One of Chef Pablo's creations

What It’s Like to Attend A Masterclass with Chef and Sommelier Pablo Ranea

Written by: Aditya Malhotra, Intensive Sommelier Training Student

Earlier this month, students and alumni enjoyed a star studded masterclass when Chef and Sommelier Pablo Ranea visited ICC’s California campus and world renowned Argentinean wine maker, Santiago Achaval of Matervini Winery, was brought in via a Skype call. During this special event, we had the opportunity to taste a total of ten different wines, and by the end of the day, we gained a new perspective on each of the wines. We started off by sampling 8 Malbecs, each coming from a different elevation, then moved onto a white Torrontes as an aperitif and finished off with a Matervini white.

Argentina is well regarded for its unique culinary style, from quick snacks like empanadas to hearty, quality steaks, and for its high-quality wine produced from ancient vines throughout the country’s varied elevations. During Chef Pablo’s visit, we learned all about Argentina’s cuisine and wine.

This event was especially impressive because as Chef Pablo introduced each wine, he also did a live cooking demonstration of dishes that would pair well. For his first dish, he showed us an interesting technique designed to soften the structure of the octopus meat which he called “Asustar,” which means “to scare or frighten.” This technique involved holding the octopus by the head and submerging the tentacles into boiling water for only 10-15 seconds and then quickly removing them from the heat; Chef Pablo recommended repeating the process about four times. The completed dish was comprised of the expertly prepared octopus, chorizo and potato puree, and topped with the famous Argentinean Chimichurri sauce.

Pastel de PapaLater on, Chef Pablo demonstrated how to prepare “Pastel de Papa,” which comprises the traditional Empanadas Mendocinas with a skirt steak filling. Chef Pablo noted that cutting the skirt steak prevents the filling from drying out. For this dish, Chef Pablo called for some audience participation. Everyone was pretty excited to roll up their sleeves and learn from the master himself.

Pablo Ranea began his career as a Graphic Designer which truly explains the beauty in his food presentation. His preparations looked like art on a plate!

Chef Pablo was the Executive Chef for ten years at The Azafran restaurant, considered to be one of the best restaurants of Mendoza, where he developed his concept of “New Argentinean Cuisine.” It was during his time at Azafran that he also recognized the fact that wines of Argentina were becoming increasingly sophisticated and in higher demand in world markets than ever before. With these thoughts in mind, Chef Pablo saw a need for Argentinean chefs to match their food to great wines. He took matters into his own hands by studying to become a Sommelier, gaining his certification in 2012. Since then, Pablo has been working as a mediating consultant between restaurants and wineries by developing recipes and selecting appropriate wine parings.

In regards to the meaning of “New Argentinean Cuisine,” Pablo explains that he aims to discover contemporary takes on traditional dishes by utilizing a variety of quality regional ingredients. For example, combining lamb that was raised in southern Patagonia, garnished with quinoa harvested from the mountainous region of the Andes, finished with a sauce made with corn or tapioca from the north-east. In this way, pulling ingredients from all corners of Argentina into one dish, Chef Pablo has been able to create a whole new dish which is still exponentially Argentinean.

As a firm believer in the importance of learning from new places, people and experiences, Chef Pablo has become more of a “Nomad Chef,” taking time away from the stationary restaurant setting to travel internationally with his partner Alejandro Cohen. Over the last two years, as they travel the world, they make an effort to share with others their knowledge and passion about Argentinean cuisine and wine by leading cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and hosting pop-up dinners. The students at the ICC were more than honored to have had a chance to meet them.

Check out my tasting notes about the wines from the event below. You may even want to pick up a bottle for yourself!

Selection of Argentinean Wines from Pablo Ranea event

  1. Nieto Senetiner- Torrontes 2016, Yellow color with greenish shades. The nose has a bouquet of white flowers, white peach and citrus fruit like orange and grapefruit
  2. Mi Terruno Reserve- Malbec 2014, Intense red colour with violet hues. Good body with sweet and round tannins. Typical Malbec red fruit aromas of plums and cherry with vanilla notes from the oak aging.
  3. Don Nicanor, Barrel Select- Malbec 2014, Intense purple-red hue and exquisite fruity notes of cherry and red currant.
  4. Rutini Encuentro-Malbec, aged 12 months in French and American Oak, violets floral notes, and fresh red and black fruits. Full-bodied tannins and rich dark chocolatey marmalade fruit notes are present on the mouth.
  5. Guachezco Oro-Malbec 2013 aged 16 months in barrels of French, American and Hungarian oak, displays a deep red colour. The notes of red fruits, plums and blackberries are combined with notes of cranberry along with aromas of caramel, vanilla and mocha from the time spent in the oak.
  6. Rutini Cabernet Malbec 2013 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Malbec, 12 Months in French and American Oak. On the nose, full bodied fruit aromas of cherry, marmalade & plum. The mouth feel combines the mature fruit essence with rich spices of vanilla & chocolate from the time in oak.
  7. Matervini Finca Malbec, grown at 3200 feet of altitude, in alluvial soils. The combination of this soil and old vines results in this classic wine from Mendoza, with flavors of attractive austerity and rich mouth feel at the same time,
  8. Matervini Antes Andes Valles Calchaquies Malbec, planted at 7800 feet of altitude a distinctive Malbec, fresh and full of fruit, with a wild feeling to it and mineral notes that make it a typical wine from Salta.
  9. Matervini Blanco, Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier, cofermented, the juice is allowed 5 days of skin contact prior to fermentation. This decadent white wine has the structure of an old world wine but still had some zesty youth. A great way to finish the tastings.

 

 

vinho verde tasting at icc

A Taste of Vinho Verde with Eric Entrikin, MS

Written by: Madison Cope, Intensive Sommelier Training Student

Map of Portugal indicating the Vinho Verde regionWhen most of us think of Portuguese wine, we think of the sweet, lush, and intense fortified wine called Port. But the world of Portuguese wine is so much more versatile and refreshing, as Eric Entrikin, Master Sommelier, explained at a lecture and tasting of Vinho Verde hosted at ICC’s California campus on May 22nd.

The region’s name, Vinho Verde, translating to “Green Wine,” truly captures the character of this region’s wines – light, crisp, and fresh like Portugal’s green and verdant countryside. Located in the northwestern corner of the country, Vinho Verde experiences a cool and rainy climate that is moderated by the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Home to complex valley systems and varying elevations, Vinho Verde boasts numerous microclimates that divide the appellation into nine sub-regions. And the predominantly granite soils lend a beautiful level of stony minerality to the finished wines.

 

 

Students smelling and tasting wine at the Vinho Verde tasting eventWhat makes Vinho Verde truly stand out, however, is the distinct qualities of the region’s grapes. Portugal is home to thousands of indigenous varieties (rivaled only by Italy in sheer number), and many of them are highlighted and celebrated in Vinho Verde’s wines. From Trajudura to Loureiro, these varieties are not on most of our tables – but they should be! At this guided tasting event, Eric Entrikin introduced us to some of these distinctive and alluring wines, and the common threads were evident – searing acidity, a light body, low alcohol, vibrant and fruity. These were truly palate-cleansing wines that left our mouths ready for the next bite!

Fun Fact: Eric Entrikin MS used a wine from Vinho Verde to swish with before taking the blind tasting portion of his master sommelier examination because of its high acid and unparalleled ability to cleanse the palate!

While many traditional Vinho Verde wines are blends of multiple white varieties, some single varietal Alvarinho and Loureiro do exist. Eric further explained the unique notes of each distinct variety. Bottles of White Wines from the Vinho Verde region of Portugal

  • Loureiro: Highly floral. Rose and freesia combine with ripe lemon citrus and tropical fruits. Juicy and refreshing with bright minerality.
  • Alvarinho (aka Albariño): The most intensely aromatic and floral of the common indigenous varieties. Orange peel, peach, toasted almond. Also the richest of Vinho Verde’s whites.
  • Avesso: Notes of orange and peach, toasted almond, citrus, apple, and pineapple. A slightly waxy texture is balanced by high acidity.
  • Azal: Green apple, lemon, lime with sharp acidity.
  • Arinto: Rich and flavorful. Citrus, apple, pear. One of the region’s highest quality grapes.
  • Trajadura: Delicate with notes of stone and tree fruit. This variety is the least acidic of the Vinho Verde varieties.

While Vinho Verde wines are not particularly complex, their simplicity yet firm structure make them highly drinkable and perfect “food wines.” So what do they drink well with? Eric suggests pairing Vinho Verde whites with salads, white fish, chicken, anything with citrus, or simply as an aperitif! For Vinho Verde reds, he suggests roasted and grilled meats and lamb. And for Rose, Eric recommends pairing with charcuterie, shell fish, and even Asian cuisine.

For those who love Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, these wines are similar in profile and a great divergence from what you usually drink. What’s more, you will find high-quality Vinho Verde at very low prices, making them a great value and perfect for picnics during the spring and summer months. But don’t let these wines age, Eric warns, they are best drunk in their youth!

So with Memorial Day in the rearview mirror, go and pick up yourself a recent vintage from Vinho Verde that you (and your wallet) won’t mind sharing at your next summer barbeque. Saúde!

Library Notes: June 2017 [California]

Written by Savannah Sharrett
ICC Communications Liaison

View the books in our California campus library that will get you in gear for National Fruit & Veggie Month.

The Book of Greens: A Cook’s Compendium by Jenn Louis

Personally, when I think of “greens,” I imagine one of three things: collard, kale, or lettuce. Author, Jenn Louis, a Southern Californian native, comments that although having grown up in an area plentiful with green produce, it wasn’t until she traveled out of the country that she, “was delighted by the number of different varieties of greens in the markets”. She points out that North American diets tend to only include greens as salads and side dishes and shared her discovery that the rest of the world integrates them more fully. Today, in California especially, with the availability of more produce in this farmers market culture, variety is no longer our problem. As many might agree, “learning to buy and cook NEW vegetables can be intimidating”.  The table of contents lists 40 different types of greens, some I had never hear of, like Caltuce, Gai Lan, Mache, Purslane, etc. This book takes each of those and breaks them down, providing background information, what season it grows, how to choose the best quality, how to clean, store, refresh, cook and what to pair it with. Despite the few carefully thought out recipes towards the back, this book is more of an encyclopedia.


The Power of Vegetables! Turbocharged Recipes for Vegetables with Guts by Peter Meehan and the Editors of Lucky Peach

As always, Lucky Peach takes an unorthodox view of matters and I happen to be a huge fan of their style.  Most veggie cookbooks emphasize what’s in season or claim to hold the key to wellness and healthfulness but instead, Meehan states simply, “I wanted weeknight all-caps cooking for people looking to eat more vegetable-centered meals”.  It is interesting to note that although meat is primarily a non-option in this book, these recipes are not prejudiced towards the occasional toss of bacon or the use of anchovies to achieve that umami flavor we are all seeking these days. Although usually very trendy, this time Lucky Peach strays from the ever so popular grain-bowls or egg-on-top-bowls and encourages home cooks to have a broader, more international view of food without overwhelming them. For example, one might try their hand at Gomen Wat, an Ethiopian dish or Sarson Ka Saag, from the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan, and even Quiche Lorraine, a French staple.  One of the most useful parts of this book might be the list of ingredients that will make a home pantry versatile and complete such as miso, bread crumbs, capers, and shitake mushrooms.


On Vegetables by Jeremy Fox

I have definitely heard of the concepts of farm-to-table and nose-to-tail but I never thought about seed-to-stalk vegetable cooking. Author, Jeremy Fox, defines this idea in saying, “if you’re going to kill something, you @&!% better not waste any of it”. He goes further and asks, “what if cooking responsibly isn’t just about honoring things with heartbeats”? The book challenges readers not to take the easiest or standardized approach to cooking but instead to cook intentionally and deliberately; to consider how the dish today carries over to the dish tomorrow. Interestingly, Fox takes the time to explain that he is not a vegetarian nor is his book a guide to being vegetarian, rather it is a manual on how to “eat what is around you”. The onset of the book spends time paying homage to the farmers and farms that provide produce for his restaurant, Rustic Canyon located in Santa Monica, CA. The book then goes on to give tips on storage and purchasing key ingredients. Something can be said to the fact that every recipe is one page with plenty of white-space.

 

Library Notes: BBQ and Brews – May 2017 [California]

Written by: Savannah Sharrett
California Campus | Communications Liaison

The Secrets of Master Brewers: Techniques, Traditions, and Homebrew Recipes for 26 of the World’s Classic Beer Styles by Jeff Alworth

It wasn’t until the last few years that it has become “cool” to know about beer. Even for those who are not necessarily interested in brewing their own beer, the food history content included catches my interest. This book examines 7 major traditions and their relative subcategories that beer might fall under British, German, Czech, Belgian, French & Italian, American and “Brewing Wild”. Author Jeff Alworth notes that during the research process for this book and his previous, Beer Bible, he discovered that there were contradictions in methods between professional brewers, each one believing his own was correct. He explains how the varieties of styles are a result of the regional and national ways of thinking about beer. It was fascinating for me to learn that the study of beer and brewing is actually quite established and extensive. The forward includes the thoughts from a university instructor, John Isenhour, who conducts classes on both the scientific and cultural aspects of brewing. Each chapter of this book begins with an introduction to the region and gives a general view of why it’s unique. The chapters go deeper into understanding the unique brewing process by breaking it down into malt, mash, boil, fermentation/conditioning, sugars, yeast, and packaging. Despite this book being data heavy, there is an enjoyable amount of food and beverage history that lends to understanding the social and economic aspects of each region.


Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink (2nd Edition) by Randy Mosher

Author Randy Mosher urges, “Don’t even consider starting this book without a beer in your hand”. For those of us who struggle to describe why one beer is better than the next, this book provides clear and logical tools to help us be more decisive. One feature that stood out to me the most was the “Beer Aroma Spiral”: A diagram that identifies 11 common base aromas that beer tasters will experience. The diagrams in this book are really what make this book useful. From a scale of beer coloring to a bitterness ratio chart, the haze of beer identification and classification is made clear. Mosher provides the reader with an understanding of the terminology used by the professionals. Just as when a Sommelier identifies a wine, a Cicerone can deconstruct a beer into 9 aspects: aroma, head, color, carbonation, body, mouth feel, flavor alcohol and taste. For the foodies out there, Chapter 7 explains the argument of why beer and food are the perfect matches.  Mosher encourages finding the harmony between the dish and chosen beverage and he gives excellent pairing suggestions.


The Homebrewer’s Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to Making Your Own Beer from Scratch by Marika Josephson, Aaron Kleidon, and Ryan Tockstein

Creative inspiration can definitely be triggered by the environment around us and, looking back at the product can be a testament to our journey. The Homebrewer’s Almanac takes a more naturalistic view of brewing as the authors note in the preface, “carrying on the heritage of ancient traditions brings us closer to the long life cycle of the plants we briefly live with side-by-side”. They encourage seasonality and making the most of what flavors naturally occur at different times of the year. As I am sure most chefs would agree, cooking with freshest ingredients brings out the most flavor possible. The same goes for brewing beer; The quality of the final product can significantly decrease if one uses a hop that was picked, shipped and stored for who knows how long versus a hop that was just picked and immediately used. The Authors also give the readers tips on how to apply this concept via buying local and foraging. This book chronicles a 6-year collection of unique beer recipes that use seasonal ingredients. Some examples are a winter “Sweet Potato Vienne, American Ale”, a spring “Dandelion Tonic, British Ale”, a summer “Chanterelle Biere de Garde, German Alt” and a fall “Pumpkin Seed Ale, British Ale”.


Pitmaster: Recipes, Techniques and Barbeque Wisdom by Andy Husbands and Chris Hart

Barbecue is not a new invention. As noted in the foreword, “the cooking and the culture…are inextricably entwined and deeply rooted in heritage and history”. That makes me wonder why then, has barbecue become such a cornerstone of food culture? Mike Mills, four-time World BBQ Champion and owner of several restaurants gave one explanation: “folks are flocking to barbecues in search of sustenance and community…it wraps you in warmth and belonging”. Pitmaster begins with a lesson on equipment and emphasizes that fire control, clean charcoal, seasoned wood and proper airflow are all key. The photography in this book is particularly notable. I wouldn’t recommend flipping through on an empty stomach as the images, although technically being one-dimensional, capture bold 3D flavor! One recipe that is on my to-do list is the “Burnt Ends”. Interestingly, there is a recipe for “Smoke Shop Hot Links” that really teaches readers how to grind meat and smoke sausages (Hog-sausage-casing and all…).


Project Smoke: Seven Steps to Smokes Food Nirvana, Plus 100 Irresistible Recipes from Classic to Adventurous by Steven Raichlen

Now on his tenth book on the subject, Steven Raichlen focuses in on smoking techniques. Whether its beef, pork and lamb or vegetables and desserts, this book provides a crash course in everything smoke related. Recognizing that the technique had been evolving over a long period of time, Raichlen clarifies what smoke really is at the onset of the book. In a chart entitled, “A Brief Science Lesson—What is Smoke and Why Does it Taste So Good,” the reader comes to understand that smoke essentially happens when you burn wood. The variation of taste lies within the type of wood, the size of the wood pieces, the equipment used and the airflow.  For those who may already have knowledge on the subject, the conversion tables and study of types of smokers may be most useful. The book provides a complete picture to a successful meal as it provides suggestions for starters, main dishes, desserts, and cocktails.


BBQ Rules: the Old-School Guide to Smoking Meat by Myron Mixton 

As a winner of more barbecue competitions that anyone else in the world, Myron Mixton certainly knows his subject. What I appreciate about this book, in comparison to others on meat smoking, is that Mixton takes a butcher’s approach, dividing his recipes and how-to’s by animal and by cuts of meat. For example, chapter 2 on “The Hog” is broken down to the whole-hog, hog parts (shoulder, spare ribs, tails, ham, etc), and hog-extras (snout, skin, etc). Mixton encourages readers and new smokers to be involved with the whole process and avoid taking shortcuts. He is a believer in cooking outside, making your own coal, and building your own pit. He comments that many today over complicate the technique, often adding exotic ingredients and extra steps. In his book, Mixton takes readers, “back to the way real barbecue is done” and encourages always relating your processes back to, “the old-school way of doing things”.


 

 

Library Notes California – April 2017

Written by: Savannah Sharrett
California Campus | Communications Liaison

April is all about Health and Nutrition! There’s no one diet that is right for everyone, so it’s important to follow a healthful eating plan that’s packed with tasty foods and that keeps your unique lifestyle in mind. Chefs and all culinary professionals have the ability to not only bring joy by means of taste, but they can also improve the lives of their customers and their community!


The Anti-Inflammation Cookbook: The Delicious Way to Reduce Inflammation and Stay Healthy
by Amanda Haas with Dr. Bradly Jacobs

The preface written by Dr. Jacobs and Amanda Haas personal story sets a tone of honesty. Dr. Jacobs notes that although being a Stanford Medical School Graduate, he had learned to apply a balance of conventional medical therapies alternative medicine therapies, and lifestyle therapies. In his 15 years of experience, he realized that there are many modifiable factors he calls, “upstream events,” that occur before a person seeks out medical treatment. Author Amanda Hass shares the story of her personal struggle with health issues and her understanding of what inflammation really means. As Culinary Director for Williams-Sonoma and professional cook, Amanda shares her realization that she should have realized the connection between what she ate and how she felt sooner. What stands out most in this book is the detailed yet clear list of foods that contribute to more or less inflammation in the body. Together, Amanda and Dr. Jacobs put together a cookbook that makes the simple the connection between our diet and our overall well-being.


ca-library-notes-04-2017-books-2The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, Second Edition: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery by Rebecca Katz

In the foreword, Author Rebecca Katz uses a simple simile to help readers understand the impact thoughtful eating habits when one is dealing with cancer. She explains, “cancer is like a weed in the body’s garden”, and her job, “is to work with their garden to make its solid as inhospitable as possible to the growth and spread of the weed”.  This book addresses not only those currently going through the cancer treatment process but also those who may be in a care-takers position. Rebecca encourages readers to use her book as a toolbox full of ideas that make eating and cooking less stressful during a time one may be feeling overwhelmed and most definitely fatigued. One thing that stands out the most in the book is the index of recipes organized according to side effects.


Good Clean Food: Super Simple Plant-Based Recipes for Every Day by Lily Kunin

This book is an excellent example how a social media account can lead to bigger things. Lily Kunin, Health Coach, and Instagram-er turned cookbook Author, writes from personal experience dealing with migraine headaches that severely affected her life. She shares with readers how she discovered, “the connection between what [she] put in her body and how it made [her] feel”. Lily admits at the onset of her book that everyone will have different needs and will have different experiences when it comes to health and nutrition. With this in mind, the contents of her book are divided into 6 major sections focusing on a variety of needs whether it’s detoxing with a “super green smoothie” and  “mom’s minestrone” or restoring with a “smashed avocado toast” and “red lentil earth curry”. What makes her book unique is that she not only created a repertoire of delicious meal ideas but she also touches on natural beauty tips such as her recipe for a “coconut coffee body scrub” or a “brightening free tea face mask”.


Naturally Nourished: Healthy, Delicious Meals Made with Everyday Ingredients by Sarah Britton

Realizing that not everyone has time or interest in combing through their local grocery store or farmers market for special ingredients, Sarah Britton creatively shows readers how to put together nourishing meals with ingredients they may already have at home. She teaches home cooks how to start with basic concepts and build up with her Building Block chart. She also spends time explain methods that increase flavor without the use of extra equipment or a long list of ingredients.


Deliciously Ella Every Day: Quick and Easy Recipes for Gluten-Free Snacks, Packed Lunches and Simple Meals by Ella Woodward

Another success story from someone who worked through a personal heath obstacle. Author Ella Woodward emphasizes that, with a little organization, “taking care of yourself is much easier that you think”. For readers with busy lives, Ella includes a section of on-the-go recipes that will help you keep the focus on health even though you may have limited time. In the introduction, she includes tips on advance preparation, storage solutions, creating a well stocked and diverse pantry. One section that I look forward to trying personally is her list of soothing drinks such as her “warm beet and apple juice” or her “warming turmeric tonic”. This book is not only practical and useful recipe ideas but also packed with gorgeous photos.


To connect with the California Campus on Instagram, follow @iccedu_ca

Fall Wine Event Series at California Campus

The International Culinary Center® proudly introduces a fall wine series dedicated to providing a fresh understanding and appreciation for an array of intriguing grapes, regions and producers at their Silicon Valley campus. Lead by Master Sommelier and ICC instructor Dennis Kelly, each event will be open to the public spanning from 6pm through 8pm.

ICC California WineKicking off on Thursday, October 13, expand your palette beyond the more popular wines such as Chardonnay and Cabernet. Learn how grape variety, wine styles and geographic regions play a major influence in the outcome, while tasting six different esoteric wines including Xinomavro and Scheurebe. On Thursday, November 10th ICC invites you to become versed with one of the world’s most versatile wines, Pinot Noir. Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, attendees will experience just why Pinot Noir should have a place at your holiday table through theory, smell and taste. Lastly, pop into the full swing of the holidays with Champagne: Behind the Bubbles on Thursday, December 8. Discover the nuances existing between bottles from vintages, vineyards and unique producers and celebrate the symbol of celebration.

Thursday, October 13 – Esoteric Wines
Thursday, November 10 – Pinot Noir from Around the World
Thursday, December 8 – Champagne: Behind the Bubbles

All classes require an RSVP, as seating is very limited. Please RSVP to Associate Wine Director, Rachel Lintott: rlintott@culinarycenter.com