Thursday, December 26, 2013

From the Farm to Your Holiday Table

By: Amanda Neal 
Level 1 Classic Culinary Arts plus Farm-to-Table Student

The holidays are a special time of year, filled with snowy days and family gatherings. But the most important, and sometimes most memorable, part of the holidays are enjoying meals with the ones you love. Roasted, seasonal vegetables and braised, melt-in-your-mouth proteins are what I look forward to each year, and for this holiday season, I wanted nothing less. It’s a tradition in my family to have a big Christmas Eve dinner where the entire family gets together and enjoys each others company over food and wine. And to make this year’s meal even more delicious, I decided to make a dish using locally sourced product.  

As a student in the Classic Culinary Arts plus Farm-to-Table program at ICC, I’ve learned the importance of knowing where your food comes from. I wanted to practice what I’ve learned in class about environmentally conscious cooking, and this holiday meal was the perfect opportunity to do it. I decided to start at a local farmers market in Cincinnati, OH, called FindlayMarket, the oldest continuously operated market in Ohio. Once there, I saw some incredible Brussels sprouts nestled next to other vegetables. In class, we learned the importance of asking suppliers where their product comes from, so I quickly learned that the sprouts came from a small farm near Columbus, OH. At this point, I knew I was going to make a roasted Brussels sprouts dish with bacon. The golden brown, tender sprouts and crispy, salty bacon pair perfectly together, and they would go great with short ribs and garlic potatoes, two other items we already planned on making.  

As my family got together on Christmas Eve, we talked for hours and filled our stomachs with great food. Everyone loved the idea of having a dish that a local farmer helped produce. This holiday season, I encourage everyone to explore neighborhood farmer and green markets. As well, try cooking with sustainable ingredients, along with some seasonal product to make a well-rounded meal that is great for you and the environment. In the end, I know your belly wont be disappointed. 

Click to learn more about ICC's Classic Culinary Arts plus Farm-to-Table program.

Friday, December 20, 2013

2014 Culinary Fellowship Search

Calling all culinary artists and emerging chefs from the International Culinary Center! The Montalvo Arts Center and the Lucas Artists Residency Program is accepting applications for the highly coveted 2014 Culinary Fellowship in Saratoga, California. Awarded to a candidate with a strong interest in cooking, local and sustainable foods, menu/recipe development and community building, this six month fellowship includes modest room, board, health benefits, stipend and full access to resident garden and kitchen. Deadline is January 8, 2014.





Montalvo Arts Center and the Lucas Artists Residency Program Announces: 2014 CULINARY FELLOWSHIP SEARCH

Montalvo Arts Center and the Lucas Artists Residency Program are currently accepting nominations and applications for the 2014 Culinary Fellowships. For 2014, Montalvo’s Lucas Artists Residency Program will host two selected Culinary Fellows for a six month Fellowship: March 3, 2014 – September 5, 2014; and September 1, 2014 to March 5, 2015. Deadline for applications is midnight January 8, 2014.

Montalvo’s Sally and Don Lucas Artists Residency Program is an international, multidisciplinary artist residency that has supported the culinary arts through working Fellowships since 2004. Located in Saratoga, California in the heart of Silicon Valley, the Lucas Artists Residency Program is a vibrant and significant hub for the creative process. As part of the culinary arts program, inspired by a Slow Food philosophy, the Culinary Fellowship supports the selected culinary artists in the exploration, development and expansion of their craft. This highly coveted Fellowship is awarded annually to a culinary artist or emerging chef with a strong interest in cooking, procuring local and sustainable foods, menu and recipe development, and community building. The program is designed to support the culinary artist in building their repertoire, managing a community kitchen and budgeting to support it. Opportunities are made available to participate in Montalvo’s Culinary Programs through educational outreach, workshops, conversations and other pubic programming that help to build awareness of the culinary arts. The Culinary Fellow also has access to the resident kitchen garden, to cultivate and manage with volunteers as they choose.

Responsibilities of the Culinary Fellow include:
  • Plan and prepare of evening meals Monday-Thursday and Friday Lunch for the resident artists and invited guests. Typically these meals are between 10-15 people.
  • Plan and prepare a monthly Director’s Dinner, for the purpose of donor cultivations and introduction to the residency program at Montalvo. Typically these dinners serve between 20-30 people.
  • Commit to using sound ecological and fiscal principles to guide the sourcing and procuring of all produce, dairy poultry, fish and meats.
  • Maintain and develop relationships with local farmers and producers.

Rewards of the Culinary Fellowship include:
  • A six month Fellowship in the Lucas Artists Residency Program joining a host of international, multidisciplinary Fellows both emerging and established.
  • A modest living stipend, health benefits, room and board.
  • Creative freedom with all meals, considering only dietary restrictions of artists and visitors.
  • The residency commons kitchen as a studio, and creative work space for the duration of Fellowship.
  • Kitchen support when over 13 in attendance at a meal.
  • Organizational support to develop and present public programs that highlight the culinary arts.
  • The Culinary Fellow is welcome to host guests with the approval of the Residency Director.
Should you wish to nominate a culinary artist whom you feel will develop in grow in this type of a Fellowship, please contact us directly with the name, contact information and three reasons you feel this person deserves this opportunity at this time; or simply pass along this call for application and allow the artist to contact us directly. Again, the application deadline is midnight, January 10, 2014. Once applications have been received from the interested artists, interviews and demonstration meals will be scheduled with a jury for the final selection.

Interested applicants please submit a letter of interest, your resume and three sample menus along with any additional, pertinent information via email to or mail to Lauren Walters, Residency Assistant and Artist Liaison, 15400 Montalvo Road, Saratoga, CA, 95070.. For more information, please contact Kelly Sicat, Director of Programs, at or Lauren Walters at or (408) 961-5813.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blue Hill VP Offers Exclusive Advice on Restaurant Marketing

The International Culinary Center's webinar series on culinary careers and entrepreneurship continues with a look at how the experience you create for restaurant guests can be your greatest marketing asset.

Before you run glossy print ads or optimize your social media accounts, there’s a more fundamental type of marketing your business cannot afford to overlook.
In this webinar, Irene Hamburger, Vice President of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, covers “four walls marketing” – the process of reaching your customers while they’re inside your restaurant or culinary business.
Learn how your employees, menus, events, and other experiential elements can help turn your customers into enthusiastic ambassadors for your business.
Want more expert advice in running a restaurant? Enroll in the International Culinary Center’s Restaurant Management class now.
Watch your email for links to register for upcoming webinars.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Alumni Spotlight: Liz Button

In 2007, Liz Button was running a charter aviation company in New Jersey and her daughter Katie was headed to Sweden to complete a Ph.D. in Chemistry. Today, they are the proud owners of one of North Carolina’s hottest restaurants, Cúrate Bar de Tapas in Asheville.

At first, their shared love of food took them on different paths. Katie, disenchanted by academia, accepted a front of house position at José Andrés' Café Atlántico/MiniBar in Washington DC, while Liz pursued her lifelong dream of opening a restaurant by enrolling at ICC. She decided on the Restaurant Management Course because “I wanted to feel confident knowing the ins and outs of the business.” The class was so rewarding she decided to pursue a culinary degree as well. Still impressed by the overall instruction, the culinary technology was most memorable. "I was blown away at the innovation.”

Katie, it seems, was also blown away.  At Café Atlántico, not only did she discover a passion for restaurants, she met her future husband, veteran manager, Félix Meana. A native of Roses, Spain—home to Ferran Adrià’s famed elBulli—Félix worked at the legendary restaurant for five years prior to joining Café Atlántico. Before long the couple returned to elBulli, where Katie completed a highly coveted seven-month stage in the kitchen.

It soon became obvious—Liz’s dream restaurant would be a family affair specializing in authentic Spanish cuisine. In 2011, Cúrate opened to raves and as The New York Times  wrote last month, "it's popularity continues to grow." When reflecting on her success, Liz credits the wisdom of age, her natural stamina and drive, and a good business plan. “I followed the Restaurant Management business plan to a 'T' and it was the foundation for Cúrate.…When we shopped it around to the banks—and
we had to see all of them because no one was lending back then—they
all said ‘Wow, I’ve never seen a business plan like this. This is impressive.’”

Indeed it is. This month Katie and Félix were awarded the 2013 Rising Chefs Award for Sustainablity from and the family has plans to open a nightclub with a Spanish take on American bar food in downtown Asheville. Continued success!

Learn more about ICC's once-a-year Restaurant Management Course at our December 16th Open House. Classes run from late January through May and alumni get up to a 15% discount. 

Monday, December 09, 2013

Alumni Spotlight: Leticia Moreinos Schwartz

On a passionate mission to put Brazilian cuisine on the map, Chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz has published her second cookbook, My Rio de Janeiro. A true Carioca (a person born and raised in Rio), Chef Leticia takes readers through the many neighborhoods of Rio with beautiful photography and authentic recipes such as Risole De Camarão com Catupiry (Shrimp and Catupiry Turnover); Farfale with Salmon and CaipirinhaSauce and Molten Brigadeiro Cake.

A 1997 graduate of the International Culinary Center's Classic Culinary Arts and Classic Pastry Arts programs, Chef Leticia has worked in some of NYC's best kitchens including Le Cirque 2000, La Grenouille and La Caravalle. Featured in the The New York Times, Saveur and The Daily Meal, she now runs, a boutique culinary company offering a range of services from food writing, recipe development and food styling.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Eggnog Yule Log for the Holidays

Chef Jansen Chan, ICC's Director of Pastry Arts, shares his recipe for Eggnog Yule Log, a holiday spin on a classic taught at the International Culinary Center. Watch him in action: 


Chef Jansen Chan 
Yields: 1-10” Yule Log     

Sponge Ingredients
  • ¾ cup + 1 ½ tsp. Flour, cake 
  • ½ tsp. Salt 
  • 6 Eggs 
  • 2 Egg yolk 
  • ¾ cup + 1 ½ T. Sugar 
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla extract 
  • As needed Powdered sugar
Prepare a  9” x 13” sheet tray by lining it with parchment paper and lightly greasing and flouring the surface. Remove any excess flour. Sift the cake flour and salt and reserve. In two bowls, separate the eggs. Transfer the egg whites to a mixer bowl and whip the whites with a little bit of the sugar. As the mixture becomes foamy, increase the speed and slowly add the remaining sugar. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Add the egg yolks and whisk quickly until only just combined. Remove the whisk and gently fold the sifted flour into the egg mixture in several additions. Carefully spread the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle generous with powdered sugar. Bake at 400F for approximately 15-18 mins, or until a light, golden brown. Let the cake sit for 5 mins and gently transfer the cake, with the parchment paper to another tray. Gently roll the cake, against the width, and allow to cool fully in this shape.

Eggnog Custard Filling Ingredients 
  • 1 cups Milk
  • ½ tsp. Nutmeg, grated 
  • ¼ tsp. Cinnamon 
  • Pinch Ginger, cloves, all spice (each) 
  • 6 Tbsp. Sugar, split 
  • 4 Egg yolks 
  • 4 tsp. Cornstarch 
  • 1/4 cup Alcohol of your preference (rum, brandy, or bourbon) 
  • 2 oz. Butter
In a medium size pot, boil milk, half of the sugar, and the spices. Cover and let steep for 15 mins. Whisk the egg yolks, remaining sugar, and pastry cream powder together. Temper ¼ of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and continue to cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture boils. Allow to boil for 1-2 mins. Transfer immediately to a plastic wrap lined tray. Cover the top with additional plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool to slightly warm. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and add the alcohol and butter. Whisk carefully until homogenous. Reserve at room temperature, as needed.    

Crème Chantilly Ingredients
  • 2 cups Heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar 
  • Pinch Salt 
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla extract
Place all ingredients in a mixer and whip until stiff peaks are formed. Reserve, covered, and chilled.  

Additional Decorations
Eggnog Custard Filling  
Simple Syrup (1/2 cup water dissolved with 1/2 cup sugar, cooled)    
Rum, brandy, or bourbon (optional)    
Crème Chantilly  
Cocoa powder   

Unroll the cooled sponge and remove the parchment paper. Sprinkle 2 tsp. of alcohol around the cake, if desired. Spread eggnog custard filling, all but 1” from the length of the sponge. Starting with the length without the custard, roll the cake tightly until a log is formed. Let rest 2 hrs. or overnight, wrapped in plastic. When chilled, slice the cake at 45˚ about 2” away from the end. Transfer the log to a serving tray and place the smaller cut piece on the tray, perpendicular to the cake, with the angled cut facing outward. Spread the crème Chantilly along the length of the cake and use a fork to create ridges. Carefully sift a light coating of cocoa powder on top. Decorate cake with meringue mushrooms.    

from the International Culinary Center!   
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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Alumni Spotlight: Chef Neil Joiner

For Texas native Neil Joiner, there’s no place like home. After graduating from ICC in 2002 and spending six years at The Waldorf Astoria and The Ritz Carlton on Central Park, Joiner (pictured on right) headed back to the Lone Star State and landed at The Hyatt Regency Lost Pines in Austin. “I’m determined to stay in Austin and make it here.”

Despite several offers, Joiner stayed on as executive sous for four years to perfect his craft. It was time well spent. Not only did he build a lasting relationship with Front of House manager Trevor Lane, he was also able to recruit friend and chef Joe Bixel as a fellow sous. Sharing a love of home brewed beer and a passion for food, the three got along famously and laughed themselves into the sobering business of starting a restaurant.

The Porter Ale House and Gastropub is slated to open in just a few weeks and Joiner can’t wait to be part of the scene, “Austin is blowing up, but there is a lot that still doesn’t exist here and that’s where we fit in.” Clear about their niche, Porter seeks to be "comfortable, hospitable and welcoming to folks who love food but want no pretention.” The menu’s new twist on classic American fare includes “everything from braised oxtail fritters to the best burger in town" with an extensive on tap selection that features 30 beers, wines, house cocktails and root beer.

Joiner adds, “Austin is a great place for a talented chef to gain serious industry experience. I want to pull ICC alumni for internships and jobs and bring their talent here.”  

For more information on hiring, click here: