Monday, May 21, 2012

Hot Dog Competition

By Kirby Preroff

Dear Students,

The International Culinary Center will be holding its fifth annual Hot Dog Eating Contest this Wednesday, May 23 from 3:30 – 5:30. This is and will be a fun and exciting day for The International Culinary Center and will give students the opportunity to compete with and against various Chefs and against each other. While the hot dog-eating competition is considered the main event, there are also three other events and opportunities for students to participate, win prizes and raise money for the school.

The Main Event will feature competitors represented by each class level in a race for hot dog glory. Each student will be tasked with eating a 30-inch hot dog. Note that the hot dogs and buns are made in-house so any volunteers to help prep these are much appreciated. The winner of the hot dog-eating contest will not only earn the title of “International Culinary Center Hot Dog Champion of 2012” but also receive gift certificates to various establishments throughout New York City.

New to this year’s event is the Spicy Dog Quick-Fire Challenge. To be eligible, students must apply with Chef Jeff Butler and then selected students will be paired with a Chef Instructor. The student/chef pairs will create a recipe using Sabrett spicy hot dogs and will compete against other for the best recipe. The winner of this challenge will receive a free three-day charcuterie class at The International Culinary Center.

Also new to this year’s competition will be a beverage challenge. The goal of this challenge is to create a non-alcoholic beverage that would pair well with a Sabrett hot dog. Students are allowed to use any ingredients as long as they are non-alcoholic. The winner of this challenge will receive a Blendtec Blender.

Finally, there will be a fourth competition geared towards each of the six levels of the Culinary Arts career program at The International Culinary Center. Each class will compete to raise money for The Friends of FCI scholarship fund. This fund directly benefits International culinary Center students through emergency funding for students, enabling students to continue their education in times of financial need. The class level that raises the most amount of money in this competition will receive a private in-class demonstration with Chef Josh Capon of Lure Fishbar and B&B Winepub and Chef Pat LaFrieda of LaFrieda Wholesale Meat Purveyors. Students are urged to come up with fun, innovative and creative ways to raise money for this essential fund that benefits fellow students.

The Hot Dog Eating Contest, May 23rd 3:30 – 5:30, is a fantastic opportunity not only for The International Culinary Center students to get involved and participate with Chefs in an out-of-classroom atmosphere, but also an amazing opportunity to give back and raise money. For any questions, comments, or concerns please contact Chef Jeff Butler at

Kirby Preroff is a current student in Classic Culinary Arts, Level 4.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chef Brad Farmerie

By Sophie Spano

The International Culinary Center welcomed Chef Brad Farmerie to our California campus on Monday, April 16 for a Q&A with students. Chef Farmerie is a partner and chef in the award winning AvroKO Hospitality Group. AvroKO is a unique design and concept firm that also owns and manages four restaurant properties in Manhattan. The group will soon be making their debut on the West Coast with Fagiani’s, set to open in one of Downtown Napa’s most historic buildings.

AvroKO’s first restaurant, Public, opened in New York City, nine years ago. Brad noted that, at first, the public was a bit skeptical of the cuisine, but he was committed to cooking food that inspired him. His vision earned this unique “Australasian” restaurant a Michelin star. Their second restaurant, Saxon + Parole, opened four years ago under the guise of the Asian fusion/British colonial, Double Crown. Brad acknowledged the importance of reinventing oneself. The new reincarnation of the space features “grilled meats and aquatic delights.” Both restaurants each boast adjacent cocktail bars with an array of spirits and intelligently crafted, innovative cocktails.

Chef Brad’s culinary career launched in 1995, following extensive world travel. He found that his passion for food and travel trumped mechanical engineering, and he enrolled in culinary school in the UK.

When asked about his culinary style, and the inspiration for Fagiani’s, he explained that international travel experience is at the core. The execution of his vision happens via quality ingredients presented simply, but layered with complex flavor.

While on the topic of his background, Chef Brad shared a recent, eye-opening collaboration with Nestle where he was invited to partner with them on product development. His initial reaction was, ‘Why would I be interested in something with a corporate giant like Nestlé?” He then realized that Nestlé sells one million pieces of food a day, while he may serve 200 people a night, and that by working with Nestlé, there was enormous potential to impact millions of Americans.

Chef Brad offered wonderful advice throughout his presentation, and it was apparent that he had an impact on the attendees, and perhaps even recruited potential employees! He concluded by saying that a cook or chef has to find the food and environment that makes him/her feel excited every day at work. This is different for everyone. But in order to be successful, you must have passion and enjoy what you do.

Sophie Spano is an intern at The International Culinary Center, studying foreign languages and business at the Université du Sud Toulon Var which is located in the southern France.