Answers: FCI's Master Chefs

/ Saturday, June 12, 2010

Welcome friends, I'd like to introduce you to a few culinary studs that will rock your worlds for the next nine months as I attend the French Culinary Institute here in Manhattan:

Jacques Pepin - Dean of Special Programs If Julia Child was the mother of French cooking in America, Jacques Peppin is the baby-daddy. And it's only appropriate since they hosted "Julia and Jacques Cooking At Home" on PBS, which they taught thousands of viewers how to sautee and braise like pros. He is the original celebrity chef, food columnist and teacher. Take a peak at one of his nineteen cookbooks, two of which, La Technique and Le Methode, are step-by-step collections that revolutionized classic cooking at home and earned him a place in the James Beard Foundation's Cookbook Hall of Fame in 1996. Jacques learned to cook in his parents' restaurant and went on to work in various kitchens in Paris and as the personal chef for Charles de Gaulle. In New York he was the chef at Le Pavilion and then worked as the culinary director for the Howard Johnson Company. You might also remember him from his own series of cooking shows, or from the Today Show, where he was the chef-contributor for many years.

Alain Sailhac - Executive Vice President and Dean EmeritusHe worked his way through some of the top restaurants and hotels in Paris, Corfu, Rhodes and Guadeloupe before becoming the executive chef at Le Cirque for nearly ten years and the culinary director at The Plaza Hotel. He was named "Chef of the Year" by the Maîtres Cusiniers de France and has been honored with both a Silver Spoon and James Beard award. And he is tres charmant!

Andre Soltner - Dean of Classic StudiesChef of the famed Lutece for over thirty year and author their cookbook "The Lutece Cookbook," published in 1995. He was one of the first American chefs to master classic French cooking and remains well respected for training generations of chefs in the refined cuisine. He also cooked for the Kennedy family and with Julia Child.

Jacques Torres - Dean of Pastry ArtsHe needs not a proper introduction if you live anywhere in the five-boroughs. A remarkable chocolatier and pastry chef, Chef Torres brought gorgeous confections to NY in a big way with his chain of shops Jacques Torres Chocolate. And his chocolate chip cookies simply cannot be beat.

Cesare Casella - Dean of Italian StudiesHe was the chef at Pazzo, Beppe and Maremme before opening his own restaurant Salumeria Rosi, where you can sample some great wine, salami or one of his other spectacular small plates. He heads up the Italian cuisine program at FCI. They make so much fresh pasta!

Ron Ben-Israel - Visiting Master Pastry Instructor
(He's not a Dean but I cannot leave him out!)If you or a friend have, or will be, married in NY any time soon, this is the name to know when it comes to platinum-quality wedding cakes. This cherry blossom tower of buttercream would be perfect for the new fashion editor over at, Ms. Carrie Goldberg of Mes Petits Choux.

Alan Richman - Dean of Food Journalism.
Food Critic for GQ with a well respect palate and a open distaste for bloggers. But I fully appreciate his concern that online-food lovers should be more thoughtful and fact-oriented with their posts, rather than spewing their likes and dislikes haphazardly. Still love you Al.

Nils Noren - Vice President of Culinary and Pastry Arts.

This Swedish native is as much of an educator as he is a chef. He was the cooking-class coordinator at Restaurant Akademin in Stockholm and worked as an executive chef/chef de cuisine at two of the most classic restaurants in Sweden. Once in New York he worked his way up the ranks at Aquavit before accepting his position at FCI. And you might also recognize him from the first season of Top Chef Masters. He made it to the 5th episode, where unfortunately his dessert of ganache with smoked tea cream did not fare well with the judges.


  1. So many beautiful men. So little time.

  2. Oh my goodness I'm so happy for you! No one belongs at the FCI more than you :-)


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