Chef Michael's composed cheese course.

How to Approach a Composed Cheese Course

From a creative perspective, a composed cheese plate allows an exciting opportunity to straddle the line that separates sweet from savory. The cheese is the star of the show, of course, but the


Making a Case for Concord Grapes

Just as the crisp chill in the air, the slow retreat of daylight hours and the subtle turn of the foliage all signal the arrival of autumn, there are flavors that also reflect the shift of the seasons

Cocoa bean

Chocolate Trends for 2022

As a longtime working pastry chef, I’m no stranger to thinking at the leading edge of fads and trends emerging both within the industry, and among guests and customers as well. Now that my headspace

Chef Michael Laiskonis uses equipment in the bean-to-bar chocolate lab

Chocolate Classes Return to ICE's Bean-to-Bar Lab

The Chocolate Lab’s origin story dates back nearly nine years when ICE began to outgrow its New York campus on West 23rd Street. The initial seed of an idea — perhaps carving out a small corner of a

Coffee and cacao beans

Cacao vs Coffee

Long before I developed a passion for working with chocolate, I began fostering a love for coffee. I don’t exactly recall the occasion of my first pre-teen taste of coffee, but it subconsciously

Gianduja chocolate

Going Nuts for Gianduja

Every once in a while, a technique or a preparation will inspire me to reflect on some of the philosophical aspects of cooking. If I were to reduce the act of cooking down to the simplest of concepts

Popcorn Choux Pastry

Popcorn Choux Pastry

Years ago, while working as the pastry chef at Le Bernardin, I began giving serious thought to the role of nostalgia and the sense of memories tied to taste. I still enjoy finding playful yet subtle

Cacao pods in the Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy of Kahkow

On Growing Cacao and the Importance of Bugs

As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about the chocolate-making process and complexity of the cacao supply chain, I notice most of the consumer-facing education efforts (and even those aimed

Michael Laiskonis' Mont Blanc Dessert

A Modern Mont Blanc

Named for its resemblance to the famed snow-capped peak straddling the border of France and Italy in the Alps, the dessert likely has its origins in the latter, but it has been embraced as a staple of

chocolates made with an alphabet block mold

Giving New Life to Vintage Chocolate Molds

In its earliest modern form, in the days of the 19th-century Industrial Revolution, chocolate would have been sold unsweetened in rough blocks and cakes, to be ground or broken up by the end-user for

Sweet Potato Tart

Sweet Potato Tart

Working with fresh pumpkin can be a frustrating exercise due to its inconsistency, and I always feel a bit guilty resorting to the canned variety. The choice of sweet potato as an alternative is an

Someone scoops cacao beans in the chocolate lab

Sourcing Cacao Beans in the Wake of COVID-19

I have been tracking some of these developments and the varied responses since the outset of the pandemic, and this week I reached out to several colleagues to assess their individual perspectives on

Subscribe to Michael Laiskonis — Creative Director