Business Bites Resources: How to Unearth Your Sources

For restaurants and food business owners, sourcing quality ingredients and importing products unique to your brand play an important role in setting you apart from your competitors. Your patrons become loyal customers for the quality you retain—and your prices can reflect that. Today, the expansion of global trade and ease of digital communication allows for access to exotic, hard-to-find ingredients from around the world, making it possible to introduce products direct from their origin.

With consumers moving towards ethical buying habits, higher standards for quality and equality are vital in day-to-day business operations. In our latest installment of our Business Bites series, Unearthing Your Sources, our panel of experts shared how they operate profitable food businesses without compromising on quality or fair trade practices. Check out the three things to know when sourcing your products below!

Know Your Farmers

In today’s global market, consumers want to know where their ingredients and products are coming from. Whether it’s intended to support fair-trade practices or identify single-origin goods, it’s an important aspect to the buying process. Being able to connect your customers with the farmers you source from can be both a storytelling and brand building opportunity that results in loyalty and trust.

But, that isn’t the only reason food businesses want to know where, and who they’re sourcing from. Developing a relationship with your farmers can mean the difference between getting the right products for your business, and the best quality for your customers.

Burlap and Barrel stresses this sentiment. During the panel discussion, Ethan Frisch, co-founder of Burlap and Barrel, shared a story about a farm in upstate New York that he has been working with for the past two years. Over this time, Ethan has fostered a strong relationship with Norwich Meadows Farm, opening the door to new opportunities. After much discussion, they have decided to work together to develop a special project, which wouldn’t have happened without Ethan nurturing this relationship.

Know What Your Consumers Want

It’s important to identify what motivates your customers to buy. Is it your uniquely sourced products? Is it your commitment to fair-trade, sustainability or single-origin? Is it your packaging? Figuring out the most meaningful way to communicate to your customers is a time old challenge, but the rewards can be integral to your success.

When Raaka Chocolate rebranded in 2018, they invested time and resources to figure out what their consumers really wanted to know on their bar of chocolate. In order to make the reintroduction of their brand successful, they tested everything from taste to packaging, and even rewrote their brand story. After all, much had happened in the eight years since they had founded their company. Their new packaging is vibrant and bold, much like the chocolate that it encompasses. Although subtle, it is also modeled after the landscapes from which their cacao beans come from. Instead of using common buzz words like fair trade, when you open their bar of chocolate, you’ll see their term “transparent trade” to exhibit their commitment to be transparent in everything that they do, including sourcing.

Know Your Ingredients

Sourcing quality ingredients, especially in a restaurant, market or food business that’s just starting out, can make or break the business. Whether you provide access to a hard-to-find product, a uniquely curated selection or incorporate it into a signature dish, specialty ingredients help to grow a loyal following of customers that return time and time again. They can even create demand when an ingredient has limited quantities. But, relying on specialty ingredients can also pose a difficulty for new companies.

When Vega Coffee was starting out, they knew that they wanted to import coffee from Nicaragua. In order to receive the ingredients they desired, they had to create a system with the governments in both the US and Nicaragua to import the products through customs. Although this is an extreme example, navigating import laws is an important part of sourcing your products, so you must be prepared to do your research as a business owner.

One of Rishi Tea’s best selling drinks is a masala chai drink. A key ingredient to this drink is a delicious Madagascar vanilla, but because of climate change and a few other factors, the price of vanilla has sky rocketed in recent years. As a business owner, they weighed the benefits of raising the price of their best selling drink, but possibly seeing sales decline, with the cost of sourcing the vanilla. In order to keep the price the same, they decided to source vanilla from another country—something that is not easy to do, as vanilla is grown in few places around the world. In the end, they found an amazing quality vanilla in Mexico and were able to continue their masala chai offering without raising the price or compromising on quality.

ABOUT BUSINESS BITES

The BUSINESS BITES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels, networking events and resources designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry.

salmon in brioche

Sous Vide Smoked Salmon in Brioche Recipe

On January 23rd, our Director of Culinary Arts & Technology, Chef Hervé Malivert demonstrated the intricacies of Sous Vide cooking in celebration of International Sous Vide day! Sous Vide techniques can completely change the way a kitchen operates, in both professional restaurants and at-home settings. From determining how time and temperature influence the taste and texture of different foods, to its potential to transform rarely used cuts of meat into tender delicacies, Sous Vide methods make you think in new and exciting ways.

chef herveIn order to properly prepare the culinary professionals of today and tomorrow to use Sous Vide cooking methods in their kitchens, Chef Hervé is leading the charge with an all new hands-on curriculum. Relaunching on May 31st, our Sous Vide Intensive course will teach the techniques behind low temperature cooking and how to adapt them to your own kitchen—whether you plan to use what you learn in a professional restaurant or home kitchen setting!

You’ll explore both professional grade equipment and at-home versions of immersion circulators, as well as the difference between using sous vide vacuum bags and other alternatives. By the end, you’ll taste, test and explore various applications of sous vide cooking for your kitchen, with an array of proteins, vegetables and more! Plus, our resident master of plating techniques, Chef Hervé, will share some of his tips for plating any number of these dishes to perfection!

Before you join us for class on May 31, you can begin practicing with Sous Vide techniques at home. Check out one of the recipes from Chef Hervé’s demonstration below!

Find more information on the Sous Vide Intensive here.

Sous Vide Smoked Salmon in Brioche Recipe

Ingredients:
  • Salt, as needed
  • Sugar, as needed
  • 900 g Salmon
  • 100 g Molasses
  • 55 g Liquid smoke
  • 50 g Brown sugar
  • 5 g Black pepper

PROCEDURE

  1. Combine 4:1 ratio of salt to sugar.
  1. Season the fish heavily with the salt/sugar mixture, covering as much of the surface as possible. Let it rest for 45 minutes, then place your fish in an ice bath (a bowl filled with ice cubes and very cold water) to completely remove the salt and sugar.
  1. For making the glaze: In a bowl, combine molasses, liquid smoke, brown sugar and black pepper.
  1. Transfer the rinsed the salmon to a sheet tray and pat it dry. Next, brush the glaze onto both sides of your salmon.
  1. Place the salmon in a vacuum-pack bag and seal. Cook it sous vide for 1 hour at 113⁰F/45⁰C 
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice and very cold water. Transfer the bag to the bowl and leave it there until the fish is cool to the touch. Remove bag, dry it off, and store it in the fridge either overnight or all day—recommendation is at least 8 hours.

finished plate

Business Bites Resources: Storytelling For Your Business

Every business has a story behind its origin, and restaurants and food businesses are no exception. For some, it’s the desire to showcase the food they learned to cook with their grandparents at an early age. For others, they were inspired to create a product they couldn’t find on store shelves. In ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program, we teach chefs and aspiring food business owners to take their inspiration, and motivation, behind starting a business and develop it into a defined concept and actionable business plan, all in just 6 weeks! But, in order to get started, you first have to think about what makes the story you are trying to tell compelling, what makes your brand unique, and what you have to accomplish to start your business.

So what does it take to start crafting a compelling business story?

Justine ClayWith a little help from Justine Clay, Speaker & Business Coach for Creative Entrepreneurs and Freelancers and ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship instructor, you’ll develop your story and be ready to pitch your food business idea at the end of our 6-week Culinary Entrepreneurship program. If you missed enrolling in our January session, you still have the chance to start thinking about your concept and how to tell your story before our next session in September. Check out these three steps to help you tell your story and beginning your journey to launching your business!

Establish Yourself as a Likeable Hero

Begin by thinking about what you could share about yourself that would engage your customer and have them rooting for you. The story of how you founded your business will show your customers who you are and will allow them to develop an emotional relationship with your business. By incorporating your background into the story, you can develop your customer base and establish that you are trustworthy.

Share Your Roadblock

Next, establish the moment that was daring and defining to your life. You want your customers to be tuned into your story, so show them how you overcame your obstacles to create the business that they have grown an emotional connection to. However, it’s important to remember that this is not the point where you should create a long and drawn-out story–this is where you should set yourself apart and show your customers what motivates you.

Share Your Transformation

Finally, describe how you overcame these obstacles to establish yourself as a business owner. Share your business’ mission and what you set out to accomplish in creating it. Involve your customers by expressing your excitement for your growing brand and the solutions you’ve created that will impact them!

In the end, establishing a compelling story about your brand makes for great pitch content to secure investors, customer loyalty, media attention and more!

ABOUT BUSINESS BITES

The BUSINESS BITES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels, networking events and resources designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry.

Off the Vine: Careers in Wine

Off The Vine: Careers in Wine

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.

RESTAURANT SERVICE? DISTRIBUTION? MEDIA? WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU.

Thursday, February 28th | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

Find out where you fit in the wine industry during a panel discussion with industry professionals at ICC!

The wine and beverage industry is dynamic & diverse, and offers many opportunities to build an exciting career—with options that suit different backgrounds, personalities and lifestyles. For those who are seriously considering a career in the wine industry, the possibilities are endless.

Elizabeth Smith, the Wine Program Coordinator at ICC, will moderate a panel of professionals representing the diverse avenues available to wine career seekers including distribution, restaurants, media and more. Together, we’ll explore topics such as career paths to explore, hiring practices, qualities that employers seek and the paths that each panelist took to get to where they are today. Come with your questions—there will be an open Q&A with the panelists following the discussion! Plus you’ll have the opportunity to network and learn more about how ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program can help you pursue your wine career.

Light refreshments will be provided.

MODERATOR

Elizabeth Smith, Certified Sommelier, ICC Wine Program Coordinator

Elizabeth Smith is the Wine Program Coordinator at ICC, where she assists in running the Intensive Sommelier Training program and coordinates the Court of Master Sommeliers AmericasTM Introductory and Certified Exams.  She also teaches ICC’s introductory wine classes, and organizes extracurricular wine lectures and tastings.

Elizabeth began her career at Food & Wine magazine, and spent 8 years in various sales, marketing, and business insights roles at F&W and American Express.  In 2016 she decided to take her love of wine to the next level, graduating ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program, followed by a happy year at Astor Wines and Spirits.  Elizabeth is a CMS Certified Sommelier and is currently pursuing her WSET Diploma in Wine.

She is a passionate lover of wine and food, and documents her culinary adventures on Instagram @in_vino_glorias.

PANELISTS

slim
Slim Mello, Certified Sommelier
Head Sommelier at The Mandarin Oriental | ICC Alumnus

Slim started his hospitality career at ICC (International Culinary Center) in New York with the Intensive Sommelier Training program under the instruction of Master Sommelier, Scott Carney.  In the same year, he was granted the Walter Clore Scholarship at the Court of Master Sommeliers certified examination for achieving the highest score in NYC.

In 2016,  Slim began his work at Mandarin Oriental NYC with the Internship program under the mentorship of the Master Sommelier Laura Williamson. In 2017 proceeding the internship he became the Sommelier at Asiate Restaurant of the Mandarin Oriental.

During this exciting learning process, Slim was able to expand  his knowledge at the WSET level 3 course. As well as becoming a certified Sherry Wine Specialist with the House of Lustau in 2018.

Currently, Slim resides at Mandarin Oriental as the Head Sommelier taking on new challenges that will allow him to achieve the next level on his educational journey.

michelle
Michele Thomas, Certified Sommelier
Assistant Manager and Buyer, Greene Grape Wine & Spirits, Writer & Educator | ICC Alumna

Michele Thomas is the assistant manager and buyer for Greene Grape Wine & Spirits, located in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene, neighborhood, and a writer, editor, and educator with deep roots in food, wine, and publishing. A certified sommelier (IST ’15) and former executive editor for curriculum at the International Culinary Center, she is co-author of Culinary Careers for Dummies (Wiley), and her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Edible Brooklyn, and Activist Philanthropist. She has also consulted for several food and hospitality companies, including Garnish Global Studio and Gumbo Bros, and documents her varying adventures in food, wine and culture on Instagram as @Bedstuysomm.

Patricia
Patricia Alazraki
Brand Manager, Monsieur Touton | ICC Alumna

Patricia was born in Uruguay and lived a life outside the wine world until her late 20s.

She initially pursued a career in Psychology and Culinary Arts and learned from working at her family’s food import business about sales, distribution and marketing. It wasn’t until 2016 that she decided to make a career change and move towards wine.

She is an alumni of the Intensive Sommelier Training program at ICC. Later on she took on an apprenticeship at Wine and Spirits Magazine, and moved to Bordeaux where she pursued a Master in Wine and Spirits Management. In Bordeaux she worked in wine tourism and education for visitors from around the world. She recently moved back to Brooklyn, NY and took on the position as US Brand Ambassador for a selective group of Bordeaux wine makers. You might find her waking around Prospect Park every morning with her yellow lab, her second passion after wine.

Cristina
Cristina Coari
Wine Education and Press Manager, Vias Imports

Cristina Coari is a native Italian from Gorizia in Northeast Italy. She joined the Vias Imports Marketing Team in 2014, and today she is especially involved in wine education projects and media/public relations.

Cristina received Master Sommelier status from AIS, the Italian Sommelier Association, in collaboration with ALMA, La Scuola Internazionale di Cucina Italiana. Prior to that, she worked in communications at Marco Felluga winery in Italy and was an intern at Domaine Select Wine Estates in New York.

Business Bites: Unearthing Your Sources

Business Bites: Unearthing Your Sources

The BUSINESS BITES SERIES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels and networking events designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry. Each event is designed to provide education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.

SOURCING AND IMPORTING FOR YOUR FOOD BUSINESS

Wednesday, February 13th | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

For restaurants and food business owners, sourcing quality ingredients and importing products unique to your brand play an important role in setting you apart from your competitors. Your patrons become loyal customers for the quality you retain—and your prices can reflect that. Today, the expansion of global trade and ease of digital communication allows for access to exotic, hard-to-find ingredients from around the world, making it possible to introduce products direct from their origin.

But, what do you really know about your sources and where your products come from?

With consumers moving towards ethical buying habits, higher standards for quality and equality are vital in day-to-day business operations. In our latest installment of our Business Bites series, Unearthing Your Sources, you’ll hear from a panel of experts running some of NYC’s best single origin businesses about how they operate profitable food businesses without compromising on quality or fair trade practices. Join us to discuss what it’s like to source from around the world, the laws and agricultural regulations with regard to importing products, fair trade best practices and the key players within a supply chain. They’ll share their tips for working with farmers, navigating customs laws and building a network of trusted producers. Plus, you’ll also have ample time for networking and the opportunity to learn how ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program can take you from concept to business plan & pitch in just 6-weeks!

MODERATOR

Alek Marfisi
Alek Marfisi – Owner, Upwind Strategies & ICC Entrepreneurship Instructor

Alek Marfisi is a native New Yorker with a passion for building things and helping people. After working advising small businesses for five years, Alek launched Upwind Strategies in 2015 with the mission of providing deeper and more relatable services to small businesses: the anti-business-school services firm. He previously worked with the NYS Small Business Development Center where he dove into the exciting intricacies of making entrepreneurial projects a reality. Since then, Alek has logged more than 11,000 hours working with small businesses and has been recognized as one of the top drivers of economic development in the country.

PANELISTS

Ethan Frisch
Ethan Frisch, Co-Founder of Burlap and Barrel

Ethan Frisch is a chef, activist and the cofounder of Burlap & Barrel, the first comprehensive single origin spice company in the US.  A former line cook and pastry chef in New York and London, he was also the co-founder and Executive Chef of Guerrilla Ice Cream, a nonprofit politically-inspired ice cream cart. As a humanitarian aid worker, he worked with NGOs including the Aga Khan Foundation in Afghanistan and Doctors Without Borders on the Syrian/Jordanian border.

He has been an adjunct lecturer at the City College of New York and an instructor with the Experiment in International Living’s Leadership Institute. He is honored to serve on the Board of Directors of the Bond Street Theatre (www.bondst.org), which uses theater to teach conflict resolution and resilience in areas of instability around the world, and on the Advisory Boards of the student-led racial literacy and justice organization Princeton CHOOSE (www.princetonchoose.org) and the Fragments Theater, a youth theater company in Palestine. He is also on the Organizing Committee of the Queens International Night Market.

He holds a dual Bachelors Degree in Conflict Studies and Education and Social Change from the City University of New York, and a Masters Degree in Violence, Conflict and Development from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

Stephen Thomas, Rishi Tea
Stephen Thomas, Market Manager- NYC Metro of Rishi Tea

Stephen Thomas began his hospitality career as a certified sommelier working for one of the largest wine collectors in the world. This passion led him into the world of cocktails, where his science and engineering background opened the doors to some of the top restaurants in New York. He joined Rishi tea just about 2 years ago where he was able to bring it all together under the core values of the company; Importer, selector, maker.

William Mullan
William Mullan, Brand Manager of Raaka Chocolate

William Mullan is Brand Manager for Raaka Chocolate, a bean-to-bar chocolate maker based in Red Hook, Brooklyn. He is fascinated by the intersections of food, culture, and commerce; how food shapes our lives and how we shape our lives with food. After five years at Raaka, he is still not sick of chocolate and considers this to be a good thing.

Rob T.
Rob Terenzi, Co-Founder and CEO of Vega Coffee

Rob Terenzi is a co-founder and CEO of Vega Coffee, a company whose mission is to radically transform the coffee supply chain. Before starting Vega, Rob lived in Nicaragua for about 5 years working with small women-owned coffee cooperatives on improving access to markets and making great Nicaraguan coffee available domestically He also attended law school at Fordham Law and earned a masters degree in International Economics, before working as a start-up and venture finance attorney in Silicon Valley for WSGR for a bit over three years.

Tips to Make 2019 a Financial Success

2019: A Successful Year for Your Food Business

As 2018 comes to an end, food entrepreneurs get a chance to sit down and look over their financial performance for the year.  The food business is fickle; some operators seem to have it so easy and others seem to always be struggling.  If you’d like to do better in the new year, here are 3 ways you can make your business more efficient and ultimately enable you to take home more money.

What’s Your Gross Margin?
Your gross margin is the most important ratio to know about your company. It’s the percent of sales left over after you account for what your product cost you.  If you sell $10 six packs of soda and your product costs you $4, your gross margin is 60%.  On your company’s profit and loss statement, find your gross profit and divide it by your total revenue to get your gross margin.  Here are a few things to think about once you know your margin:

  • Do I operate a high gross margin or low gross margin business?
    High margin businesses (those with gross margins over 50%) benefit the most from a sales push, or working on your pricing and food costing. Low margin businesses (those with gross margins under 50%) benefit the most from finding ways to make the business more efficient by lowering overhead costs like kitchen utilities and employee overtime.
  • How does my gross margin compare to other companies in my sector?
    Once you have your gross margin you can use it to make an apples-to-apples comparison to your competitors’, or industry’s gross margin. Is it above average?  If so, make sure you keep giving your customers a meaningful reason to pay more for what you’re offering. Is it below average? Then maybe you need to consider changing your pricing and quantity structure.

Track Your Refunds and Discounts.
No other businesses face as many refunds and discounts as food businesses do.  Whether it a restaurant comp’ing a meal after a service error or free samples being given away to promote a new food product at a grocery store, discounts and refunds can seriously affect your business’ ability to make a suitable profit.   At the same time, they’re a fact of life for this industry.  The solution is to benchmark, track, and set goals for your refunds and discount.  Many bookkeepers just lump discounts and refunds into your sales figure.  Encourage them to separate these costs out into discrete figures that offset your total revenue.

Work With an Expert to Optimize Your Labor.
Foodservice labor is complicated, and the rules are changing all the time.  It’s never OK to cut your staff and overburden your team just to save a dime, but there are many ways in which your scheduling, overtime, and calculation of base wages net of credit card fees can add small costs to your payroll every week that translate into big expenses each year.  A good payroll processing technology that’s specialized for the foodservice industry is good, but in this case we recommend that you talk to an expert: preferably someone who runs human resources for other food companies.  Here are a few labor costs to think about:

  • Do your customers tip your employees via credit card? If so, make sure you are deducting credit card fees from the amount of tips you pay out to your employees.
  • What is the tradeoff between adding a shift and working your current staff overtime? Comparing these two scenarios might make a big difference in your total annual payroll costs.

Title

ABOUT BUSINESS BITES

The BUSINESS BITES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels, networking events and resources designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry.

Tips To Grow Your Beverage Program

This month, our Business Bites Resources—brought to you by ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship (CE) program—provides tips for food businesses looking to bolster their drink menu.

the panelists from the eventAt the beginning of November, members from the culinary community gathered for a panel to discuss the importance of having a beverage program in your restaurant that gets customers back to the bar.  The four panelists were experienced members of the culinary and beverage industry, including Jason Hedges, Bar Director of Gotham Bar & Grill and Partner of BarIQ; Noah Rothbaum, Editor of Half Full from The Daily Beast; Nora Favelukes, President of QW Wine Experts; and Vanessa Da Silva, Sommelier at Ninety Acres.

In the discussion, they shared their tips for creating and managing a successful beverage program, as well as how to turn your drinks into dollars. We’ve gathered some of their tips for success below!

Specialty Cocktails Drive Sales

Our panelists all agreed that specialty cocktails can drive sales and bring in new customers, while increasing margins for the business. Not only are cocktails experiencing a renaissance among bar scenes, but they can also be a fun and visual “Instagram-able” feature on your menu, increasing brand awareness. One tip that we learned from our experts—using fresh juice not only makes a cocktail more delicious, but is surprisingly a way to save money as it can be cheaper than buying expensive pre-made mixes.

Invest in Ice

For most guests, their first experience in a restaurant is ordering a cocktail, so why not take your cocktail to the next level? Ice is a daily requirement in all restaurants, and a universal ingredient in bar drinks. Despite its importance, ice can often be overlooked. Many bar programs are turning to ice blocks, specialty cubes and more to provide a better appearance and experience for their customers. In the end, the cocktails look better, but can also taste better as ice that is higher in quality won’t dilute a cocktail with water as fast.

Bar Software

Bar software can make or break a restaurant in today’s world. According to San Pellegrino, 100% of US restaurants on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list are using a software called BinWise. In addition to these restaurants, Jason Hedges and Vanessa Da Silva, both panelists that work in the restaurant industry, also use BinWise to manage their restaurants inventory and more. There are many other options on the market, so the key is to find a software that works for your business. In the end, bar software programs can increase time saved during inventories, help to gain insights into what products are being poured the most, create a database to have information readily available, and help to recapture lost money.

ABOUT BUSINESS BITES

The BUSINESS BITES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels, networking events and resources designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry.

Business Bites raise the bar with your beverage program

Business Bites: Raise the Bar with Your Beverage Program

The BUSINESS BITES SERIES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels and networking events designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry. Each event is designed to provide education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.

BUSINESS BITES: RAISE THE BAR WITH YOUR BEVERAGE PROGRAM

DEVELOP AND MANAGE YOUR WINE, BEER & SPIRITS

Thursday, November 1st | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

Turning your beverage program into a profitable venture for your business takes a lot of hard work, but with the right knowledge and dedication, it can be the key to your restaurant, bar or food business’ success and longevity. From preventing over pouring to curating the best cocktail, beer and wine lists for your audience, learn how to navigate some of the common mistakes that many restaurants make, and understand the impact that your beverage program can have on your profitability.

So what do you need to know to turn your drinks to dollars?

Join us for an informative discussion with experts in the beverage industry—including wine directors, beverage consultants, bar owners, and distributors—to help make your beverage program more liquid. Our panel of experts will share tips and tools for getting started, how to grow and manage your beverage menu, finding the right solutions for your restaurant or bar, and more. You’ll also have ample time for networking and the opportunity to learn how ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program can take you from concept to business plan & pitch in just 6-weeks!

MODERATOR

Alek Marfisi, Upwind Strategies
Alek Marfisi – Owner, Upwind Strategies & ICC Entrepreneurship Instructor

Alek Marfisi is a native New Yorker with a passion for building things and helping people. After working advising small businesses for five years, Alek launched Upwind Strategies in 2015 with the mission of providing deeper and more relatable services to small businesses: the anti-business-school services firm. He previously worked with the NYS Small Business Development Center where he dove into the exciting intricacies of making entrepreneurial projects a reality. Since then, Alek has logged more than 11,000 hours working with small businesses and has been recognized as one of the top drivers of economic development in the country.

PANELISTS

jason hedges
Jason Hedges, Bar Director of Gotham Bar & Grill and Partner of BarIQ

Jason Hedges is a New York based wine and spirits professional and the Bar Director at Gotham Bar and Grill. His consultancy, Bar IQ, helps new and existing bar and restaurant concepts achieve ultimate quality and profitability. Jason is a judge of both wine and spirits for The Ultimate Beverage Challenge and also sits on the tasting panel for Wine and Spirits Magazine. Jason has developed award winning beverage programs for multiple Michelin rated restaurants in NYC. He is passionate about creating quality.

Jason is a Court of Master Sommelier’s Certified Sommelier, and has also successfully completed the Beverage Alcohol Resource’s intensive course and is certified with distinction.

noah
Noah Rothbaum, Editor of Half Full from The Daily Beast

Noah Rothbaum is the editor of The Daily Beast’s Half Full section. He also hosts the podcast Life Behind Bars with legendary cocktail historian David Wondrich.

In addition, Rothbaum is the author of the book The Art of American Whiskey: A Visual History of the Nation’s Most Storied Spirit, through 100 Iconic Labels and the associate editor of the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails. Rothbaum’s first book, The Business of Spirits: How Savvy Marketers, Innovative Distillers, and Entrepreneurs Changed How We Drink, was published in 2007.

According to Chicago magazine’s chief dining critic, Jeff Ruby, “Rothbaum knows drinking like Newton knew gravity, but he’s not all high and mighty about it, creating laws and whatnot.” And The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog called him “one of the smartest tipplers (and writers on spirits) we know.”

He is the former editor-in-chief of Liquor.com, and has contributed to the Wall Street JournalNew York TimesO MagazineDetailsMen’s JournalMen’s FitnessFood & WineGastronomica, and more.

Nora Favelukes
Nora Z. Favelukes, President of QW Wine Experts

Leading Expert on Imported Wines to the United States, Influencer, Spokesperson, Presenter and Moderator.

Wine expert with years of international experience; equipped with rare understanding of the inner workings and complexities of the U.S., South American and European wine industries. A skilled spokesperson, moderator, negotiator and a natural diplomat.

Ms. Favelukes entered the wine trade in her native Argentina in 1984. Her early professional credits include the post of Export Director at Bodegas Navarro Correas, Argentina. In 1988, she moved to the United States to work as East Coast Sales Manager for Vinos Argentinos. In 2000, she became National Sales Manager for Billington Imports – where she was responsible for the introduction of Bodegas Catena. And, from 1995 through 2001 she was Director of Fine Wines for Palm Bay Imports.

Today, Ms. Favelukes is President of QW Wine Experts, a consulting firm she launched in 1995, which is dedicated to the nationwide public relations, marketing and sales of imported fine wines to the United States market.

Professional credits:
•Past-President of the Wine Council of Argentina in the United States
•Guest lecturer on South American Wines
•The Foreign Service Institute in Washington DC
•The Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University
•New York City College of Technology on South American and Iberian Peninsula

urce’s intensive course and is certified with distinction.

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Vanessa Da Silva, Sommelier at Ninety Acres

Vanessa Da Silva grew up in rural Maine. While studying abroad in Florence, Italy, she took a recreational wine class and became enamored with wine.  After graduating from the University of Maine with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing & International Business, Vanessa pursued a career in marketing but soon realized her budding interest in wine was more than a hobby. Vanessa completed the Intensive Sommelier Training Course at the International Culinary Center in January of 2013 and simultaneously passed the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory and Certified exams.

After several years working as a Sommelier in Manhattan restaurants, Vanessa returned to the ICC where she took on the role of the Wine Coordinator, working on the educational side of wine. In 2017, Vanessa decided to return to the restaurant industry and took on a role at Ninety Acres – a farm-to-table restaurant in Pepack, New Jersey. Vanessa is currently honing her Sommelier skills as she prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Examination.

Chef Marc creating a tart

Taste of Alsace Recipes

On July 25th, we continued the celebration of #FCIFlashback month with a demonstration to highlight the culture and cuisine of Alsace, France through with ICC’s Senior Director of Culinary & Pastry Arts, Chef Marc Bauer. Defined by its rich and vibrant traditions, Alsace is a region known for its cooking, where Alsatian chefs have been particularly ingenious in their ability to use day-to-day ingredients when creating culinary masterpieces!

Below are the recipes that Chef Marc shared with us through his demonstration. He even shared with us his secret ingredient for his blueberry tart…polenta! Happy cooking!

Choucroute de Poisson, Beurre Rouge
Sauerkraut with Salmon and Beurre Rouge (yields 4 people)
Ingredients:

For the Sauerkraut:

  • 1 tbsp duck fat (optional) you can use any fat of your choice
  • 100g onions (ciseler)
  • 350g bacon cut in ½ inch slabs
  • 1 clove (press into the slab)
  • 1 kg sauerkraut (rinse 3 times in cold water and drain)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 ea.  Juniper berries
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 250ml Riesling (Alsatian wine) or a dry white wine

For the Beurre Rouge:

  • 1 shallot (ciseler)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 branch of thyme
  • 10 peppercorns whole
  • 50 ml red wine vinegar
  • 150 red wine
  • 30 ml H. cream
  • 250g. Butter cut in cubes

For the Final Presentation:

  • 4 pieces of 180 to 220g salmon filet, skin on
  • 8 ea. pommes chateau cooked  in water until a knife can pierce it. Hold.
  • 4 leaves of blanched savoy cabbage.
  • 8 ea. Fresh bay leaves
Steps:

Procedure for the Sauerkraut:

  • In a sauce pan melt the duck fat
  • Add the onions and sweat for 5 minutes.
  • Under medium heat, place the slab on top, add the sauerkraut (drained), the garlic bay leaves, juniper berries, cumin, and white wine.
  • Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, and cook for about 1 hour in the oven at 325F (check towards the end to make sure there is enough moisture or it will burn).
  • Keep warm.

Procedure for the Beurre Rouge:

  • In a sauce pan reduce to 9/10th: the vinegar, red wine, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorn, shallot
  • Add the cream and emulsify
  • Whisk in the butter a few cubes at a time to make the emulsion.
  • Add until the right balance of acidity and richness is achieved.
  • Season and strain.
  • Keep warm.

To Finish:

  • Dry the skin side of the salmon, season both side with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Under medium heat In a fry pan add 2 Tbsp of duck fat,
  • Once the oil reaches 350F, add the salmon, skin side down.
  • Lower the temperature and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes until the skin becomes golden brown.
  • Flip and cook another 30 seconds.
  • Hold on a wire rack for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Drain, reheat the sauerkraut
  • Remove the bay leaves and garlic
  • Remove the bacon skin, dice into ½ cm cubes
  • Mix gently into the sauerkraut.
  • Place on a mold, on a plate
  • Add about 3 Tbsp of beurre rouge
  • Remove the mold
  • Add the salmon, (reheated)potatoes, and (blanched ) cabbage chiffonade.
  • Finish with fresh bay leaf garnish.
Tarte aux Myrtilles:
Blueberry Tart (yields 6 people.)
Ingredients:

For the tart dough:

  • 250g cake flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125 g butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 90 ml water

For the custard:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 Tbsp of pastry cream powder
  • 150 g of sugar or honey
  • 400 ml of crème fraiche
  • 1 pinch of salt.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For assembling the tart:

  • 2 Tbsp of polenta or cream of wheat
  • 1 quart of blueberries (washed, sort out the spoiled ones and dried)

For the Garnish: Crème Chantilly

  • 300 ml crème fraiche
  • 80 g sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Alcool of gewurtztraminer 1 Tbsp.

Procedure for the Tart Dough:

  • In a food processor add the flour, butter, salt.
  • Pulse until the flour and butter look and feel like sand.
  • Add the cold water
  • Pulse to homogenize
  • Press the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a round disk about 1 inch thick
  • Store in the refrigerator until needed.

Procedure for the Custard:

  • Add the eggs, pastry cream powder, sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl
  • Whisk for about 15 seconds.
  • Add the crème fraiche

Procedure for the Crème Chantilly:

  • Hold in the refrigerator
  • Place in a pipping bag with a star tip
  • Whisk with a balloon whisk: the cream, sugar, vanilla and marc de gewurtztraminer.
  • To Assemble the Tart;
  • Roll out the pate brisee with a rolling pin to the side of a tart
  • Place into the buttered tart shell
  • Remove excess dough
  • Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Add the blueberries
  • Sprinkle with the polenta or cream of wheat
  • Pour in the custard
  • Place in a pre heated oven at 400 F for about 20 minutes
  • Finish for about 40 minutes at 350 F.
  • When the custard is set and the dough is golden brown
  • Remove from the oven let cool down for about 10 minutes and remove from the mold.
  • Let cool down on a wire rack to dry out the tart crust.
Old photo of Jacques Torres, Andre Soltner, Jacques Pepin, Julia Child, and Alain Sailhac in the Bread Kitchen at ICC

Flashback to FCI this July with French Demos, Tastings & More

In celebration of Bastille Day this July, we’re looking back at our days as The French Culinary InstituteTM with a whole month of programming dedicated to honoring French cuisine and culture, as well as our founding as FCITM. Join us for three events this July that celebrate everything we love about French culinary techniques, as well as French food & wine favorites that never go out of style!

Observe the masterful Chef Jacques Pépin, Dean of Special Programs, in his La Techniques demonstration to learn the fundamental knife skills every good cook must know. Learn the art of pairing through a tasting of French wines and cheeses carefully selected by Dean of Wine Studies and Master Sommelier, Scott Carney, with cheeses provided by Paris Gourmet. Or, travel to the region of Alsace with a demonstration and tasting of traditional and modern techniques for three Alsatian summer dishes and desserts from Chef Marc Bauer’s hometown. Check out the event details below & RSVP to attend!

Plus, we’ll be showing you how the International Culinary Center is still The French Culinary InstituteTM throughout the month of July on our social channels! Follow us all month long as we unlock the FCI vault with photos, stories, recipes and never-before-seen archives of our history. Test your knowledge with Tuesday Trivia on our Instagram stories and see how much you know about the history of FCI/ICC. Tune in every Friday on Instagram for Ask the Chefs as we hear from our FCI/ICC Chef-Instructors about their favorite French dishes, FCI memories and more! Watch us live on Facebook on July 12th at 12pm EST for 20 questions with Chef Jurgen David who has been an FCI/ICC Pastry Chef-Instructor for 20 years.

If you’re an FCI grad, Chef Instructor, or frequently dined at L’ Ecole, we want to hear from you! Share your favorite FCI memories with us using #FCIflashback and tagging @iccedu on Instagram and Twitter. Your photos may end up in our #ThrowbackThursday posts with other photos from our archives.

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JULY DEMOS & TASTINGS

Chef Jacques Pepin
La Technique with Chef Jacques Pépin
Wednesday, July 11 | 3:30-5pm
ICC Amphitheater

Join us for an exclusive demonstration with ICC’s Dean of Special Programs, Chef Jacques Pépin, as he shares the fundamental techniques to improve your knife skills.

white wine & rose wine in glasses
Bastille Day Wine & Cheese Tasting
Thursday, July 19 | 3:30-5pm
ICC 5th floor

ICC’s Dean of Wine Studies and Master Sommelier, Scott Carney takes us through a carefully curated pairing of French wine & cheeses, provided by Paris Gourmet, to highlight the principles behind each pairing success.

Chef Marc Bauer plating
A TASTE OF ALSACE WITH CHEF MARC BAUER
Wednesday, July 25 | 3:30-5pm
ICC Amphitheater

Defined by its rich and vibrant traditions, Alsace is a region known for its cooking, where Alsatian chefs have been particularly ingenious in their ability to use day-to-day ingredients when creating culinary masterpieces! Get a taste through this demonstration of three Alsatian summer dishes & desserts inspired by Chef Marc’s childhood.