A dish from Suyo Gastrofusion

ICC In The News: Highlights from September 2018

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 September 2018, aimed to keep you connected with our community and inspire readers to #LoveWhatYouDo in the kitchen and beyond.

Tim Ma, a 2009 alumni of our Professional Culinary Arts program,  is now the Chief Culinary Officer of Box’d Eats, a school-lunch delivery service. Described as a Blue Apron meets Lunchables, read all about it here.

Yale University’s School of Public Health is set to host its first conference on olive oil next month. Tassos Kyriakides, the department chair at Yale’s School of Public Health, came up with the idea for the conference after completing the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program at ICC. Read about the conference here.

A dish from Suyo Gastrofusion
NEW YORK TIMES

ELEVATED YAKITORI, DIRECT FROM JAPAN, IN THE WEST VILLAGE

Chef Andy Sen Sang, a native of Ecuador who moved to the Bronx and graduated in 2015, owns Suyo Gastrofusion. His restaurant blends Asian and Latin influences in dishes like steamed pork belly buns, and charred octopus with chorizo quinoa. Check out his feature in the New York Times here.

Little Havana in Washington, D.C. is in the talented hands of Chef Joseph Osorio. He is a graduate, and trained his whole life by cooking in the kitchen with his Cuban immigrant godmother, preparing him to serve Cubano sandwiches and egg rolls, Cuban chicken stews and whole fried fish. Check it out if you’re in D.C.!

The Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program jointly produced by the Olive Oil Times Education Lab and ICC will be offered in central London this January. It is the first time the course, which has trained hundreds of industry professionals, chefs and enthusiasts in olive oil quality assessment since it began in 2016, will venture beyond its annual New York and California sessions. Click here to learn more.

ICC in the News Article
NEW YORK TIMES

A FINE- DINING VETERAN TURNS TO STREET FOOD

Food & Wine Article on Instagram for Restaurants
FOOD AND WINE
FIVE NEW WAYS RESTAURANTS ARE USING INSTAGRAM TO DRIVE BUSINESS

How can restaurants and food businesses use Instagram to drive business? Check out these 5 tips we learned with Food & Wine in our event with Instagram for Business last month, and see why it’s more important than ever for aspiring culinary entrepreneurs!

Chef Nick Nikolopoulos graduated from our Professional Pastry Arts program and now owns Stirling, NJ bakery Gluten Free Gloriously. He says he is now creating gluten-free baked goods that taste like the real thing. Don’t miss his bakery, read more here!

A group of olive oil professionals and enthusiasts gathered in Campbell, California in early September to attend the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program. The six-day course produced by the Olive Oil Times Education Lab and ICC provided in-depth instruction in olive oil production, quality management, advanced sensory assessment and culinary applications. Click here to learn more about the program.

With conversations buzzing about the resurgence of the Jewish Deli, some are surprised to learn that they’re having a moment in places you’d least expect. Take ICC grad Jerrod Rosen’s deli, Rye Society, which debuted in July in Denver’s River North Art District. Read more here about his desire to open a place with soul that would incorporate his family traditions in this Washington Post article.

NEW YORK TIMES

RANCH NATION

cheese souffle
FOOD AND WINE
THE 40 BEST-EVER RECIPES FROM FOOD & WINE

For Food and Wine’s 40th birthday, they looked back at their favorite recipes ever—including two from our deans! In the inaugural issue of Food & Wine, legendary chef Jacques Pépin shared his recipe for the perfect soufflé. Then, in 1979, Paula Wolfert penned an article about great Alsatian chefs cooking their mothers’ food. Included was André Soltner, then the chef at the legendary Lutèce, and he opted to recreate his mother’s outstanding potato pie. Get the recipes here.

Jhonel Faelnar
WINE & SPIRITS

BEST NEW SOMMELIERS 2018

Jhonel Faelnar, Wine Director at Atomix in NYC and graduate of our Intensive Sommelier Training program, is one of Wine and Spirits magazine’s Best New Sommeliers of 2018. Read about our graduate and his prestigious recognition here.

Chef Jacques Torres Sugar

3 Tips For Working With Sugar from Jacques Torres

Chef Jacques Torres and his Sugar ShowpieceDean of Pastry Arts, Chef Jacques Torres stopped by ICC’s New York campus this month to show our students how to work with sugar. Working with sugar is no simple task—it takes years of practice, skill and patience. Watching Chef Torres work with sugar is like watching Picasso paint; it is awe-inspiring, and he makes manipulating and shaping the difficult medium look easy.

For this demo, “Mr. Chocolate” decided to work with something a little different than chocolate—sugar! He created a showpiece featuring a shimmering sugar swan and a lifelike sugar rose. Throughout the hour and a half demo, he shared his insider tips to working with sugar after many years of experience. Below, we highlight some of our favorite tips from him to help you pull and pour sugar like the pros!

1. Sugar Becomes Shiny Through the Process of Satiné

Through the process of pulling the sugar, air is incorporated. As you continue to work with it, a sheen appears. But, be careful not to pull it too much, or else it will become dull!

Chef Jacques Torres Satinizing sugarChef Jacques Torres Satinizing sugar

2. Silicone Molds Will Mold Sugar, but...

…dough will work too! The fat in the dough makes it so the sugar and the dough will never stick together. The temperature difference of the two help to mold the sugar into the desired shape. This is what pastry chefs used before silicone molds were invented!

Chef Jacques Torres pouring sugar

3. Be Sure to Move your Sugar

When your pulled sugar is under a heat lamp, be sure to move it around every so often. This will ensure it keeps the right temperature. Because the heat is on the top of the sugar, it is important to continually flip the sugar so the temperature stays consistent.

Chef Jacques Torres moving his sugar under the heat lamp

If you’re inspired to learn how to make a sugar showpiece like Jacques Torres, check out ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program where 60 hours of instruction are dedicated to sugar-focused décor, including showpieces like this!

Business Bites raise the bar with your beverage program

Business Bites: Raise the Bar with Your Beverage Program

The BUSINESS BITES SERIES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels and networking events designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry. Each event is designed to provide education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.

BUSINESS BITES: RAISE THE BAR WITH YOUR BEVERAGE PROGRAM

DEVELOP AND MANAGE YOUR WINE, BEER & SPIRITS

Thursday, November 1st | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

Turning your beverage program into a profitable venture for your business takes a lot of hard work, but with the right knowledge and dedication, it can be the key to your restaurant, bar or food business’ success and longevity. From preventing over pouring to curating the best cocktail, beer and wine lists for your audience, learn how to navigate some of the common mistakes that many restaurants make, and understand the impact that your beverage program can have on your profitability.

So what do you need to know to turn your drinks to dollars?

Join us for an informative discussion with experts in the beverage industry—including wine directors, beverage consultants, bar owners, and distributors—to help make your beverage program more liquid. Our panel of experts will share tips and tools for getting started, how to grow and manage your beverage menu, finding the right solutions for your restaurant or bar, and more. You’ll also have ample time for networking and the opportunity to learn how ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program can take you from concept to business plan & pitch in just 6-weeks!

MODERATOR

Alek Marfisi, Upwind Strategies
Alek Marfisi – Owner, Upwind Strategies & ICC Entrepreneurship Instructor

Alek Marfisi is a native New Yorker with a passion for building things and helping people. After working advising small businesses for five years, Alek launched Upwind Strategies in 2015 with the mission of providing deeper and more relatable services to small businesses: the anti-business-school services firm. He previously worked with the NYS Small Business Development Center where he dove into the exciting intricacies of making entrepreneurial projects a reality. Since then, Alek has logged more than 11,000 hours working with small businesses and has been recognized as one of the top drivers of economic development in the country.

PANELISTS

jason hedges
Jason Hedges, Bar Director of Gotham Bar & Grill and Partner of BarIQ

Jason Hedges is a New York based wine and spirits professional and the Bar Director at Gotham Bar and Grill. His consultancy, Bar IQ, helps new and existing bar and restaurant concepts achieve ultimate quality and profitability. Jason is a judge of both wine and spirits for The Ultimate Beverage Challenge and also sits on the tasting panel for Wine and Spirits Magazine. Jason has developed award winning beverage programs for multiple Michelin rated restaurants in NYC. He is passionate about creating quality.

Jason is a Court of Master Sommelier’s Certified Sommelier, and has also successfully completed the Beverage Alcohol Resource’s intensive course and is certified with distinction.

noah
Noah Rothbaum, Editor of Half Full from The Daily Beast

Noah Rothbaum is the editor of The Daily Beast’s Half Full section. He also hosts the podcast Life Behind Bars with legendary cocktail historian David Wondrich.

In addition, Rothbaum is the author of the book The Art of American Whiskey: A Visual History of the Nation’s Most Storied Spirit, through 100 Iconic Labels and the associate editor of the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails. Rothbaum’s first book, The Business of Spirits: How Savvy Marketers, Innovative Distillers, and Entrepreneurs Changed How We Drink, was published in 2007.

According to Chicago magazine’s chief dining critic, Jeff Ruby, “Rothbaum knows drinking like Newton knew gravity, but he’s not all high and mighty about it, creating laws and whatnot.” And The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog called him “one of the smartest tipplers (and writers on spirits) we know.”

He is the former editor-in-chief of Liquor.com, and has contributed to the Wall Street JournalNew York TimesO MagazineDetailsMen’s JournalMen’s FitnessFood & WineGastronomica, and more.

Nora Favelukes
Nora Z. Favelukes, President of QW Wine Experts

Leading Expert on Imported Wines to the United States, Influencer, Spokesperson, Presenter and Moderator.

Wine expert with years of international experience; equipped with rare understanding of the inner workings and complexities of the U.S., South American and European wine industries. A skilled spokesperson, moderator, negotiator and a natural diplomat.

Ms. Favelukes entered the wine trade in her native Argentina in 1984. Her early professional credits include the post of Export Director at Bodegas Navarro Correas, Argentina. In 1988, she moved to the United States to work as East Coast Sales Manager for Vinos Argentinos. In 2000, she became National Sales Manager for Billington Imports – where she was responsible for the introduction of Bodegas Catena. And, from 1995 through 2001 she was Director of Fine Wines for Palm Bay Imports.

Today, Ms. Favelukes is President of QW Wine Experts, a consulting firm she launched in 1995, which is dedicated to the nationwide public relations, marketing and sales of imported fine wines to the United States market.

Professional credits:
•Past-President of the Wine Council of Argentina in the United States
•Guest lecturer on South American Wines
•The Foreign Service Institute in Washington DC
•The Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University
•New York City College of Technology on South American and Iberian Peninsula

urce’s intensive course and is certified with distinction.

IMG_20180825_151954_551
Vanessa Da Silva, Sommelier at Ninety Acres

Vanessa Da Silva grew up in rural Maine. While studying abroad in Florence, Italy, she took a recreational wine class and became enamored with wine.  After graduating from the University of Maine with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing & International Business, Vanessa pursued a career in marketing but soon realized her budding interest in wine was more than a hobby. Vanessa completed the Intensive Sommelier Training Course at the International Culinary Center in January of 2013 and simultaneously passed the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory and Certified exams.

After several years working as a Sommelier in Manhattan restaurants, Vanessa returned to the ICC where she took on the role of the Wine Coordinator, working on the educational side of wine. In 2017, Vanessa decided to return to the restaurant industry and took on a role at Ninety Acres – a farm-to-table restaurant in Pepack, New Jersey. Vanessa is currently honing her Sommelier skills as she prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Examination.

Nick Lee

Nick Lee, ICC Culinary Student, Wins World Umami Cooking Competition!

Competes against five top culinary schools for an all expense-paid culinary tour in Japan.

The first-ever World Umami Forum, presented by Ajinomoto this past September, brought food science experts, renowned researchers and top culinary professionals together for a two-day consortium aimed at deepening the understanding of umami and it’s essential role in American cuisine, as well as opened the conversation about monosodium glutamate and some of the common myths surrounding MSG.

As part of the conference, the World Umami Forum challenged six semi-finalists from America’s top culinary schools in the inaugural United States of Umami Cooking Competition, held on September 20th, to create their best original, umami-rich recipe in the form of a signature entrée. ICC was honored to be selected as one of the six culinary schools, including The Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales University, to participate in the competition. Through an internal selection process led by ICC’s Director of Culinary Arts & Technology, Chef Hervé Malivert, Professional Culinary Arts student Nick Lee was selected to represent ICC in the competition. (Nick was selected for the competition while a student at ICC, but has recently graduated from the program).

Judged on technique and taste, these culinary students went head-to-head for a chance to win an all-expense paid culinary trip to Japan. After months of preparation refining his umami-rich recipe and one-on-one practice with ICC’s resident culinary competition coach, Chef Hervé, we’re excited to announce that ICC student, Nick Lee, was selected as the winner of the competition! We couldn’t be more proud to share Nick’s journey to victory with all of you, and the recipe behind his winning dish.

Born in South Korea, Nick grew up in the United States with a love for experiencing different cultures—travelling through various countries and living in Japan, China, and Cambodia for a time. Nick holds a Bachelors of Science degree in both Mechanical Engineering and Psychology from the University of Illinois, and his unique career background ranges from engineering, accounting and military, to hotel management—he’s worked both front of house & back of house in hotel restaurants. Having always been passionate about food, Nick decided to pursue this passion by enrolling in the International Culinary Center’s Professional Culinary Arts program in January 2018. He is currently in his final externship level of the program at Jean Georges’ Mercer Kitchen in Soho.

In preparation for the competition, Nick trained one-on-one for months with our Director of Culinary Arts & Technology, Chef Hervé Malivert. Chef Hervé has coached many ICC students in competition to success including: Rose Weiss, winner of the 2011 Bocuse d’Or Commis Competition; Christopher Ravanello, Northeast Regional winner of the 2012 S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition; Colfax Selby, Northeast Regional winner of the 2015 S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition; Mimi Chen, winner of the 2016 Ment’or Commis competition. Through this preparation and hard work, Nick refined his recipe, timing and plating to be able to come home to ICC victorious as the 1st place winner!

The main requirement of the competition was to create an original dish circled around the theme of umami. While Nick had many directions he could have pursued for his dish, he was passionate about using all the umami ingredients that were naturally rich in MSG. That left him with ingredients like kombu, Parmigiano Reggiano, tomatoes and shiitake mushrooms. From there, he wanted to create a dish that embodied both western and eastern influences that would best represent ICC in his mind. A dish in South Korea that translates to an abalone porridge came to his mind, and he thought making a risotto out of this dish would be a great way to elevate the flavors of the ingredients he wanted to work with.

Check out Nick’s winning recipe below and you’ll see why his dish took home the gold!

Butter Poached Abalone

Served with Roasted Mushroom Risotto and Oven Dried Tomatoes

YIELD: 4 Servings

The winning dish

 

The winning dish

INGREDIENTS

For the Kombu Stock

200 g dashi kombu

200 g onion (2 whole onions)

100 g dried shiitake mushroom

200 g daikon radish

200 g leek, cleaned

6 cloves garlic

3 kg water

For the Oven Dried Tomatoes

300 g cherry tomato

140 g extra virgin olive oil

10 g parsley, chopped fine

10 g basil, chopped fine

10 g thyme sprigs

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Seaweed Crisp

20 g seaweed sheet

80 g rice flour

50 g water

10 g sesame seeds

10 g sugar

50 g soy sauce

300 g kombu stock

10 g sesame oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Abalone

5 ~ 6 fresh abalone

280 g butter

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Risotto

60 g extra virgin olive oil

100 g shallots, very finely chopped

80 g cremini mushroom, finely chopped

500 g Arborio rice

30 g soy sauce

125 g dry white wine

1 ½ kg kombu stock, or as needed*

60 g butter, plus an additional 60 g for finishing the risotto

100 g freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Salt and pepper to taste

 

For the Roasted Mushroom

200 g oyster mushroom

200 g shitake mushroom

200 g maitake mushroom

1 bunch of rosemary

2 head of garlic

For Service

50 g purple radish microgreen

50 g Brussels sprout leaves

Extra virgin olive oil

PROCEDURE

For the Kombu Stock

  1. Cut kombu into squares and steep in some of the water used for the stock.
  2. Put kombu and the water steeped in into a large pot and add aromatic elements.
  3. Bring everything to boil and take kombu out immediately once it starts to boil.
  4. Strain the stock carefully and set aside for use.

For the Cherry Tomato Confit

  1. Preheat convection oven to 300°
  2. Cut tomatoes in half, in a bowl season with S/P and olive oil.
  3. Baked in oven on a bed of thyme for about 45 min or until tomato done.
  4. Once the tomatoes are done add the herbs and set aside.

For the Roasted Mushrooms

  1. Clean and cut mushrooms to desired size, season with XV olive oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Bake in 350°F convection oven on top of a bed a rosemary, until cooked and golden brown.
  3. Remove and set aside.

For the Seaweed Crisp

  1. Mix rice flour and water together to make batter.
  2. Cut seaweed into squares and apply batter on one side of seaweed. Sprinkle sesame seed on top of battered side of seaweed.
  3. Fry seaweed in 325°F, take it out to a cooling rack with paper towel when it starts to brown.
  4. Combine kombu stock, soy sauce, sugar until ¼ of original volume.
  5. Add sesame oil to reduced stock and drizzle over battered side of seaweed.

For the Abalone

  1. Separate abalone from the shell with a spoon.
  2. Make quadrillage mark on top of the abalone using a knife.
  3. Season each side of abalone with salt and pepper and sear until brown on each side.
  4. Butter poach abalone gently.
  5. Remove transfer to a container, smoked slightly and cover until service.
  6. On the same butter poached the Brussels sprout leaves right before serving.

For the Risotto

  1. Bring the stock to a slow, steady simmer in a russe.
  2. In a wide, shallow sautoir, sweat the finely chopped shallots and cremini mushroom in 60 g butter until soft and translucent.
  3. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until it is hot and evenly coated with fat.
  4. Add the white wine and simmer until it has evaporated.
  5. Add enough of the stock to just cover the rice, stirring constantly with the wooden spoon, keeping the sides and bottom of the pot clean as you stir. Keep the rice at a brisk simmer and stir continuously. Continue adding stock a ½ cup at a time, until the liquid is absorbed, and maintain the heat at a lively pace.
  6. Taste the rice after 12-15 minutes. The rice is done when it is tender but still firm to the bite. As you approach the final minutes of cooking, gradually reduce the amount of stock that you add. The liquid should be a little soupy because the addition of the final ingredients will tighten up the risotto.
  7. Off the heat, add the roasted mushrooms, soy sauce, the remaining 60 g of butter, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the risotto energetically with the wooden spoon to whip the ingredients together. The consistency of the rice should be thick and creamy but still have movement, so add a few drops of stock if necessary to achieve the correct consistency.

For Service

  1. Spoon risotto into warm bowls.
  2. Slice Abalone ¼ inch thick on a bias.
  3. Garnish with seaweed crisps cherry tomato, Brussels sprout leaves, and micro purple radish.
Barrel of Sherry

Certified Sherry Wine Specialist Seminar

Lustau, maker of top quality Sherries, presents a brand new wine certification available to all wine students and aficionados: the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist. Offered by Lucas Payà, Certified Sherry Educator and Lustau’s Brand Educator, this brief course offers Intermediate Level study material that has been reviewed and approved by the Regulatory Council of Jerez.

After many successful SOLD OUT workshops, ICC has partnered with Lustau again to host certification classes in both NY and CA. Buy your tickets below!

Saturday, October 6th
10:00am-12:30pm
International Culinary Center
700 West Hamilton Ave | Campbell, CA 95008

Cost: $40 per person

Thursday, November 15th
3:30pm-6:00pm
International Culinary Center
28 Crosby St, 5th Floor | New York, NY 10013

Cost: $35 per person

EVENT DETAILS

The program consists of a 2.5-hour class that includes:

    • Instruction on the history, geography, climate, viticulture, wine-making, and wine styles.  When studying the styles of sherry, students will learn about their differences, pairings, and best ways to serve.
    • A tasting of 6 wines, including all the basic styles (Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, and Dulce).
    • A 28-question test, graded after the course to award the Certified Sherry Wine Specialist recognition to those with a passing score of 20 or higher.

The Certificate of Achievement will be signed by both Lustau’s CEO and César Saldaña, Director of the Regulatory Council of Jerez. They will be numbered and a list of those that passed the course will be shared with the Regulatory Council.  A Certificate of Recognition will be issued to those that do not achieve the passing grade but only signed by Lustau.

Attendees must be at least 21 years of age.

Instagram Tips for Food Businesses

In August, ICC welcomed the professionals at Instagram for a one-day workshop on everything food business & restaurant owners need to know to reach new and existing audiences through their social channels. Taught by the leading product management & marketing teams at Instagram, we learned tips, tricks and tools for boosting our food businesses directly from the source. We’re excited to partner with Instagram to bring you this content to help culinary entrepreneurs harness the power of social media for their businesses.

If you missed our event, below are a few key takeaways that we learned from this special workshop. Plus, stay tuned for more in depth recaps, videos and more on the @ICCedu and @InstagramforBusiness channels.

101

  • 80% of Instagram users follow a business
  • 60% of Instagram users say they learn about products and services on Instagram
  • Instagram provides tools for businesses, including:
  1. Business profiles. Let users know that you are a business and gain access to specific tools for your business profile such as insights and the contact bar—now you can add a button to make reservations to your restaurant.
  2. Insights. In insights, you can take a look at your activity—how people engage with your profile and the downstream actions they’re taking—how your content is performing, and learn about your audience—including when they are the most active on Instagram.
  3. Messaging. Messaging is a key part of how you can connect with your audience in an authentic and responsive way. There are 150+ million people who use messaging each day! In addition to filters for messages to better sort responses, Instagram is about to release quick replies—a way to create/customize responses to commonly asked questions.

201

  • 2 in 3 business profile visits are from non-followers, so it’s important to think about your content as if a person has never seen your business before.
  • Feed posts can drive to stories (and back again!) Instagram stories can be used for behind the scenes content, and are a great way to help to drive business goals—according to Instagram, 1 in 3 stories receive a direct message. Here are 3 things Instagram suggests thinking about when creating stories content:
  1. Do it in Real-Time
  2. Keep it Unfiltered
  3. Make it Playful
  • Drive business goals. Don’t do anything unless it drives a business goal and is trackable. One way that restaurants can drive meaningful actions on Instagram is to encourage people to take action, such as making a reservation by adding a RESERVE button to your contact bar.

Panel

During a panel discussion moderated by Aishwarya Blake from Instagram’s Product Marketing team, three successful culinary entrepreneurs spoke about how they use Instagram to drive traffic to their restaurants, food products and more. The panelists included Dani Beckerman of Jars By Dani (@jars_by_dani), Claire Mosteller of Union Square Hospitality Group (@ushgnyc), and ICC alumnus, Michael Chernow (@michaelchernow), co-founder of The Meatball Shop and founder of Seamore’s. Our key takeaways from the panel include:

  • Stay true to your brand voice. Michael uses one brand voice throughout his restaurant’s Instagram channels—himself! This helps to give the restaurants more authenticity.
  • Stories can be more playful and less edited. Dani noted that stories do not have to be “as perfect” as a feed post. The other panelists agreed!
  • Giveaways can be a fun way to interact with your audience. Claire and Michael both noted that they ran a giveaway for a new restaurant promotion, and it helped to build buzz around the restaurants!

Stories School

We were treated to a special hands-on workshop to learn new tips, and some cool tricks, to optimize Instagram stories with never-before-seen hacks straight from the team! Here are some of the tools we learned:

  • Stories are a great way to drive traffic to your feed, website, and more!
  • Swipe ups are a useful tool for large business accounts to bring followers and non-followers where you want to point them to take action—back to your website, event ticketing page, or reservation page.
  • There are many fun ways to play around with Instagram stories, like motion pinning an emoji to an element in a video, different texts and colors, and even the rewind video option.
If you’re in need of more help, click here to see Instagram’s quick guide to help restaurants get started. You can also check out the @InstagramForBusiness handle for inspiration on what you could be doing to boost your social media presence.

Finding Your Place in the Wine Industry

Written by Tyler Hawley, Current Sommelier Student

There are many different career opportunities available to someone with an interest in working within the wine field. Students and guests of the International Culinary Center had the privilege to sit in on a panel discussion with four professionals, each coming from their own respective position in the wine world. The four panelists shared their background stories, how they got where they are today and gave advice to those of us hoping to follow in their footsteps.

Distributor

Susan King is the regional manager of the Henry Wine Group’s San Francisco Peninsula and South Bay area. She spent twenty-five years working in sales within the technology industry. Throughout her career, Susan had the opportunity to experience wine from all around world, which sparked her passion for wine. In 2010, enrolled in ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program, where she became a Certified Sommelier. That combination of a career in sales and a passion for wine is what led her into the distribution field.

She describes an average day in the life of a distributor as visiting your customers and showing them new wines and spirits that they may be interested in. Someone who works in distribution has the opportunity to essentially function as his or her own CEO, by choosing their hours and how they go about selling their products to their customers. What makes distribution unique from other sales positions is that you are required to travel to your customers as opposed to them coming to you.

Anyone interested in working in the sales/distribution field needs to have strong customer service skills and knowledge of their product. They get to work with multiple different personalities, which means they need to be able to adapt their sales technique to whoever they’re selling to at that moment. Someone in distribution must be self-motivated with entrepreneurial skills because they have the ability to set their work schedule. Susan said there are many different positions available in the distribution field besides sales, such as marketing and brand management.

Typically, someone just getting started in distribution would work with larger corporate accounts until they gain enough experience to work smaller accounts. Pay within the distribution field can vary depending the company—some are completely commission based while others run on a broker system. Entry-level positions typically start around $35,000, but someone in the field can end up earning around $140,000. Once someone in distribution gains enough experience, they then have the opportunity to move unilaterally within the field.

Susan said that she loves everything about her job, but what she loves most is tasting wine with all different styles of people and finding the right solution for her customers.

Tasting Room

Michael Foley is the Manager of the tasting room at Ridge Vineyards, located in Cupertino, CA.  Michael got into wine at a young age, planting vines in his back yard when he was twelve. He started working harvest at Domenico Winery during high school and began working at Ridge in 2013.

Michael described the tasting room as “a stage” in the sense that you want to be well prepared and give your guests a show-like experience. He said that education is key—not only do you need to know the product, but you also need knowledge of the hospitality industry. Michael said that a great way to get more involved in the hospitality and tasting room side of the industry would be to work part time at a winery’s tasting room. He said the most important thing is to work somewhere you enjoy, and that hard work and dedication will get noticed and open up more opportunities.

Typically someone starting in a tasting room would make around $19 an hour, and management around $80,000 a year. However that all does depend on the winery. Michael said that working in a tasting room requires someone to be slightly extroverted, carefree, upbeat, and friendly. These characteristics help with working well with people who have different styles of personalities, and being able to adapt to situations as they happen. Michael’s favorite part about working in the tasting room is having the opportunity to create memorable experiences for his guests.

Winemaker

Ryan Beauregard is the owner and winemaker of Beauregard Vineyard, located in Santa Cruz, CA. He’s a jack-of-all-trades doing anything from farming, to wine making, to marketing. Ryan first fell in love with pinot noir, which led him to pursue studies in winemaking. Beauregard Vineyards produces around 7,000 cases of wine a year, most of which is sold direct.

Ryan spoke about how positions aren’t always readily available in the winemaking world, especially when it comes to smaller production wineries. He suggests that if you have a passion to break into the winemaking field, you should volunteer on vineyards during harvesting seasons. Do the manual labor of picking grapes, scrubbing barrels, washing floors, etc., so that you can start to further understand the winemaking process. Ryan talked about how someone interested in working in the winemaking field shouldn’t be doing it for the money, but should be doing it because they have a thirst for knowledge and want to be able to learn more about winemaking. He did say that the one thing people don’t think about is that you will be dealing with “creepy crawlies” so you have to be willing to work with nature.

To be able to understand how the terroir affects the wine and describe those subtle nuances to someone is one of the main reasons why Ryan loves being a winemaker.

Restaurant Sommelier

Aaron Babcock is a sommelier at Quince, located in San Francisco, CA. He started working at a resort in his early twenties where he fell in love with wine. Aaron said that, “you could tell there were stories within the wine cellar.” This led him to want to further his wine knowledge, so in 2012 he attended ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program where he received his Certified Sommelier training. He has since gone on to receive his Advanced Sommelier certification, and is training for the Master Sommelier exam.

Aaron said that there are two parts to the life of a sommelier working within the restaurant industry, the glamorous and non-glamorous. The glamorous side is being out on the floor interacting with the guests, and helping them find a wine that will help make their experience memorable. The non-glamorous side is all the things you do to prepare for service each night, such as stocking inventory. It depends on where you’re working, but a typical salary for a sommelier starts at around $50,000 a year, but there is no real ceiling. Similar to the tasting room, Aaron said working on the restaurant floor requires someone to be slightly extroverted and personable. He said that you do need to have a degree of humility when dealing with guests as well. Aaron’s favorite part of being a sommelier on the restaurant floor is being able to tell his guests stories about the producers, and help them find a wine they’ll love.

These professions share quite a few similarities, however, each is unique in their own right. One commonality is that you need to have a passion for wine and a desire to work hard and learn. Whether you’re selling wine, helping to make it, or anything in between, each panelist expressed that at the end of the day, it’s about doing what you love. The students at the ICC owe a big thank you to the four panelists for giving us invaluable insight into different professions within the wine world.

James La Mar

Alumni Profile: James La Mar, Sommelier ’11

James La Mar is a 2011 graduate of the Intensive Sommelier Program at ICC’s Campbell, California campus. Like most students who enroll at ICC, James was looking for a career change and for something that he was passionate about. Before coming to ICC, he remarks that he was “all over the place,” mostly doing odd jobs to keep him occupied. He started with no experience, very little knowledge, and no contacts in the industry, but he knew that choosing ICC would give him the proper foundation to start and advance in the competitive world of wine.

After graduating, he spent 6 years working part time at the now closed Beltramo’s Wines and Spirits in Menlo Park, mostly helping out during the busy winter season. The store was over 100 years old and was one of the most important family owned wine shops in the history of California. He shares that he’s very glad to have been a small part of a wonderful legacy.

Fast forward to today, he now owns Grape Obsession, an apparel and accessory brand geared towards Sommeliers and wine fanatics.T Shirts from Grape Obsession James manages everything within the business, including creating designs, managing social media content, website maintenance, book keeping, sales, and everything else you can possibly imagine. With Grape Obsession, James aims to help his fellow Sommeliers show their passion through fun apparel and accessories, while helping new Sommeliers establish themselves in the industry—donating a portion of the profits to scholarships that benefit Sommeliers on their quest for knowledge and self-improvement. 

When asked about a piece of advice he would give to someone wanting to pursue an education in wine, he says “the only people who don’t succeed in life are the ones who never try.  Even if failure is a high possibility, do it anyway.  The struggle alone will make you a better person.  If you know in your heart that you want to do it, stop over thinking it and just do it.”

Before starting Grape Obsession, James tried on many different hats in the wine industry, including sales, wine retail, and even working as a sommelier and wine steward to find his best fit. He also believes that working in different parts of the industry is an important learning experience for any Sommelier, and helps to develop a sense of the bigger picture and where you fit in. Below is his take on the pros and cons of each profession in the industry.

Retail/Tasting Room

Wine retail is an especially great place in the industry if you are new to the business and still trying to figure out where you want to go.

Pros:

  • The wine buyer makes sure that you taste almost every wine that sales reps bring, which allows you to develop your palate.
  • Physically inspecting the bottles and the boxes as they come in helps put a lot of your wine theory into practice and gives a lot of needed context.
  • The hours you work would mostly be normal business hours, allowing for a decent work life balance, though you should expect to work some holidays.
  • You will be meeting a lot of wine sales reps; working in retail gives you some great contacts if you want to move into sales later on down the line.

Cons:

  • Working in the day means that you may have less opportunities to go to industry tastings and trade events that normally happen during the day on weekdays, unless you work your way into a management or wine buyer position where attending trade events is a part of your job.
  • Due to the nature of working in retail, you will be expected to work many weekends and holidays.
  • Entry pay is also lower in retail, though as you move up through management, compensation can range from average to above average.
  • Lastly, work can be humbling as you will be expected to work a cash register, lift heavy wine boxes, stock shelves, break down boxes, and clean floors, windows, and displays.

Sales & Distribution

If you have a competitive spirit, sales can be an exciting area of the industry to work in.  As a salesman, you will be responsible for motivating yourself to meet with wine buyers, taste products, make sales calls and write emails, and schedule your daily tasks weeks, sometimes months, in advance.  Being in sales is brutal especially if you are new to the game, but if you stick with it and persevere, there is a great sense of pride and accomplishment when you develop your territory and build strong lasting relationships with your buyers.

Pros:

  • This is great if you enjoy being a self-starter and working unsupervised.
  • You will have more work life balance, even though you will be extremely busy, and you will have more opportunities to see friends and family at night and on holidays.
  • There can be opportunities to travel for work to represent your brand or attend staff training trips.
  • You will be meeting frequently with clients and wine buyers, so you will be able to build a strong network within the industry.
  • You will also be responsible for supporting your accounts by leading tastings and classes on your products for their staff, which is fun as it allows you to pass on your passion for the brands you represent.
  • Earning potential is higher in sales. Because you are paid mostly by commission, you have the opportunity to make as much money as you are willing to work for.

Cons:

  • If you don’t have a strong competitive nature, sales can be difficult.
  • In sales, you will be faced with constant rejection; you will have to be able to take criticism of yourself, and the brands you represent, in stride.
  • As a sales rep, you will also be expected to be the problem solver for each of your accounts. The delivery truck missed a case of wine that your account needs for the weekend?  Stop by the warehouse and take the case directly to the account yourself.
  • You will need to check up regularly on your products at retail stores or check in with restaurants to see how they are doing on inventory. If the product is moving slowly, it is your responsibility to help the account make the product a success by offering to teach classes to the staff, making store marketing materials, etc.
  • It will also take some time before the money starts to come in, usually a few months to a year of building your territory up, so make sure you have a financial cushion when you start out.

Sommelier/Wine Steward

Are you a night person?  If you are, being a Sommelier may be the career path for you.

Pros:

  • Working nights frees up hours during the day to pursue many productive facets of your life, including having ample time for exercise, running errands, going to wine industry tastings and study groups, and most importantly having time to study.
  • Guest interaction is one of the greatest benefits, as there is great joy to be found in putting the needs of others in front of your own
  • You will also have certain management responsibilities, including staff training and assisting on the floor of the restaurant, which builds up leadership experience.
  • The amount of wine you try as a Sommelier is far greater than any other job in the industry— you will constantly taste exotic wines from your vendors, during restaurant service to make sure they aren’t corked, and at many different industry trade tastings that you will be invited to.
  • As you move up into a wine buyer role as a Sommelier you can also be invited to luncheons and occasionally have opportunities to be sponsored to travel to wine country by your vendors, your employer, or industry publications.
  • You have the job of building a wine program, which allows you to be creative and develop skills in purchasing.
  • Earning potential can range from average to above average as you normally will be making tips, though as you come up in the industry and move into a wine director position, earning potential can be even greater.

Cons:

  • Working nights and holidays is a challenge for anyone in the restaurant industry. You should prepare your friends and family that you’ll be working on a completely opposite schedule than most of them.
  • Like any job in the public sector, you will be dealing with people and will need to develop finesse to serve all guests.
  • Being a Sommelier is a very social line of work— you need to be comfortable with talking to complete strangers and charming them.
  • You will need to know how to manage a team and treat everyone with respect.
  • There are non-glamorous parts of the job, like carrying 40 pound cases of wine, counting inventory, publishing a wine list, and understanding the restaurant and the needs of your guests so that you make appropriate purchasing decision

Unlike other industries where moving around from different types of work can be a detriment to your resume, the wine industry appreciates job applicants with well rounded work experience, as the skills you build in different lines of work are often transferable and show that you have a passion for everything about wine, including the parts that are sometimes difficult or uncomfortable.  It is important for any Sommelier to be well rounded and to have a variety of experience in the industry in order to succeed in the long run.

Check out Grape Obsession’s awesome apparel and accessories here: www.grapeobsession.com and be sure to follow them on social by clicking on each icon below!

Things to Know Before Culinary School

As a new student at ICC, it is OK to have never cooked in a professional kitchen before and to not know everything– that is why you are coming to school in the first place! When you come to culinary school, you will develop a foundation for your career and set yourself up for future success. But, coming into any new situation can be nerve-wracking, so we put together some tips and terms to learn and practice before you begin your culinary journey. Read on to start the foundation of your success!

1. Test Your Technique

You’ll learn more than 250+ professional techniques in our Culinary and Pastry Arts programs, but we think these skills are great to practice before you come to ICC. These are skills that all chefs develop overtime, so working on them before you even come to school will make you feel prepared and ready to get cooking!

  • Clean as you cook. This is possibly one of the most important kitchen skills you can learn. Having a clean station is stressed in the classroom, and getting into the habit ofClean station being neat will set you up for your future professional career.
  • Learn the basics of the metric system. Units are typically codified into the metric system in the classroom and professional kitchens, so understanding the differences between ounces, liters, grams, and so on, will make it easier to get cooking.
  • Practice visualizing the steps of a recipe and writing out the steps in shorthand onto a notecard. Professional kitchens and the classrooms of ICC do not allow for recipes or phones, so it is important to know the recipe before you step into the kitchen. Writing out the steps is said to be the best way to study and truly understand material.

2. Know Your Kitchen Terms

Brigade is a system of hierarchy found in restaurants and hotels. The hierarchical structure can vary, depending on the kitchen. Some of the variations include:

  • 1 Executive Chef and Line Cooks
  • 1 Executive Chef, 1 or more Sous Chefs, and Line Cooks
  • 1 Executive Chef, 1 Executive Sous Chef, a Chef de Cuisine for each restaurant, a Banquet Chef, perhaps a Sous Chef for each Chef de Cuisine, a Pastry Chef

 

Mis En Place, also known as mise, is all of the prepped ingredients that a chef will need in order to have a successful service. These ingredients are readily available for the chef to quickly prepare the dish needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Sauces are the 5 sauces that every chef should have in their repertoire, and each one can be transformed into its own family of different sauces. They include:

  • Béchamel Sauce
  • Velouté Sauce

Fire: When this is heard in the kitchen, that means it is time to start preparing a dish! Typically, orders are made when they are received, but sometimes they have to be delayed to make the timing of the dishes spot on. If a table orders appetizers and entrees, the appetizers will be fired first!

 

Heard: If you’ve ever watched a cooking show before, you’ve heard this term! This is shouted back at whoever calls out instructions to the kitchen to let them know that they have been understood.

 

Behind: This term is key to kitchen safety. Any time you are crossing behind someone in a kitchen, it must be said so that the person who is dealing with the hot pan or plate of food does not injure someone else. Other terms to do with behind include sharp knife and hot behind.

 

Stage: Pronounced st-ah-j. This is the French term for externship/internship and is commonly used in kitchens and in the classroom.

 

Yes, Chef! is said in response to the head chef of the kitchen. This is to let the chef know that you have heard them and understood their message. Although it is a sign of respect and is earned in kitchens worldwide, it is also a safety measure to ensure that the kitchen runs smoothly.

3. Brush Up On Food Safety

In level one of the Professional Culinary and Pastry Arts programs, you’ll receive in-depth training on food safety & handling, and have the opportunity to receive your ServSafe® Certification from the National Restaurant Association. But before you learn the ins and outs of food safety, here are a few key tips to remember:

  • Perishable food should be kept below 45° or above 135°.
  • Dairy or protein based foods should not be left at room temperature
  • Refrigerators should stay below 41°F at all times

Back-to-Culinary-School Recommended Reading

We all remember the dreaded summer reading list while growing up—a sure way to interrupt your plans at the beach, pool or park! But now, doesn’t the change in season start to get inspiring? How about a different kind of recommended reading list; one that will actually prepare you for a culinary career? Here are our top three picks from the ICC Library so you will be ready to get in the kitchen and pursue your culinary education!

Letters to a Young Chef

Our number one top most requested book of all time is the slim volume by Daniel Boulud – Letters to a Young Chef. While the highly regarded Michelin-starred chef could easily have penned another glossy cookbook or your standard memoir he instead wrote a series of short, accessible essays filled with incredibly practical advice, indispensable to anyone who wants to work in a kitchen. From taste to ego to life after restaurants, Chef Boulud has condensed his years of knowledge into a fun and easy to read book. Pick this up if you want a quick and inspiring overview of the life of a chef.

The Flavor Bible

While the student favorite may be Boulud, our Chef Instructors undoubtedly have a favorite as well! The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg is recommended by nearly every instructor here from Chef Ben to Chef Jose to Chef Natalia! Why? It covers literally every flavor – sorted in a wide range of different ways. If you find a beautiful piece of striped bass but aren’t sure how you want to season it, flip to the ingredient guide to see multiple styles, some you may have never tried before. Likewise, if you are interested in learning how to cook a new style of cuisine, just turn to that section and find a full list of commonly used ingredients and flavor affinities. The entire book is interspersed with flavor advice and inspiration from well known chefs. Warning – after borrowing once from the library you may end up making the purchase and giving this essential guide permanent real estate on your kitchen counter!

The Third Plate

Meanwhile, if you are interested in the future of food and taking a deep dive into sustainability, food origins and the farm to table movement, look no further than the excellent book by our alumni Dan Barber, The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food. If you have ever wondered how Blue Hill came to be so highly regarded and successful, this book will give you some insight into Chef Barber’s philosophy in both the farm and the kitchen. Divided into soil, land, sea and seed, Chef goes through the history of agriculture, how it is changing and why it must change. If this sounds like a dry read, it is definitely not! Chef Barber is a brilliant writer who finds incredible characters and interesting stories to illustrate all his concepts.

All of these books and many more are available in the ICC Library! Students & Alumni are welcome to stop by to borrow a copy and see what else is new.