Chef Dustin Christofolo,
Italian Culinary Experience 2009 Graduate
My experience at the ICC was short and sweet. The total Immersion program is one of the main reasons I selected the International Culinary Center.
It’s not easy to break away from your day to day life for two years that’s why the one year program was perfect for me. My focus was cooking, I was trying to avoid classrooms filled with lectures and tasks that did not fall in line with culinary. ICC kept us in the kitchen 6-8 hours a day with an Italian foreign language class twice a week to prepare us for our internships in Italy. Each cook executes 3 to 5 recipes a day with detailed demos by the chef-instructors. Recipes are very detailed in this program but I did appreciate that there were times we could “freestyle” with pizzas and pastas on select days which would help us express our creativity.
Chef Guido is an amazing instructor! With the roots of Italy fueling his style you’re sure to find yourself cooking like a true Italian. Not to mention, before and after class you find yourself in the greatest culinary city in the world, Manhattan! We also had great demos and lots of opportunities for volunteer work with reputable chefs.
The trip to Italy and ALMA was phenomenal! ICC is layered with three different experiences: the program in Manhattan, the program in Italy and then the internship in a selected restaurant in Italy which is optional. Working with multiple head chefs was an eye opening experience that continues to help me grow in this business. The program was very consistent but every chef had their own signature. The program at ALMA took more of a traditional approach, while the program in Manhattan was deeply rooted with Italian technique but had more of a contemporary approach. It was great to work with multiple styles and venues. This gave the program more depth and character plus helped me build my own style.
I wasn’t sure if I was on vacation or away for a culinary program. My stay in Italy was during the winter session which was great for me and my classmates. We had a two-week Christmas break during the program where I traveled as much as possible. I couldn’t believe that I had this opportunity to have an entire European trip! I took full advantage of the break while others choose to go back home for the holidays to shortly return when classes resumed.
After finishing my education, I headed home to Phoenix, Arizona and I am now at my second restaurant as Executive Chef and Co-owner, Quiessence at The Farm. Our restaurant focuses on hyper local ingredients to give the diner a true farm and garden-to-table experience. Our menu changes weekly, but there is always a pasta course available, taking me back to my roots at ICC where I learned the best techniques. The immersion education from ICC has lead me to being invited to cook at the James Beard House along with several accolades from our local and national publications.