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StarChefs.com™, the magazine for culinary insiders, has been serving the restaurant industry since 1995. StarChefs.com’s original culinary content is driven by in-person tastings and interviews across the world. Its mission is to catalyze culinary professionals’ success and give them the tools they need to overcome their specific challenges. In addition to featuring top chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists, StarChefs.com’s Culinary JobFinder is the leading job board connecting culinary and hospitality professionals to careers in the foodservice industry. StarChefs.com™ features more than 30,000 published pages of original, chef-focused culinary content and generates traffic of over 30 million hits a month ...See All

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Pastry Chef Francois Payard didn't bring liquid nitrogen or any molecular equipment to the Main Stage for his presentation on Day 3 of ICC. He proclaimed, "basic isn't boring. And if you can do it perfectly, why not?" And so, he brought his simplicity to the big show for the pastry faithful who packed the stands on StarChefs final day at the SuperPier. Before he dove into his cooking demonstration, Payard noted, "people think I'm mean, but I'm not mean!" He portrayed his true fun-loving and playful nature with his choice for the demo: the iconic sweet of every modern American's childhood, the beloved Rice Crispy Treat. "It's so simple to make. And really easy to fuck-up," said the thickly accented Frenchman as he used a paint brush to coat sheets of phyllo in clarified butter and cocoa powder. He stacked the sheets together and baked them between silicone mats to create a crisp geometric garnish to embellish the modest treat. For the crispy itself, Payard combined the tried and true puffed rice cereal with PreGel's dark roasted hazelnut paste, milk chocolate, white chocolate, and peanut oil. He then plated the composed dessert-treat with chocolate mousse, caramelized nuts, caramel sauce, and powdered sugar. When Payard finished the plate and held up the dressed-up American staple for all to see, the humble Rice Crispy Treat received wild applause. Preferring to let his food speak for itself, Payard concluded by saying, "You're lucky if you understood half of what I've said!" A wide smile crept across his face as the audience continued to applaud.
Johnny Iuzzini of Sugar Fueled Inc. – New York, NY Sam Mason of OddFellows – Brooklyn, NY Mason spends his days in the test kitchen of OddFellows Ice Cream Co. trying to “get as many different things as I can into ice cream—shove in as much flavor as I can.” Mason’s favorite vehicle for folding flavor into ice creams is liquid nitrogen. On the Main Stage, Mason and Iuzzini made whiskey fluid gel noodles with prehydrated agar. They then pumped the gel into liquid nitrogen, broke them into small pieces, and incorporated them into ice cream base. It’s the best way they’ve found to incorporate virtually impossible to freeze alcohol into an ice cream, with the added benefit of creating pockets of intense whisky flavor. As the temperature of the rock-solid gel balances with the ice cream, the pockets remain, but the textures become homogenous. Mason also froze mini marshmallows with liquid nitrogen, so he could torch them and achieve camp fire glory without a gummy, expanding mess. The frozen marshmallows went into a blender with frozen graham crackers and chocolate to make a s’more powder that he used to coat ice cream balls. One of his proudest achievements is his melon-prosciutto ice cream made by incorporating melon sorbet rocks into a prosciutto-infused ice cream base. Infusions are another method of choice for delivering flavor to his ice creams, as with his prosciutto and chorizo caramel ice creams that involve blitzing meat into cream with a Waring Commercial immersion blender. Another favorite is his cornbread ice cream that involves a quick two-hour infusion with Jiffy cornbread. In his demo, Iuzzini made a trompe l’oeil showpiece with sourdough-infused ice cream, piping a bread slice-shaped mold one-third full with ice cream and pulling it with a vacuum to fill the mold. In the shop, Mason has topped the “bread” with PB&J ice cream (liquid nitrogen shards of Welch’s grape jelly and peanut butter base), serving the ultimate, re-imagined ice cream sandwich. “As a chef, you’re always a target. But ice cream makes everyone happy, and you’re off critics’ radars,” said Mason, whose self-deprecation belies the energy, research, and pastry prowess that he puts into each of his ice cream flavors.
Aki Kamozawa and Alex Talbot, the couple surging the culinary industry forward one blog post at a time, turned up the flavor knob to 11 on the ICC Main Stage. The duo presented on a variety of topics, including how to achieve the intensity of dry aging without moisture loss and expensive equipment by holding beef in a layer of funky blue cheese or cured ham skin. They discussed their new favorite beef fat monté (made with beef fat, beef jus, and xanthan gum) that they use to sauce plates and poach proteins. They also showcased the benefits of lightly scoring and flash freezing meat before deep frying as an incredibly effective way of achieving a crusty surface, tender meat (ice crystals help break down cell walls), and rare center—before bringing the meat to temperature in a CVap. Standing on a Camrack for a little bump in height, Kamozawa broke down a boneless Australian rib-eye into the deckle and center cut, which she then split into two separate steaks. “The rib-eye is an interesting cut of meat,” said Talbot. “It has fat, sinew, and gristle. If you slice and grill it, it has tons of waste. But there’s so much potential.” To help reduce waste and tap into said potential, Talbot discussed how they pressure cook a stock of sinew, cracklings, trim, and even silver skin. When pressure cooked, the silver skin breaks down, and they say it has more flavor than bones. “When you use meat and bones in stock, you’re a gelatin factory. When you’re pressure cooking skin and cracklings, you’re chasing delicious,” said Talbot. Talbot rendered the rib-eye’s trimmed fat and infused it with vadouvan curry, pepperoni, and ground onions (because it’s faster than chopping), later adding shrimp shells and Madeira- and bourbon-marinated scallops to make an umami-forward sauce, which he imparted with smoky flavor inside the Beech Stone Hearth Oven from Jade Range. Talbot and Kamozawa finished the demo with beef tartare with kimchi juice (stolen from Bryan Voltaggio’s demo), assembled on top of ham skin instead of a plate—so they wouldn’t miss their chance at achieving maximum flavor.
Dani García graced the ICC Main Stage like a seasoned performer. The modernist chef, who has restaurants in Spain and New York City, brought his lively wit, humility, and talented Chef de Cuisine, Santiago Guerrero, to a packed audience. García started the demo with an interesting rice paper preparation. Painting it with egg white and seasonings, he deep fried the papers for 10 seconds, during which time they puffed and became shatteringly crispy. He then garnished them with dried Chinese pork, dried shrimp, a dusting of shrimp powder and dots of textured Spanish olive oil. Two lucky participants experienced the texture and umami-forward flavors (with García holding the microphone to their mouths as they ate) and described the sheets as elegant, oceanic, and nori-like. Santiago next made a quick emulsion of Spanish olive oil and seasoned tomato water at a 1:1 ratio with an immersion blender. After adding powdered egg whites and gelatin, he poured the mixture into a whipper, charged it, and expelled the mixture directly into liquid nitrogen. García tested the popcorn-esque result on more audience members and used the pieces as a garnish on his tomato-lobster salad. “Our technique is always in service of taste,” said García. “You cannot do this without liquid nitrogen. It’s how you can eat 50 percent olive oil with a nice mouthfeel,” according to the man who first introduced liquid nitrogen to the kitchen. Ending his presentation with some awe, García presented his dessert, Marbella’s Full Moon, a provocative display of White Chocolate Mousse, Mandarin-Yuzu Center, Walnut Brownie Crumble, Chocolate-covered Corn Nuts, and Citrus Yogurt.
“Why edible art?” posed pastry chef and performance artist Janice Wong of Singapore’s 2:amdessertbar. Because for Wong, the world, and not the plate, is the final frontier in plating, composing, and sharing her craft. “Six years ago [when I started 2:amdessertbar], I was making food and art on a plate,” said Wong. “As we evolved, I thought, ‘How can I make the experience better?’” As she demonstrated with her edible art installation on the Chefs Products Fair floor, Wong changed her focus by creating engaging, complex, and highly edible exhibits that evolve as guests pull gummies off a wall and marshmallows from a ceiling. Alongside the success of her edible art, Wong’s interest in flavor and the plated dessert has also intensified, as she pushes herself to “create without reference.” On the Main Stage, Wong prepared a dish of miso-caramel, miso-yuzu ice cream, and mustard crumble. Sweet, salty, funky, and bright, the audience savored the chance to taste—not just see—her philosophy. “I never look at an ingredient as savory or sweet. It’s how you can pair one ingredient with another,” said Wong, who leaned heavily on red miso to push attendees palates. As Wong devises new and daring flavor combinations and even techniques, she believes in sharing them with the greater culinary community. She self-published one book, and her second is on the way. “I share all my recipes and techniques,” she said. “If I pass them along to the next chef, maybe he can make them better.” Was this a challenge for the audience? The culinary community at large? If so, we can count on endless innovation starting in Singapore and spreading the world over.
“You know the best thing about an Arcobaleno [pasta extruder]: you don’t have to buy fucking Barilla,” said Bryan Voltaggio, chef, Rising Star, culinary competitor, and two-time ICC presenter. His anti-Barilla rant got a loud round of applause from the Main Stage audience, but his demonstration illustrated more than the boycott-ready potential of a pasta extruder. Voltaggio’s first pasta featured Chung Jung One’s gochujang red pepper paste and kimchi juice that he incorporated into the pasta dough. Passing the freshly extruded dough around the audience, attendees leaned in for a whiff of deep, fermented aroma. Voltaggio finished the dish with seared scallops and a sauce of mirin, soy, blitzed uni, and lemongrass. Voltaggio also explained that the recipe for extruded pasta is quite different from hand-kneaded dough. “It should have 30 percent hydration,” he said. And though it may appear shaggy, you should be able to form a ball when you pick it up. For his second dish Voltaggio used a die that produced “cute,” pumpkin-shaped pasta. Destined for one of his fall menus, Voltaggio paired the pumpkin pasta with a sauce of whey-marinated pumpkin purée (for tangy lactic acidity), smoked turkey tails, shiitakes, and more gochujang. Voltaggio said he owned hundreds of dies that allow his team to change up their pasta menus on the fly—without tons of investment in time, research, or failed noodles. He also discussed his work with alternative grains, such as an amaranth-quinoa pasta, and essentially cramming a composed dish into a noodle, as with his borscht-inspired beet juice-horseradish pasta. As if the audience needed convincing, Voltaggio and his team passed around bolognese and noodles for a few hundred guests—the prep work made much simpler with his trusty extruder.
On Day Two of ICC, Elias Cairo showed everybody how to break it down on the Main Stage. He took a beautifully eviscerated Australian lamb and chopped and sliced it down into primal and sub-primal cuts on a Randell Chill-top table (a boon to chefs, he said, who cook in hot kitchens and want to preserve the integrity of meat and fish). Sticking his face into the chest cavity, the charcutier inhaled deeply the fresh scent of raw meat before going in with a hacksaw and knife (always using the knife to slice around meat and the saw only bone). While pigs are typically broken down into three sections, lamb gets butchered into four: front, rack, saddle, and legs. After removing the neck and forequarters, he sliced through after the sixth rib to separate the rack. At the 13th rib, he sawed through to detach the legs. Along the way he presented individual cuts and their uses at Olympic Provisions—lower flaps for mergez, loins rolled in skin and fat for a dinner special, and the leg, which he cures whole. Cairo learned how to handle lamb while he studied and worked in Greece, and he showed the audience how to prepare a lamb leg for curing. First he beat the meat (bone side up) with a rolling pin, and then rolled the meat to remove as much blood as possible. As a charcuterie professional, Cairo doesn’t recommend amateur curing, but he said anyone with a curing space can successfully preserve lamb leg—largely because the meat is pure and free of parasites. To make his version of lamb “prosciutto,” he coats the leg in a mixture of salt and curing salt (4% and 0.2% of the meat weight, respectively), rests it for 30 days in the refrigerator, and hangs it in the refrigerator for two to three weeks.
April Bloomfield, a chef who has “this little restaurant called the Spotted Pig” ceded the Main Stage on Sunday to three unsung heroes of her New York City kitchens. Chef Christina Lecki (The Breslin), Katharine Marsh (The Spotted Pig), and Charlene Santiago (The John Dory) stepped from behind the line to the limelight to break down a 30-pound, line-caught, Long Island striped bass. Lecki discussed the restaurants’ philosophy of sustainability and local buying as Santiago broke down the fish into a boneless side and then the collar and head. Lecki roasted the head simply, with salt and pepper—she tries to sell one a day at The Breslin, saving on food costs and giving one adventurous table a dramatic fish presentation. “It’s about 100 percent respect for the product,” said Lecki. Marsh stepped in to transform the bass skin into a cracker, scraping the meat off the durable skin with a spoon and cooking it between sheet pans until crispy. She then made a quick ceviche with thin slices of the fish. The tag-team butchery and expert technique spoke to the skills and devotion of the women who cook for a living—with all guts and surely, soon-to-come, glory.
On the Main Stage, Chef and Legend Michel Richard discussed his early days on the frontier of American cooking. He moved to New York City 40 years ago and worked at 59th and Lex for just a year before the restaurant failed. Instead of returning to France with his fellow cooks, he gathered his pastry bags and headed to New Mexico, eager to make the most of American kitchens. The rest is history—the birth of French-California cuisine, a pastry legacy, and a D.C. fine-dining powerhouse were all born in time. After thoroughly charming the audience, Richard demonstrated his charming, delicate Lemon Eggceptional. He filled egg shells with water, froze the water, and dipped the ice in warm white chocolate and oil to form a thin egg shell replica. He filled the chocolate shell with a French meringue and a microwaved lemon curd. (“At home, I microwave everything, I make pastry cream, ice cream, and lemon curd—everything in the microwave.”) Simple and elegant, it’s the food he’ll showcase in his new New York home, 40 years from his first stint in his kitchens.
Chef first, businessman only recently, Chef David Myers laid raw the realities of life as a chef in this year’s opening address at ICC. “Each of my successes has been followed by a huge ‘oh shit’ moment.” The succession of his “hell yea” and “oh shit” moments came in fast and furious succession in his early days as a cook—going through Charlie Trotter’s boot camp and spending nights scrubbing the kitchen clean. After moving to L.A., Myers opened his first solo restaurant, Sona, to critical acclaim. And the hell yea moments came flooding in: spreads in Gourmet, a packed restaurant, Bon Appétit’s “Best New Chef,” and stories in GQ. Until they didn’t. In 2008, the economy crashed, Sona teetered near bankruptcy, and the restaurant closed to a press piranha fest, said Myers. “In a matter of months I went from peacock to feather duster.” But in that low moment, Myers learned about himself—and he learned to fight and dig his way out of near collapse. Now, with restaurants across the globe, “I’m in a hell yea phase, and it feels like I’m living the dream. But I know for certain that an oh shit moment is around the corner.” But Myers now has stronger confidence to “navigate out of the shit.” Myers finished his presentation by demonstrating two dishes from his newest restaurant, Hinoki & the Bird: Charcoal Brioche Lobster Roll (based on the flavors of a Vietnamese goat curry), and the ultimate Loaded Sweet Potato with cured plum crème fraiche, pickled chiles, herbs, and lardons.
StarChefs.com invites you to the 8th Annual StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress, September 29 – October 1, 2013 at SuperPier at Hudson River Park in New York City. ICC is one of a kind, and it's back: a three-day culinary symposium that gathers more than 140 of the world's most innovative chefs, pastry chefs, mixologists, and sommeliers to present the latest techniques and culinary concepts to their peers—i.e., you. September 29 to October 1, you'll have the opportunity to attend Main Stage Demonstrations, Hands-on Savory, Pastry, and Mixology workshops, Wine Tasting Seminars, and Business Panels on current industry topics, all gathered under the umbrella of this year's ICC theme, Guts and Glory: Leaving It All on the Line. Working in restaurants is a lifestyle, a professional calling, that still manages inspiring progress in the face of 15-hour work days. It's a high-risk, high-reward industry driven by professionals who devote their lives to food and drink. Join us as we celebrate the people and forces behind culinary greatness at this year's ICC. Presenters: MAIN STAGE Gastón Acurio (La Mar Cebicheria), Dave Arnold (Booker and Dax), April Bloomfield (Spotted Pig Group), Danny Bowien (Mission Chinese), Dominique Crenn & Juan Contreras (Atelier Crenn), Adam Fleischman (Umami Restaurant Group), Dani García (Manzanilla Spanish Brasserie), Johnny Iuzzini (Sugar Fueled Inc.), Aki Kamozawa & Alex Talbot (Ideas in Food), Sam Mason (OddFellows) , David Myers (Hinoki & the Bird), Francois Payard (FP Patisserie), Bryan Voltaggio (Range), Janice Wong (2am:dessertbar) SAVORY James Briscione (Institute of Culinary Education), Elias Cairo (Olympic Provisions), Marc Forgione (Marc Forgione), Vivian Howard (Chef & the Farmer), Andy Husbands (Tremont 647), Peter McAndrews (Paesano's), Jeff McInnis, Evan & Sarah Rich (Rich Table), Richard Rosendale (Rosendale Group), Anthony Sasso (Casa Mono), Patrick and Michael Sheerin (Trenchermen), Hector Solis (Fiesta), Michael Solomonov (Zahav), Michael Toscano (Perla) PASTRY Patrick Fahy (Sixteen at Trump International Hotel & Tower), Zachary Golper (Bien Cuit), Sam Mason (OddFellows), Francois Payard (FP Patisserie), Janice Wong (2am:dessertbar), Sherry Yard (Helms Bakery), Jennifer Yee (Lafayette) BUSINESS Marisa Amador, Justin Bazdarich (Speedy Romeo), Franklin Becker (The Little Beet), Jeremiah Bullfrog (Gastropod), Leah Cohen (Pig & Khao), Evan Hanczor (Parish Hall), Joe Isidori (Arthur on Smith), Thomas John (Piperi Mediterranean Grill), Chris Kulis (Capische?), Josh Lawler (Farm and Fisherman), Matt & Ted Lee (The Lee Bros.), Justin & Katie Meddis (Rose's Meat Market and Sweet Shop), Spike Mendelsohn (Good Stuff Eatery), John Mooney (Bell Book & Candle), Greg Oshteyn (StudiosGO), Evan & Sarah Rich (Rich Table), Kevin Sbraga (Sbraga), Beth Schiff (You Choose Creative), George Weld (Parish Hall) WINE Kerin Auth (Olé Imports), Talia Baiocchi (PUNCH), Joe Campanale (L'Apicio), Patrick Cappiello (Pearl and Ash), Scott Carney (International Culinary Center), Joe Carroll (Fette Sau), Fred Dexheimer (Juiceman Consulting), Anthony Goncalves (42 The Restaurant), Ed Kenney (Town), DK Kodama (DK Restaurants), Richard Kuo (Pearl and Ash), Mike Madrigale (Bar Boulud), Anthony Sasso (Casa Mono), Dale Talde (Talde), George McNeese and Justin Warner (Do or Dine) MIXOLOGY Derek Brown (Mockingbird Hill), Tad Carducci (The Tippler), Juan Coronado (barmini by Jose Andres), Dale DeGroff (King Cocktail), Fred Dexheimer (Juiceman), Meaghan Dorman (Raines Law Room), Theo Lieberman (Milk & Honey), Ryan Liloia (Clover Club), Brian Miller (Mother's Ruin), Joe Raya (Gin Joint), Audrey Saunders (Pegu Club), Karin Stanley (Dutch Kills), Paul Tanguay (The Tippler) EAT@ICC Joaquin Baca (Brooklyn Star), John Bates and Brandon Martinez (Noble Sandwich Co.), David Bazirgan (Fifth Floor), Jeremiah Bullfrog (Gastropod), Leah Cohen (Pig and Khao), Francis Derby (Cannibal), Iacopo Falai (Falai Panetteria), Dani García (Manzanilla), David Gilbert (Tuk Tuk Taproom), Mike Isabella (G Sandwich Shop), Bill Kim (BellyQ), Kyle Knall (Maysville), Michael Laiskonis (Institute of Culinary Education), Danny Mena (Sembrado), Justin and Katie Meddis (Rose's Meat Market & Sweet Shop), James Merker (Mile End Delicatessen), Jeremy Nolen (Brauhaus Schmnitz), Philip Speer (Uchi Restaurants), Luis Villavelazquez (Les Elements Patisserie), Will Zuchman (Alma de Cuba)
The StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress is one of a kind, and it’s back for a seventh year. StarChefs.com presents its three-day, industry-only culinary symposium, gathering more than 100 of the world’s most innovative chefs, pastry chefs, mixologists, and sommeliers who’ll present the latest techniques and culinary concepts to their peers. September 30 to October 2, you'll have the opportunity to watch Main Stage Demonstrations on current industry topics, all gathered under the umbrella of this year’s ICC theme: Origins and Frontiers: The Archaeology of Modern Cuisine.
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