Bread that Yasmin baked

Time Management: An Underutilized Skill & Asset

Written by Yasmin Rasheed

Yasmin RasheedYasmin Rasheed is a 2018 graduate of The Art of International Bread Baking program. Previously, she spent 30-years in Financial Services in Executive Management, focused on coaching and developing talent. Currently, she curates wholesome recipes on her food blog, Juliet Kitchen

As a tenured corporate executive whose focus on coaching for peak performance delivered numerous commercial successes, it has become painfully clear that time management is a grossly underutilized skill. With practice, this life skill can provide ongoing work-life integration, less stress and improved productivity. The basic foundation to achieving any definition of success, time management only calls for our thoughtful and productive use of time.

Practicing effective time management leads to improved outcomes across both our professional and personal objectives. Managing this limited resource—time—more thoughtfully can be life changing and it’s is not nearly as complicated as you may think. Here are three key steps to assist you in making the most of your twenty-four-hour day!

  1. Start Early: Many successful people employ this routine daily. This habit has been hard wired into my DNA since childhood and continues to serve me well while studying in The Art of International Bread Baking program at the International Culinary Center in NYC. Since starting school, I was challenged with finding time for my usual daily exercise at the gym due to a very lengthy commute. I committed to arriving in SoHo early enough to walk for a half hour prior to the start of class. Additionally, this practice allowed me to get to the kitchen with time to spare so that I could get my station set-up for a successful day.  By creating a life-long daily routine that includes waking up one to two hours early, the “extra time” allows for “no excuses.” As a result, value-added activities don’t have to be sacrificed. This start early lifestyle keeps me motivated, highly productive and limits my stress!
  1. Create A Plan: It’s important to write down your plan for your goals and objectives; review it regularly and modify as needed. According to Forbes magazine, research shows that “People who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals, than people who don’t.”  Write down your daily to-do list to support the plan—in doing so employ the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle, which states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.) This simply means that you need to prioritize the most impactful activities. Consider writing down your to-do list at the end of each day verses the start of the day; this practice will actually help you sleep better and prepare you for a new day with less stress and improved productivity. Priority planning is immensely valuable in a highly intensive culinary kitchen where the bread baking process is fast-paced and complicated. ICC Chef-Instructor Johnson Yu made it a point to give us a syllabus in advance which enabled effective planning and scheduling of how breads will be mixed and baked.
  1. Create A Schedule: Scheduling is as important as creating a plan. Prioritize high impact activities and tasks. Use a calendar, such as outlook, and add a reminder. If it’s on the calendar it is extremely likely to be completed. Creating an effective schedule requires an investment in your time—it is one of the most arduous tasks, but the reward far outweighs the cost.  Calendaring your activities keeps you organized and productive, and is a routine that continues to deliver rewards during my culinary education. Having an effective and efficient schedule in any culinary kitchen is a non-negotiable!

Applying these time management approaches thoughtfully in your professional and personal life will place you at a competitive advantage, especially if you’re pursuing a career in the culinary industry.  It will open doors more rapidly and deliver outcomes better aligned with your objectives.  You will find that you are in control of your time verses your time controlling you. So, before you begin feeling stressed, remember these three steps to manage your time and you’ll begin reaping the benefits of a happier, healthier and more productive lifestyle!

Career Fair September 13th, 2018

All chefs get their start somewhere. This September 13th, meet your future employer and amp up your networking skills! ICC’s Career Fairs, held twice a year, allow students & alumni to meet some of the most well-known restaurants and restaurant groups in NYC, coming specifically to ICC to meet YOU. With 50+ restaurants, restaurant groups, and more, there is something for everyone and every career path!

Thursday, September 13th | 3:00pm-4:30pm
International Culinary Center
28 Crosby St | New York, NY 10013
*Open to ICC Students & Alumni ONLY*
Email jobs@culinarycenter.com with inquiries

Below is the full list of employers, but be sure to visit the ICC Community page at my.internationalculinary.com for more information and for any updates to the employer list.

Abigail Kirsch/Pier Sixty
American Cut
B&B Hospitality Group
Breads Bakery
Celestine
Contra/Wildair/ Una Pizza Napoletana
Charlie Bird/Pasquale Jones/ Legacy Records
Choc o Pain Bakery and Cafe
Contra/ Wildair / Una Pizza Napoletana
Convene
Crafted Hospitality (Craft Restaurants)
Dinex Group of Chef Daniel Boulud, The
Eataly
Gramercy Tavern
Gabriel Kruether
Harvest Restaurant Group
Hello Fresh
Indiana Market & Catering
James Beard Foundation
Kruether Handcrafted Chocolate
Le Coq Rico
Loring Place
Madison Lee’s Cakes
Indiana Market & Catering
James Beard Foundation
Kruether Handcrafted Chocolate
Le Coq Rico
Loring Place
Madison Lee’s Cakes
Martha & Marley Spoon
Matter House Group (Estela, Café Altro Paradiso & Flora Bar)
Mercer Kitchen
NoHo Hospitality Group
Padoca Bakery
Park Avenue Seasonal,Quality Branded Group
Perrenial
Quality Branded (Quality Meats, Quality Italian, Park Ave, Maloney & Porcelli, Smith & Wollensky, Quality Eats)
Restaurant Marc Forgione
SoHo House
Starr Restaurant Group
Tao Group
The Culinistas
Thomas Keller Restaurant Group
Union Square Hospitality Group
Picture of Victor standing in a bread kitchen.

Alumni Spotlight: Victor Chen, Culinary ’11

Since graduating from ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts program in 2011, Victor has developed a multi-faceted career in the food industry by working for Michelin Star fine-dining restaurants, causal fare gastropubs, corporate catering companies, and farm to table dining. Today, he is working at a bakery in Mountain View, CA called the Midwife and the Baker where he and his team create artisanal breads and pastries for wholesale and their stands at local farmer markets.

“I love my career, the crafts I’ve dedicated my life to, and the training and support that I’ve received from ICC in the various pivotal moments in my career as a chef and baker.”

What did your life look like before going to culinary school? 

My life before taking the Culinary Arts program at ICC involved being an accountant, sitting in an office waiting to get out of work to enjoy my one great passion in life: going out with friends to eat. Even though I had a passion of eating delicious meals, I had no idea how to cook or bake and was completely lost in the kitchen. I knew that going into class I would be a complete blank state and actually had a bit of fear even handling the knives we were provided.

What inspired you to enroll at ICC?

The pivotal moment was coming to an open house and observing a class in person. After seeing how each of the students worked on dishes and gained personal feedback in their training, I knew that I had to enroll.

Can you describe what your experience was like as a student and some of your fondest memories?

Having hands-on experience with professional equipment, responsive feedback from the instructors and learning how to work in teams were the best preparation for my career in the culinary industry. There are so many aspects about cooking that you just can’t learn from reading in books or from watching videos online. The best training is when you’re actively in the environment using all your senses to focus on mastering your craft. Will this bread take exactly 10 minutes to bake? Will this sauce only need 10 grams of salt just because it is written in a recipe half a lifetime ago? Learning to deviate from recipes, to save a sauce that is off- balanced in flavor or rescuing a dish that wasn’t coming together were some of the many lessons that I learned in the classroom and kitchen environment at ICC.

My fondest memories were listening to stories that the instructors shared about their own experiences working in the industry and how demanding workloads or inspiring moments helped shaped their career development. The stories really helped to bring a humanizing perspective to being in this rewarding career and to know that even the best trained chefs in the world have made mistakes too.

As a career changer, did you ever have any doubts about leaving accounting and pursuing a career in the food and beverage industry? Where did you find the reassurance to persevere?

Yes. About halfway through my classes, I was still unsure if I really wanted to take my training further and work inside restaurants. The culinary world appeared so mysterious to me and I didn’t know if I would thrive in a professional kitchen. It was through the guidance of my classmates and also of the ICC career services office that helped encourage me to interview at local restaurants. After participating in an internship at a French Brasserie, I was hooked. The training in class was instrumental in helping me feel confident in the restaurant when my chef would ask me to make an emulsified sauce, scale a recipe, or try plating the night’s special—I knew this was where I wanted to be.

What advice do you have for students new to the kitchen?

My advice to new students is to have patience for your craft. Don’t get frustrated when you don’t quite get a technique, if you make mistakes, or if it just seems like you aren’t making leaps and bounds and getting any recognition. Mastering a craft takes a lot of discipline and a lot of time. It may take much longer than you expect but as long as you keep making small improvements every day, work a little cleaner, faster, and tastier, you’ll make progress and reach your goals. If you keep learning, keep improving and avoid making the same mistake twice, you’ll be on the right track.

How have you used your education in the your culinary career?

The training and support that I have received from ICC were crucial to helping to prepare me for my time working as a cook in restaurants as well as my eventual transition to becoming a baker. Technical training in class such as having knife skills, moving quickly, working in a clean fashion, and having enthusiasm for our craft were all elements that were valuable in all of the kitchen environments I would later join. Even as I transitioned from being a savory line cook to becoming a bread baker, those lessons that I learned from ICC were carried forward in providing me an advantageous perspective to learning new techniques, working as a valuable teammate, and honing my expertise in my new-found craft.  Now whenever I go out to eat, or enjoy a delicious pastry, I can look between the lines and analyze all the tender care and techniques used to create complex sauces, intricate lamination between dough’s, and the time and work that went into the craft. Whenever people see an amazing dish and ask if I can recreate it, I know with eagerness that even if I couldn’t right at that moment, I have the training needed to learn. By taking the training I received from ICC and pursuing a career in both the restaurant and bakery worlds, I knew it was one of the best decisions I could have made.

You started out as a cook. How did you discover your love of bread and become a baker?

Two years ago while working the pasta station, I was asked by my chef to fill-in for our pastry chef who was taking time off. After being instructed on how to create these delicious loaves of bread, I felt the need to learn more. Using the resources available to me at the ICC student library, I read about bread baking and researched the craft. It was soon after I decided to make an official pivot in my career and become a bread baker. I was able to make a successful transition from a cook to bread baking because I made use of ICC’s alumni resources: I contacted ICC career services office to seek advice in how to best make the career change and also for contacts in a new city. The amazing team responded with incredible kindness and direction to help get me transition into a new role in a new city. I felt so incredibly supported throughout the process and couldn’t thank the career services office enough.

Tell us about The Midwife and the Baker and what your role is in the bakery.

I am currently working as an artisanal bread baker in a local bakery called The Midwife and the Baker located in Mountain View, California. My role as a bread baker varies day to day but includes responsibilities such as scaling recipes, mixing and developing doughs, shaping, baking bread, organizing distribution, and selling breads to customers at the bakery and at local farmer markets. The job is physically demanding as there are long hours on your feet, constant heavy lifting, and being blasted by the heat of a hot oven, but the rewards of a hard morning’s work to create sensational breads and mastering a craft outweigh all of the physical pains. My favorite part of the day is examining the breads and seeing how any small variation I have made in my technique has on improving the quality of the bread, whether it be shaping the dough tighter or looser, adding more or less water to the dough, or just letting the bread bake a little longer. My mind races to run all of the computations on how all of these little small variations result in the final product, to record them in a mental log of all my experiences and to produce an even better product tomorrow.

What is next for you?

My goal is to tie together all of the past elements of my life experiences: business, savory, and bread baking, and to open my own bakery and café. I believe that with the instructions I have received from ICC and the guidance and practice I have experienced in my time working at restaurants and bakeries will be instrumental in preparing me for success in the near future. Can’t wait to make my dream come true!

Somm of the Month: IST Graduate, Alan Lane

Written by Daisy Martinez

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing IST grad Alan Lane recently about his experience at ICC and his transition from a U.S. Army officer to a Certified Sommelier. His passion is so infectious; I decided to let him enthrall you with the story of his journey in his own words.

Early interest in wine: As an English Literature major at Auburn University in the 1990s choosing wine at the supermarket or even at wine shops was a mystery to me.  Red?  Yes.  White?  Not really.  Rose?  No, thank you.  I wanted to know more, but I didn’t really know where to start.  Those of us in the industry know that this a common predicament for many consumers.  “Windows On The World” was the first book I used to try and educate myself.  It wasn’t until I decided to transfer to the Reserve Component from the Active Duty Component as a U.S. Army Officer effective April 1, 2015 that I thought I would pursue a career in the wine industry following release from Active Duty.

alan-lane-sommThe Transition – In November of 2014 my Commander gave me permission to work part time in a local Colorado Springs wine shop, Coaltrain Wine, Spirits, & Craft Beer. I wanted to know more, to be better, and that’s when I read about the 10 week Intensive Sommelier Program at the International Culinary Center.  My wife, daughter, and I toured the New York campus.  I knew it was meant to be.  Under the direction of Scott Carney, MS and other Master Sommeliers our class worked diligently to master our craft.  We bonded, we got to know each other, debated, tasted, searched together in the city for new wine lists, retail shops, experimented with pairings, blind tastings, industry tastings, the lot!  Our class now stays in contact mostly via social media, and I have visited Napa and Sonoma with friends I met in the class, visit my friends from class in NYC when I’m in town, and this is one of the best parts of the program at the ICC.  The camaraderie of the Sommelier Program is the closest thing I have found to parallel the camaraderie and esprit de corps of the military.  There is a common bond, a common goal, and a common passion found in the both the wine industry and the armed forces.

 

Fruition – I’ve worked in retail, distribution, and hospitality in both New York City and Colorado Springs.  Currently, I work as the Sommelier at 2South Wine Bar in Colorado Springs, CO.  Working as a Sommelier, with the Chef, the owners, my co-workers in front of house and back, helping diners find the right pairing or simply a unique wine to enjoy that they’ve never had, that’s where I find satisfaction.  After deploying to Jalalabad, Afghanistan as an Infantry (Pathfinder) Platoon Leader in 2008-2009 I wondered if I would ever find the kind of kinship, the kind of common bond that I found with the Soldiers with whom I served.  The hospitality industry, the wine, spirits, and beer industry, they have given me the same opportunity to work closely with like-minded, driven women and men who share a passion for providing value added experiences to our clients, consumers, and diners.  Without the Intensive Sommelier Program at the International Culinary Center I don’t know how quickly I would have found my place.  My experience there was unforgettable, and I encourage anyone, especially veterans who are interested in a career in the industry to check out the ICC.  It is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Student Life: The Importance of Mise en Place

Written by AJ Fusco
Professional Culinary Arts Student

I would like to start off by introducing myself and giving you a little background on myself.  I am a career firefighter in Westchester County and also attend ICC in the Professional Culinary Arts program.  My passion for cooking is just as strong the one I have for firefighting, which is what led me to the decision to become a “career adder.”  I have always had a second job while being a firefighter, and decided I would like to pursue something I truly loved.  Now, I have the best of both worlds!

One of the first things we learn at ICC is “Mise en Place”, or “to put in place”.  The emphasis my Chef Instructors put on this concept could not be greater, but rightfully so.  We all know the kitchen can be a volatile environment filled heat, smoke and the ever present danger of fire and injury.  And now that I think about it, the kitchen is very similar to being in a fire!  The intense adrenaline rush of service parallels those same feelings I get when operating on the fire-ground.  And just like cooking in a kitchen, being prepared as a firefighter is vital to a successful operation.  This is when I started to connect the dots between having your mise en place in both the kitchen and the firehouse.  

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We train in the firehouse to make sure we are prepared for whatever emergency may come our way.  The fire trucks are set up in a way so that equipment is organized together and easily accessible at any moment’s notice, just like having your ingredients and tools ready to go for a busy dinner service.  But before I started ICC, I admittedly was a messy cook in the firehouse.  Having all my ingredients ready to use was just not on my mind, which certainly didn’t help the situation of not knowing if an alarm would come in while getting dinner ready for a group of hungry firefighters.  That all changed when I learned about this thing called “Mise en Place”.  Suddenly, my meals not only tasted better but I was able to cook more efficiently in the unpredictable firehouse kitchen.  Countless times I have been prepping for a meal, when suddenly an alarm comes in and everything has to stop.  The oven and burners get shut off, and we are out the door, unsure of when we will be back to finish cooking the meal.  But having everything ready to go when we return to the firehouse has prevented plenty of take-out which is always a plus. So to say “Mise en Place” has changed me for the better as a cook would be a severe understatement!