Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cooking, Baking, and Restaurant Investigating - what can't our students do!

Culinary Arts Student Contributor: Shaya Klechevsky

Watch out Frank Bruni, The FCI has its own restaurant critic in-house! Join our very own Culinary Arts student Shaya as he reviews NYC’s most popular restaurants. Here’s a quick sampling of what he has to say…

Petrossian Paris
182 West 58th Street - Map
Corner of 7th Avenue
New York, NY
(212) 245-2214
French-influenced Contemporary

Ahh, restaurant week in New York City. For anyone who enjoys dining out as much as I do, and lives on a budget - this is a godsend, especially when you take advantage of the affordable prix fixe lunch and dinner menus at one of New York City's premium restaurants. Although restaurant week "dictates" that prix fixe dinner's are generally $35, Petrossian Paris has an all-year long running "Theater Prix Fixe" for $35 with a slightly different menu.

Upon first approaching the corner entrance of Petrossian, housed in the Alwyn Court Building, you cross the threshold of two massive convex glass doors in a substantial black wrought-iron frame, to alight a small ascension of stairs into the main dining area. As soon as you walk in, the opulence and character of the decor is evident. The bar, directly to the right, is tastefully decorated with pink Finnish granite, lined with fixed, dark gray leather rotating stools set in front of angled art deco style mirrors (which were situated behind the bar)…

To read the rest of this review and check out many more, visit
Shaya’s Restaurant Review.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Turtles, Pigs, and Polar Bears take over Chelsea Market!?

Staff Contributor: Erin Jevis

Show your love for animals as well as sweets, and get into the holiday spirit – this Friday at the 2006 Gingerbread Homes for Animals!

Once again NYC’s top pastry chefs will show off their architectural talents as they construct whimsical gingerbread homes inspired by wild and companion animals.

Presented by Rational Animal and the ASPCA and sponsored by PastryScoop.com, The French Culinary Institute, HEART, and Chelsea Market, the event raises money and public awareness for needy and at-risk animals in New York City. All proceeds from the event will benefit Rational Animal and the Picasso Veterinary Fund which provides grants to shelters and rescue groups to cover veterinary costs for animals in need of emergency care.

Be a part of the opening ceremony (Friday, December 8th from 1-2pm) with a performance from singer/songwriter Nellie McKay, a demonstration from Cakeman Raven, and an appearance from Peanuts, the monkey mascot of Peanut Butter & Co. Also you will have a chance to check out the gingerbread homes of NYC’s top pastry chefs including:

· Victoria Love, The Water Club (FCI alum)
· Michelle Doll-Olson, Patisserie Colson (FCI alum)
· Dina Bonnet and Jean-Francois Bonnet, Tumbador Chocolate (FCI alum)
· Matthew Hutchins, Tompkins Square Bakery (FCI alum)
· Bill Corbett, Dona
And many more!

These imaginative homes will be on display for all to enjoy at Chelsea Market (across from The Lobster Place) from December 8th through December 17th. Check out
PastryScoop.com for complete event details.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The French Culinary Institute Honored Four Outstanding Alumni

Staff Contributor: Melanie Miller

On November 13th, 2006, The FCI recognized four outstanding alumni at the 2006 Outstanding Alumni Awards reception. Dorothy Cann Hamilton, presided over the ceremony and we honored the following alumni who have excelled in the industry:




Daisy Martinez (Culinary ’99), Host of PBS Series Daisy Cooks: Culinary Arts Award




Victoria Love (Pastry ’98), Executive Pastry Chef of Water Club: Pastry Arts Award






Ma
ile Carpenter (Culinary ’99), Executive Editor of Every Day with Rachel Ray: Professional Achievement




Robert Surles (Culinary ’00), Executive Chef of Calhoun School: Contribution to the Culinary Industry




It was an exciting reception and we had a terrific turn out, enabling many alumni to reconnect with each other, the deans, The FCI, and get a first hand look at our new space. The evening concluded with a gala dinner benefiting the Friends of The FCI including a delicious dinner, a silent and live auction conducted by our own Daisy Martinez. Who will be next year’s winners?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

PastryScoop.com and Dave Arnold Mix It Up at the Chocolate Show

Staff Contributor: Raina Bien

Judiaann Woo, editor-in-chief for PastryScoop.com, may know a thing or two about chocolate, but her knowledge of cocktails can be a little thin. So, when she was invited to demo a chocolatey cocktail recipe at this past weekend's annual Chocolate Show, she joined forces with Dave Arnold, The FCI's director of culinary technology and (unofficial) mixologist.

Armed with a cocktail shaker prototype of his own design and his trusty CO2 carbonation tank, Dave got to work mixing up drinks for an audience of 70 thirsty spectators, first carbonating batches of root beer liqueur to pour over scoops of white chocolate ice cream for a fizzy, grown-up version of a traditional float. Up next was his twist on a Cape Codder (in less poetic terms, the good old vodka & cran), a mix of homemade cranberry syrup, chocolate vodka, and a splash of orange liqueur, all carbonated and poured over fresh orange segments. And after that came carbonated chocolate martinis. Clearly, Dave's a man who prefers his cocktails fizzy over shaken or stirred. And strong: seltzer dilutes the flavor behind any drink, which is why he reaches for the CO2 whenever he wants a little bubbly. We'll have to wait a few more years to see if, as Dave hopes, carbonation technology hits the American home kitchen. In the meantime, based on audience response alone, we think he's already winning over converts.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Fun with Fondant

Staff Contributor: Chef Cynthia Peithman

Conquer your Fondant Phobia!!!

Pipe icing like a Pro!!

The FCI has just compelted its first course designed to banish the mystique about rolled fondant icing. Students learned how to produce a beautiful, three-tiered cake from start to finish. From cracking eggs... to baking the genoise... to piping the
last decorative ornament. To dress up the rolled fondant, many techniques were explored: shell borders, pearl borders, drop strings, scrools and swirls, swiss dots, stenciled icing, flooding. Other techniques are demonstrated and practiced using rolled fondant for trimming elements such as bows, ribbons, textured borders.
While the focus is on producing and working with rolled fondant icing, students are also instructed on baking, filling, and building a three-tiered special occasion cake. This course can help both the beginner to learn how to get started, and the practiced decorator to learn new tricks and techniques.

Save your place in our upcoming Cooking Clinic - Fondant and Royal Icing, January 22, 2007 - January 26, 2007.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Join Us on 11/13 for a Meal to Remember

Staff Contributor: Melanie Miller

Want to help raise money for students to go to The FCI? For those of you who don’t know, The Friends of The French Culinary Institute is our non-profit arm that raises money to provide scholarships to FCI’s career students and will be having their annual gala dinner on Monday, November 13th, 2006 following our Alumni Awards Ceremony.

We are very excited for this year’s “A Meal to Remember” gala dinner, as it will feature the classics as well as their modern interpretation to display what keeps the culinary arts moving forward. Classic French dishes will be served next to its modern interpretation prepared by top New York City Chefs: Julian Alonzo (Executive Chef of Brasserie 8 ½), Zak Pelaccio (Executive Chef of Fatty Crab and 5 Ninth), Emily Isaac (Executive Pastry Chef of Union Square Café), as well as our own Chef Lee Anne Wong.

In addition to the delicious dinner and champagne reception (sponsored by Kobrand) there will be an auction with extraordinary items, such as a week in Sicily sponsored by Authentic Sicily, a cooking class with David Bouley, an original painting by Jacques Pépin, reservations at top NYC restaurants, and more. Please call us at 646-254-7521 if you are interested in purchasing a ticket to our gala dinner or visit
http://www.frenchculinary.com/aboutus_friends.htm if you would like to know more about The Friends of The FCI.



Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sugar Buzz

Staff Contributor: Kate Brown

We just don’t slow down here! On Sunday, October 22nd, PastryScoop.com hosted its bi-annual Fall Conference. With 12 demonstrations and 14 talented chefs, over 200 people listened, learned, tasted, and tried their way around what’s happening on the pastry scene today.

It was a chance to tune up techniques, see what’s cutting edge, and rub elbows with the pros. The chocolate and sugar were non-stop, but it was worth every last calorie. Where else could you learn how to carbonate jelly, how to meld Asian and French flavor and technique for a little dessert fusion, and enjoy desserts from famed restaurants Le Cirque, Chanterelle, and Jean Georges?

From bon bon making, sugar art, plated desserts, cooking making and whole wheat baking it was quite a sweet little Sunday. If you missed it, you’ll have to wait until next Spring, but check out PastryScoop.com’s event listings since they always have something baking.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Spain takes over at The International Culinary Center

Staff Contributor: Melanie Miller

On October 13th and 14th, we celebrated the launch of The French Culinary Institute’s new home – The International Culinary Center. What a celebration! Joining us in our launch and to celebrate Spain, a country at the forefront of culinary creativity, was ten of Spain’s most renowned chefs, Ferran Adrià, Juan Mari Arzak, Martín Berasategui, Alberto Chicote, Paco Roncero, Quique Dacosta, Daniel García, Enrique Martínez, Joan Roca and Paco Torreblanca.
For those of you who got to experience and witness the first time these ten chefs were together in the U.S., their breath taking demonstrations and taste premier products from Spain, I am sure you can attest that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, please take a look at our event Website www.spains-10.com for some of our photographs and event coverage to get a sense of these remarkable chefs and the official launch of The FCI’s new home, The International Culinary Center.


Also, check out some other blogs discussing our event!

http://www.foodite.com/foodite/2006/10/spains_10_cocin.html

http://eater.com/archives/2006/10/spains_10_cocin.php

http://nymag.com/daily/food/2006/10/spanish_chefs_cook_with_dirt_d_1.html#more

http://nymag.com/restaurants/features/23158/

Monday, October 23, 2006

The FCI’s Top Chef Shares The Wong Way to Cook

Staff Contributor: Kate Brown

We couldn’t have been more proud of her last season when she made it almost to the very end on Bravo’s first season of Top Chef. But even though that competition is over, our very own Chef Lee Anne Wong, continues to share cooking tips and techniques on Bravo’s new website for the second season of Top Chef. Chef Lee Anne gives an online demonstration on how to recreate that week’s winning dish at home right from a kitchen at The French Culinary Institute. The first recipe was IIan’s Baked Escargot in Shell , but you’ll have to tune in this week to see the next.

Still not enough? If you want Chef Lee Anne’s take on how things are going in this year’s kitchen, check out her
blog.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Culinary Volunteers Needed


Volunteers needed. Here is your chance to assist chefs from over 50 of New York's top restaurants including Le Cirque, Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, Union Square Café, Buddakan, and many, many more!

Tribeca Events is looking for your help for their upcoming event – City Harvest, Bid Against Hunger, on October 24th from 4:00pm to 11pm at the Metropolitan Pavilion NYC. All those interested can email Amanda Fekety at afekety@tribecaevents.com.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Become the next Food Network Star!

Staff Contributor: Erin Jevis

The Food Network is coming to The FCI in hopes to find their next star!

This Friday October 20, 2006 at 3:30pm in The FCI’s International Culinary Theater scouts will be looking for:

- Cooking know-how: You can be self-taught or professionally trained or somewhere in between, but you should know the basics.

- Personality that pops: Let yourself shine and show us who you really are. Don't be shy. We are all about personality-show us yours!

- Teaching skills: Bring the world of food and cooking to life in your very own passionate and unique way.

The search for The Next Food Network Star will be documented on a series of specials slated to air this June. From a pool of eight finalists, one winner will receive their own six-episode show. Completed applications and VHS/DVD/DV must be received by October 27, 2006. Please visit us at
www.foodnetwork.com to fill out the application and learn how to send in your video.

For more information or questions please e-mail Jennifer at
sullivanj@cbsnews.com or call 212-975-3522.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Cha-Ching!

Staff Contributor: Kate Brown

Any culinary professionals thinking about going to school, but need a little help? Well, The Culinary Trust just announced new scholarships this week. There are six scholarships available to culinary professionals, with a value of $5,000 each, for professional development through travel and research during the ‘07-‘08 academic year. The Culinary Trust will accept scholarship applications from September 15 – December 15, 2006. Visit
The Culinary Trust to get more information and download the application.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The FCI is In Demand!

FCI Culinary Alum and Staff Contributor: Holly Moore

I vividly remember the first time I came to The FCI. Not only was it my first day to see what eventually would become my alma mater, but it was also my first day in New York City. Being a small town girl from Louisiana, it was a complete sensory overload! Funnily enough, of all the things I could have remembered from that very eventful day, the memory that sticks out most is my mind is a small quote that happened to catch my eye when I first entered L’Ecole. There, below all of the pictures and cookbooks was just one sentence from a well-known chef whose name even I, a ‘newbie’ to the food industry, recognized. It read:

“I have so much respect for The FCI that I hire their students the day they graduate.”
-David Bouley

I don’t know why this stuck out to me more than many of the things that should have (like how to find an apartment in the city), but even two years later, I still remember it. That one sentence summed up the thoughts of an extremely talented, well respected chef who could have very well said any number of things about the school. Instead, he chose to use the word ‘respect’ – respect about the training students receive and respect for the cooks that we become after graduation.

I am proud to say that this feeling of respect is one that is shared by many food industry professionals. Our Career Services department recently held our second Career Fair of 2006 and it was a major success. Taking advantage of our new space, The FCI was able to house more employers than ever before! Both students and alumni were able to meet with representatives from close to 40 employers including: Townhouse Restaurant Group, The MGM Grand Las Vegas, The James Beard Foundation, Four Seasons Hotel Group, The Water Club, and many more. It says so much about our school that so many forerunners in the industry want The FCI’s graduates. I am so proud of where we have been and where we going – it’s definitely a good time to be at The FCI.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Chocolate Creations

FCI Pastry Alum and Staff Contributor: Sabena Singh

Raspberry squares…..cherry cordials…truffes au chocolat… yum!

Reading about these confections is heavenly and seeing them in movies like “Chocolat” is tantalizing. But how about having a one week class and producing these delicious bonbons and eating them all by yourself? Difficile? Pas du tout! Sounds like a lot of fun!

Yes, starting this month, the pastry department is holding one week classes in chocolate. Dressed in chef’s whites you will be taught in the school’s brand new kitchen on the fourth floor.

So what can one learn in a week? First a background on the history, the manufacturing and sensory evaluation of chocolate, which in this case is nothing short of interesting. Then you will learn how to temper chocolate, build a box and pile it high with an assortment of chocolates with delectable fillings. Unusual fillings like honey-saffron, dulce de leche, tea and orange flower water or the more traditional like bourbon-pecan, champagne ganache or caramel ganache. In fact once you learn the basics, improvise! Concoct your own flavors! Above all, have fun!


This week the first mini-chocolate creations session ended. Check out what two participants had to say about our very first class!

Naoko Tanese said “….it was a very informative and useful hands-on course, providing an experience of total immersion in working with chocolate…”

Amy Bindler (staff member) said “…the curriculum was great….the best part is that all of the skills are skills that the students discussed using in the future, especially one of the students who will be opening her own chocolate shop…”

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bon Voyage – Alumni Visit the Farms of France!

FCI Culinary Alum and Staff Contributor: Erik Murnighan

Hear about The French Culinary Institute's special travel program offered to Alumni in Southwest France!

Alumni are given the chance to join long-time resident of Southwest France, cook, and writer Kate Hill for a one-week advanced program at The French Kitchen, her 18th-Century farmhouse and cooking school in Gascony. Alumni Erik has just returned and shares his experience:


The trip was fantastic. From the Chapolard’s pig farm to Patricia’s duck farm, the Sabadini’s Blond Aquataine cattle to Guy’s incredible armangac, we saw the origin of the incredible meals we prepared and ultimately consumed.
The Gascon countryside is beautiful and Kate was a fantastic tour guide. We ate everything, including kilo upon kilo of fois gras, magret of duck, saucisson, sauciseche, crepinettes, roast suckling pig, pates, terrines, horse – yes horse, veal, and some of the best produce I have ever eaten. The wine was fantastic and we always made sure to start off our evenings with some local aperitfs, including Floc which is a Gascon specialty. The weather was beautiful and we really learned a lot about the connection between the land and the meal – that has a lot more cultural significance in Gascony than it does in the US and it was wonderful not only to learn about it but to participate in it. The alumni who attended had a great time and they were a pleasure to spend a week with. The people we met were incredible – I was really taken by how proud they were of their respective craft and how they wanted to share that pride with us and tell us why it was so important to do things the old fashioned way.

They invited us into their world and provided wonderful memories.

-Erik

PS- I have included some photos of farmers we met along the way... Also you can read more about our day to day adventures on Kate Hill's blog.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Upcoming FCI Alumni Demo

Culinary '02 Alumni Contributor: Chef Keith DiLauro

Please Join me for a dinner and demonstration where I will be sharing culinary secrets I learned during my travels to Tuscany.

During the event, guests will sample a four-course dinner including fine Italian wines, plus espresso, and cordials with dessert.

For reservations and more information, please
click here or call 212.725.8764.

Also visit Keith's website at:
www.keithdilauro.com to see what he has been up to since he graduated The FCI!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Sweet Life

Staff Contributor: Kate Brown

Ever wonder how you get to be a pastry chef? A lot of dedication and hard work! Former magazine editor turned pastry student, Emily Carrus shares her experiences, successes, and trials in class and around the school. She began documenting her pastry adventures from orientation and she’s now just past the halfway mark. It’s a great way to see the day in the life of an FCI pastry student and always fun to see photos of her pastry masterpieces. From “a face full of flour” to the “tempering beast,” you never know what’s next. Sometimes Emily is “inspired, wired, tired,” but most of the time she sees the sweet side of things and has “reasons to celebrate.”

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The FCI is filled with STARS!

Staff Contributor: Erin Jevis

On a day to day basis it seems that either a talented member of The FCI faculty or extraordinary FCI alumni pops up in the news either in print, TV, or online. On this occasion our Dean of Special Programs, Jacques Pépin, and FCI Culinary ’99 alum, Daisy Martinez share the spotlight as the go-to chefs for
advice on how to become a great chef.

Daisy Martinez can be found cooking up a storm on her television show, Daisy Cooks! , however, she wasn’t always a chef celebrity. Daisy has always had a passion for cooking, but it wasn’t until a special visit to The French Culinary Institute’s restaurant L’Ecole that she began her quest as a professional cook. On her 40th birthday, her husband presented her with classes at The FCI at dinner, and her culinary career has taken off from that moment on!

As world-renowned chef, author, and host of numerous TV shows; it’s hard to believe
Jacques Pépin finds the time to be the Dean of The FCI’s special programs. Pépin not only finds the time to guide these programs, he often gives demonstrates at the school. He explains that “technique puts the means in the hands for [students] to express there talent”. Any alumni of The FCI will be sure to tell you that the first and most important thing you will learn at this school is techniques in which you will carry with you for life.

Check out our continuously growing star alumni at
http://www.frenchculinary.com/alumni_featured.htm.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Virtual Dining

Staff Contributor: Kate Brown

New Yorkers and especially food lovers at The FCI are always looking for the next best restaurant. Making reservations can sometimes be a research project between multiple food guides and many restaurant websites, but there’s a new player in town –
New York Restaurant Videos. Unlike other sites, you get a chance to watch a video of the chef, see the restaurant and even a few of the dishes they serve.

The FCI’s Dean of Italian Studies, Cesare Casella, was interviewed at his West Village restaurant, Maremma. If you’ve met Chef Cesare you know his passion for
Italian cooking, and if you’ve eaten at Maremma you no doubt know the talent. But…did you know that the only kitchen in his home growing up was the in the restaurant his family owned? Do you know what Maremma means? Here’s your chance to find out. Besides talking about his simple, traditional style, he shares several of his favorite dishes – salads, mussels, pasta. Just a “taste” of what’s in store before you dine.

Friday, August 18, 2006

How to Pronounce Like a Pro!

Open to all FCI students!

The FCI Practical French Pronunciation Workshop

Wednesday, August 23rd at 3:15pm
In the Amphitheater

Ever wonder how it is that pâte feuilletée is simply pronounced (pat fuh-ee-tay)? Ever wish you could spend just a little time learning how to pronounce French terms so you could communicate more easily with your chefs and classmates? Well now you can get the skinny on how to pronounce those big fat French words. Don’t let hard-to-pronounce words slow you down on your way to culinary genius!

Sign up now for the first FCI Practical French Pronunciation Workshop!

Not only will you hear how these terms are pronounced, you’ll learn why they are pronounced the way they are.
When you come to the Workshop you will receive:

• A simple, user-friendly guide to refer to later, which will enable you to pronounce any term, recipe title, or phrase that you’ll ever come across!
ALSO
• A list of pronunciations for all those tricky terms and phrases in your books.

Sign up on the bulletin board opposite the library on the second floor.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Marzipandimonium!

Staff Contributor: Kate Brown

PastryScoop.com is in a state of Marzipandimonium! Does the thought of almonds and marzipan in your original creation make you go nuts? Then time to get cracking! Food professionals may enter up to three recipes that include marzipan along with almonds (natural or blanched) and/or almond products (like almond flour, almond paste, or almond meal). The sky's the limit since it can be a confection, pastry, bread, or portable snack. But you don't have much time. Applications must be postmarked by Friday, August 18th. As added motivation to get you into the kitchen, the winner will enjoy an all-expense-paid trip to Germany this October to demonstrate your creation at the International Baking Exposition (the world's largest baking expo!). For more information, please click here.

Current students of The French Culinary Institute may enter a separate contest with a prize of $500! Find out more and get application, rules, and details by emailing
PastryScoop.com or call 646.254.8542. For inspiration, stop by PastryScoop.com at 434 Broadway, 7th Floor or visit Chef Jürgen in the Pastry Department for a free marzipan sample. Submit your application to your chef-instructor by 5pm on Tuesday, August 22nd for a chance to win!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Student Appreciation Day

Staff Contributor: Erin Jevis


"GET YOUR ICE CREAM HERE!" shouted the Vice President of Student Affairs.

The student lounge was filled with excitement today as staff scooped ice cream and presented students with goodies galore. Cartons of delicious ice cream from the China Town Ice Cream Factory were offered up to FCI students in honor of Student Appreciation Day!

The FCI staff was determined to show students how thankful they were for all their cooperation during The FCI’s big renovation. With stairwells being moved, construction noise sometimes noticeable, and not so pretty hallways, student have shown great patience despite all the obstacles they were faced with.

As the renovation is wrapping up, students can already see their patience is paying off. Sparkling new locker rooms, a library that has doubled in size, and the addition of a bright and modern student lounge are already in use by current students. New kitchens and classrooms are around the corner and The FCI couldn’t be more excited, and proud of all the changes that are underway. So again, Thank You to all!