Friday, December 18, 2009

Baking with...

Julia may be your best friend when it comes to learning to cook a recipe at a time in your own kitchen, but we have a few other friends to introduce you to.

In November, The French Culinary Institute released The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts based on The FCI's pastry curriculum, with help from Judith Choate and photographs by Matthew Septimus. Starting with the basics of ingredients, tools, and kitchen first aid, this 500-page tome gives insights, successful techniques, and recipes to help make anyone's baking visions a success. You'll be turning out croissants and nut tarts in no time.

Broken up into nine sessions (tartes, pâte à choux, pâte feuilletée, crèmes et flans, pains et viennoiseries, gâteaux, and petits fours), anyone can work their way through demonstrations that will have you proficient by book's end. And with beautiful pictures to boot, we're feeling mighty inspired just flipping through the pages.

We're proud of the great techniques and expertise our pastry chefs stuffed into this beefy book. We may be partial, but we think this one's a must bake through!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Prestige Magazine Profiles FCI Founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton

As The FCI marks its 25th year, Founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton has many reasons to celebrate. From her induction to the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food and Beverage, to the publication of her new book, Love What You Do: Building a Career in the Culinary Industry, Dorothy's got a lot to be proud of.

Read Prestige Magazine's profile on Dorothy, chronicling the path she took on the way to founding one of the most prestigious culinary schools in the world.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Lower East Side Noshing Tour

Club events are a fun way for students of The French Culinary Institute to enhance their education while getting to know classmates, exploring New York's vibrant food culture, and visiting a variety of restaurants, farms, and wineries around the area.

On December 1, The FCI's Forager Club gave students the opportunity to meet and eat with David Sax, author of Save the Deli and journalist for The New York Times, New York magazine, Vanity Fair, GQ, and more. The self-proclaimed deli fanatic hosted a Jewish Food Noshing Tour of NYC's Lower East Side.

David led the group to some of the most authentic Jewish food New York has to offer, including bialys from Kossar's, the oldest bialy bakery in the United States, Yonah Schimmels' famous "Downtown Knishes," and the destination pastrami sandwich from Katz’s Famous Delicatessen. The group also enjoyed a smoked fish tasting at Russ and Daughters, the nearly 100-year old institution deemed part of New York's cultural heritage by the Smithsonian, excellent kosher pickles from The Pickle Guys, and pastries from Moishe’s Bakery to top it all off.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Honoring the 2009 Outstanding Alumni

Each year The French Culinary Institute celebrates four alumni by awarding them with The FCI Outstanding Alumni Award. These prestigious awards are given in four categories: culinary, pastry, outstanding achievement, and restaurant management. The winners are determined by a nomination and voting process that is open to all FCI alumni and staff.

On December 1, The FCI hosted a reception honoring this year's Outstanding Alumni. The 2009 award winners are Tyler Kord (Outstanding Culinary Award), Michael Zebrowski (Outstanding Pastry Award), Robert Bleifer (Outstanding Achievement Award), and Dan Rafalin (Outstanding Restaurant Management Award). FCI Founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton, along with Master Chefs Alain Sailhac and André Soltner, Vice President of Student Affairs Christopher Papagni, and Associate Dean of Students Erik Murnighan, presented the winners with awards that were hand-painted by Master Chef Jacques Pépin.

Tyler Kord, Outstanding Culinary Award
Tyler Kord, the owner of No. 7 in Brooklyn, graduated from The FCI in 2002 and stayed on to work as a Sous Chef in the a la carte kitchen for Alain Sailhac and Patrick Farrel. He then went on to work for Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Perry Street, for two years, where he was Sous Chef. Serving contemporary new American cuisine in a casual setting, No. 7 was recently named one of Bon Appetit magazine’s Top Ten Best New Restaurants in America.

Michael Zebrowski, Outstanding Pastry Award
Michael Zebrowski, currently a Chef-Instructor at The FCI, was nominated for and won this award while he was still Executive Pastry Chef at The Westin Governor Morris Hotel. After graduating from The FCI in 1998, Michael worked with both David Bouley and Daniel Boulud before moving to The Pierre Hotel, where he focused on the art of producing high-end desserts for large, extravagant banquet events. He then traveled to France to intern at the three Michelin star-rated restaurant Le Jardin des Sens.

Robert Bleifer, Outstanding Achievement Award
Robert Bleifer is Executive Chef of Culinary Productions at the Food Network. After graduating from The FCI in 1994, Robert went on to work as a line cook at Park Avenue Café before taking a freelance position at the Food Network. He worked his way up to become Executive Chef and now oversees in-house food production, location production, photo shoots, vignettes, and food for more than 75 Food Network events annually.

Dan Rafalin, Outstanding Restaurant Management Award
Dan Rafalin, Principal Partner of AvroKo Restaurant Group, is a 1996 graduate of The FCI with a Master of Arts in Food Management from NYU. Prior to joining AvroKo, Dan was the financial and business analyst for the Clark Wolf Company, a food, restaurant, and hospitality consulting firm based in New York. He now oversees operations of AvroKo’s four NYC restaurants, Public, The Monday Room, Double Crown, and Madam Geneva, and has led them to great success, including a Michelin star for Public and two New York Times stars for Double Crown.

The recipients were grateful for being chosen and all expressed a shared admiration of the school, its instructors, and its students. Congratulations to all the winners!