Monday, October 27, 2014

Welcome CIC's New Chef Instructors: Chef Instructors Randy Williams and Joe Branton


Chef Instructor Randy Williams (left)  is a Florida native whose father’s military tours, including one at The White House, gave him half a dozen home grounds. He has a degree in Business Administration and a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the College of Charleston. He has worked at Kiawah’s prestigious Cassique private club, training under consulting chef Tom Colicchio of the Craft Restaurant Restaurant Group, and at Charleston’s Cypress restaurant, working under executive chef Craig Deihl. Chef Williams opened the cooking school at the nationally renowned Zero George Street boutique hotel and subsequently became the opening chef for Zero George Café. He became an adjunct instructor at the CIC in 2010 and a full-time Chef Instructor in the fall of 2014.

Chef Instructor Joe Branton (right) is a native of the South Carolina Lowcountry. He cut his teeth in the farm part of farm to table. He has a dual degree in English and History from Clemson University, where he cut his teeth on the kitchen part of the table. Chef Branton subsequently worked in Charlotte and Colorado, reaching the position of Kitchen Manager at The Crested Butte Ski Resort. Returning to the Lowcountry, he received a degree in culinary arts from the CIC and was active in the school’s culinary teams and the Charleston chapter of the American Culinary Federation. Representing CIC in the national San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef competition, Chef Branton brought home The People’s Choice Award. He became an adjunct instructor at the CIC in 2010 and a full-time Chef Instructor in the fall of 2014.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

It Takes a Village to Host an Iron Chef

Every year, the kick-off event at the Southern Living Taste of Charleston weekend is an Iron Chef Competition. The CIC hosts this event, welcoming some 250 guests at our Palmer Campus. Here are some photos from the 2014 competition showing the folks that make it happen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Congrats to CIC Alum Magnolias Chef de Cuisine Kelly Franz!


Iron Chef Judges l-r: Celebrity chef and 
cookbook author Rebecca Lang with
2013 Iron Chef winners Chefs Brandon Buck

 of Middleton Place and Drew Hedlund of Fleet Landing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Chef de Cuisine Kelly Franz has just completed her 11th year in the kitchen of a favorite Charleston restaurant, Magnolias. Franz and competition partner Chef Landen Ganstrom of Crave Kitchen and Cocktails also just won the 2014 Southern Living Taste of Charleston Iron Chef Competition. Congrats, Kelly!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cooper River Bridge Run Supports CIC Scholarships

Last week, The Cooper River Bridge Run presented the CIC with a $5,000 check in support of scholarships. Dean Saboe is seen here with the "presentation check."

The CIC  had joined twenty-two other participants offering bites and entertainment in support of the 2014 Taste of the Bridge Run, held the evening before the race at the Maritime Center overlooking the Charleston Harbor. Baking and Pastry Chef Instructor Kelly Wilson and team served a runner-friendly fresh strawberry and Greek yogurt parfait topped with maple quinoa granola. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

CIC Grad Allison Smith's Company, Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts, Gets Props

CIC alum Allison Smith repurposes the leftover glazed dougnuts from her business, Gourmet Glazed Doughnuts, into bread pudding. Check out her recipe, featured in the Post and Courier, here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fun on The Fantasy!

Seen deck side, left to right: Dean Saboe, Melissa Snyder, Karen Evans, Lucas Heath, Yvonne Mitchell, Jessica Barclay, Chef Carmel, Suzanne Walton, and Angel Hoff
CIC Dean Michael Saboe and Culinary Department Chair Michael Carmel recently accompanied a group of CIC students for an invite-only tour and luncheon on Carnival Cruise Line’s ship The Fantasy, which was docked in Charleston for passengers to check in for their cruise.(Charleston is The Fantasy's home port.) Hosted by Joanie Field, Business Development Director for Carnival Cruise Lines and Suzanne Wallace, Director of Sales for the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the group was awed by the size of the ship and its large number of amenities. They all wished that they were setting sail instead of coming back to school!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CIC Students Assist in Le Creuset Class

Culinary Institute of Charleston students Jordan Murphy, Frances Tomlinson and Steven Pelloni recently assisted Patricia Moore-Pastides, First Lady of the University of South Carolina, as she shared healthy recipes from her books Greek Revival - Cooking for Life and Greek Revival From the Garden.  The event, hosted by Le Creuset as part of the Guest Chef Series, was held in the Le Creuset l'Atelier  facility at Ripley Point. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

CIC Alum Geoff Rhyne and His New Hot Sauce Make the News!

Congrats to CIC alum Geoff Rhyne, who was featured in the Post and Courier with his Red Clay hot sauce. Rhyne, formerly chef de cuisine at The Ordinary, is sous chef at Leon's Fine Poultry and Oyster Shop, one of Charleston's newest and most trendy restaurants. 

His sauce is made exclusively from Fresno peppers, salt and white wine vinegar, then aged in used sorghum whiskey barrels from High Wire Distilling Co. Enjoy the story at: Geoff Rhyne Creates Hot Sauce (Photos by Paul Zoeller.)

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: