commencement 2019

ICC Celebrates 2019 Commencement Ceremony at Carnegie Hall

carnegie hallIn 1891, Carnegie Hall was founded on the premise “…that this hall will intertwine itself with the history of our country.” (Andrew Carnegie, 1890) 128 years later, aspiring chefs and sommeliers join the list of musical legends like Édith Piaf, Frank Zappa and Benny Goodman who took center stage in the world-renowned theater. For the seventh year running, graduates of ICC’s career programs from June 2018 to May 2019 took to the Carnegie Hall stage to celebrate their hard work and accomplishments at ICC’s Annual Commencement Ceremony held on Sunday, June 2. This also marked the school’s 35th Anniversary since its founding as The French Culinary Institute in 1984.

To say the energy in the grand hall was palpable is an understatement. As graduates marched to the cherished melody of Pomp and Circumstance, families and friends, who travelled far and wide to celebrate this year’s graduates, filled the space with explosions of applause. They were joined by members of the ICC Community—Faculty & Staff, Deans, Chef Instructors and Outstanding Alumni Award winners—all of whom shared in cheers of excitement! ICC President Erik Murnighan—who graduated from the culinary program almost two decades ago—began the ceremony by sharing what he believes to be the true measure of success in our industry. Mr. Murnighan shared that, “doing what you love and achieving your goals are great measures of success, celebrity or not. In fact, the highest regarded celebrities in our industry are those who built a successful career first and garnered celebrity based on their accomplishments.”

He went on to note that success is, “forging a new path, creating something unique and interesting, and making people happy.” While many ICC alumni have gone on to achieve notoriety as celebrity chefs, there are others who have created something important to their communities—whether it’s a restaurant, artisanal ice cream shop or popular wine store—that continue to impact the culinary landscape regardless of whether they are a “household name”. We’re proud to see these alumni achieve success in so many different areas to pave the way for the next generation.  

This sentiment certainly rings true for our 2019 Outstanding Alumni Award winners, each of whom demonstrate excellence in their field of study and whose achievements contribute to shaping our culinary and hospitality communities. Leland Clark, Vice President of Student Affairs, presented this years awards to five very deserving recipients—Scott Tacinelli of Don Angie for Excellence in Culinary Arts, Zoë Kanan of Simon and the Whale and The Studio for Excellence in Pastry Arts, Vanessa Da Silva of Ninety Acres for Outstanding Sommelier, Matt Monahan of Other Half Brewing for Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Ben Mims of The Los Angeles Times for Excellence in Media.

zoe kananEach recipient gave a short acceptance speech where they shared advice for members of the graduating class hoping to follow in their footsteps, like setting personal goals and continuing to be curious. Kanan, who heads up all things sweet and baked at the Freehand Hotel’s establishments, remarked how full circle it was to receive the award that both of her mentor’s— fellow graduates Christina Tosi (Pastry ‘04) and Melissa Weller (Pastry ‘04)—had received years prior.   From many years in the industry, Kanan shared the importance of “treating every person that you work beside with compassion and respect, from dishwashers to owners. Kitchen work is teamwork, and support from your team is what will give you an edge.”

aaron sanchezFollowing the  presentation of diplomas for Professional Culinary Arts, Pastry Arts, Art of International Bread Baking, Cake Techniques & Design and Intensive Sommelier Training graduates, Chef Aarón Sánchez, Commencement Keynote Speaker, addressed the newly minted alumni with words of wisdom for entering the industry . Chef Aarón, who needed no introduction, is a James Beard Award winning Chef/Owner of Johnny Sanchez in New Orleans, and co-star of FOX’s MasterChef and MasterChef Junior. Beyond the kitchen, his philanthropic work has helped to encourage diversity in the kitchen, specifically through the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund that provides full culinary scholarships and mentorships to ICC.

student with instructorsBefore beginning his speech, Chef Aarón stopped to note the diversity of students walking across the stage, including the many women graduating, and shared the joy he felt in seeing this as the son of a female chef. He commended the graduates for making the bold and courageous choice to enter into the culinary industry, stating that “sadly, only 25% of people out there do what they really love to do.”

Chef Aarón expressed the importance of mentoring and remarked, “I encourage you to make a list of all the people that you admire, whether it’s me, any of the chefs on this stage, your instructors. Write a list and  engage those chefs.” Make yourself available and offer your services to them. “If they are really good mentors, they will make that call on your behalf,” Chef shared.

Throughout, Chef Aarón shared advice for realizing your potential, not letting fear hold you back, savoring your culinary memories, trusting the process, and becoming a well-rounded chef—encouraging graduates to travel, read the newspaper and find inspiration in other art forms. To end, he reflected on his initial dreams as a chef to own his own restaurant and be the captain of his own ship. But, he attributes his success to continuing to challenge himself and find new sources of inspiration, which has led him to his various career paths today.  He left graduates with these closing words: “The future is extremely bright and extremely delicious!”

chef veronica with student

Self-Care: The One Tool That Every Busy Chef Needs

By Tracy Leonard-Turi, Professional Culinary Arts ’16

The animated displays of chaos simmering away in celebrity kitchens seem to exist almost exclusively for the entertainment of today’s audiences.

Today’s fans, encompassing a broad spectrum of people, and palates, of varying sophistication have been educated by Netflix, PBS, YouTube, and Food Network shows that trot out continuous lineups of hip chefs (some of whom aren’t even real chefs) bedecked in impressive, full-sleeve tattoos. They move through their stations like a choreographed dance, executing plate after plate with precision. It all looks like a great frolic on a Saturday night.

Yes, we admire chefs because of their artisanship and the intimate bond they create with others through their food. They are also brilliant multitaskers, who simultaneously maintain complete focus on the immediate task at hand and elegantly MacGyver solutions to numerous problems over the course of any given evening. They live every day in the trenches, burning the candle at both ends as a badge of honor, while devoting themselves purely to the pleasure of others. And they execute their roles with pitch perfect Instagram-readiness, under the scrutiny of numerous stakeholders: customers, critics, and social media influencers, who often know little about the food on their plates, but nevertheless wield tremendous power over the kitchen staff. And at the beginning of every new day, they have to prove themselves all over again.

What chefs do every day is truly heroic, but the operational tempo that is required of them is simply not sustainable by mere mortals.

Craftsmanship aside, chefs teach us how to struggle with love, loss, passion, and devotion and still come out the other end in one piece, sometimes against all odds. But even if you thrive (as many chefs do) on choreographed pandemonium, its pressures can become physically and mentally tiring over time.

And nobody knows better than ICC Chef Instructors April Stamm, who is also a single mom, and Veronica Lindemann, who learned in the trenches at some of the top restaurants in the country and as the first female to work in Chef (and ICC Dean Emeritus) Alain Sailhac’s New York City landmark kitchen, Le Cirque. According to Chef April, every year in the hospitality business is a lean year. “Hospitality work means long, hard, hot hours, on little sleep and, in the beginning, entry-level salaries.” They know from experience how to thrive in this industry, both professionally and personally.

Self-care means maximizing efficiencies at work and taking care of yourself at home.

First, bottom line, treat your daily life as an exercise in operations management:

  • Prepare and plan. Chef Veronica recommends that chefs be clean and organized, to make lists, and to analyze the pros and cons of every experience. She encourages them to know their industry and to get to know food; to learn and discover their proclivities and interests; and to ultimately find the best personal fit, based on their energy level.
  • Tune In. Chef Veronica encourages everyone to understand their environment, “Be aware. Be alert. Be awake. Pay attention to what’s around you and focused on what you are doing.”
  • Cultivate a work ethic. Both chefs agree that it is important to leave problems at home, roll up your sleeves and become totally absorbed with the task at hand. Chef Veronica admonishes everyone to “Work clean, keep your ears and eyes open. Listen to direction and follow it to the best of your ability. Show up early, leave after everything is done. Never say, ‘that’s not my responsibility.’”
  • Develop mental resilience. Get out of your own way and don’t take things personally. Chef Veronica recognizes that one of the most difficult issues she had to overcome was her own struggles. “If I stopped judgment of myself and stayed open to learning, it went well.” In hindsight, she observed that, “Having a mentor I trusted would have helped.”
  • Hone your social skills. Maintain a sense of humor, be a good teammate and communicate clearly. It is vital to remain open to new ways of thinking and doing. Chef Veronica also adds, “Be pleasant. Humble. Leave your ego and problems at the door.” Don’t take comments of others personally. Chef April agrees, adding that “Being open to constructive criticism and being able to openly give constructive criticism is so important.”

Second, promote habits that bolster physical, mental and spiritual resilience.

  • Feed your mind. Both chefs agree that it is vital to trust in your own skills while also learning new ones. Chef April’s advice is to keep studying and hone the techniques you already have.
  • Feed your body. Once upon a time, Chef Veronica, who started supporting herself at the age of 18, subsisted on Oodles of Noodles, Family Meal, or nothing at all. “I regret my late nights out after work and often going into the following morning. It made work that much more difficult.” These days, for peak brain and body performance, she starts her day with a rocket-fueled smoothie, the occasional hard-boiled egg and a boost of caffeine.
  • Feed your spirit. Chef Veronica adds that it’s important to stay positive and believe in your ideas. She leans heavily on values that nurture her, like loyalty and honesty, doing good, living a life of integrity, and maintaining a strong moral compass. She also relies on meditation to ground and calm her.

Chef Veronica was compelled to become a chef because of the joy she felt when making food for others. Like Chef April says, “It MUST be a labor of love and if it is, it is completely worth it.” But, Chef April notes that openness is one of the most important values to foster in a kitchen. “I think, in kitchens (and in life, honestly) it is vital to be open to new ways of thinking, new ways of doing.” And being open creates positivity. Chef Veronica has cultivated numerous talents over the years, like painting, yoga, meditation, and the Gyrotonic body training method. She emphasizes that because she remains open to new things, they chose her, not the other way around. “I feel like a channel for everything I do. It’s the gift of life.”

Tracy Leonard-Turi has a Master’s in Education and a Grand Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts from the International Culinary Center in Manhattan. She is also a Creative Director at WEforum, an organization led by women whose mission is to strengthen the health and wellness of communities in New Jersey.


What The Experts Say About Today’s Trends in Wine

While rich with history and often rooted in ancient tradition, the wine industry is anything but static. This multi-billion dollar business continues to change, challenging established, and aspiring, wine professionals to stay on the cutting edge of today’s trends and rising regions.

That’s why, at the beginning of May, we sat down with Master Sommelier, Alexander LaPratt—Beverage Director & Co-Owner of Atrium DUMBO and Beasts & Bottles, as well as instructor in ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program—and Advanced Sommelier, Theo Lieberman—Head Sommelier at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels—to explore the ever evolving trends creating a buzz in the wine industry for our latest Off the Vine panel!

Read below to see what trends our experts have been following this year and how you can utilize the their popularity to your advantage on the floor, in sales, and more!

Orange Wine Arrived and Never Left

orange wine“Skin-fermented,” “unconventional,” “macerated,” or even “off-white”—whatever you call them, orange wines are here to stay. Orange wines have been around for over 5,000 years in the nation of Georgia and picked up popularity in the US roughly a decade ago. Today, they’ve remained “trendy” due to their obscurity and unpredictability.

While the topic of orange wine vehemently divides the world of wine into those that “love” or “hate” them, our experts agree—it’s here to stay. But buyers beware—one orange wine can be very different from another because of the complex way that terroir and aging influence each bottle.

Unexpected Wine in NYC's Backyard

In 2018, wine production reached record highs of almost 300 million hectolitres—the equivalent of 7.7 billion gallons. While countries like Italy, France and Spain were the dominant producers, little known wine producing regions across the globe were working diligently to prove their quality.

In NYC’s own backyard, the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York is putting the state on the map as one of America’s best for wine. Even though the area experiences bitter winters, varietals like Riesling and Pinot Noir can still flourish, which happen to be the regions best wines!


sparklingUnless you were producing Champagne, bubbles in wine were not always wanted. It often happened by accident in the 17th century when regulating temperatures was difficult and accidental bubbles would appear from re-fermentation.

Now, people can’t get enough of sparkling wine. Producers across the world are rushing to create their own signature style, with emerging regions like England standing out from the crowd. With climate change impacting France’s iconic Champagne region, people are looking to England as warming temperatures positively impact England’s ability to grow grapes—which was almost unthinkable 20 years ago. According to estimates, the English wine region has grown to more than 500 vineyards today, with growth estimated to make the region larger than Champagne.

OFF THE VINE, brought to you by the Intensive Sommelier Training program at ICC, is a series of tastings, discussion panels and networking events designed to support wine professionals in the beverage industry. Each event is designed to provide education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.


“Climate Change Gives English Winemakers ‘Harvest of the Century’.”, NBCUniversal News Group,

“English Sparkling.” Vivino,

Karlsson, Per and Britt. “Record Global Wine Harvest In 2018, Stable Consumption.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 14 Apr. 2019,

McCoy, Elin. “Orange Wine Has Finally Arrived. Here Are Eight Bottles to Buy.”, Bloomberg, 2016,

McKirdy, Tim. “8 Questions About Orange Wine You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask.” VinePair, 30 Aug. 2018,

Ross, Marissa A. “‘Orange Wine’ Needs to Go Away-Hear Me Out.” Bon Appétit, Bon Appétit, 20 Mar. 2018,

Wallace, Siobhan. “How Sparkling Wine Is Made.” Wine Enthusiast Magazine, 14 May 2019,

“Why New York Is Becoming One of America’s Best States for Wine Lovers.” Travel + Leisure,

chef pablo

Pop Up Dinner with Chef Pablo Ranea

Every year, after celebrating the end of the harvest season in their native Mendoza, Chef & Sommelier Pablo Ranea and Architect Alejandro Cohen pack their bags full of spices, unique ingredients and the spirit of adventure in search of inspiring experiences and challenges.

Together, they bring their unique take on food pairings and gastronomy to cities around the world. Whether the dinner event is held in a private garden or a culinary school, their carefully designed menus showcase Latin America’s best cooking techniques and recipes paired with exquisite wines.

This one-of-a kind experience is the result of Pablo’s well-tested recipes gathered through his extensive travels in cities and countries including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Finland, France, Denmark, Dominican Republic and Peru.

Friends gather around a table with a common desire to enjoy a memorable experience of aromas, tastes and textures of Argentinian and Latin American cooking, wines and history. Pablo and Alejandro arrive with a traveling kitchen of gastronomic marvels and the unique Argentinian wines not found in America.  Prepare for an adventure of the senses.


Pop Up Dinner with Pablo Ranea
Friday, June 28th | 7:30pm
International Culinary Center
28 Crosby Street
On Friday, June 28th, Chef Pablo & Alejandro return to New York City to present a six course dinner paired with 10 premium Argentinian wines at the International Culinary Center in SoHo. This will be the first time one of their pop up dinners will be open to the public.

PLATED DISHFor this dinner, Chef Pablo will prepare some of his iconic dishes such as Octopus chicharron with green chimichurri, as well as butternut squash, truffle and shrimp raviolis. He will also bring exotic flavors such as Lucuma artisan ice cream with Argentinian dulce de leche to the table.

During the dinner, Pablo—who is also a Sommelier—will introduce specially paired wines like Susana Balbo Brioso white blend (the number one white blend of Argentina); Malbecs from the best districts of Mendoza like Gauchezco Oro Appellation Gualtallary; Tinto Negro Limestone Block and Andillian by Lacoste de Los Andes.

In addition, LOS BUENDIA—a marvelous Bolero band from Mendoza—will fly to NYC to perform during the event.

They invite you to book an unforgettable experience. Attendance is by reservation and pre-payment only. Tickets are $195 and can be purchased here. For reservation questions, please email for more details.

Please note, this is a dinner format (not a class) and seating will be communal like a big Italian family.

Guests with allergies or dietary restrictions will need to provide notice at least 10 days in advance.

a student in the class

Unlocking the World of Olive Oil Sommeliers

In 2016, ICC and the Olive Oil Times Education Lab partnered to create the world’s most comprehensive curriculum in olive oil quality assessment. For the seventh time since its inception, we welcomed culinary professionals from around the world for another sold out round of the two-level Olive Oil Sommelier Certification courses. Over the course of six days, professionals learned to identify the positive attributes & defects in olive oil and tasted more than 100 samples from various regions around the world.

The two-level certification focuses on olive oil quality assessment, cultivation and history, harvesting and production, health benefits, chemistry, regions and cultivars, standards and grades, culinary applications and consumer education. Upon completion, culinary professionals are prepared with a vast knowledge of olive oil that is unparalleled.

But, what happens after completing this certification course? Where do these professionals use their new knowledge? After passing these examinations, they’re inducted into an exclusive group of olive oil sommeliers—then, the real journey starts. From the Mediterranean climate of Tunisia, to the rainforests of Brazil, our alumni journey from more than 25 countries to study olive oil at ICC.

Read on to learn more about some of the ways our alumni use their olive oil sommelier certification in their various culinary fields!

Pérola Polillo: Brazil

perola polilloPérola Polillo is a Brazilian chef who has worked in kitchens around the world. After being introduced to the realm of olive oil, she decided to take the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification course to learn how to harness the olive oil varietals in her cooking. After the course, she immediately put her new knowledge to use and started creating private dinners to showcase olive oil. When her first dinner sold out in the first day of announcing it, she knew she had to do more.

In addition to cooking for the judges of the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition and teaching food pairing in the program, she has also expanded her business Casa De Pérola to encompass catering, events and consulting. Using her knowledge, she creates dishes that showcase olive oil front and center.

Leonard Young: USA

leonard young
From the Olive Oil Times

Before Leonard Young completed the course, he had the idea to host olive oil food pairings at Waterstreet Café in Olympia, Washington. While people were willing to spend money on a great bottle of wine or a delicious plate of food, they were not as willing to do the same for olive oil. After ordering olive oil, he quickly realized that he needed more knowledge to pursue this new endeavor.

Following completion of the course, he was ready to increase awareness of the quality of olive oil. The series of food, wine and olive oil tastings in partnership with a local wine retailer allow diners to experience specially-selected pairings to enhance their knowledge of olive oil.

Ethan Türkoğlu: Spain

ed'o founderEthan Türkoğlu, founded Ed’oa Spanish company dedicated to providing luxury in the olive oil industry. Last year, his company launched a food pairing concept with two unique Extra Virgin Olive Oils—Ed’o PURE and Ed’O ORGANIC. These two olive oils offer different elements to any dish you’re trying to create.

Last year, after success with his product, Ed’o was the first Olive Oil brand in the world to receive two awards from the organization Red Dot through their design competition. These awards, including the “Best of the Best” and the “Best Packaging Concept On A Worldwide Level,” helped to revolutionize the gourmet industry and brought forth a turning point in the world of olive oil.

Karim Fitouri: Tunisia

From the Olive Oil Times

Karim Fitouri, founder of Tunisian olive oil company Olivko, started his company in the hopes of leading the industry in Tunisia. After helping to revive the industry and focusing on quality over quantity, he’s managed to accomplish just that! In 2017, Fitouri took home gold at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition for his product.

Olive Oil Times Education Lab and International Culinary Center (ICC) present the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program. Combining the world’s foremost olive oil experts and educators, this comprehensive series of courses spans production, quality management and advanced sensory assessment for the aspiring olive oil sommelier. Click to learn more about Course 1 and Course 2!

olive oil

Don’t Worry— We’ve Got Your Olive Oil Questions Covered

curtis cordFor the seventh time since its inception in 2016, ICC—together with the Olive Oil Times Education Lab—welcomed culinary professionals from around the world for another sold out round of our two-level Olive Oil Sommelier Certification courses. They learned to identify the positive attributes & defects in olive oil and tasted more than 100 samples of olive oil from various regions in the world’s most comprehensive curriculum in olive oil quality assessment!

But, before Olive Oil Sommelier hopefuls joined instructors from around the world, Perola Polillo—alumna of the course and Chef & Olive Oil Sommelier—and Curtis Cord—Executive Director of the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification program, publisher of the Olive Oil Times and president of the New York International Olive Oil Competition—taught ICC students and guests what chefs really need to know about olive oil.

See what they taught us below to help understand the complexities of olive oil and how to harness the flavor, versatility, and health benefits of one of the world’s greatest cooking oils!

What's with all these names?

There are so many names used to describe different types of olive oil—extra virgin, virgin, refined, pumace, cold pressed and dozens more—but don’t be fooled by these fancy terms! While extra virgin is notoriously the highest quality, consumers often think that others are comparable, which just isn’t true. Pumace is made from leftover flesh and pulp, making it much lower in quality, and potentially harmless from the mysterious ingredients that could be included. Cold pressed is actually a marketing term with little meaning and no definition in the industry. Be wary of getting caught up in all the different terms out there!

What Color Should My Olive Oil Be?

This may come as a surprise, but the color of olive oil is not an indicator of quality! Just like wine, the juice comes from the fruit and the terroir, so the color can vary from anything to a bright green, to a yellow. Olive oil is all about taste and aroma, after all!

Can I put my olive oil next to my stove?

No—definitely not! Olive oil should be kept away from light and heat, which is why it’s often sold in dark green bottles that help to absorb the light. It’s best to store your olive oil in a cool, dark cupboard.

Should I be spending $100 per bottle?

A quality olive oil takes a lot to produce, which is why a bottle can often be pricey. But, you don’t really have to spend more than $100 to have an amazing bottle of oil on your shelf. Some of the best olive oils are often much less!

Does olive oil age like wine?

Olive oil is similar to wine in a lot of ways, but it does not age gracefully. It is possible to keep olive oil in a cool, dark place for up to 2 years. However, after you open a bottle, it degrades and loses its quality—a good rule of thumb is to use the oil within the first 2 months of opening.

Should I just have one bottle?

Different olive oils pair with different foods, just like wine! Some have peppery notes that pair well with heartier dishes, while others are sweeter that go well with desserts. There are thousands of varieties, so it can be tricky to find the best one to pair with your dish, but the Olive Oil Times developed an app to help take out the guess work! Check it out here.

The next time you reach for a new bottle of olive oil at the store, be sure to consider these tips to selecting the perfect oil!

Olive Oil Times Education Lab and International Culinary Center (ICC) present the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program. Combining the world’s foremost olive oil experts and educators, this comprehensive series of courses spans production, quality management and advanced sensory assessment for the aspiring olive oil sommelier. Click to learn more about Course 1 and Course 2!

commencement ceremony

Award-Winning Chef & Philanthropist, Aarón Sánchez, Announced As 2019 Commencement Keynote Speaker

Plus, Outstanding Alumni Award winners named & hundreds of graduates celebrated at Carnegie Hall this June!

aaron sanchezAarón Sánchez, founder of the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund—whose diligent philanthropic work has helped fund culinary education in the Latin community since 2016—will deliver the Keynote Address at the International Culinary Center (ICC) 2019 Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, June 2nd at 2pm. The annual ceremony, held once again at New York City’s iconic Carnegie Hall in the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, will celebrate students who have completed ICC’s professional programs between June 2018 and May 2019.

graduatesSánchez—who provides full culinary scholarships to ICC and mentorship to recipients through his foundation—will address hundreds of graduates across all disciplines, in addition to their family and friends, at Commencement next month. Students who have completed the Professional Culinary Arts, Pastry Arts, Cake Techniques & Design, Art of International Bread Baking and Intensive Sommelier Training programs will don their pressed-white coats and sharp toques, or Certified Sommelier pins, as they walk across the stage at Carnegie Hall.

In addition to celebrating the school’s newest graduates, each year ICC honors alumni who excel in their field of study in a series of Outstanding Alumni Awards. The awards were created in 1997, 13 years after the school’s founding as The French Culinary Institute, by Founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton. This year’s recipients will become the 21st award-winning class and are preceded by other notable recipients such as Dan Barber, Christina Tosi, David Chang, Joshua Skenes, Susanna Yoon, Angie Mar, Jeremiah Stone and Fabian Von Hauske.

outstanding alumni winners

Five alumni will be recognized as the 2019 Outstanding Alumni Award winners at Carnegie Hall this year. Scott Tacinelli, Chef/Co-Owner of Don Angie, will receive the award for Excellence in Culinary Arts and shares, “As a career changer, ICC gave me the confidence and foundation necessary to be successful in the culinary world.” The award for Excellence in Pastry Arts will go to Zoë Kanan, Head Baker of Simon & The Whale and The Studio. “It’s such an honor to have my achievements recognized by the institution that served as my gateway to the culinary world,” says Zoë. Recipient of the award for Excellence in Media, Ben Mims—Cooking Columnist for The Los Angeles Times, credits his education and instructors at ICC for “providing a foundation of knowledge that has helped me navigate the waters of our ever-changing business.” The awards will also recognize graduates in the beverage industry including Vanessa Da Silva, Sommelier at Ninety Acres, and Matt Monahan, Co-Founder/CEO of Other Half Brewing Company, who receive awards for Outstanding Sommelier and Excellence in Entrepreneurship respectively.

Guests who wish to join the Commencement Ceremony can purchase tickets through the Carnegie Hall Box Office.
Tickets: $20 | CarnegieCharge 212-247-7800 | Box Office at 57th Street and 7th Avenue

other half brewing

ICC In The News: Highlights from May 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 May 2019, aimed to keep you connected with our community and inspire readers to #LoveWhatYouDo in the kitchen and beyond.

greg doody
From Boardroom To Vineyard: Greg Doody On Leaving Corporate Law For Wine

If you’re looking for a little inspiration to pursue a change of careers, check out this feature on Professional Culinary Arts and Intensive Sommelier Training graduate Greg Doody in Forbes. He went from corporate law to wine professional as the President & CEO of Vineyard Brands, making his passion for wine his profession!

Check out this article on Ivy Ronquillo in Lohud, featuring her business Second Mouse Cheese Shop. After graduating from ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program, she went on to work at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant group and Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group before eventually transitioning into the cheese business!

Congratulations to Professional Culinary Arts grad and executive chef of Bethesda’s Duck Duck Goose, Ashish Alfred, for being named the 2019 Maryland Chef of the Year! Read more about his latest accomplishment in Bethesda Mag.

Chef Adam Lathan—ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship alumnus and owner of The Gumbo Bros—sat down with Broadway World to discuss how a New Orleans native came to open a restaurant in Brooklyn. Check out how ICC instructor Chef Bradford Thompson has mentored him through his career here.

other half
Totally Dank and Impossibly Juicy Five years in, Other Half is still the city’s hottest brewery — and it shows no signs of slowing down

How did Other Half Brewing become the hottest brewery in the city? How did they come to have customers waiting in line for their beer for 11 hours? In this story from Grub Street, read about alumnus Matt Monahan, and how he co-founded one of the most popular beverage companies in NYC!

jason licker
Jason Licker: Career Highlights, Lessons Learned & His Book “Lickerland”

Jason Licker, Professional Pastry Arts graduate, sat down with Pastry Arts Mag to discuss his global career and James Beard nominated, self-published cookbook. Listen to how he published his own award-nominated cookbook & more here.

Restaurateur and ICC alumna Camilla Marcus’ west~bourne café in SoHo was created to demonstrate that mission-driven, sustainable capitalism and enlightened employment practices can both survive and thrive in the often cutthroat hospitality world. Read more about this entrepreneur in her Barron’s feature!

Brooke Shields doesn’t think she can cook, but our alumnus Scott Tacinelli sure can! In this recipe feature with Chef Scott and his wife & business partner Angie Rito, they share some of their popular dishes from Don Angie with In Style. Get the recipe here.

Since 2011, ICC has partnered with the MiNo Foundation to provide scholarships for young talented Louisianians to pursue their culinary or pastry education. Read more in Bloomberg about the work that they’re doing to inspire the next generation of culinary professionals!

milk bar
The Magic of Milk Bar

It’s no secret that there’s a certain je ne sais quoi to Milk Bar, and much of it stems from founder & ICC alumna Christina Tosi’s commitment to the core of her brand. Read about how she does it all in Bake Mag.

steven cook
Philadelphia’s Zahav Wins James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant

Congratulations to Steven Cook, ICC grad, and Michael Solomonov on taking home arguably one of the biggest awards of the evening at this year’s James Beard Awards—Outstanding Restaurant! Check out their restaurant Zahav in Barron’s.

7 Greens, a mini-chain of salad restaurants founded by ICC alumna Kelly Schaefer, debuted in 2014 in Detroit. She opened a second location in 2016 in Birmingham, Michigan. Now, she has major plans for expansion. Read more about her company in Eater!

Love avocados, but hate how fast they brown? Keep your guacamole green by changing the type of knife you use. Find out what kind of knife our Director of Culinary Arts & Technology Hervé Malivert recommends in this article from the Today Show to slice your way to success!

It might be a French classic, but the baba au rhum (or rum baba) breaks traditional pastry rules. Nowadays, the dish is most famously endorsed by Alain Ducasse, the French chef who holds 21 Michelin stars worldwide. ICC Director of Pastry, Chef Jansen Chan, worked with Ducasse for 3 years creating his baba au rhum recipe. Chef Jansen shared the secrets to creating the perfect one with Vine Pair !

The Chef Collaborator: Lessons From Cooking School On The Power Of Teamwork

Dawn Perry is Senior Vice President, Brand Marketing for ERA Real Estate, a global franchising leader in residential real estate. But, she didn’t start out in real estate. Read about what she learned in culinary school at ICC that has continued to help her today in this Forbes feature!

food business fundamentals

Business Bites Resources: Best Practices for Building Client Relations

Jacques Torres, Ron Ben-Israel and Jurgen DavidThe age old saying remains true—the customer really is always right. The success of your business relies on good customer experience. So, what does it take to make your clients happy? During our Pastry Plus conference this spring, Jacques Torres—ICC Dean of Pastry Arts, and Ron Ben-Israel—ICC Guest Master Pastry Chef, shared their experiences running some of the most successful businesses in pastry today. From custom designed wedding cakes to innovating new chocolate product lines, these chefs understand the importance of building client relations for continued business.

Their first tip for food business owners—start fostering long, healthy relationships from the moment your customers walk through the door. In this article, we share these experts best practices for building client relations to last a lifetime!

Listen To Your Customers

jacques torresInspiration for new products can come from even the littlest customers. This is the truth for one of Jacques Torres Chocolate’s most popular products, chocolate covered cheerios. One day, while at his shop, Jacques Torres noticed parents in the store giving their children Cheerios since it was all they would eat. That week, he went to the grocery store and bought a giant box of Cheerios to cover in chocolate (after all, he is “Mr. Chocolate!”).

Not thinking anything of it, he put a bowl of them out for customers to try. People would politely take one, then come back and take handfuls of the chocolate covered cereal to go. He knew he had a hit and had to act upon it.

Looking back on it now, he shares that, “In your career, you’re going to want to do things that you want to do, and there’s nothing wrong with that…But, after-all, your customers will be the one eating your products.”

Accept the Blame

ron ben israelIt’s easy to think that—especially in the custom cake business—your customers will only be one time purchasers that you won’t see again. But, it’s important to remember that everyone can become a repeat customer. That’s why when a recent Mother of the Bride complained that the wedding cake for her daughter was incorrect, Ron Ben-Israel found a way to fix the situation immediately.

After much investigation, he found out that the wedding cake sent to the venue was indeed the correct cake. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. However, instead of telling the mother that he was correct, he accepted responsibility for the situation and sent a personalized cake to the client. By going the extra mile to right the circumstances, the unhappy client became a repeat customer. Now, he is creating custom cakes for their whole family!

Respond To Feedback

panelistsIn this day and age, you can’t hide from a bad review or comment. Whether it’s a Yelp or Google review, a comment on Instagram or a direct message on Twitter, entrepreneurs are constantly receiving feedback—both good and bad about their businesses. Almost 20 years ago when Torres started his chocolate business, this wasn’t the case. He would receive feedback from his customers in person, without the potential of it escalating on social media.

Now that his business has grown to over 100 employees, it would be easy for Torres to ignore customer’s complaints and let someone on his team handle it. But, to this day, Torres still calls his customers personally to address concerns and find solutions that make them feel heard. Ultimately, what makes his business stand out is the way he works with his customers to provide a personalized experience—one that foster’s customer loyalty.


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.


Bugible: How & Why We Eat Bugs

Explore the flavor profiles of the food of the future—bugs! With the world’s population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, we’ll need to find sustainable ways to deliver nutritious food to our growing population. Bugs are not only a solution to this problem, but are also one of the more provocative food sources in discussion.

There’s a reason why 80% of the world’s countries have been eating bugs for thousands of years. Bugs come out ahead of traditional live stock, like beef, in any food enviro-metric—gallons of water, Co2 equivalents of greenhouse gases, acres of land, feed-conversion-ration comparisons and more.

ICC is excited to be hosting Aly Moore founder of Bugible—a blog about the world of edible insects—and for an insightful presentation and tasting about how and why we eat bugs. Opening a dialogue about how what we eat impacts our bodies and our environment, we’ll examine the challenges faced by entrepreneurs, discuss how to overcome the stigma surrounding edible bugs and encourage chefs of the next generation to have an open mind to the opportunities that tasty critters offer. Join us for a guided tasting on Wednesday, June 5th from 3:30-5pm to explore the delicate flavor profiles of critters like grasshoppers and bamboo worms.


Wednesday, June 5th | 3:30-5:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

About Aly Moore

aly mooreAfter studying public health at Yale University, Aly Moore searched for a way to address the challenges to feed our growing sustainably and nutritiously feed our growing population. She started (blog) to support the growing insect agriculture industry and slowly grew a cult following on Instagram. To reach broader audiences, Eat Bugs Events was formed as an Aladdin’s den of unique educational events like Bug & Wine Pairings, Bug Dinners & Bug Cooking Classes. Since, Bugible has become the leading media & PR brand for the insect agriculture industry, appearing on Netflix’s Bill Nye, Food & Wine, Forbes, & others. Today, Bugible focuses on continuing to spread awareness about other sustainable and nutritious potential of bugs through collaborations with institutions of all kinds from the International Culinary Center, Yale University, Parks & Recreation Districts, or even the Girl Scouts of America.

She is heavily involved in growing the industry’s trade organization – The North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture (NACIA). Learn more here.