Article By Jasmin Justo
Photo by Kollaboration New York
For anyone who has a passion for the culinary arts or has a desire to learn professional cooking skills, the International Culinary Center is the place to be. Originally founded as The French Culinary Institute in 1984 by Dorothy Cann Hamilton, it was a vocational school dedicated in teaching the superlative French culinary art in an immersive six-month program. 30 years later, it became the International Culinary Institute immersing students in first class culinary programs with locations in New York and California.
Located at 462 Broadway near Soho, the culinary institute offers courses in culinary art, pastry, and bread baking. Offering small flexible classes with professional chefs as mentors, students learn how to cook different types of cuisines and gain a professional cooking skill set, which is adaptable to any cooking environment. The institute consists of a library and eight different kitchens, each designed for the specific kind of cooking. Throughout the tour, there were displays of the student’s sweet creations made from sugar and chocolate.
At the dinner reception that organized by Kollaboration New York, Mr. David Lopez, the Director of Admission, introduced the guests to the history and programs of the school. He then introduced the Director of Pastry Operations, Chef Jansen Chan. Chef Jansen Chan didn’t originally plan to have a profession in the cooking world. As a former Berkley College graduate with a degree in architecture, he enjoyed the designing and planning aspect of his career but didn’t want to sit at an computer desk for eighteen hours a day. He always did baking as a hobby because he loved creating things that he could share with his family and friends. It wasn’t until he worked at a restaurant part time that he realized how much passion he had for baking. He ultimately decided to move to Paris and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu with a pâtisserie diploma in 2000. He then moved back to San Francisco and began his work at fine dine restaurants. Later on Chef Alain Ducasse offered to be his mentor, giving Jansen the opportunity to worked in the kitchens of his eponymous restaurant at the Essex House in New York City, as well as Mix restaurants in Las Vegas and New York City. It was through Chef Alain Ducasse that he became a master at his craft and joined the International Culinary Center in 2012, to share his passion for pastry baking with future pastry bakers.
He admitted that coming from a Chinese American family, being a chef wasn’t the typical kind of professional his parents had in mind, but they were supportive of his career change because of his enthusiasm and passion he had for baking. After Chef Jansen, former graduate Chef Clarice Lam followed up with a fruit tart demonstration for the upcoming Chinese New Year. Unlike Chef Jansen, at the age of sixteen she ran away from home in pursuit to become a model, despite her parent’s discouragement. Nonetheless, she had a successful modeling career as she traveled around the world including the fashion capitals Paris, London, New York, and Los Angeles. As she became multilingual fluent in Italian, French, and Spanish, she also became interested in the world of cooking. As a food lover, she decided to leave the fashion world to embark a new journey in the culinary world. Learning from the finest culinary schools in France and Italy, including Le Cordon Bleu and the International Culinary Institute in New York. After graduating, she tested her skills in various New York City’s restaurants with talented and demanding chefs. She later worked at the Chocolate Room, Brooklyn’s famed dessert restaurant. Although she enjoyed working at the restaurants, her friends fell in love with her desserts and persuaded her to create her own business. Through their support, she opened up her own bakery called The Baking Bean. Her mission is to use the finest organic ingredients to create delicious desserts and sweets inspired by her international culinary experience. The Baking Bean is a one of a kind, creating pastries and desserts for events, weddings, parties and meetings, as well as special orders for delivery within the five boroughs of New York City and nationwide.
After hearing her inspirational story of adventure and triumph, she gave the audience a chance to taste her fruit tart. The bread is soft and fluffy with a soft sweetness from the fresh strawberries and juicy mango. Overall, the tour experience was very intriguing, informative, and inspires the inner chef inside.
For more information about the school visit: http://www.internationalculinarycenter.com/ For additional information on Chef Lam visit: http://www.bakingbean.com/