Thursday, December 12, 2013

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT... Pastry Chef Nechamit Rosen!

SPOTLIGHT... is CKCA's new column, dedicated to sharing the inside stories of Chefs, CKCA instructors, CKCA alumni, and restauranteurs of the Kosher Culinary and Pastry Arts world.  

With the new semester of our Professional Pastry Arts Program starting January 13, 2014, we are thrilled to feature CKCA graduate Pastry Chef, Nechamit Rosen, whose education, skills and passion have landed her an exciting venture with The Kosher Marketplace on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. 

STARTING as a toddler, Nechamit assisted her mom with cooking. At ten years old, she was guiding her dad in selecting the correct pots to use for dinner, and ultimately what sealed the deal for her was baking weekly for her grandmother in trying to fuel her appetite and brighten her spirits. The joy of baking emerged and it was then that Nechamit knew it would be an ongoing part of her life!  
After completing her Pastry Arts education from The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (CKCA) and the now-closed Jerusalem Culinary School, CKCA worked closely with Nechamit to help get her placements for field experience. She started in her hometown of Chicago at the prestigious Spertus Museum, featuring Kosher Cuisine by Wolfgang Puck, and upon moving to New York, Village Crown Caterers.  She is now enrolled in ICE’s Culinary Management program where she is focusing on business studies so she can ultimately start her own business. Passion combined with a strong education is giving Nechamit opportunities she could only dream of.

Nechamit's creation, she says, "working with pulled sugar is most challenging for me".
Baking six days a week, Nechamit’s current position as Pastry Chef at The Kosher Marketplace has her creating an array of Parve fancy cookies, pastries, cupcakes and special order cakes.  She is working on a gluten-free line which she hopes will be on the shelves soon, once her testing for ideal flavor, consistency and customer preference has been completed.  

Nechamit shared with us that gluten-free flour is harder to work with given the texture, and she must rely on her knowledge of baking chemistry, technical skills and intuition.

Looking back at her education at CKCA’s Professional Pastry Arts program, Nechamit credits her Instructor, Pastry Chef Philippe Kaemmerle for his technical expertise, unique eye at problem solving, and his encouragement for her to pursue her dream to become a pastry chef. She shares  that CKCA continues to be an incredibly supportive community, and a place she turns to for advice.  Whether Chef Kaemmerle, Chef Avram Wiseman, CKCA Director, Jesse Blonder, other alumni or in interview with CKCA’s newest addition, Arlette Loeser, Manager of Community / Media Relations, Nechamit has her go to people for getting advise to support her craft, network and develop her business strategy.

Quick Facts about Nechamit!
- Favorite Celebrity Chef:  Altan Brown of "Good Eats" on The Food Network
- Most essential baking tool:  Offset Spatula
- Greatest Pastry Arts challenge:  “Pulled Sugar”
- How she spends free time? Reading industry-related blogs, articles and magazines.
- Best advice for Pastry Arts students and graduates? Be open to learning new things and stay up to date on what is trending in the entire food industry.

- Thank you to Nechamit for helping us launch our first edition of SPOTLIGHT!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Chanukah Contest Fires Up Fans!

Our first annual Chanukah Photo Contest was a smashing success!

The entries, which included both savory and sweet items, were judged on aesthetics and creativity. CKCA's panel of judges narrowed the stack of photos down to three finalists which were then posted on Facebook for our friends and fans to vote on and choose the winner! 


We applaud the winner of this year's contest, Malka Langermann, whose adorable Spinning Dreidel Pops (pictured above) propelled her in to first place. Malka will receive a CKCA cooking class for two and CKCA apron!
While the contest was open to all, Malka happens to be a graduate of this past summer's PROFESSIONAL PASTRY ARTS PROGRAM! She is currently studying Design and Management at Parsons School of Design.  During her interview, Malka reflected back to her pastry arts training and how exciting it was to learn the craft from a French professional chef. While she had dabbled with making cake-pops at home, she credits the instruction of Chef Philippe Kaemmerle at CKCA with enabling her to enhance her technique in order to get the "Dreidel-Pops" precisely shaped and tasting great.  Malka plans to continue expanding her pastry arts knowledge and is thrilled to have won the competition!


Shoshana Shine-Turin, one of our finalists, is the creator of the "latke-wich" and has participated in CKCA's best-selling DATE-NITE COUPLES COMPETITION with her husband.  A practicing nurse and a mom, Shoshana also bakes and cooks weekly for the Chai-Lifeline school program. With the latke-wich  Shoshana's goal was to make "stardard fare" latkes more exciting. She did so by making her own apple sauce, whipping it into an apple cream and creating a lighter weight top latke so as not to crush the cream. Viola, the latke-wich was born!

Our other finalist, Malki Hershkowitz, is also a graduate of the Professonal Pastry Arts Program.  The program peaked her interest in baking and gave her the confidence and motivation to open up her own dessert business called "Cinn City" in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Her plans for the near future are to open up her own bakery, selling high quality pastries. This Chanukah, Malki decided to capitalize on the Cronut craze by creating and selling her own. Her photo submission was of some of the more than 500 that she ended up selling during the holiday. Way to go Malki!

Congratulations again to our winner and finalists and thank you to everyone who submitted a photo and voted during the contest. We hope to make photo and recipe contests a regular event before every major holiday to come!