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Dominique Ansel and a Cronut

Sometimes it pays to be the CEO of The International Culinary Center. Dominique Ansel brought me a cronut!!! He also brought me his favorite pastries, the DKA- Dominique’s Kouign Amann (pronounced koo-ween ah-mahn), tender, flaky, croissiant-like dough with a caramelized crunchy crust, and of course absolutely delicious, and available from Dominique Ansel Bakery.

The DKA- Dominique's Kouign Amann

I will point out that he only brought me one cronut but six Kouign Amann! You can hear more about Dominique Ansel, and his fascinating chef’s journey from a small town in France to his own eponymous bakery, by listening to his episode of Chef’s Story, on Heritage Radio Network.

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Brooks Headley in a private room at Del Posto

I had a great interview with the James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year 2013, Del Posto’s Brooks Headley. In addition to a fascinating chat in one of their private rooms, Brooks took me on an almost fantasy tour of the kitchens at Del Posto. In a few words, they are huge, incredibly well equipped and run like a machine.

Part of the Del Posto kitchens

Ravioli Machine

I tried to glimpse the genius. The pure pistachio cookies took my breath away and the unripe strawberries had me scratching my head! To find out the recipe of the unripe strawberries you will have to listen to my interview with Brooks on Chef’s Story on Heritage Radio Network. His episode premieres on July 17th at Noon Eastern.┬áThe other secret…you can eat at this incredible restaurant for only $39 at lunch. Best deal in town. Savor these photos….

Pistachio dough and pistachio cookies

Unripe strawberries

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Believe or not there is a difference. Years ago we tested our staff and students using an analytical tool called The Predictive Index. The index was uncanny in what personality traits it uncovered. We had our Deans take the test as well. We were looking for a student with the same DNA as Jacques Pepin. Well, we didn’t find a budding Jacques but we did catalogue the personality differences.

Actually the differences are pretty logical. To make a vast generalization, pastry chefs are very precise and analytical while culinary chefs are more reactive and instinctive. Think about it. A pastry chef has to measure and check, if even the pinch of salt is left out of the pastry crust, there is no point of correction once it is in the oven. Likewise, for a culinary chef every day presents a different challenge. Every product from the variable marbling of beef to the sweetness of a tomato takes a palate and adjustment to cooking techniques to compensate.

We find in our student profiles that people in culinary come from backgrounds such as real estate, military, teachers and wall street professionals. Pastry people are architects, interior designers, a former Miss Venezuela and medical workers-including a large proportion of former dentists!

If you are interested in becoming a chef, don’t hesitate….please speak with one of our admissions counselors if you want help in determining which DNA runs through your veins. You don’t have to have one of those a previous professions to attend the ICC. Just bring your passion! And we will help you love what you do.

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