ICC featured in Harper’s Bazaar Korea

A feature of ICC grads Wylie Dufresne, Hooni Kim, Kee Ling Tong, and Hugh Mangum.

ICC featured in Harper’s Bazaar Korea, August 2014 issue, with graduates Wylie Dufresne, Hooni Kim, Kee Ling Tong, and Hugh Mangum.

“Young Chefs of New York”

Alder’s Wylie Dufresne
Q. How did you become a chef?
A. From age 11 onwards I worked at a restaurant every summer. I peeled potatoes, served dishes and washed the plates. But I decided I should finish my schooling first so I majored in philosophy then after graduation I went to the ICC to learn how to cook professionally. My mother was a good cook but I was also influenced by my grandmother. The reason why I started to like eggs was because my grandmother made me scrambled eggs or omelettes.

Hanjan’s Hooni Kim
Q. I heard you were a medical student. How did you start to cook?
A. It was my childhood dream to become a doctor. I studied really hard in the West Coast and was interning at a hospital, when suddenly in my fourth year I just realized I couldn’t stand the smell of hospitals. So I had to take a year off and I thought I would learn how to cook since I always had interest in that. Growing up in New York, both of my parents worked so we always ate out and I experienced a lot of different cuisines because of that. Since I had no experience as a chef I was looking for the fastest entry point into the industry. That’s why I decided to enroll at the ICC because it was hard training for a short period of time. Thanks to the ICC location in SoHo I would finish my lessons and go to work as an intern in famous restaurants to practice the learning.
Q. You completed the ICC course and you started at Daniel as a chef. It’s the West Point of the culinary world yet you managed to get in without any experience. How?
A. I did kind of wonder if I should go back to medical school after completing the ICC course, but I decided it wouldn’t be too late to experience working at a fantastic top restaurant first. So I went to Daniel and offered to work as a free intern. I worked hard for several months and then the manager asked me if I would consider going in as a full time worker. I was actually so happy I could cry when I heard the offer but instead I said, “Let me think about it.” I went in the next day to accept the offer, of course.

Mighty Quinn’s Hugh Mangum

Q. I heard you were in a band. What instrument did you play?
A. I was a drummer for a long time, we weren’t amazingly popular but we still managed to tour all over America. But I was always interested in food. I didn’t really have a lot of time and I was starting out much later than your typical chef. I found out about the ICC in New York so I finished my course there. It was a very short course but it was a very tough time for me – I copied out each recipe word for word every night to memorize it. Still maybe I couldn’t be mature enough to drop my drumsticks and I actually rejected my first job offer because I thought the pay was too low compared with what I was earning as a drummer. But my fellow chefs at the ICC lead me down the right path. Actually that ICC network is one of the school’s hugest pluses and the driving force behind what I am today.

Kee’s Chocolate’s Kee Ling Tong
Q. Please tell us how you came to open a chocolate shop.
A. I started working at JP Morgan in my teens and stayed there for over 15 years. When I became thirty, I thought, “Don’t I need to do something fun for myself now?”
I decided to quit my job and just throw myself into the ICC course. It was a present to myself. Initially I was focusing on baking but as time passed I found myself drawn to chocolate making. After I graduated I spent two and a half months in southern France learning about chocolate, then I opened the shop. In the beginning I had a flower shop too, but the chocolate shop became so popular I didn’t have the time to focus on the flowers. So after a year I closed down that business.