Institute of Culinary Education at Brookfield Place. Did you know about the Institute of Culinary Education’s (ICE) new beautiful NYC Campus? Conveniently located in Brookfield Place and winner of the 2015 IAPC Culinary School oF Excellence aware, ICE has a lot to offer. From knife skills, kids cooking and baking classes to couples and adult cooking classes, there is something for everyone. FiDi Families got to experience Italian Comfort Food, a hands on cooking class led by Spice Market’s executive chef, Anthony Ricco. He brought his Italian roots into the kitchen and taught us how to prepare some of his favorite traditional meals he shares with his family at Sunday dinners and special holidays.
The night began with an simple and elegant cheese and grape platter as the class reviewed what we would be making, what we would need to make each dish, and how we would do so. Chef Ricco had a thorough explanation for everything we planned to do from little tips to how long each would take to prep and make. We then washed our hands, got our aprons on, and began cooking. The group divided and conquered, and after many pointers and hundreds of chopped vegetables later and many appetizer and taste testing breaks, the meal was complete!
We made a number of seafood appetizers throughout the process of making dinner to hold us over, which were cooked and marinated to perfections. Next, we enjoyed a delicious broccoli rabe salad, seafood celery salad, and a bowl of Italian wedding soup. All of these starters differed from one another, allowing for everyone in the class to have a favorite. The main courses included a chicken dish, spaghetti and meatballs, and a variety of pizzas.
The pizza making process was hands-down my favorite part of the night (I think everyone who took the class would agree). We were each given a chance to shine as we started from scratch with homemade pizza dough. A little assistance was necessary, but now I would feel comfortable making my own at home. After prepping the dough and tossing and shaping it to perfection we got to add whatever ingredients we wanted. People got creative with broccoli rabe, calamari, peppers and tomatoes, or stuck to the classic Margherita pizza. The night concluded with a rich, homemade tiramasu, although I was almost too full to finish the entire dessert.
The casual climate of the class made the entire experience enjoyable. There were people of all ages and abilities taking this class. Chef Ricco was patient and very detailed in his explanations, making every technique seem much simpler than following a cookbook or online recipe. After enjoying this family style meal with a complimentary glass of white wine, I left ICE with the recipes of everything we made and extra pizza dough to bring home with me. I would highly recommend taking a cooking class at ICE to anyone even remotely interested in cooking, I know I will be going back as soon as I can!
For more information on what classes ICE offers, please visit the Institute of Culinary Education’s website.
Author: Deirdre McAndrew is a writer for FiDi Families and Italian food fan and newest fan of ICE.