wines of 2019

Vanessa Da Silva’s Top 10 Wines of 2019 (So Far!)

With 2019 more than half over, we asked Vanessa Da Silva, this year’s Outstanding Alumni Award winner for Outstanding Sommelier, to share her top 10 wines of the year (so far!) As the Sommelier at Ninety Acres Farm in New Jersey, she serves her guests wines that she truly loves from experiences and knowledge gained throughout her career.

After a recent trip to New Zealand as one of only 18 Sommeliers in the world to be invited to the New Zealand Wine Sommit, she was inspired to learn more about the amazing wines produced in the country. Below, you’ll find 4 delicious bottles from the up-and-coming wine country, plus wines like the “not always easy to like” Viognier and the “herbal and complex” Syrah!

Check out what she said were her favorite wines of the year, and be sure to pick up a bottle that’ll easily impress!

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2015 Millton Clos Samuel Viognier Gisborne, New Zealand

Viognier isn’t always the easiest variety to like. It’s often overly aromatic and can lack acidity making it feel heavy on the palate. This Viognier blew me away! It is intense and complex with layers of appealing aromatics and flavors, the bright acidity perfectly balances the residual sugar in this late-harvest wine.  Millton Vineyards is a unique & magical place—James Millton is an adamant believer in Biodynamics and the vineyards are as alive with life as the wine is. This wine was an absolute gem and I have no doubt that it will age for decades to come.

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2016 Lingua Franca The Plough Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Oregon

Winemaker Thomas Savre at Lingua Franca makes wine of precision, care, and soul. They are compelling, complex and balanced— delicious now and yet still have so much potential to age. This Cuvee, the Plough, is made in homage to the vineyard workers, to the people who keep this winery moving.  If you haven’t tried these wines yet, you should!

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2017 Smockshop Spring Ephemeral Grenache Columbia Gorge, Oregon

Hiyu Wine Farm is an experience which will seep into you and engulf your senses and it is a must-visit for any Biodynamic wine lover. Hiyu goes beyond solely Biodynamics, and also incorporates practices of permaculture and animals living among the vines into their charming farm. This wine smells like where it is from more than any I’ve tasted this year. You can practically smell the spring herbs growing in the vineyard, the just ripe red fruit aromas smell as though growing wild in surrounding forest. The structure on the palate is refreshing and up lifting like the breeze across the vineyard as you look towards Mt. Hood. This is a wine that encompasses your senses and brings you to the farm it came from. I can’t help but smile every time I have the opportunity to serve it.

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2013 Quartz Reef Methode Traditionnelle Central Otago, New Zealand

Rudi Bauer, winemaker at Quartz Reef, let this sparkling wine sit on the lees for over 4.5 years! This makes him both a bit of a madman and an absolute genius! Rudi is humble despite being one of the foremost winemakers in Central Otago— he is originally from Austria, having come to New Zealand over 30-years ago for what was supposed to be a 6-month stage. Rudi believes wholeheartedly in Biodynamics and the wines are full of passion, authenticity to where they’re coming from, and vibrantly delicious. This sparkling wine is 91% Chardonnay, 9% Pinot Noir from a vineyard in the Bendigo sub-region of Central Otago. This wine is mouthwatering with layers of citrus fruit, fresh brioche, and poached orchard fruits—not to be missed!

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2013 Element Syrah Finger Lakes, New York

Element winery makes a compelling case for cool climate varieties from the Finger Lakes. One of my favorite is this Syrah! It is savory, herbal, complex, and still showing incredible youth despite being nearly 6-years old. Element winery takes great care in making wines that are genuine to the Finger Lakes, take a minimalist (nothing added, nothing taken away) approach to winemaking, and allow their wine the time they need before being released. This 2013 is the current release of Element Syrah, it is stunning and still has a lot of life in it!

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2012 Te Mata Elston Chardonnay Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Te Mata estate was first planted in 1892! They are located at the heart of Hawke’s Bay GI, the Havelock Hills. Te Mata is part of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand and looks not only at their environmental impact, but also takes into account social and economic sustainability.  The Elston Chardonnay is all about balance and elegance, spending 10-months on its lees in barrel, Elston shows lovely richness while maintaining a strong backbone of freshness. I had the opportunity to taste several vintages while in New Zealand, and can say with confidence that it is delicious in its youth, and stunning as it ages.

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2009 Dry River Craighall Riesling Martinborough, New Zealand

Martinborough GI is a small winegrowing area renowned for its Pinot Noir in the Wairarapa GI on the North Island of New Zealand. Martinborough comes across as an agricultural valley, where there is a wonderful sense of camaraderie among winegrowers. Dry River has deep roots in the area and they farm in a way which is sustainable to their site, and seek to preserve rather than ‘enhance’ wine. This riesling comes from their Craighill vineyard and is layered with citrus blossom tones, citrus zest, juicy pit fruits, and undertones of savory earth tones. The Dry River rieslings are mouthwatering and refreshing in their youth, but really compelling with age.

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2015 The Boneline Iridium Canterbury, New Zealand

The Boneline is a small estate in Canterbury, New Zealand. The Boneline takes its name from the nearby K-T Boundary line and each label features a fossil found within the nearby Waipara river. The Boneline is a unique place where the Southern Alps provide a rain shadow and there is bountiful sunshine, warm dry westerly winds and cool southerly winds that provide for long glorious vintages. Biodiversity reigns here and vines grow among pigs and sheep, native scrub provides shelter for geckos and native birds. And the wine is just as stunning! The Boneline has just been made available in the US as of July 2019, and I cannot urge you enough to find & try some. This Iridium is a red blend of primarily Cabernet Franc with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is a melody of deep dark fruit, savory spice, and herbal earth tones— it is alluring, delicious, and will linger on your mind!

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2015 Marc Delienne Abbaye Road Fleurie, Beaujolais

Marc Delienne works organically, and practices biodynamics on a small 12 acre estate in Fleurie, Beaujolais. He believes in minimal intervention and allows the wine to speak for itself. He uses goblet training, ambient yeast, whole cluster fermentation, no racking, no fining nor filtering, aging in foudre or concrete, and very little sulfur.  His wines are soulful, with deep complex flavors that linger in the palate, and a soft mouth-feel. They are everything that Gamay should be!

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2016 Syncline Mourvèdre Horse Heaven Hills, Washington

James and Poppie Mantone run Syncline Winery with their family along the Columbia river within the Columbia Gorge AVA. They believe in biodynamics to help their vineyard thrive and take care to observe the health of their soils, wines, and employees. They have sworn-off the manipulation of wines, a sentiment which I love! They focus on Rhône varietals, and the wine they produce is both soulful and satisfying. This Mourvèdre has high tones of juicy red berries, black pepper, cured meat, and petrichor. You don’t often see varietal Mourvèdre, but Syncline is making a very compelling case for it.

world's 50 best

ICC Alumni Named To The World’s 50 Best Restaurants List!

On June 25th, in the late hours of the evening in Singapore—luckily the morning for us in NYC—the moment the culinary world had been waiting for had finally arrived: the release of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 sponsored by San Pellegrino.

While the list has seen many changes since its inception 18 years ago, it still arguably holds significant power in today’s foodie world. Take Chef Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca, for example, who visited ICC for a demonstration last September. In 2013 and 2015, his restaurant took home 1st place, then received over 2 million reservation requests within 24 hours (Time). The impact that this list has on the culinary world is immense.

That’s why, we couldn’t be more excited to congratulate the three ICC alumni and their respective restaurants who have been named to this year’s World’s 50 Best list. It is truly one of the greatest honors in gastronomy! We would also like to extend our congratulations to 2019 Professional Culinary Arts graduate Matthew Boronat, who is a line cook at Cosme. After graduating just three months ago, he secured a job at the No. 23 restaurant in the world!

Over the years, ICC has had the pleasure of hosting many of the chefs and restaurants on the Worlds 50 Best Lists for demonstrations at the school. We’d like to send our congratulations to Chef Virgilio Martínez, Chef/Owner of No. 6 restaurant Central in Peru, Chef Rubens Salfer, Head Chef of Alex Atala’s No. 54 restaurant D.O.M in Brazil, Chef Manish Mehrotra, Chef/Owner of No. 60 restaurant Indian Accent in India, and Chef Ángel León, Chef/Owner of No. 94 restaurant Aponiente in Spain, .

Additionally, the publication also includes the top 51-100 restaurants. This year, in a surprise twist, the list was expanded to include restaurants 101-120 to celebrated sponsor San Pellegrino’s 120th anniversary!

Below, check out the alumni who were named to the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list for 2019!

No.2 Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark

Kevin Jeung, Chef of Research and Production, The Fermentation Lab, Professional Culinary Arts ’10

No. 28 Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY

Dan Barber, Chef/Owner, Professional Culinary Arts ’94

No. 47 Benu, San Francisco, CA

Lauren Reed, Pastry Chef de Partie, Professional Pastry Arts ’11

No. 70 Saison, San Francisco, CA

Joshua Skenes, Founder, Professional Culinary Arts ‘01

No. 76 Momofuku Ko, New York, NY

David Chang, Owner, Professional Culinary Arts ‘04

No. 115 Per Se, New York, NY

Anna Bolz, Pastry Chef, Professional Pastry Arts ‘07

No. 119 Atomix, New York, NY

Jhonel Faelnar, Advanced Sommelier, Wine Director & Sommelier, Intensive Sommelier Training ‘14

Knives

Japanese Knives: What, Why and How To Use Them

Chef Yuuki and Chef DavidThis past January, ICC Professional Culinary Arts alumnus, David Israelow, and Chef Yuuki Tanaka, a highly regarded Kaiseki chef from Tokyo, Japan, gave a demonstration on The Art of Japanese Knife Skills and Sashimi.

Throughout the demonstration, they shared their vast knowledge of Japanese knives and the vital role they play in preparing Japanese cuisine. Below, read about what you should know about Japanese knives, why you should choose one, and how to properly use them!

What Should I Know About Japanese Knives?

Japanese knives are used by chefs all over the world for their thin and flexible blades, precise craftsmanship, and light weight.

chef yuukiTraditionally, Japanese knives have one bevel on the right side of the knife. In addition to the years of practice that it takes to become a Sashimi master, Japanese chefs attain beautifully plated Sashimi fish by using these precise blades. Even though it is common to find single bevel Japanese knives, nowadays, companies are also making double beveled knives to attract more mainstream use, much like the German made knives that are high in demand. This means that they can be used to cook other cuisines in addition to Japanese food, although there are some caveats.

Why Should I Use Japanese Knives?

chef yuuki slicingThere are many different reasons that chefs use Japanese knives in their kitchens. In addition to their flexibility and light weight, they also have different angles than German knives. These angles allow for the precision that is needed in Sashimi preparation, but also allows for chefs in general to make straight cuts.

Japanese knives also have an extremely sharp blade that tends to stay sharp for longer periods of time, depending on the use of the knife. On the Rockwell scale, which is used to determine the hardness of steel, Japanese knives are anywhere in the 60-70 range, which is why the blade stays sharper for longer. In contrast, German knives fall in the mid 50s on the Rockwell scale, which makes the steel softer, but is also one of the reasons why German knives are thicker. This then causes German knives to dull faster with more frequent use.

How Should I Use My Japanese Knives?

knifeIn contrast to the thicker and more durable German knives, Japanese knives should not be used for tough kitchen tasks, like breaking apart chicken bones. The flexibility of the knives allows for precision in cooking and presentation, but also means that the blade is more easily chipped. During this demonstration, Chef David Israelow and Chef Yuuki Tanaka showed this flexibility and precision through the use of five different knife techniques:

  1. San mai oroshi – a 3 piece filet style for round fish
  2. Go mai oroshi – a 5 piece filet style for flat fish
  3. Hegi zukuri – a sashimi cutting style from the left which produce biased cuts on an angle
  4. Hira zukuri – a sashimi cutting style from the right which produce straight block cuts
  5. Sukibiki – a scaling technique where the knife is used to cut the scales off

If you’re ready to purchase a Japanese knife for your kitchen, check out our friends at Korin Knives! They are NYC’s leading experts on Japanese knives and will help you pick out the right knife for your hand, sharpen it, and even show you the proper way to use it!

A Student in the kitchen

3 Tips to Prepare for Culinary School in the New Year

Is attending culinary school on your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2019? Before you begin cooking or baking in the kitchens of ICC, there are many things that you can do to get prepared to go back to school! While experience is not necessary to begin in any of our programs—even our professional ones—it doesn’t hurts to gain tips from an experienced chef, practice a fundamental technique or read a new cookbook! While the holidays can be great to rest and recharge before the New Year, they are also the perfect time to plan your resolutions and prepare for your future. So, while you’re in between holidays, delve into a new recipe, get inspired watching Chef’s Table or even mark your calendar to join us for a chef demonstration in 2019 at ICC.

Below, find a few tips to jump-start your resolution to begin a new culinary or pastry career in the New Year!

Watch the Pros Work

Whether its binge watching seasons of culinary shows on Netflixcheck out our list of favorites featuring ICC deans and alumni—or attending a live chef demonstration, watching the pros work will open your eyes to the culinary world and help to expand your knowledge of the food industry.

Chef Joan Roca

Chef demonstrations and tasting events are essential to the student experience at ICC, providing additional opportunities to learn outside of the classroom from some of the best chefs in the world! Plus, as a student, you’ll have the opportunity to volunteer at chef demonstrations—learning alongside world-renowned chefs like Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca and famed cake artist Ron Ben-Israel. If you’re considering enrolling in culinary school, we encourage you to attend one of our demonstrations to see what it’s like. Contact your Admissions Representative, or check out our upcoming events on our Facebook Page.

Learn a New Technique

Piping skills

Solid technique is the foundation for a successful career in any aspect of the culinary industry. Although experience is not required to enroll, before attending culinary school, it can be helpful to try your hand at some of the basic skills you’ll use in school! Whether you practice how to chiffonade basil or pipe a rosette, you’ll become familiar with kitchen tools and techniques before beginning.

At ICC, we offer skills workshops, available to all current career program students, to practice proper techniques outside of the classroom. Just like study hall, these workshops offer additional time in the kitchen with your chef instructors to brush up on key techniques before an exam or practice a skill that you need more time to master. Some of the many skills workshop topics include: knife skills, butchery, piping skills, chocolate tempering and more!

Break Out a Cookbook

Cookbooks from the library

Cookbooks, or other food & beverage titles, can be a great way to gain insight into the industry, while also inspiring you to expand your culinary horizons. Steal some alone time between the holidays and check out our culinary reading list to prepare you for a culinary career and give you the motivation to go back-to-school! You’ll find all of these titles, and 5,000+ more in the ICC Library, free for students and alumni to keep connected with the latest trends and industry conversations.

If you’re ready to take the next step in pursuing your culinary or pastry education, we’re here to help! Schedule a tour or RSVP for an Open House to learn more about ICC’s programs, see our kitchens in action and find out how to get started!