Chocolate

Celebrate Chocolate Month at ICC!

chocolateIt’s no secret that here at ICC, we love chocolate. From our Dean of Pastry Arts Jacques Torres—affectionately known as “Mr. Chocolate”—to teaching our Professional Pastry Arts students how to temper chocolate for hand-painted bon bons & showpieces, chocolate runs in our veins. What better way to celebrate National Chocolate Lovers month than with four different opportunities—panel discussions, tastings, demonstrations and one-day classes—highlighting the intricacies of chocolate and it’s various applications—from sweet to savory!

We’ll begin the month with a tasting from a country known for some of the best chocolate in the world— Ecuador! On February 6th, The Ecuadorian Trade Commission travels to ICC to discuss the similarities in agriculture, production and roasting of two of the countries exports—coffee and cacao beans—through a tasting of different varieties of coffee and chocolate.

A few short days later, home cooks and foodies alike can spend their Saturday learning to create their own delicious bonbons in our hands-on one-day recreational class, Chocolate Treats & Truffles! The following week, we’re gathering a panel of some of NYC’s best single origin producers for Business Bites: Unearthing Your Sources to discuss how to source ethical ingredients, understand fair trade practices, navigate customs & importing laws and more.

Lastly, we’ll finish the month with the savory side of chocolate. ICC alumnus, Danny Mena—Chef/Owner of La Loncheria in Brooklyn and one of NYC’s top Mexican chefs—will lead a demonstration on authentic Mexican Mole. He’ll explain how different regions of Mexico prepare their own versions of Mole, and demonstrate how to make two versions: Rojo & Verde. Plus, attendees will have a chance to taste the Mole as well!

Check out the event details below to see how you can join us this February! Plus, don’t forget to purchase your ICC Cooking Pass and save $100 on a one-day recreational class for two if you plan to join us with a friend for our Chocolate Treats & Truffles class (limited time offer, available for purchase through Valentine’s Day).

Ecuadorian Chocolate and Coffee Tasting

Wednesday, February 6th
3:30pm-5:00pm

Cacao beans

Coffee and chocolate carry many similarities, aside from their stronghold on worldwide consumption. Both products are prominent exports of the single origin movement and share commonalities in fruit, agriculture, harvesting, production and roasting. Join us to learn from a country with some of the best cacao and coffee: Ecuador! The Ecuadorian Trade Commission will discuss sourcing from small producers and demonstrate how to work with single origin beans of coffee and chocolate from Ecuador. Attendees will also have the opportunity to taste through different varieties of coffee and chocolate, and discuss pairing the two products. Find more information here.

This demonstration is open to ICC students and alumni, with a select number of seats available for the general public. No RSVP required for ICC students and alumni.

For general public seating, please RSVP to events@culinarycenter.com with your full name, email and event of interest.

REC: Chocolate Treats and Truffles

Saturday, February 9th
3:30pm-7:30pm | $195

bonbons

In this one-day recreational class, you’ll learn the art of tempering chocolate, and use that knowledge to create an array of treats! With an introduction to the skills used by top chocolatiers and our best recipes to take home, you will be ready to make and enjoy your own chocolate treats whenever the occasion—or craving—calls. Learn more about this hands-on class here.

Click here to Apply Now!

Business Bites: Unearthing Your Sources

Wednesday, February 13th
6:30pm-8:00pm

rishi tea

With consumers moving towards ethical buying habits, higher standards for quality and equality are vital in day-to-day business operations. In Business Bites: Unearthing Your Sources, you’ll hear from a panel of experts running some of NYC’s best single origin businesses—from chocolate and spice importers to coffee and tea—on 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! Click here to learn more.

This event is open to the general public, as well as ICC students & alumni.

RSVP to events@culinarycenter.com with your full name, email and event of interest.

Authentic Mexican Mole Demonstration with Chef Danny Mena

Wednesday, February 27th
3:30pm-5:00pm

Mole

Intense with flavor and a labor of love, Mole can be prepared with dozens of ingredients—chocolate being one of them—in a variety of styles that can take hours to develop the depth of flavor desired! During this demonstration, Chef Danny Mena—ICC alumnus and Chef/Owner of La Loncheria in Brooklyn—will share his expertise in creating an authentic Mexican Mole. You’ll learn how different regions of Mexico prepare their own versions of Mole and have the chance to taste it for yourself—Chef Danny will be demonstrating two types of Mole, a Rojo & Verde. From chiles and garlic, to dark chocolate or no chocolate at all, you’ll be surprised just how many applications Mole can have in your cooking. Click here for more information.

This demonstration is open to ICC students and alumni, with a select number of seats available for the general public. No RSVP required for ICC students and alumni.

For general public seating, please RSVP to events@culinarycenter.com with your full name, email and event of interest.
Chef Jacques Torres Sugar

3 Tips For Working With Sugar from Jacques Torres

Chef Jacques Torres and his Sugar ShowpieceDean of Pastry Arts, Chef Jacques Torres stopped by ICC’s New York campus this month to show our students how to work with sugar. Working with sugar is no simple task—it takes years of practice, skill and patience. Watching Chef Torres work with sugar is like watching Picasso paint; it is awe-inspiring, and he makes manipulating and shaping the difficult medium look easy.

For this demo, “Mr. Chocolate” decided to work with something a little different than chocolate—sugar! He created a showpiece featuring a shimmering sugar swan and a lifelike sugar rose. Throughout the hour and a half demo, he shared his insider tips to working with sugar after many years of experience. Below, we highlight some of our favorite tips from him to help you pull and pour sugar like the pros!

1. Sugar Becomes Shiny Through the Process of Satiné

Through the process of pulling the sugar, air is incorporated. As you continue to work with it, a sheen appears. But, be careful not to pull it too much, or else it will become dull!

Chef Jacques Torres Satinizing sugarChef Jacques Torres Satinizing sugar

2. Silicone Molds Will Mold Sugar, but...

…dough will work too! The fat in the dough makes it so the sugar and the dough will never stick together. The temperature difference of the two help to mold the sugar into the desired shape. This is what pastry chefs used before silicone molds were invented!

Chef Jacques Torres pouring sugar

3. Be Sure to Move your Sugar

When your pulled sugar is under a heat lamp, be sure to move it around every so often. This will ensure it keeps the right temperature. Because the heat is on the top of the sugar, it is important to continually flip the sugar so the temperature stays consistent.

Chef Jacques Torres moving his sugar under the heat lamp

If you’re inspired to learn how to make a sugar showpiece like Jacques Torres, check out ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program where 60 hours of instruction are dedicated to sugar-focused décor, including showpieces like this!