Cherry Bombe 100 influential women

The Cherry Bombe 100: A Celebration of Influential Women

Over the past five years, Cherry Bombe has celebrated women in the culinary world, sharing their stories and building a community of people making the world a better place through food. This year, they introduced The Cherry Bombe 100, a list of the 100 women who inspire the food world through their creativity, energy, humanity and hard work. From chefs and restaurant owners to food activists, writers, entrepreneurs and more, these women are influential to both the culinary industry and the ICC Community!

We’re proud to recognize ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship instructor, Liz Alpern, and nine ICC alumni who made it on The Cherry Bombe 100 list for their incredible work and accomplishments as innovators and thought leaders in the culinary industry. Check out these 10 amazing women below, and see the full Cherry Bombe 100 list here.

 

Liz Alpern
Culinary Entrepreneurship Instructor 

To have chutzpah is to be audacious—and culinary consultant and teacher Liz Alpern is nothing if not audacious. She co-founded The Gefilteria as a way to rethink gefilte fish, a traditional food that few chefs were clamoring to reclaim, and has since grown the company from a single product to one with workshops, pop-up dinners, and a cookbook: The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Food. Liz, however, is as much new school as she is old school. She’s also co-founder of Queer Soup Night, a roving fundraising party that celebrates a previously overlooked category of chefs and food enthusiasts.

Ashley Christensen
Ashley Christensen
Sous Vide Intensive ’12

Since making Raleigh, North Carolina, her home, Ashley Christensen has sought to foster community through food, philanthropy and the stimulation of the city’s downtown neighborhood. After working in some of the Triangle’s top kitchens, Ashley opened Poole’s Diner in 2007, one of downtown Raleigh’s first restaurants. In 2011, she opened three new ventures—Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chuck’s, and Fox Liquor Bar. In the spring of 2015, her restaurant group introduced Death & Taxes, a restaurant celebrating wood-fire cooking with Southern ingredients, and Bridge Club, a private events loft and cooking classroom. Ashley is an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and founded the biannual event Stir the Pot, in which she hosts visiting chefs in Raleigh to raise funds for the SFA’s documentary initiatives.

Angela Garbacz
Angela Garbacz
 Professional Pastry Arts ’08

Angela Garbacz is the owner of Goldenrod Pastries, a boutique pastry shop in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 2008, she moved to New York City to attend the French Culinary Institute (now International Culinary Center), where she earned a degree in Classic French Pastry Arts. During her time there, she worked with top toques in the industry, including Dave Arnold, Jean Georges Vongerichten, Nils Nóren, and Harold McGee. Years later, after learning she had an intolerance to dairy, she decided to chronicle her baking journey, and started the Goldenrod Pastries blog. It was there she reimagined baking for a variety of restricted and alternative diets (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan). Her recipes, photos and anecdotes quickly gained a large and dedicated following. For a year, Angela was fulfilling catering orders out of her home kitchen while also working in international marketing. Realizing it was time to pursue pastry full-time, she quit her job in 2015 and opened the doors to Goldenrod Pastries where her all-American desserts and pastries feature unique flavor combinations and a strikingly vivid color palette.

Lani Halliday
Lani Halliday
Culinary Entrepreneurship ’18

Lani Halliday is the creative baker behind Brooklyn’s Brutus Bakeshop. She has made a name for herself with her delicious, colorful, gluten-free creations–including her fabulous snake cakes. She has contributed her time and talent to organizations such as Queer Soup Night, the roving fundraising event. She is currently at work on a new concept, Dominga Brooklyn, set to debut next year, and she is currently helping the small businesses impacted by the closing of the Pilotworks incubator program find new workspace and resources.

Angie Mar
Angie Mar
Professional Culinary Arts ’11 

Think all steakhouses are ultra-masculine affairs? Not according to Chef Angie Mar. The Seattle native has run the kitchen at The Beatrice Inn since 2013, then fully reinvented the hallowed spot as owner and executive chef in 2016. The historic, subterranean West Village restaurant, best known in the early aughts as the paparazzi-swarmed after-hours boite of choice for the Olsens, Lindsay Lohan, and Chloe Sevigny, has become an impressive shrine to meat matters, where Angie showcases whole animal butchery, live fire cooking, and dry aging prowess. Before The Beatrice Inn, Angie cooked at multiple NYC carnivore’s havens, like Marlow & Sons, Diner, and Reynard, plus The Spotted Pig. Angie proves superb steak certainly isn’t—and shouldn’t be—a bro-y boys’ club.

Camilla Marcus
Camilla Marcus
Professional Culinary Arts ’08

Camilla Marcus has one of the most modern minds in the restaurant world today. She helped bring to life some of New York’s most beloved neighborhood restaurants, including dell’anima, Riverpark, and the reopened Union Square Café, but it’s with the launch of west-bourne that her passions fully come together. An accidentally vegetarian and decidedly wholesome concept, west-bourne brings people together to eat well and do good, which means a business model that incorporates youth job training, an emphasis on organic and local produce, and a zero-waste approach to benefit the planet and its people. Camilla is also co-founder of TechTable, a hospitality technology thought leadership platform, and a partner in Pound for Pound Consulting, a boutique strategic and creative agency for hospitality-related initiatives.

Klancy Miller
Klancy Miller
The Craft of Food Writing ’04

Klancy Miller is the author of Cooking Solo: The Fun of Cooking For Yourself. She is a writer and pastry chef and earned her diplôme de pâtisserie from Le Cordon Bleu Paris, and apprenticed at the Michelin-starred restaurant Taillevent. She has appeared in The New York Times Food section and on Food Network’s Recipe for Success and Cooking Channel’s Unique Sweets. She has contributed to Cherry Bombe, Bon Appétit, Food 52 and The Washington Post. Klancy is a co-founder of the cookbook club at The Wing and an advisory board member for Equity at The Table (EATT).

Grace Ramirez
Grace Ramirez
Professional Culinary Arts ’11

Grace Ramirez is the tenacious chef, author, and TV personality born in Venezuela and raised in Miami. Her gorgeous cookbook, La Latina: A Cook’s Journey Through Latin America, is a celebration of and love letter to her culture. When her proposal for a book about Latin food was rejected, Grace worked around the system and found a way to get La Latina published. She also hustled to get her TV career off the ground and today hosts Destino Con Sabor on the Food Network. Grace actively supports numerous relief efforts throughout the world for Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, working with World Central Kitchen, El Plato Caliente, Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, and many others. Her drive, passion and humanitarian efforts were recognized with a Distinguished Latina Star award from the Puerto Rican Bar Association.

Avery Ruzicka
Avery Ruzicka
Art of International Bread Baking ’11

Avery Ruzicka believes in milling your own flour, a long fermentation process, and the power of freshly baked bread. She is the baker and co-owner of Manresa Bread, the spinoff of the popular Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos, California. She started working at the restaurant as a runner, but longed to be in the kitchen. Once there, she felt a restaurant of Manresa’s caliber should be making its own bread, and was given the go-ahead to start baking. Today, there are two Manresa Bread brick-and-mortar locations and stands at the Palo Alto and Campbell farmers’ markets. Avery fans will be thrilled to know an all-day bakery and cafe will open soon in Campbell, giving them another way to get the Manresa Bread delights, which include the signature Levain, hand-rolled Croissants, Whole Grain Salted Caramel Sourdough Donuts, Triple Chocolate Orange Panettone, Chocolate Babka, and more.

Christina Tosi
Christina Tosi
Professional Pastry Arts ’04

Superstar pastry chef and Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi single-handedly changed the way we look at dessert. She brought modernity and creativity to the category with her unique baked goods, including Compost Cookies and Crack Pie. She elevated soft serve from simple summer treat to something chef-worthy. And we have her to thank for the naked cake trend: she wanted to leave the outside of cakes unfrosted so we could see what was inside. Her third book, All About Cake, is out this month, and she was the subject of a recent Chef’s Table documentary so sincere it moved many of her fans to tears.

Alumni Spotlight: Avery Ruzicka, Bread Baking Class of 2011

Throughout Avery Ruzicka’s youth, cooking always played a big role. Her professional interest in food emerged from the extensive time she spent abroad during and after high school, leading to her  first restaurant job in college.

Every night we sat down to a home cooked meal and the entire family took part in preparation,” says Ruzicka, a Greensboro, North Carolina native.

Encouraged by her parents to explore and experience other cultures, Ruzicka moved to Spain as a high school sophomore and also spent a year in England before heading to college. Ruzicka attended the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where she studied political science, international studies, and creative writing. A study abroad trip to France later exposed her to a new world of award-winning cuisine and led her to explore food writing.

I thought if I wanted to get into food writing, I had better learn the ins and outs of a kitchen, so I worked at restaurants while finishing my degree. I loved the intensity, creativity, and collaboration that came from working in a kitchen and decided to focus on food over writing,” says Ruzicka.

Soon after, she enrolled at the French Culinary Institute (now ICC) where she earned The Art of International Bread Baking diploma in six months.


ICC: In what capacity do you work for Manresa Bread? What does your job entail, both in a broad sense as well as day-to-day?

Ruzicka: The exciting part about Manresa Bread is that my day-to-day responsibilities are ever-evolving. If I look at my role every six months, some part of that has changed in an exciting and positive way. It’s always been my goal to keep learning in the culinary world and the added joy of starting my own business has allowed me to do that every day. If you work in food, you get to do a lot of things. If you are really engaged in it, you can learn a new technique or process all the time. I’m no longer just a baker; I’m a business owner on top of that. It really opens up a number of other doors to continue to learn and challenge myself. There are days where I’m in the bakery wearing an apron and getting my hands dirty and other days where I’m at my desk or hitting up our retail locations in Los Gatos and Los Altos.


ICC: Did your ICC education help you land this job? Do you use the skills you learned at the ICC at work?

Ruzicka: The Art of International Bread Baking program at ICC’s New York Campus definitely gave me a good foundation that I was able to build on with time and practice. I left ICC with a core understanding of how bread works. That’s what I look to Manresa restaurant with me and that’s the foundation for Manresa Bread.


avery-2ICC:  What inspired you to enroll in culinary school? Were there certain steps/ thoughts that lead you to the decision?

Ruzicka: I was interested in getting into food writing and so I thought I should get into a kitchen. I loved it so much and immediately decided to pursue cooking, knowing that I could go back to writing if I wanted to.


ICC:  What were your greatest challenges at school? And how were you able to overcome them?

Ruzicka: There were so many opportunities available to us that it was hard to participate in everything between course work, a full-time stage, and the extra programming offered by ICC. Getting to know the instructors and looking to them for guidance and feedback really helped determine where I wanted to focus my time and energy.


ICC: If someone was hesitant to pursue a culinary education, what you say to encourage them?

Ruzicka: Spend time to self-reflect on pursing a culinary career. It is a quickly changing career choice. From an income point of view, the rewards are not going to be astronomical but it is incredibly gratifying if it is something you are passionate about. The culinary field is a creative and exciting career choice. It will ask a lot of you and you really need to love it. There are so many options within the culinary field that keeping an open mind and committing to trying different roles from line cook to something in research and development can be beneficial to finding the niche that’s right for you. Be imaginative – if you can dream about a role in the culinary world, you can create it.


ICC:  What is your fondest memory of your time at the ICC?

Ruzicka: The joy of learning how to make bread was pretty magical for me. Going in every morning and baking off loaves was always so exciting to me. I have a lot of memories of waking up early to bake – even the smell of the baking bread in the kitchen. That has stayed with me for years!


ICC: What is the best industry related advice you’ve ever received? 

Ruzicka: Be actively engaged and present in your work every day and hold yourself to the highest standard, regardless of any standard someone else is putting in front of you.


For more information on Manresa Bread, please visit: http://www.manresabread.com/