Friday, March 14, 2014

Webinar: 10 Culinary Career Secrets

Webinar: 10 Culinary Career Secrets

Wondering how to approach a potential employer? Curious about changing your career path? Want to become a better networker?

The International Culinary Center's webinar series continues with guidance from Assistant Director of Career Services, Robin Hom.

In this exclusive webinar, Robin Hom, Assistant Director of Career Services at the International Culinary Center, provides guidance and answers questions about goal setting, resume writing, interviewing, and much more.

When you come to the International Culinary Center, you’re not coming to cooking school. You’re coming here to learn to be a 21st-century chef.

Learn more about why you should choose the ICC or schedule a tour to experience “a day in the life” of our students!

Friday, March 07, 2014

Mastering Macarons

Kaitlin Wayne
Professional Pastry Arts Student

Being an avid baker before coming to the International Culinary Center, I used to pride myself on my ability to master most recipes I tried. If they didn’t turn out the first time, I was usually able to figure out where I made mistakes and correct them next time. However, French macarons were an exception to this. Every time I made them I seemed to have some kind of problem. Either they would spread too much or crack...I was never able to achieve the classic “pied,” or feet (sometimes called a ruffle), around the bottom of the cookie. I always knew that French macarons were a difficult recipe to master for the amateur baker, but it always frustrated me  that I couldn't get them right. Not to mention the fact that they are one of my absolute favorite desserts and I was dying to be able to make them myself. 

As a result, I could not wait to learn from the pros here at the International Culinary Center on how to make the perfect French macaron. When the day finally came during our petit four unit, I could not be more excited. We made three different kinds of macarons: gerbet, traditional and almond paste based. The gerbet style is the kind that you typically see in bakeries these days. I made sure to perform every step very carefully in the hopes of creating the perfect macaron. I waited anxiously for them to come out of the oven, waiting to see the perfect ruffle at the bottom. I knew if this were there, I would have done it.

When they were finished baking, I was absolutely thrilled! Perfectly smooth macarons that were crisp on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside. I was so proud of myself for overcoming this recipe that I had struggled with so much in the past. It was with the helpful direction of my chefs that I was able to do so. While it is always enjoyable to make things you know you are always (or almost always) successful with, there is something so satisfying about overcoming something that has been difficult for you. It is so important to challenge yourself and try new things to grow as both a person and a chef.

Learn more about Professional Pastry Arts here:

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Tour of Joe Coffee Roastery in Red Hook

By: Amanda Neal
Professional Culinary Arts plus Farm-to-Table

As part of my Professional Culinary Arts plus Farm-to-Table program, my class is given the opportunity to go on field trips to get a better sense of individuals and companies who are passionate about farm-to-table practices. Our most recent trip was to Joe Coffee Roastery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I personally had never been to a coffee roastery before, so I was excited to see the process in action.

When we first arrived, we walked around the building and toured the facility. There were bags on top of more bags of coffee beans, waiting to be roasted, ground, and transformed into delicious Joe Coffee. We also saw the massive coffee bean roaster they use for roasting their product. The roasting only takes approximately nine minutes from start to finish, but it is very tedious to make sure all the beans are roasted evenly and at the correct temperature. The guy in charge of roasting the beans smells the product almost every 30 seconds to ensure the coffee roasts accurately. We watched them make a batch, and the smell was nothing short of amazing. Once we saw this, we were given the opportunity to roast our own personal batch in a smaller roaster. We then took the beans, ground them up and sipped on a fresh hot cup of Joe from our own batch. It was one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever tasted.

After we learned about roasting coffee beans, we did a tasting of the different beans they source to make Joe Coffee. The process of tasting coffee is called “cupping,” and it involves smelling the steeping coffee, then slurping the coffee from a spoon about three times. The louder and more aggressive you slurp, the more accurate tasting you achieve. It’s not an attractive process, but it’s what works best when tasting coffee. It was so interesting trying the different beans, comparing them and analyzing their specific taste. We were also feeling pretty great and energized by the time we finished!

The tour of Joe Coffee Roastery was an incredible experience. Learning how a green coffee bean from Columbia turns into a piping hot cup of joe was beyond interesting. I’m so glad we got to travel to the roastery as a class, and I’m looking forward to the field trips to come.

Learn more about Professional Culinary Arts plus Farm-to-Table here: