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9/20 - ICE Alumni in the News!

By: Institute of Culinary Education
September 20, 2016

Raquel Rivera-Pablo (Culinary Arts ’08): Raquel of A Pinch of Salt, LLC was featured in the Connecticut Post for her healthy cooking demonstration at St. Vincent’s Medical Center’s Farm Stand in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Raquel is passionate about educating communities on the importance of healthy cooking and teaching others how to cook nutritious meals on a budget. Based on her dedicated service to City Harvest, Raquel received the honor of an invitation to the White House to assist in the launch of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Lets Move! Initiative.

Brandon Levers (Bread Baking, '12): The nautical-inspired Larimar in Spring Lake, NJ, where Brandon is the pastry chef, received a 4-star review on reporter Cory Kendall writes of Levers’ desserts: “When I see chocolate mousse on a menu, I yawn, but blueberry mousse...With lemon whipped cream and ingenious bits of almond crumble? Oh yes, I couldn't wait to dive in and was amply rewarded with a treat that felt great in the mouth and was wonderfully light after a big meal.”

Rory O’Farrell (Culinary Arts ‘98): Rory has joined the team at Village Prime as executive chef. The Greenwich Village restaurant recently received a review on highlighting the menu’s execution of fresh seafood and quality prime steaks, stating, “They’ll measure up with the best Midtown chophouses.”

Kwame Williams (Culinary Arts ’07): Owner of New York Times-reviewed Vital, Kwame has opened Freetown Café, his second restaurant in Newark, NJ. Steve Strunsky of declares Freetown as “an oasis of cool tranquility.” Similar to Vital, Freetown is vegan-friendly, but welcomes meat eaters as well. Kwame pulled from his Jamaican roots to establish a well-balanced menu that appeals to all, including an array of tropical refreshments and flavorful dishes like a Jerk Portabella Panini. Kwame runs both restaurants with his siblings.

Mario Valadez (Culinary Arts '12) / Johangel Rosario (Culinary Arts '12): Abril Cocina is a modern Mexican restaurant in Maplewood, NJ, where owner and executive chef Mario Valadez works closely with Chef de Cuisine Johangel Rosario to create eclectic Mexican dishes with a modern flare. The duo first met while studying Culinary Arts at ICE and have joined forces to create an unforgettable dining experience at Abril Cocina. reporter Cody Kendall instructs his readers to, “Eat with an open mind at Abril Cocina, which also happens to be a real value, and you'll be amply rewarded.”

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