Recap of StarChefs ICC 2011 – Day 1

Ron Paprocki and the pastry god Pierre Hermé Michael Laiskonis and Elizabeth Falkner
Chef Chris Ford's dessert Chef Chris Leung's dessert Chef Jennifer Yee's dessert of strawberry and basil
Judges (Ron Paparocki, Pierre Herme, Michael Laiskonis, Elizabeth Falkner) and Pre-Desserts from Day 1 of ICC’s Pastry Competition

Day 1 of StarChefs ICC 2011 was really a busy, quasi-hectic day as people are beginning to settle in to the rhythms of this three-day long event. My first morning at StarChefs International Chefs Congress (ICC) was to observe the intensive work of 200 pastry chefs around the United States (and a female pastry chef from Denmark) to crank out their pre-dessert for the 2nd Annual Pastry Competition. Only 10 can go to the next round.

Chef Antonio Bachour's Campari-based dessert
Chef Antonio Bachour’s pre-dessert

I am proud to say that my friend Chef Antonio Bachour (his blog) from Miami, FL made it to the next round! He created a new recipe that he admitted that he was nervous about but felt very confident making it through round 2 as it’s something he’s done many times over. His pre-desert was white chocolate cremeux, Campari gelee, Lychee Granita, Greek yogurt Sorbet and campari Meringue. Unfortunately, the audience does not have the privilege to sample these gorgeous desserts. But they are certainly beautiful and I can imagine it would be difficult to pick the top ten chefs.

Antoinette Bruno, CEO/Editor-in-Chief of StarChefs.com

Antoinette Bruno, the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of StarChefs.com had made a welcoming speech about this year’s theme of the “6th Sense.” If you’d like to read her speech, here’s the transcript. In essence, this particular theme is that chefs and restauranteurs are depending on that sixth sense to survive and evolve in this strange and low time of the economy. What can be done to make [name of restaurant/chef] better? How can we attract diners to set us apart from others?

Grant Achatz and Kim Severson, taking questions from the audience
Grant Achatz and Kim Severson

Grant Achatz of his famed Chicago-based restaurant Alinea and Kim Severson took the Main Stage and discuss how his tongue cancer changed his senses from how things tasted to how things smelled. An example he gave was that he never thought of using bitter flavors to his dish until after he regained his sense of taste. It was pretty moving to hear it straight from the chef about how this affected his life – personally and professionally as a chef.

Chef Sandro Micheli of Adour Alain Ducasse Plated apple dessert
Pastry Chef Sandro Micheli and his dessert from his workshop

Chef Sandro Micheli of Adour Alain Ducasse taught a “Love Letter to an Apple”, an interactive pastry workshop utilizing everything about the apple from peels to flesh. There were so many components (there were five elements – sorbet, the sablé cookie base, roasting the apple flesh, creme fraiche cream, apple caramel sauce) of this one dessert and make it all in one hour. It was an amazing dessert to eat when Chef Micheli completed demonstrating this apple-centric dessert. It was tart, sweet and it is an ode to autumn’s predominant fruit – the apple.

To see more photos of Day 1 of StarChefs ICC 2011, please click through my slideshow below:

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StarChefs International Chefs Congress 2011

Website: http://www.starchefs.com/cook/events/icc/2011
Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue (between E 67 & E 68th St)
New York, NY 10065


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

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