Monday, September 15, 2014

Congrats to CIC Alum Andy Henderson, Chef of Edmund's Oast!

Congrats to CIC alum Andy Henderson for making the Plate Magazine "30 Chefs to Watch" list!  Plate says it "recognizes these innovative chefs from around the country who are garnering the attention and respect from their colleagues for taking food further in their own kitchens. Their creativity and talent prove they are truly rising stars in the food world."

Henderson is chef at Edmund's Oast,which Plate describes as "the on-site brewery, 48 daily draught beers labeled by number, a minimalist English Tudor-style aesthetic and Southern-inspired dishes like pickled shrimp on rye, turnip custard in a white tureen and spicy beef jerky. Read more here: 30 Chefs to Watch.

Friday, September 12, 2014

CIC Alum Ulfet Ralph Wins the Chef's Challenge at the Asheville Wine and Food Festival!

Congratulations to CIC alum Ulfet Ozyabasligil Ralph for winning the Asheville Wine and Food Festival's Chef's Challenge! Ulfet, representing Charleston's Blom Supper Club, was the first woman to win this competition. 

This is "the highlight of the festival: the final competition in the annual Chefs Challenge, a cooking competition that pits regional chefs against each other in an Iron Chef-style battle," wrote the Mountain Express newspaper. "Each chef is given an hour and a secret ingredient — this year it was a whole rabbit — and expected to create a dish that will impress the panel of judges, most of whom are chefs themselves. This year the panel included James Beard favorite William Dissen of the Market Place and Susi Gott Seguret of the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts."

"One hour and two portable burners were all each chef had to contend with, along with a table laced with various items supplied by the French Broad Food Co-op," Seguret wrote in the Festival's official blog.  She described Ulfet's dish as "a richly infused leg perched atop a blend of apples, squash and mushrooms, more sweet than savory, with the kidneys used in the poaching liquid, and the ensemble finished off with butter, this plate was awarded especial detailed attention, with braised cherry tomatoes adding a final touch of color and another sprinkling of marigold petals contrasting in brightness with the dark velvety quality of the sauce."
Ulfet is currently chef at The Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio.

Chef, you did your school proud!

Friday, August 22, 2014

CIC Takes the ACL Ice Bucket Challenge in Honor of Dr. Frankie Miller


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Post and Courier Features Butchery Class Charcuterie Project

Chef Stefanelli's Butchery class was featured in the Post and Courier in an article titled: "Flavor is in piggy's head. Get an insider's view of where charcuterie starts."
Chef Stef and CIC student Marcus Middleton created an array of charcuterie from the head of a Keegan-Filion Farms pastured pig. On the board, bottom left, are are the pieces of charcuterie that they produced: 
Dr. Pepper Head Cheese, Crispy Fried Head Cheese, Pancetta di Testa (head pancetta), Chili Braised Pork Cheeks, Crispy Head Pancetta

Thanks to Chef Sean Brock for sharing the recipe for his pig's head 'pancetta' from his upcoming cookbook, "Heritage."
To read the story:

Monday, August 18, 2014

CIC Grad Ben Dennis Gets Some Love from Garden & Gun Magazine

The headline read: Chef BJ Dennis combines two staples of Gullah/Geechee cuisine to create a classic Lowcountry dish

BJ Dennis“'I eat okra every week—some way, somehow,' says BJ Dennis. 'I’ll make a gumbo. I’ll eat okra by itself, just sautéed. I’ll deep-fry it, too. It’s my favorite vegetable.' It’s also a powerful symbol of history and place for Dennis, a Charleston native with deep roots in the city’sGullah/Geechee community. Not only has he been eating okra his entire life, but the easy-growing crop was also one of the last things his grandfather planted on the Daniel Island family farm before old age took him out of the field. And as Dennis points out, it’s been a part of his family history for much longer than that. 'It came from Africa,' he says. 'Culturally, it’s in my DNA.' Shrimp, abundant in South Carolina waters, is another staple of the Gullah/Geechee diet, and a natural companion to the chopped okra and other garden-fresh vegetables in this one-skillet meal or side dish."

Sautéed Shrimp and Okra
Serves 4-6
Ingredients Vegetable oil      1½ lbs. chopped okra           1 lb. peeled shrimp               
2–3 tsp. minced garlic           1 tsp. minced chile pepper    1 tsp. minced ginger
½ cup diced onion                Kosher salt and black pepper to taste 
Minced parsley to taste         Minced thyme to taste          1 cup diced tomato
PreparationPlace a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add just enough oil to coat the bottom. Add okra and cook until it begins to brown, stirring occasionally. (If okra starts to stick, add more oil.) Then add the next 5 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes. Next, add herbs and tomato, including seeds and juice, to the skillet. Cook until shrimp is ready, 2 to 3 minutes more. If desired, add more salt and pepper before serving.Photo by Peter Frank Edwards; Illustration by Lara Tomlin

Monday, August 11, 2014

CIC Takes Part in the Bradford Watermelon Project

When USC historian David Shields takes up a cause, it's a sure-fire success. On Thursday and Friday of last week, a hearty group of CIC chefs and students gathered to make Bradford watermelon rind into watermelon pickle. Nat Bradford, pictured above with his hands on his son's shoulders, is using the pickles to raise funds for Watermelons-for-Water, providing clean water in Africa, as well as Bradford watermelon seeds. Bradford writes: Here we are, my son Theron and I and our Bradford watermelon, with some of the Dream Team of the culinary world. History is being made this week with our family heirloom melon in some of the most capable hands on the planet. The Culinary Institute of Charleston rocks!!!”

Over the course of two days, some 770 jars of watermelon rind pickle were made. That process started with peeling and cleaning the rind (top two photos) and then dicing it. The next day, the jars were packed, syrup was made, and the finished jars were packed into cartons to return home with Nat Bradford.
Read more about this story in the Post and Courier: Bradford watermelon
And in these words from Dr. Shields:"Created in the late 1840s early 1850s by Nathaniel Napoleon Bradford of Sumter SC, the Bradford Watermelon became a greatly popular patch melon throughout the south and in the Lowcountry in particular. Its lustrous pink-red meat, its firm-soft inch thick rind ideal for pickling, its signature white seeds made it a favorite home consumption melon. [That soft rind put a target on the melon's back, as other, more shippable melons became more profitable.] When fusarium wilt decimated the field melons of the south in the 1890s, people persisted in growing the Bradford, despite is vulnerabilities, until the 1920s. Then, like so many wonderful things it seemingly disappeared. It remained a cherished memory, a melon whose loss was intensely regretted. When researching the history of southern watermelons several years ago, I posted a lament about its extinction, wishing that it of all the lost melons of yesteryear would return. Then a remarkable thing happened. Early in the a.m. in November of 2012 I received the following note from Nat Bradford:"

“My family has been maintaining this watermelon in a little field in Sumter, SC for well nigh onto 100 years that I know for sure. We Bradfords have been in Sumter since before the Revolutionary War, and long before it was ever called Sumter, Sumter County, or the Sumter District. The Sumter area and surrounds were major breeding grounds for watermelons in the 1800's. All of this seems to lead me to a pretty reasonable conclusion that the original Bradford Watermelon documented by W. D. Brinkle from your findings and my family's Bradford Watermelon with our own documentation is one and the same.”

Shields: So began one of the great plant restoration stories of 2013. The Bradford family had maintained its namesake melon for eight generations. (Anson Mills founder) Glenn Roberts and I urged Nat to grow out a field so Carolina could know once again the taste of this famous melon. Last August we brought an evaporator pan to the Bradford farm and made for the first time since the 1880s Watermelon molasses—a syrup whose flavor is so stunningly summery that it shocked me that such a thing once so common had been allowed to lapse. Nat took his seed melons to McCrady’s Restaurant and there with the kitchen staff reduced nearly 100 melons to molasses. The rinds were reserved for pickle. When the melons came to market in Charleston, it was national news and the stock sold out." Pics and more info on this in this Garden and Gun story:

Thanks to Dr. Shields' efforts, the Bradford watermelon has been added to Slow Food's Ark of Taste catalog. And this year, the path of its history took yet another turn. Approximately 150 Bradfords were delivered to Charleston's High Wire Distilling Company, where the meat was removed and distilled to make watermelon brandy. The folks at High Wire sent those rinds over to the CIC to make them into the watermelon rind pickle.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Post and Courier Runs a Feature Story on the Classes for Food Service Staff

Check out this Post and Courier story about the culinary training for Tri-County food service staff sponsored by Boeing and led by Chefs Huff and Mitchell: "Keeping fruits and vegetables out of the cafeteria trash can."
"When a child's favorite item in the school cafeteria... is a processed chicken ring, it's hard for a food service worker to persuade him or her to switch to a bowlful of spinach. Unless, Culinary Institute of Charleston chef Miles Huff maintains, the spinach is downright delicious." To read the full story, see:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Butterbeans, Butterbeans, and More Butterbeans!

GrowFood Carolina, a nonprofit, is South Carolina's first local food hub. Its downtown Charleston warehouse stores fresh produce from nearby farms. Then GrowFood's staff markets, sells, and distributes this local product to grocery stores, restaurants, and other wholesale customers. Their nonprofit mission-driven structure allows them to return a large percentage of the sale price to the farmer. 

Two weeks ago, GrowFood asked CIC to assist with farmer Josh Johnson's prodigious butterbean crop. 
Johnson's Old Tyme Bean Co. is growing two varieties: the Jackson Wonder, a heirloom speckled bean, and the Bridgeton, a more typical green lima. GrowFood wanted to freeze some of the butterbeans to increase their availability. While GrowFood has freezer storage capacity, it lacks the ability to blanch, cool, and vacuum seal the butterbeans. The CIC will tackle this task on three different dates, corresponding to Johnson's crop schedule. These photos show CIC students working on the first batch. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Maymester Visual Arts and Hospitality & Tourism Class Takes Off

Photo of St. Phillip's Church taken by Lisa Livingston
Inspired by their passions for tourism, writing, and photography, Maymester students explored popular tourist destinations in the Charleston area to create impressionistic journals, photographs, and blogs in a collaborative Visual Arts and Hospitality & Tourism class. Using location photography, portraiture, and photo journalistic techniques,  participants captured the beauty and culture of the area during guided walking tours of destinations including historic Charleston, Folly Beach, and Mepkin Abbey.Please enjoy the blog by one of the participants:

Monday, June 30, 2014

CIC Conducts Boeing Farm-To-School Initiative Training for Tri-County Food Service Staff

Left top: Chef Huff and Dorchester county food service workers. Top right: Chef Huff with Charleston county food service workers. Bottom left and right: Dorchester county food service workers. 

Last week, Chefs Kevin Mitchell and Miles Huff conducted the first of two week-long training programs for Tri-County Food Service Staff. These training weeks were sponsored by Boeing as a part of the Boeing Farm-To-School Initiative.

The purpose of the collaboration between CIC, Boeing, and the school districts is to train food service staff in the tri-county school districts to produce appetizing and tasty healthy meals that use fresh, frozen, and local food items. The menus will employ healthy cooking techniques using food service equipment designed for quantity cooking methods.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CIC Grad Andrea Lever Upchurch Gets a Shout Out

CIC grad Andrea Lever Upchurch, Executive Pastry Chef for Hospitality Management Group, Inc., which includes Charleston restaurants Magnolias, Cypress, and Blossom, is truly talented. Her latest kudos are in Rachel Ray's magazine! 

EVERY DAY WITH RACHAEL RAY, at, is loving s'mores, including Andrea's s'mores-inspired frozen dessert with sorghum marshmallow and fudge. Get down to Cypress and check it out!

Chef Lionel Vatinet Does Shaping Demo for Artisan Breads Class

Master Baker Lionel Vatinet of La Farm Bakery and Cafe in Cary, NC, came
to Chef Vagasky's Artisan Breads class Monday to demonstrate shaping and scoring! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Tennessean's Update on the Dinner Prepared by CIC Grad BJ Dennis and Chef Sean Brock

As we shared earlier, at the end of May,CIC grad BJ Dennis went to Nashville to prepare a dinner with HUSK Chef Sean Brock. Here's a fantastic description of the event - and every dish - from The Tennessean:

"Our dining spotlight, an intimate gathering in The Stables at Husk, is a story of connections. Foremost, it's the journey of one chef, BJ Dennis, as he, accessing his grandfather's memories and stories, connects with his Gullah heritage, inspiring him to bring forward the vanishing cuisine of his people.

"It also highlights the friendship of two chefs, Dennis and Sean Brock, who bonded over a common dedication to preserving the foodways, following its connection to another continent.

"And finally, it's the sharing of that knowledge of the culture, its history and food, with a group of curious eaters — connections made all around the table.

"This event, the second in Brock's ongoing Workshop Sessions — small dinners with a purpose — was held May 30-31. Meshing lecture, video and six courses with beverage pairings, the quests of both chefs became illuminated: Dennis' preparing the food of the Gullah and Geechee people of the Sea Islands (along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia) and Brock's tracing of those culinary roots to West Africa."
Read the rest of the story here: BJ Dennis and Sean Brock Dinner

Monday, June 2, 2014

CIC Alum BJ Dennis Invited to Husk Nashville for Workshop Series

CIC alum BJ (Ben) Dennis was thrilled to be invited by Chef Sean Brock to come to Nashville and share the cuisine of the Gullah culture. For the first of the Workshop Series in the Stables, Husk Nashville's private dining facility, Chef Brock  featured two nights of a shared menu. BJ's dishes, seen above, were Crispy Shrimp, Sweet Pea and Rice Croquettes with Geechee Peanut Sauce, Snapper with Shrimp and Crab Purloo, Eggplant Gumbo, and a Charleston Chewy with Vanilla Soft Serve and Bourbon Sauce. The Workshop Series includes an hour of lecture preceding the dinner.

Chef Brock also included BJ in the Charleston Cook It Raw event. Catch a look at him in the film. Thanks, Chef Brock, for your inclusiveness. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Establishes the Dean Frankie Miller Hospitality Award

Dr. Frankie Miller
The award was established in honor of former CIC Dean Frankie Miller, who was dean when TTC opened the new 77,000-square-foot  Culinary Institute of Charleston facility on TTC's Main Campus. In presenting the award, Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Helen Hill expressed the bureau's deep appreciation of Dr. Miller's many contributions to the city's hospitality and tourism industry, including training the city's tour guides in the true spirit of Charleston's history. The 2014 award was presented to Hospitality and Tourism Management graduate Neida Borrero-Rivers. 

l-r: Neida Borrero-Rivers, Dr. Miller,
CAC&VB Director of Sales Suzanne Wallace,
and CAC&VB Chief Operating Officer 

Laurie Lynn Smith