Pockets of Love: Turning a Family Recipe Into a Successful Empanada Business

From blog.ice.edu by Caitlin Gunther
Pockets of Love: Turning a Family Recipe Into a Successful Empanada Business

 

By Caitlin Raux

 

In 2012, just after ICE Alum Jason Alicea (Culinary Management ’15) landed his dream job as executive chef at a busy restaurant in West Patterson, NJ, a car accident rendered him out of commission for months. Looking back, it was a blessing in disguise, because it was during this immobile period that he came up with the idea to start his own company, That’s Good Food, the New York-based artisanal empanada company with a steadily growing following. Jason combined his family’s tradition of making empanadas from scratch (“pockets of love,” as he calls them) with culinary management training from ICE and turned it into a profitable, dynamic business. With savory fillings like confit duck and crab guisado and sweet fillings like banana bread pudding and arroz con leche, it’s no wonder his empanadas are a hit.

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Between regular pop-up events and farmers’ market appearances, Jason took a break to chat with us for an ICE blog interview.

 

What year did you graduate from ICE?

 

I began the Culinary Management program in September 2014, and I graduated in July 2015. My class was the first to graduate at the Brookfield Place location. I won the “Most Likely to Succeed Award” at graduation. It was the first time I had ever won an award in school — it was pretty overwhelming for me.

 

Keep reading to discover how Jason turned a family recipe into a successful food business.