fully hydrate, then add more water if it’s still too dry. It should be loose, moist, and crumbly. Once there, turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and bring it together by hand.


Divide the dough in half and shape two rectangles. Wrap both in plastic and chill 20 minutes (during filling prep), or up to 3 days.

Apple Filling

  • 6-8 apples, firm flesh (Granny, Golden Delicious, Snapdragon, etc), 1” pcs x 3/8” thick
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 60g sugar
  • 25g brown sugar
  • 1T cornstarch
  • 3½t cinnamon
  • ¼t ground ginger
  • pinch of allspice
  • pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and macerate while you shape the dough.

Assemble and Bake

  • 50g maple sugar
  • apple cider
  • apple juice
  • 65g powdered sugar
  • 240g heavy cream
  • 50g powdered sugar
  • 30-50g maple syrup
  • bourbon

Lightly grease a half sheet pan and line it with parchment. Heat oven to 450F.

Roll one piece of dough 19×14, place it in the pan and dock it.


Strain the filling (save the juices!) and evenly spread it over the dough in the pan.

Roll the second piece of dough 19×14, place it on top and tuck the seam under into the pan. Brush the top with heavy cream and sprinkle with the maple sugar. Cut vent holes in the top.


Place the pie in the oven and immediately lower the heat to 375F. Bake 60-75 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the crust is a shade past light golden brown.

As the pie nears its proper doneness prepare the glaze and the whipped cream.

For the glaze, combine the juice from the filling with a splash of apple cider and apple juice. Reduce it by about half. Whisk 65g powdered sugar with 1Tbsp of the reduction. Adjust the consistency with more sugar and/or reduction until it is just thin enough to apply with a brush.

For the whipped cream, whisk the cream and powdered sugar to soft peaks. Add about 30g of maple syrup and a splash of bourbon. Taste and add more syrup if needed. Whisk to stiff peaks. Keep chilled.

Once done, glaze the pie and cool it in the pan on a rack.


Slice the pie any way you like and serve with the whipped cream.


As of this writing I have 13 days of school left. Which means I have one entry left in me. For one last time, stick around!

Stay hungry,


Library Notes // Cook Your Own Michelin-Starred Dinner

By Sara Medlicott,
ICC Librarian

If you happen to pay attention to the food world then you probably heard that Michelin has unveiled its 2016 star ratings for New York restaurants. This year, there were no new restaurants added in the 3 star category, but all six which had previously received the rating retained it.

If you can’t afford a 3-star dinner, or even if you can, why not try your hand at the recipes in your own kitchen? At the ICC library we have multiple books available from Michelin starred chefs. Even if you aren’t interested in trying the recipes, many offer background on the chef, the history of the restaurants as well as plating ideas. Below are a few three-star picks to try at home.


Are you a seafood fan? Then start with On the Line by Eric Ripert. This book contains much more than just recipes. The book is divided into four sections: in the kitchen, the dishes, the dining experience, and the business. Thinly sliced conch marinated Peruvian style with dried sweet corn and braised halibut with asparagus and wild mushrooms are two of the many delectable recipes featured here.

Can’t get enough of Ripert? We also have his beautiful My 10 Best published by Alain Ducasse. This series features the career defining recipes of master chefs in a beautiful layout with simple step by step instructions.


If Jean-Georges is more your style, try the book Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman. This book features home kitchen adaptations of recipes from all three of the chef acclaimed restaurants; Jean Georges, Vong and JoJo. Try your hand at salmon and potato crisps with horseradish cream or green tomato marmalade.


For excellent plating and a seasonal approach pick up Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara. Warning: this book is recommended for people who know their way around the kitchen and are willing to invest some time in executing a recipe. If you’re reading this blog, that’s probably you!

Again, this book gives much more than recipes; it has a comprehensive overview of all aspects of the restaurant. If you are feeling ambitious, pick up this book and try brioche-crusted endive with gruyere, ham and pears or white truffle tortellini with fontina cheese and chestnuts.

We have many other Michelin star chef books available in the library, and of course the guides themselves. So stop by and take a look. Be sure to let us know how it goes when you create your at home three-star experience.

– Sara
Follow ICC Library on Twitter!

Braised Herb Chicken

By Julia Johnson,
Professional Culinary Arts student

Around this time of year, when the air begins to turn crisp, I always find myself craving richer, heartier flavors to replace the brighter, fresher notes of summer. So, when we were given the task of preparing a chicken “our way” in class last week, braising was the first thing that came to mind. The process is simple, yet multi-layered, which yields a complexity and depth that is hard to achieve with other cooking methods.

It wasn’t going to be the most innovative or groundbreaking dish of the class – of that I was sure – but to me there’s something to be said for a classically prepared, braised chicken. The nostalgia it invokes, the familiar and comforting flavors – it can be a really powerful experience. After all, it must be considered a classic for a reason.

This dish is flavored by little more than the chicken’s own succulent juices, yet the flavors are layered and rich. The skin is browned and crisp from a quick sear, and the meat is juicy and tender from cooking in the braising liquid. An herbaceous tarragon aioli served alongside adds a nice contrasting brightness. It’s a delicious meal to curl up with on a chilly fall day. I hope you enjoy!

Braised Herb Chicken with Potatoes, Haricot Vert + Tarragon Aioli


Yield: serves 4

For the chicken, potatoes, and sauce:

  • 1 3 – 4 pound chicken, quartered
  • coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into medium-sized mirepoix
  • 1 pound fingerling or other waxy potatoes, cut into medium-sized mirepoix
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock

For the haricot vert:

  • 10 ounces haricot vert, ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the tarragon aioli:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup mixed oil (half extra virgin olive oil, half vegetable oil)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Arrange the pieces of chicken on a sheet pan and season generously all over with salt. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes (preferably, a few hours or up to overnight). Remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking. Pat dry with paper towels.

In a small bowl, combine the softened butter, tarragon, parsley, and mustard with a fork until well incorporated. Rub the butter mixture all over the chicken pieces, including under the skin on the breasts. Season the pieces with freshly cracked black pepper.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Add the vegetable oil to a large cast iron or oven-safe skillet and preheat over high heat until hot. Turn the heat down slightly to medium-high. Add the two thigh pieces skin side down. Sear, without moving, until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and sear on other side for about 3 minutes longer. Remove from skillet and set aside. Repeat process with two breast pieces.

Once breasts have finished searing, return the thighs to the skillet (all pieces should be skin side up). Arrange onions and potatoes around the chicken (if possible, try to get everything in 1 layer). Add the crushed garlic and the chicken stock.

Transfer skillet to the preheated oven and braise the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (depending on the size of your chicken, this will take anywhere from 25 – 40 minutes).

While the chicken is braising, prepare the aioli: peel and finely mince the garlic clove. Add a pinch of salt and crush into a paste with your knife. Add to a medium-size bowl and add mustard, lemon juice, and egg yolk. Whisk to combine. While continuously whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil. Finish by mixing in chopped tarragon, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Once chicken is done, remove the skillet from the oven. Remove the chicken from the skillet, cover with foil, and set aside to rest. Place the skillet over high heat and bring remaining stock to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove the potatoes from the stock and set aside with the chicken. Continue to simmer the stock until reduced and thick, about 15 additional minutes. Remove from heat and strain, if desired (leave sauce unstrained for a more rustic presentation).

Lastly, prepare the haricot vert: bring a stock pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Add haricot vert and cook until barely tender, about 1-2 minutes. Shock in ice water and drain on paper towels. Melt butter in a sauté pan and add the minced shallot. Sweat the shallot over medium heat until fragrant and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the blanched haricot vert. Saute, tossing to coat in butter, until finished cooking, about 3-4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


To plate: cut each quarter piece of chicken in two. Remove thigh bones. Plate 1 piece of dark meat and 1 piece of white meat per plate (making sure to include 1 bone per plate). Add potatoes and haricot vert. Drizzle sauce over the chicken and potatoes and serve tarragon aioli on the side.

– Julia
Blog // Instagram

ICC Alum Hosts Wine Business + Tasting Afternoon

By Rachel Lintott
ICC’s Associate Wine Director
Certified Sommelier

Each with a flute of pink bubbles in hand, ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training students all sat down at the long, wooden table in CooperVino’s private dining room/education salon. “I’m going to ask you all to guess what this is. You’ll never guess what it is,” exclaimed owner Michele Snock as she graciously greeted the class. A 2009 Intensive Sommelier Training graduate herself, Snock is now the owner of the recently opened wine bar and retail space in the new downtown Cupertino.

You see, it’s nearly impossible for a group of wine geeks NOT to challenge one another when it comes to blind tasting. It’s just too much fun, plus you might find yourself (as we did) sipping on something quite delicious.


Snock, a member of ICC’s Professional Advisory Committee (a group of professionals that help guide the school on industry trends, program improvements, etc.) invited the class to come in for a lesson on opening a business. Specifically, the path she took from corporate Silicon Valley, to becoming a Certified Sommelier, to opening and running a small wine business and what she’s learned along the way.

A few (not all) tips from Michele on opening a successful wine bar:

  • Love customer service and be gracious.
  • You don’t have to know everything. When hiring your staff, look for people with qualities and knowledge that you don’t have. Let them help you and learn from them.
  • You need extensive wine knowledge (ahem, I know where you can get that!).
  • Differentiate yourself.

After her presentation and ample discussion on the business of wine, a flight of Italian whites was presented. The students are at the beginning of the program — France — so it was a great glimpse at what’s to come. A floral 2014 Ippolito 1845 Ciro Bianco (100% Greco Bianco from Calabria), a refreshing 2014 Poggio del Gorleri Vermentino (from Liguria), and an exotic orange wine: 2009 Primosic Ribolla di Oslavia (100% Ribolla Gialla from Collio).


And, the sparkling rose? Well the predominant minerality led the students to the Old World, but once France was crossed off the list there were some far-fetched guesses. Finally, she revealed to us that the wine was from Sicily — Nerello-Mascalese made in the metodo classico: 2011 Murgo Brut Rosé.


Snock’s dedication and perseverance are apparent at CooperVino. Carefully selected wines, ambience, customer service and education intertwine to create an enjoyable and fun experience. Thank you Michele, for taking the time to support our students by sharing your knowledge, experience, hospitality and wine!

– Rachel

Be Fast. Be Fine.

By Yanling He
Professional Pastry Arts student
in Campbell, CA

“We must cultivate our garden.” — Voltaire

Five years ago I was on a road to become an engineer.

I graduated from university with Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering degrees and easily landed a job in a software company due to the high demand in tech industry. But then I started wondering what was waiting for me ahead: working 9 to 5 to build someone else’s dream while being just a bolt, a high salaried bolt…?

“Do I really want this?” I asked myself. “What will I do with this money? Get more food? Clothes? Entertainment?” I found myself thinking about Edward Norton and his famous saying, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”

I decided to get off this road and to take my time to understand myself. I started traveling to the national parks, alone with my camera. Driving countless hours, walking countless miles and shooting countless photos.


Every time I looked through the view finder and played with light, colors and composition, I remembered how I used to draw, paint and craft my imaginary world back when I was a little girl. I love painting, photography, computer graphics and all sorts of art, but I never pursued any of it seriously. I love expressing myself way more than advertising or selling myself, but I don’t know how I to live my life by just doing art.


One day I arrived in a small town far north in Washington. It was so unlike any big city with their famous shops and chain restaurants. Every shop in this town was unique. There was the best organized bookstore I’ve ever seen and the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted. I was surprised by the town’s slow and fine lifestyle. It made me realize that if we just hurry in life and chase the wrong things, we’ll neither be satisfied nor enjoy our lives. If people never think about what they eat, they’ll also never think about what they fill their minds with, – this is why doing art is hard.


I decided to start learning art, BUT, culinary art! The most basic and best applied art. I enrolled into the International Culinary Center’s Professional Pastry Arts program. I find it very relaxing and simple, and it feels like meditation. I might not necessarily be interested in the techniques as much as figuring myself out while doing the things I love.


I have no idea where this road is taking me, how long or how hard it’s going to be, but I am enjoying every moment of it. I know there must be people with similar feelings. Some of us take steps, while others hold back. I decided to write for ICC’s blog and share my own stories as well as those of my friends and people with passion and love for food, art and life. Let’s put more nutrients in our bodies and minds!

Website // Instagram // Medium


Seared Scallops with Grapefruit Beurre Blanc

By Deniece Vella
2013 Professional Culinary Arts Graduate

With this elegant sauce, scallops that could make a very mediocre dish are instantly transformed into a restaurant-style dish.

Seared Scallops with Grapefruit Beurre Blanc

Serves 4

For the Grapefruit Beurre Banc

    1 shallot, diced
    ½ cup white wine
    ¼ cup white wine vinegar
    ¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice
    ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
    1 cup very cold unsalted butter, chopped into 1 inch cubes
    1 tablespoon cream
    Kosher salt

For the Scallops:

    16 bay scallops
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 sprig thyme
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. For the sauce, combine the shallot, white wine, white wine vinegar, grapefruit juice and lemon juice in a pot. Over high heat, reduce this mixture until about 2 tablespoons of syrupy liquid remain. Now over low heat, vigorously whisk in 1 cube of cold butter at a time. It will take about 5-8 minutes to incorporate all the butter. Finish by whisking in the cream and season with kosher salt. Keep warm before serving.

2. To cook the scallops, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Season the scallops with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the scallops to the hot skillet and allow them to brown on one side, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes. Flip the scallops and add the butter and thyme. Cook for another 2 minutes. Discard the thyme.

3. Serve seared scallops alongside beurre blanc sauce.