February is Perfect Pairings Month at ICC!

Who said that Valentine’s day was limited to romance? We think the “month of love” can mean so much more! So instead, we’ve curated our events this month to be all about the “perfect pairing.” From collaborations between culinary and pastry chef-instructors to exploring flavor pairings with chocolate and liqueur, there’s something for everyone to enjoy this month. Plus, bring your favorite “sous chef” to find your perfect pairing at ICC—learn how you can save $100 on a one-day recreational class with the ICC Cooking Pass!

We’ll begin the month with a special collaboration between our culinary and pastry departments. ICC Chef-Instructor’s Danielle Fonalledas and Kir Rodriguez team up to tackle seasonal ingredients in a challenge to combine their culinary and pastry skills into an epic 3-course menu. Then “Mr. Chocolate” himself, Chef Jacques Torres, joins us for National Chocolate Lovers month with a chocolate & liqueur pairing demonstration of 3 different types of bonbons—a dark, milk and white chocolate—and the ‘spirited’ fillings that go along with them. If you’re still looking for the perfect “date night” for Valentine’s Day, join us for our hands-on cooking class with Chef Danny Mena—Mexican Favorites: Tortilla Soup, Mole & More on Thursday, February 13th!

Check out the event details below to see how you can find your perfect pairing at ICC this February!

Perfect Pairings: Seasonal Menu Challenge

Wednesday, February 5th

perfect pairings

Ever wonder what happens when two ICC Chef-Instructors team up for a demonstration? In this Perfect Pairings: Seasonal Menu Challenge, ICC Pastry Chef-Instructor Kir Rodriguez and ICC Culinary Chef-Instructor Danielle Fonalledas join forces to execute a three-course menu pairing various seasonal flavors, like kumquats. They’ll demonstrate how you can create a cohesive, multi-course meal that highlights the range of different ingredients in savory and sweet applications.

Together with a combined experience of over 20 years, your ICC Chef-Instructors will share how a tasty menu can be developed and executed when culinary and pastry forces unite. Gain insight into their process of menu development and how they worked together to pair seasonal flavors to develop a show-stopping menu with star-ingredients.

No RSVP required for students & alumni.
Limited seating available for the general public. RSVP to to attend.

Mexican Cooking: Tortilla Soup, Mole & More!

Thursday, February 13th

Mexican Cooking

ICC’s newest one-day cooking class, Mexican Favorites: Tortilla Soup, Mole & More is just around the corner! Join Chef Danny Mena, ICC graduate and chef-owner of La Loncheria in Brooklyn, on February 13th for a flavorful introduction to cooking with mole and other warming chiles found in traditional Mexican cuisine. In this hands-on class, you’ll learn to make three classic dishes and the signature sides to accompany everyone’s favorites, including how to make handmade tortillas!

Plus, you can save $100 on a one-day, hands on recreational class for two when you purchase an ICC Cooking Pass for you and your Valentine. Purchase your ICC Cooking Pass here and register for this class today! (Offer ends Feb 14th, Cooking Pass is valid until 12/31/2020).

Perfect Pairings: Chocolate & Liqueur with Chef Jacques Torres

Wednesday, February 19th

jacques torres

February is National Chocolate Lovers Month and who better than Jacques Torres, ICC’s Dean of Pastry Arts and “Mr. Chocolate” himself to demo the perfect chocolate and liqueur pairings!

Join us on February 19th for an exclusive demonstration with Chef Torres as he demonstrates 3 different types of bonbons—a dark, milk and white chocolate—and the ‘spirited’ fillings that go along with them. From champagne, red wine and port to rum, cognac and kirsch, the flavor combinations are endless! Learn how pastry chefs use liqueurs in their kitchens to bring out the flavor of their confections and balance desserts. Plus, Chef Torres will demonstrate how to make a chocolate box for your bon bon display adorned with, what else, chocolate decorations!

No RSVP required for students & alumni.
Limited seating available to the general public. RSVP to to attend.

aly moore

Exploring The Flavor Profiles of Bugs

Written By Aly Moore, Founder of Bugible

Imagine that you have a friend who is an artist. She paints beautiful pictures, but only uses red, pink, and yellow. She can make lovely paintings, but one day you show her the other rainbow of colors that exist – the blues, greens, purples, oranges, silvers, and more. Now she can make even more vivid paintings. That’s where we are in the culinary world. We have a huge range of raw ingredients that chefs use, but there are rainbows of additional flavors to explore. Welcome to the world of edible bugs.  

Back in the 1960’s, sushi was considered barbaric. We couldn’t understand why people would eat raw fish. Slowly but surely, more businessmen from Japan started doing business in California. They started requesting sushi, but we were not sold. Then, a clever chef introduced the California Roll. He disguised the fish in rolls of rice and avocado, making the dish less intimidating for Americans. Photographs emerged of celebrities eating this new dish and it went from being barbaric to trendy. Now, we can’t get enough of it!

It is my hope that bugs will take a similar path. But we have to take a few steps to get there. One of the biggest factors is the name— we don’t eat raw fish, we eat sushi. We don’t eat cows, we eat beef. We don’t even necessarily eat plants, we eat vegetables. A different name for bugs may be the path that we have to follow.

It’s also important to note that bugs are easier on the environment than traditional protein sources, they’re packed with nutrition and can taste great. They are not the only solution to sustainably feed our growing population, but they are the most provocative.

Instead of asking why we eat bugs, we should be asking, why not?

Some put bugs into three unofficial flavor categories. The first nutty and earthy. Crickets and mealworms are examples of bugs that taste a little like seeds, nuts, or mushrooms. The second is fishy and seafood-like. Locusts and scorpions are examples of bugs that have been compared to crab. The third is meaty and savory. Sago grubs are often called the bacon of the bug world.

A big step along the way to normalcy is to get chefs on board. Chefs are the “Gate Keepers of Consumer Preference” and continue to expand our cuisines with innovative concepts and eclectic menus. It’s not uncommon for one chef alone to drive a vibrant micro-food culture in a city, thus expanding appreciation for new foods and dishes that can impact customers’ attitudes nationwide.

Over the last three years, for example, we have seen a trend of vegetable-focused menus. The results is a “normalization” of vegetable dishes as fully belonging on acclaimed menus and as vehicles for culinary creativity. If bugs are to earn a place on casual menus, it will be critical for chefs to champion our efforts. While several restaurants, especially Oaxacan or other ethnic cuisines, are experimenting with bugs on the menu, this practice could become much more common if chefs had more access to education and supplies of edible insects.

The more we work to explore the flavors and uses of insects in cuisine, the more frequently we might see the occasional salad topped with black ants, margarita glass rimmed with grasshopper salt, or bread baked with cricket powder. This might not be immediately obvious until we learn more about these ingredients. Below, check out some of the ways you can incorporate these ingredients into your dishes!

Black Ants

black antsBlack ants have a naturally acidic quality from the formic acid in their systems, giving them a zesty lemon-pepper taste. Their texture reminds some of roe, and they are often affectionately refer to them as the caviar of the bug world. While some bugs can star as the feature in dishes, black ants are more likely to serve as garnishes and flavor-enhancers. Imagine their zesty flavor and striking color sprinkled on top of grilled shrimp, tossed into an arugula salad, or even as a topper for the popular childhood dish “ants on a log!”


There are grasshoppers, and then there are Chapulines. Really, they mean the same thing (one in English and one in Spanish.) But I often use the distinction to refer to unseasoned grasshoppers vs. those flavored Oaxacan-style.

Plain, their flavor will still be strong – a savory umami, a bit like miso. Some describe an acidic mushroomy earthiness.. If you’ve ever rubbed hay in your hands, you will understand how this tastes. It’s a bit like unprocessed wheat, or similar to raw pasta. Often confused for crickets, grasshoppers share the familiar skeletal crunch with a meaty and more chewy texture (grasshoppers supposedly have longer migratory patterns and thus have more muscle on their bodies.)

Seasoned, perhaps with “Adobo flavor,” the Chapulines become a delicious snack. They smell like Christmas, chili, and citrus all in one, and tasting them will leave you with just a hint of pine on your pallet. They taste of a beautiful smoky spice with a hint of sour, sometimes also wonderfully fruity. Seasoned with a bit of lime, chili, and tajin, grasshoppers are able to hold onto a cool, lingering heat.


cricket cookiesCrickets are one of the most commonly farmed bugs in the US. This is not because they are the best bugs, but simply because we know the most about optimizing their breeding cycles, nutrient contents, and flavor profiles. Crickets are best described as flavor vehicles like potato chips. They are often seasoned with flavors like BBQ or lime, as their plain taste can be difficult to distinguish.

Unseasoned, they taste a bit like edamame and have an earthy umami quality. Regardless, a nutty, woodsy flavor comes through, sometimes accompanied by a shrimp quality (from the high omega-3 content). Crickets are also commonly ground up into a powder that can be used in baking, substituting 5 – 20% of the dry ingredients.

We’ve made progress in this dialogue as a society before: remember that the creeping, shelled, 10-legged crustacean we now so lovingly dip in butter (ahem, the lobster)  was once considered so repulsive as to be inhumane to feed to prisoners. And in many parts of the world, bugs are already a popular—and important—menu item. Let’s continue to open minds and mouths with six-legged livestock.

About Aly Moore

My name is Aly Moore and I eat bugs. It might sound strange to many, but bugs are sustainable, packed with nutrition, and tasty when prepared correctly. While studying public health and food policy at Yale University, I took a trip to Mexico and tried grasshoppers for the first time. After returning to the States, my impish inclinations led me to research how to buy bugs safe for human consumption in the U.S. (to prank friends and family, of course.) Due to the lack of information available back in 2012, I ended up calling the owners of a few cricket farms, and those discussions changed my life. I soon began working closely with bug companies to educate western consumers about this stigmatized food.

I created Bugible, a blog about the world of edible insects, to share what I was learning. To reach broader audiences, I started hosting fun and memorable events around eating bugs to create atmospheres where first-time-bug-eaters could feel more at ease (like bug wine pairings, bug dinners, and bug cooking classes.) emerged as a way to make entomophagy accessible, educate the public, and support the great bug-entrepreneurs.

cristina garces and anna francese gass

How To Land A Cookbook Deal: Secrets From HarperCollins

In 1796, Amelia Simmons accomplished something that had never been done in America before—she published a cookbook! Contained within its 47 pages were recipes informed by British heritage and culture. Though her cookbook was the first to be written by an American, at the time, she still had to sign a contract with a publisher to get her book on shelves.

Many years later, it’s now more difficult than ever to score a cookbook deal. Despite the challenges, our alumna Anna Francese Gass (Culinary Arts ‘12) was able to do just that, publishing her first cookbook this past May. But she didn’t just pull it off—she scored a cookbook deal with HarperCollins, one of the largest publishing houses in the world. So, how did she do it you ask? For starters, she did more than just jot down recipes, walk into publishing houses and receive contracts to print copies of her dream project. She put years of dedication into solidifying the initial pitch for Heirloom Kitchen that she eventually brought to publishers, while also building her personal brand.

So, what were the steps that Gass took to accomplish this feat? And what made HarperCollins finally draft up that longed for book deal contract? (after all, they don’t just say yes to everyone!) Here are the industry secrets we learned from Gass and HarperCollins on how to get your cookbook published.

Book Agents 101

First, think about the publishing route that you want to pursue. Do you want to self publish? (read: it can be done! Our grad, Jason Licker, self-published Lickerland: Asian-Accented Desserts and received a James Beard Award nomination for it.) This avenue is arguably the road less traveled, but certainly an option. Or, do you want to work with a book agent? These are the people that help to open doors for you at publishing houses (note: publishers are legally not allowed to take unsolicited book pitches, so a book agent is necessary for introductions).

However, agents receive manuscripts all of the time, so your pitch has to be on point and sans loose ends. Insider’s tip: think about if you know anyone who has published a cookbook—they may be able to introduce you to their agent.

Once you’ve found yourself a book agent, it’s time to start finessing your initial pitch to make it more enticing. Today’s market for cookbooks is saturated, so it’s important to make yours uniquely you. Here’s what Gass’ book agent recommended to make her overall package stronger.

1) Build An Audience

Although Gass had an Instagram audience of around 25,000 when she first started, her agent pushed her to continue to grow it. Remember: these are some of your biggest supporters who will be excited to buy your cookbook! Now, Gass has an engaged following of almost 90,000 who are interested in what she has to say.

2) Gain Experience

After graduating from ICC, Gass got a job in Food52’s test kitchen with the help of ICC’s Career Services team. From there, she went on to work as a recipe editor for Martha Stewart Living. This made Gass’ case for a deal extremely strong: she had the chops to write recipes and she had been published during her time at Food52. She continued to write for publications, making her portfolio of published articles grow, which in turn, made her a stronger candidate.

3) Be Committed

Ask yourself: are you really passionate about this project? This will turn into a second full-time job, as publishing a cookbook requries a lot of heavy lifting. Make sure that you really love what you’re creating and put your heart into it. This will jump off the pages of your pitch.

4) Think About The Timing

Like everything in life, timing is key, even with scoring a cookbook deal. Unfortunately, this isn’t something as easy to control. Sometimes, things have to work in your favor. Think about what’s happening in the news and know that relevancy may help your case.

So, Now It’s Time For A Contract

After you’ve worked with your book agent to tidy up any loose ends in your pitch (sometimes it can take years to get it right), it’s time to start meeting with publishing houses! When your pitch finally lands on the desk of an editor at a publishing house, they’ll immediately start looking for certain tells. Cristina Garces, who is an editor at HarperCollins and worked with Gass for years—from pitch to published—divulged her secrets of what she looks for in a compelling pitch.

1) Online Presence and Experience

The first thing that Garces does when reviewing a pitch is Google the person. While this may seem unfair—you’ve probably put years of hard work into your project—you need to have an audience who is interested in what you have to say.

Garces could tell that Gass had followers who were engaged, but she could also see that Gass had the skills to back up what she was offering. She had put in the work, both through her culinary school training and her resume. Garces could also see that Gass’ recipes would be well tested and edited from her experience as a test kitchen editor and writer.

2) Strong Voice and Clear Point of View

It will be clear to an editor when your project is ready to go and well thought out. While this is one of the most important aspects, you’ll also set yourself apart from the crowd by sounding like yourself—not who you think the publisher wants you to be. Stay true to your story and showcase your passion on the pages.

3) A Story That’s Uniquely Yours

Like Gass’ book agent warned, the cookbook market is crowded. It’s vital to have your own niche, and not just another cookbook about breakfast foods (yes, everyone loves breakfast foods, but what makes yours out of the ordinary?) However, it’s also essential to cast a wide net so that enough people will be interested. It’s all about finding the sweet spot between being unique and all encompassing.

heirloom kitchenOnce you’ve worked tirelessly with your book agent to land a contract at a publishing house, the real, fun work will begin! It will take years of dedication to make your dreams a reality, but it IS possiblejust ask some of our many grads who’ve done it! If you’re interested in buying a copy of Heirloom Kitchen, you can purchase one here.


What The Experts Say About Today’s Trends in Wine

While rich with history and often rooted in ancient tradition, the wine industry is anything but static. This multi-billion dollar business continues to change, challenging established, and aspiring, wine professionals to stay on the cutting edge of today’s trends and rising regions.

That’s why, at the beginning of May, we sat down with Master Sommelier, Alexander LaPratt—Beverage Director & Co-Owner of Atrium DUMBO and Beasts & Bottles, as well as instructor in ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program—and Advanced Sommelier, Theo Lieberman—Head Sommelier at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels—to explore the ever evolving trends creating a buzz in the wine industry for our latest Off the Vine panel!

Read below to see what trends our experts have been following this year and how you can utilize the their popularity to your advantage on the floor, in sales, and more!

Orange Wine Arrived and Never Left

orange wine“Skin-fermented,” “unconventional,” “macerated,” or even “off-white”—whatever you call them, orange wines are here to stay. Orange wines have been around for over 5,000 years in the nation of Georgia and picked up popularity in the US roughly a decade ago. Today, they’ve remained “trendy” due to their obscurity and unpredictability.

While the topic of orange wine vehemently divides the world of wine into those that “love” or “hate” them, our experts agree—it’s here to stay. But buyers beware—one orange wine can be very different from another because of the complex way that terroir and aging influence each bottle.

Unexpected Wine in NYC's Backyard

In 2018, wine production reached record highs of almost 300 million hectolitres—the equivalent of 7.7 billion gallons. While countries like Italy, France and Spain were the dominant producers, little known wine producing regions across the globe were working diligently to prove their quality.

In NYC’s own backyard, the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York is putting the state on the map as one of America’s best for wine. Even though the area experiences bitter winters, varietals like Riesling and Pinot Noir can still flourish, which happen to be the regions best wines!


sparklingUnless you were producing Champagne, bubbles in wine were not always wanted. It often happened by accident in the 17th century when regulating temperatures was difficult and accidental bubbles would appear from re-fermentation.

Now, people can’t get enough of sparkling wine. Producers across the world are rushing to create their own signature style, with emerging regions like England standing out from the crowd. With climate change impacting France’s iconic Champagne region, people are looking to England as warming temperatures positively impact England’s ability to grow grapes—which was almost unthinkable 20 years ago. According to estimates, the English wine region has grown to more than 500 vineyards today, with growth estimated to make the region larger than Champagne.

OFF THE VINE, brought to you by the Intensive Sommelier Training program at ICC, is a series of tastings, discussion panels and networking events designed to support wine professionals in the beverage industry. Each event is designed to provide education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.


“Climate Change Gives English Winemakers ‘Harvest of the Century’.”, NBCUniversal News Group,

“English Sparkling.” Vivino,

Karlsson, Per and Britt. “Record Global Wine Harvest In 2018, Stable Consumption.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 14 Apr. 2019,

McCoy, Elin. “Orange Wine Has Finally Arrived. Here Are Eight Bottles to Buy.”, Bloomberg, 2016,

McKirdy, Tim. “8 Questions About Orange Wine You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask.” VinePair, 30 Aug. 2018,

Ross, Marissa A. “‘Orange Wine’ Needs to Go Away-Hear Me Out.” Bon Appétit, Bon Appétit, 20 Mar. 2018,

Wallace, Siobhan. “How Sparkling Wine Is Made.” Wine Enthusiast Magazine, 14 May 2019,

“Why New York Is Becoming One of America’s Best States for Wine Lovers.” Travel + Leisure,

chef pablo

Pop Up Dinner with Chef Pablo Ranea

Every year, after celebrating the end of the harvest season in their native Mendoza, Chef & Sommelier Pablo Ranea and Architect Alejandro Cohen pack their bags full of spices, unique ingredients and the spirit of adventure in search of inspiring experiences and challenges.

Together, they bring their unique take on food pairings and gastronomy to cities around the world. Whether the dinner event is held in a private garden or a culinary school, their carefully designed menus showcase Latin America’s best cooking techniques and recipes paired with exquisite wines.

This one-of-a kind experience is the result of Pablo’s well-tested recipes gathered through his extensive travels in cities and countries including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Finland, France, Denmark, Dominican Republic and Peru.

Friends gather around a table with a common desire to enjoy a memorable experience of aromas, tastes and textures of Argentinian and Latin American cooking, wines and history. Pablo and Alejandro arrive with a traveling kitchen of gastronomic marvels and the unique Argentinian wines not found in America.  Prepare for an adventure of the senses.


Pop Up Dinner with Pablo Ranea
Friday, June 28th | 7:30pm
International Culinary Center
28 Crosby Street
On Friday, June 28th, Chef Pablo & Alejandro return to New York City to present a six course dinner paired with 10 premium Argentinian wines at the International Culinary Center in SoHo. This will be the first time one of their pop up dinners will be open to the public.

PLATED DISHFor this dinner, Chef Pablo will prepare some of his iconic dishes such as Octopus chicharron with green chimichurri, as well as butternut squash, truffle and shrimp raviolis. He will also bring exotic flavors such as Lucuma artisan ice cream with Argentinian dulce de leche to the table.

During the dinner, Pablo—who is also a Sommelier—will introduce specially paired wines like Susana Balbo Brioso white blend (the number one white blend of Argentina); Malbecs from the best districts of Mendoza like Gauchezco Oro Appellation Gualtallary; Tinto Negro Limestone Block and Andillian by Lacoste de Los Andes.

In addition, LOS BUENDIA—a marvelous Bolero band from Mendoza—will fly to NYC to perform during the event.

They invite you to book an unforgettable experience. Attendance is by reservation and pre-payment only. Tickets are $195 and can be purchased here. For reservation questions, please email for more details.

Please note, this is a dinner format (not a class) and seating will be communal like a big Italian family.

Guests with allergies or dietary restrictions will need to provide notice at least 10 days in advance.

a student in the class

Unlocking the World of Olive Oil Sommeliers

In 2016, ICC and the Olive Oil Times Education Lab partnered to create the world’s most comprehensive curriculum in olive oil quality assessment. For the seventh time since its inception, we welcomed culinary professionals from around the world for another sold out round of the two-level Olive Oil Sommelier Certification courses. Over the course of six days, professionals learned to identify the positive attributes & defects in olive oil and tasted more than 100 samples from various regions around the world.

The two-level certification focuses on olive oil quality assessment, cultivation and history, harvesting and production, health benefits, chemistry, regions and cultivars, standards and grades, culinary applications and consumer education. Upon completion, culinary professionals are prepared with a vast knowledge of olive oil that is unparalleled.

But, what happens after completing this certification course? Where do these professionals use their new knowledge? After passing these examinations, they’re inducted into an exclusive group of olive oil sommeliers—then, the real journey starts. From the Mediterranean climate of Tunisia, to the rainforests of Brazil, our alumni journey from more than 25 countries to study olive oil at ICC.

Read on to learn more about some of the ways our alumni use their olive oil sommelier certification in their various culinary fields!

Pérola Polillo: Brazil

perola polilloPérola Polillo is a Brazilian chef who has worked in kitchens around the world. After being introduced to the realm of olive oil, she decided to take the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification course to learn how to harness the olive oil varietals in her cooking. After the course, she immediately put her new knowledge to use and started creating private dinners to showcase olive oil. When her first dinner sold out in the first day of announcing it, she knew she had to do more.

In addition to cooking for the judges of the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition and teaching food pairing in the program, she has also expanded her business Casa De Pérola to encompass catering, events and consulting. Using her knowledge, she creates dishes that showcase olive oil front and center.

Leonard Young: USA

leonard young
From the Olive Oil Times

Before Leonard Young completed the course, he had the idea to host olive oil food pairings at Waterstreet Café in Olympia, Washington. While people were willing to spend money on a great bottle of wine or a delicious plate of food, they were not as willing to do the same for olive oil. After ordering olive oil, he quickly realized that he needed more knowledge to pursue this new endeavor.

Following completion of the course, he was ready to increase awareness of the quality of olive oil. The series of food, wine and olive oil tastings in partnership with a local wine retailer allow diners to experience specially-selected pairings to enhance their knowledge of olive oil.

Ethan Türkoğlu: Spain

ed'o founderEthan Türkoğlu, founded Ed’oa Spanish company dedicated to providing luxury in the olive oil industry. Last year, his company launched a food pairing concept with two unique Extra Virgin Olive Oils—Ed’o PURE and Ed’O ORGANIC. These two olive oils offer different elements to any dish you’re trying to create.

Last year, after success with his product, Ed’o was the first Olive Oil brand in the world to receive two awards from the organization Red Dot through their design competition. These awards, including the “Best of the Best” and the “Best Packaging Concept On A Worldwide Level,” helped to revolutionize the gourmet industry and brought forth a turning point in the world of olive oil.

Karim Fitouri: Tunisia

From the Olive Oil Times

Karim Fitouri, founder of Tunisian olive oil company Olivko, started his company in the hopes of leading the industry in Tunisia. After helping to revive the industry and focusing on quality over quantity, he’s managed to accomplish just that! In 2017, Fitouri took home gold at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition for his product.

Olive Oil Times Education Lab and International Culinary Center (ICC) present the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program. Combining the world’s foremost olive oil experts and educators, this comprehensive series of courses spans production, quality management and advanced sensory assessment for the aspiring olive oil sommelier. Click to learn more about Course 1 and Course 2!

olive oil

Don’t Worry— We’ve Got Your Olive Oil Questions Covered

curtis cordFor the seventh time since its inception in 2016, ICC—together with the Olive Oil Times Education Lab—welcomed culinary professionals from around the world for another sold out round of our two-level Olive Oil Sommelier Certification courses. They learned to identify the positive attributes & defects in olive oil and tasted more than 100 samples of olive oil from various regions in the world’s most comprehensive curriculum in olive oil quality assessment!

But, before Olive Oil Sommelier hopefuls joined instructors from around the world, Perola Polillo—alumna of the course and Chef & Olive Oil Sommelier—and Curtis Cord—Executive Director of the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification program, publisher of the Olive Oil Times and president of the New York International Olive Oil Competition—taught ICC students and guests what chefs really need to know about olive oil.

See what they taught us below to help understand the complexities of olive oil and how to harness the flavor, versatility, and health benefits of one of the world’s greatest cooking oils!

What's with all these names?

There are so many names used to describe different types of olive oil—extra virgin, virgin, refined, pumace, cold pressed and dozens more—but don’t be fooled by these fancy terms! While extra virgin is notoriously the highest quality, consumers often think that others are comparable, which just isn’t true. Pumace is made from leftover flesh and pulp, making it much lower in quality, and potentially harmless from the mysterious ingredients that could be included. Cold pressed is actually a marketing term with little meaning and no definition in the industry. Be wary of getting caught up in all the different terms out there!

What Color Should My Olive Oil Be?

This may come as a surprise, but the color of olive oil is not an indicator of quality! Just like wine, the juice comes from the fruit and the terroir, so the color can vary from anything to a bright green, to a yellow. Olive oil is all about taste and aroma, after all!

Can I put my olive oil next to my stove?

No—definitely not! Olive oil should be kept away from light and heat, which is why it’s often sold in dark green bottles that help to absorb the light. It’s best to store your olive oil in a cool, dark cupboard.

Should I be spending $100 per bottle?

A quality olive oil takes a lot to produce, which is why a bottle can often be pricey. But, you don’t really have to spend more than $100 to have an amazing bottle of oil on your shelf. Some of the best olive oils are often much less!

Does olive oil age like wine?

Olive oil is similar to wine in a lot of ways, but it does not age gracefully. It is possible to keep olive oil in a cool, dark place for up to 2 years. However, after you open a bottle, it degrades and loses its quality—a good rule of thumb is to use the oil within the first 2 months of opening.

Should I just have one bottle?

Different olive oils pair with different foods, just like wine! Some have peppery notes that pair well with heartier dishes, while others are sweeter that go well with desserts. There are thousands of varieties, so it can be tricky to find the best one to pair with your dish, but the Olive Oil Times developed an app to help take out the guess work! Check it out here.

The next time you reach for a new bottle of olive oil at the store, be sure to consider these tips to selecting the perfect oil!

Olive Oil Times Education Lab and International Culinary Center (ICC) present the Olive Oil Sommelier Certification Program. Combining the world’s foremost olive oil experts and educators, this comprehensive series of courses spans production, quality management and advanced sensory assessment for the aspiring olive oil sommelier. Click to learn more about Course 1 and Course 2!


Bugible: How & Why We Eat Bugs

Explore the flavor profiles of the food of the future—bugs! With the world’s population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, we’ll need to find sustainable ways to deliver nutritious food to our growing population. Bugs are not only a solution to this problem, but are also one of the more provocative food sources in discussion.

There’s a reason why 80% of the world’s countries have been eating bugs for thousands of years. Bugs come out ahead of traditional live stock, like beef, in any food enviro-metric—gallons of water, Co2 equivalents of greenhouse gases, acres of land, feed-conversion-ration comparisons and more.

ICC is excited to be hosting Aly Moore founder of Bugible—a blog about the world of edible insects—and for an insightful presentation and tasting about how and why we eat bugs. Opening a dialogue about how what we eat impacts our bodies and our environment, we’ll examine the challenges faced by entrepreneurs, discuss how to overcome the stigma surrounding edible bugs and encourage chefs of the next generation to have an open mind to the opportunities that tasty critters offer. Join us for a guided tasting on Wednesday, June 5th from 3:30-5pm to explore the delicate flavor profiles of critters like grasshoppers and bamboo worms.


Wednesday, June 5th | 3:30-5:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

About Aly Moore

aly mooreAfter studying public health at Yale University, Aly Moore searched for a way to address the challenges to feed our growing sustainably and nutritiously feed our growing population. She started (blog) to support the growing insect agriculture industry and slowly grew a cult following on Instagram. To reach broader audiences, Eat Bugs Events was formed as an Aladdin’s den of unique educational events like Bug & Wine Pairings, Bug Dinners & Bug Cooking Classes. Since, Bugible has become the leading media & PR brand for the insect agriculture industry, appearing on Netflix’s Bill Nye, Food & Wine, Forbes, & others. Today, Bugible focuses on continuing to spread awareness about other sustainable and nutritious potential of bugs through collaborations with institutions of all kinds from the International Culinary Center, Yale University, Parks & Recreation Districts, or even the Girl Scouts of America.

She is heavily involved in growing the industry’s trade organization – The North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture (NACIA). Learn more here. 


Conchas: Mexican Sweet Bread Recipe

conchasPan Dulce is a staple in Mexican culture and cuisine. Though they can be eaten at any time of the day as a snack or meal, they are typically enjoyed at breakfast. Some people estimate that there are over 2,000 varieties, but the most popular and widely-known is conchas!

In Spanish, concha translates to shell, so it makes sense that this sweet, softly baked bread is named after it’s fun shape. This Cinco de Mayo, we’re honoring the Mexican holiday by sharing how our Director of Pastry, Chef Jansen Chan, makes them in the kitchens of ICC. Check out the recipe below!

We’re also excited to announce our collaboration with Ice & Vice for the Hester Street Fair @FoodBabyNY Food Fest 2 on Cinco de Mayo! Chef Jansen and Ice & Vice are working together to create an exclusive treat, Food Baby Conchitas (a Concha Ice Cream Sandwich) in two signature flavors—Rasperry Concha with Peanut Butter Fluff & Concord Grape Ice Cream, plus a Black & White Coffee Concha with Horchata Ice Cream. The street fair is free to all, but you can register here for tickets.

Can’t wait to go to the street fair to try this signature, exclusive item? Be sure to check our Instagram on Thursday, May 2nd for details on how you can win 2 seats in our Mexican Cooking Class this August! All you’ll have to do is snap a photo of your Food Baby Conchita at the Hester Street Fair this Sunday and post to your Instagram. Stay tuned!


  • 225 g. flour, all-purpose
  • 225 g. flour, bread
  • 70 g. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 20 g. fresh yeast or (10 g. dried yeast*)
  • 60 g. milk
  • 200 g. (about 4) eggs
  • 170 g. butter, softened
  • Additional sugar, for dipping


  1. Place all ingredients*, except butter, in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Mix at a low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix until gluten develops.
  2. Slowly add butter to the dough, and allow to incorporate fully.
  3. Transfer the dough into a greased bowl and wrap in plastic wrap well.
  4. Allow to ferment at room temperature for 2-3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. Place the dough on a flour work surface and punch down to deflate the dough.
  6. Portion the dough into 80g pieces.
  7. Roll each portion into a round and flatten.
  8. Place directly on a parchment-lined tray, allowing 2-3 inches around for expansion.
  9. Divide the crust dough into 28 g. portions. (See instructions to make crust dough below).
  10. Pat crust into 3” circles and place directly on top of each round.
  11. Flour each cutter and gently stamp to create an impression.
  12. Cover the tray and allow to proof for 2-3 hours in a warm spot, or until double in size.
  13. Preheat the oven to 375°F
  14. Bake for 12-15 mins. or until golden brown.
  15. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 mins.
  16. Roll in a bowl of sugar while warm.

*if using dried yeast, first dissolve in milk.


  • 100 g. sugar
  • 112 g. butter, softened
  • ¼ t. salt
  • ½ t. vanilla
  • 120 g. flour, all-purpose*


  1. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add salt and vanilla.
  3. Add flour and allow to mix until just incorporated.
  4. Wrap the dough and allow to rest for at least 30 mins. or overnight, chilled. If the dough sits overnight, remove from refrigerator at least 30 mins. prior to use.

*for chocolate crust, substitute 20 g. of cocoa for flour


3 Things to Know About Farmed Seafood

On April 3rd, 2019, The Global Salmon Initiative and The Sustainable Shrimp Partnership helped ICC kick off our whole month of event programming dedicated to promoting sustainability in food, farming and business practices to better understand your foodprint. 

The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) is a leadership initiative established by leading farmed salmon CEOs from around the world who share a vision of providing a healthy and sustainable source of protein to feed a growing population, while minimizing their environmental footprint, and continuing to improve their social contribution. Similarly, The Sustainable Shrimp Partnership (SSP) aims to create differentiation in global seafood markets so that consumers can easily find and choose shrimp products produced to the highest environmental and social standards. This month, Jose Antonio Camposano of SSP and Avrim Lazar of GSI gave insightful presentations on how the farmed shrimp and salmon sectors are making sustainability a key attribute in delivering high quality products which benefit our oceans.

For instance, did you know that Ecuador is one of the best countries in the world to get farmed shrimp from? Their use of the “extensive farming” method means that less shrimp occupy their growing ponds than other countries. In Ecuador, you can find some of the world’s leading experts on seafood farming—they have extremely strict zoning policies and regulations against farming in or near natural habitats. Their vertical integration of farming companies, paired with their high level of uniform product are just some of the reasons why the quality of shrimp from Ecuador is almost unparalleled.

chef ned and chef gabriellaTo bring the conversation together and demonstrate how sustainable seafood can be used properly, the two organizations were joined by Chef Ned Bell—long-time sustainable seafood ambassador and Ocean Wise Executive Chef based at the Vancouver Aquarium—as well as Chef Gabriela Cepeda—the owner of La Central Deli Shop in Guayaquil and former Head Chef of the Presidential House in Ecuador for 4 years.

These two companies are founded on the principle that sustainability matters. Unfortunately, in farmed seafood, that isn’t always the case. There are many misconceptions that all farmed seafood is bad—that it’s raised in diseased-riddle habitats, the end ingredient is loaded with toxins and less nutritional value—the list could go on. In reality, there are pros and cons to almost every industry in the world, but educating yourself on organizations that are minimizing their environmental impact and changing the industry as we know it is key.

Below, find three facts that will illuminate your understanding of farmed seafood, and see why it’s vital for the health and wellness of our planet, and all of its inhabitants.

9 Billion People by 2050

shrimpYou read that right. The world’s population will reach 9 billion by 2050. As of April 2019, it’s estimated that the current world population is at 7.7 billion, so the 9 billion mark could be reached sooner than we think.

You may be asking yourself, why does this matter?

Global seafood consumption has more than doubled in the past 50 years, which has put real stress on the sustainability of fishing. According to a study from 2011, global demand for seafood that we eat (and not just use for other purposes) is 143.8 million tonnes per year, and the overall consumption footprint, which also includes other uses of seafood, is 154 million tonnes. To preserve our Earth, ocean & species, finding new food sources, and how we cultivate them, is imperative.

Protein Demand Will Double By 2050

Millions and millions of tonnes of seafood is consumed each year worldwide. As diets change, populations grow and resources are stressed, there will be less room for protein produced on land. By 2050, double the amount of protein will be consumed worldwide, which is another reason why sustainable aquaculture will play an important role in feeding the Earth’s population.

50% of Seafood is Farmed

country of origin labelingIn order to protect and support wild caught seafood—and also to meet the demand of consumption worldwide—over 50% of seafood is now farmed. This has its pros and cons. While it protects wild seafood from becoming over fished, many of the countries where seafood is farmed don’t have strict regulations like the US, resulting in negative effects on the environment. Knowing where your seafood comes from and asking if it was raised in a sustainable way can help to counteract this.

To check where the seafood originated, you can look at the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), which is required on all seafood sold in the US. Frozen seafood will have two labels: one to specify where the product was packaged and one that indicates where the seafood was caught or farmed. Be aware that it may seem like the seafood is from the US, but the label may be saying that it was packaged in the US.

Farmed seafood is not bad—in fact, it is helping to save many species from over fishing and is creating new ways to feed our growing population. But, it is important to keep in mind that not all farmed seafood is created equal. Finding companies like GSI and SSP who fight for properly farmed seafood regulations and practices is how this industry will grow into the next food movement that will change the world.

Additional Resources

“Farmed Seafood.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund,

“Homepage.” Global Salmon Initiative,

“SSP – Sustainable Shrimp Partnership.” SSP,

staff, Science X. “How Much Fish Do We Consume? First Global Seafood Consumption Footprint Published.”,, 28 Sept. 2018,