gingerbread

ICC Chef Instructor Creates Winning Gingerbread House On Netflix’s Sugar Rush!

For over two decades, Chef Toni Lynn Dickinson has been teaching the next generation of pastry chefs, chocolatiers, cake decorators, bakers and more at ICC to excel in their professions. Her pastry creations, both in and out of the kitchen are well-thought out, flawlessly executed and leave a lasting impression for years to come. Just take it from some of her former students—many shared in comments on our recent Instagram posts that she was “fun to learn from,” and a “fantastic teacher.”

In 2019, Chef Toni competed on Netflix’s hit show Sugar Rush Christmas where bakers compete against time, and each other, to win $10,000 and the ultimate bragging rights. Bakers compete in three different rounds: cupcakes, confections and cakes, each inspired by a different theme. As the clock ticks, the competition heats up!

In Chef Toni’s episode, she competed against 3 other teams with her teammate Diane Fehder. Diane, a graduate of ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program and former student of Chef Toni’s, remarked that she was “originally approached to apply for the show and asked to find a partner.” Having previously competed on Sugar Dome—where she took home first place—she shared, “I think the producers sought me out because of my previous television experience.” In considering a partner for this competition, Diane knew that she wanted to ask Chef Toni because of her dedication, work ethic and over all time management—after all, Chef Toni was one of the instructors that taught Diane these skills in the first place!

“[Chef Toni] is one of the best chefs I’ve ever known. Anyone that attends ICC would know that,” Diane shared. “She is a walking culinary encyclopedia and is beyond generous with her knowledge. Behind the scenes while filming, she schooled all the other contestants (in a nurturing way) about the pastry arts, even the production staff.” It’s clear that Chef Toni’s passion for teaching cannot be contained, even under the pressure of a competition!

During each round of their Sugar Rush competition, Chef Toni and Chef Diane executed beautiful, delicious and ambitious creations that wowed the judges. In the first, they created not one, but three different cupcakes for the judges to taste—all with a fruitcake batter as the base, but with subtle flavor variations like chocolate, walnuts & cherry; pear, ginger & almond; and cranberry & pecan. For the second round, they created a cake doughnut with sweet potato mousseline and a rich caramel sauce. For their final round, Chef Toni and Diane blew the judges away with their gingerbread house and spiced cake with grand marnier, modeled after Santa’s workshop. Their gingerbread house featured many colorful decorations to discover, like elves with their tools and toys for the children.

It’ll come as no surprise to anyone who knows Chef Toni and Chef Diane, not only did they WIN their episode of Sugar Rush, but they were the first team to ever win all THREE rounds on a Sugar Rush episode. In celebration of their win, Chef Toni held a demonstration at ICC with current and former students, guests, and friends in attendance. During the demonstration, she gave the audience an inside look at what it takes to create a competition-winning gingerbread house!

Check out the gingerbread house that Chef Toni and some of her students created during the demonstration below, and find some of her master gingerbread tips here.

chef toni

Get Your Sugar Rush With ICC Chef Instructor Toni Lynn Dickinson

chef toniBefore Chef Toni Lynn Dickinson returned to her alma matter—the International Culinary Center—as Pastry Chef Instructor in 1997, she was working in some of NYC’s most exclusive kitchens like The River Café and Le Cirque. Her experience as Private Chef for the Italian Consulate in New York, and owning her own catering company—Amye J’s, had her creating and executing menus for clients from around the world. But, what many don’t know is that Chef Toni was dazzling audiences long before her career as a Pastry Chef. A graduate of Smith College with a BA in Theater-Dance and Afro-American Studies, she performed on international stages as a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater of New York. Chef Toni is no stranger to the world of show business—after all, there is a certain art to wowing clients with delicious dinners and beautiful desserts night after night.

Chef Toni’s partner for the competition, Diane Fehder, was previously Chef Toni’s student in ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program. She now owns Diane Michelle Cakes, a successful cake company in Southern New Jersey that specializes in creating edible art out of sugar! Previously, Diane competed in Sugar Dome as well and took home first place. Chef Toni and Diane were truly the perfect pair for this competition!

Want to see Chef Toni return to the spotlight? Check out the newest season of Sugar Rush Christmas streaming now on Netflix! Chef Toni and Diane went head to head against three other teams in different Christmas themed challenges and competed for $10,000 and the ultimate holiday bragging rights! We won’t give any spoilers away, but we will say, you won’t want to miss her episode. After you binge watch all of the new Sugar Rush Christmas episodes, be sure to attend Chef Toni’s Mastering The Art of Gingerbread Houses demonstration on Thursday, December 12th! She’ll be giving away her tips and tricks to creating the perfect holiday masterpiece.


Inside ICC: Creating Chocolate Truffles with Chef-Instructor Michael Zebrowski

Celebrate Valentine’s Day by creating your own chocolate truffles —and a heart-shaped box made of chocolate. Watch below as Pastry Chef-Instructor Michael Zebrowski shares some of the techniques learned within ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program.


Ingredients Needed:

  • 454 grams (1 lb) Heavy Cream
  • 70 grams (2.5 oz) Invert Sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 680 grams (1 lb 8 oz) Chocolate (58-64%)
  • 227 grams (8 oz) Butter (softened)
  • 114 grams (4 oz) Liqueur
  • *Use a good quality liqueur like Cognac, Armagnac, Grand Marnier or dark rum.

Procedure for Chocolate Truffles: 

  • In a saucepan, bring the cream, sugar and salt to a boil
    Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate. Allow to stand for one minute, then emulsify, from the center out, until smooth
  • Stir in the softened butter and emulsify until homogeneous.
  • Gradually pour in the liqueur, stirring continuously to maintain an emulsion.
  • Cover the surface of the ganache with plastic wrap and allow to set up at room temperature.
  • Pipe the ganache into rounds that are as spherical as possible.
  • Roll the ganache into spheres by hand and chill again. At this point, the rolls may be refrigerated for several days before being finished.
  • Allow the spheres to temper from the refrigerator before coating twice in tempered chocolate.
  • After the second coating, roll the truffles in sifted cocoa powder before the chocolate sets. Once set, sift the excess cocoa powder off the finished truffles.

 

Create a chocolate heart-shaped box using techniques from Chef Michael! Learn more about ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program, click here. 

 

#InsideICC Holiday Hacks: Loaf Pan Saddle Technique + Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Watch as ICC Pastry Chef Instructor Aleishe Baska demonstrates how to properly saddle your loaf pan to prevent your favorite breads from sticking to the pan! Full recipe below!

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Yield: 2 standard loaf pans

 

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz.  All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 10 ½ oz. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 oz. Molasses
  • 4 oz. Butter
  • 15 oz. Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 oz. Nuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Prepare pan with release spray and saddled in parchment paper.
  3. Sift flour, salt baking powder, baking soda and spices. Reserve.
  4. Cream butter, sugar, and molasses.
  5. Slowly add eggs.
  6. Add drys, alternating with pumpkin and nuts(optional)
  7. Divide into loaves
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a paring knife inserted into the center of the knife comes out clean.
  9. Unmold immediately and allow to cool to room temperature before wrapping or slicing.