Some of the many successful ICC Professional Culinary Arts graduates include Bobby Flay, David Chang and Michael Chernow.

What Do Culinary Arts Students Do After Graduation?

If you’re considering enrolling in culinary school as a next step in your education, your ultimate goal is getting a job in the food industry after graduation. While you may have an idea of what that dream job may be, there are many career paths available to Professional Culinary Arts graduates that are worth exploring—as demonstrated by the diverse careers of the many talented alumni of ICC’s program.

Culinary Students Become Chefs and Chef/Owners

Students in the Professional Culinary Arts program have often enrolled in cooking school with the goal of becoming a chef in a restaurant. Many alumni have worked their way up through jobs in restaurant kitchen—from line cooks to sous chefs—all the way up to the role of executive chef or chef/owner.

Some of ICC’s high-profile alumni who have gone on to build their own restaurant empires include David Chang and Bobby Flay. Other alumni, like 2001 Culinary Arts grad John Lasater, use their culinary expertise to work their way through the ranks of established kitchens. After graduating ICC, Lasater worked in several restaurants including Capitol Grille in the Hermitage Hotel and Flyte World Dining & Wine before landing a job at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, where he is now in charge of all areas of operations including hiring, training, scheduling and overseeing the kitchen.

Culinary Alumni Become Food Entrepreneurs

Many students enroll in culinary school in the hopes of one day becoming food entrepreneurs. ICC Culinary Arts alumni have opened countless food business to great success, including graduate Michael Chernow.

Michael Chernow, a graduate of both the Culinary Arts and Culinary Entrepreneurship programs, is the co-owner, creative director, and front-of-the-house operator of The Meatball Shop‘s  six locations in New York City. Chernow attributes his business success to what he learned at ICC.

“ICC, as far as I’m concerned, is the best school…The Culinary Entrepreneurship program taught me every single possible nook and cranny, from marketing to the finances, I learned so much.”

– Michael Chernow, 2008 Culinary Arts and Culinary Entrepreneurship alumnus

Catering and Private Chef Careers for Culinary Graduates

There are plenty of culinary careers outside the restaurant—including careers for private chefs and caterers. Many alumni have worked as the private chefs for people all over the world, while others have opened their own thriving catering businesses.

Culinary Arts graduate Elisabeth Weinberg enrolled in ICC’s program after college to pursue her longtime passion for food and afterwards opening up her own catering business Ms. Elisabeth’s in NYC. Through her catering business, Weinberg offers clients food from styles of cuisine all over the world—using the international culinary techniques she learned throughout the program.

Culinary Arts Alumni in Food Media

Other graduates of the Culinary Arts program find their niche in the world of food media as authors, bloggers, journalists, food stylists and even as chefs for food television programs. A culinary education at ICC provides students with a foundation of cooking techniques needed for a successful career in food media.

ICC has graduated the likes of television and award-winning cookbook star Daisy Martinez, Executive Chef of Food Network and food stylist Robert Bleifer and Editor in Chief of Food Network Magazine Maile Carpenter. In addition, with the preparation provided by ICC, countless other alumni author cookbooks and contribute to food blogs in conjunction to working other industry jobs.

“[Attending the International Culinary Center] totally opened up the entire culinary world for me. Before the International Culinary Center, I really didn’t know the culinary world other than restaurant catering.”

– Executive Chef of Food Network Robert Bleifer, Culinary Arts ’94 graduate

Start Your Education at ICC and Join Our Alumni Network

ICC’s Total Immersion curriculum prepares students for a multitude of the exciting careers available in the culinary industry. The moment students in the Professional Culinary Arts graduate, they become a part of the ICC alumni network that includes more than 15,000 graduates across the globe. With the incredible support from career services that lasts well beyond your months of training at ICC.

Some of the top cookbooks by ICC alumni include Brunch at Bobby’s by Bobby Flay, Momofuku by David Chang and more

Top 9 Must-Read Cookbooks by ICC Alumni and Faculty

Between the world-renowned chefs that serve as ICC’s chef-instructors and deans and the countless alumni who have had breakthrough culinary careers after graduation, the alumni and faculty of our culinary school are experts in cooking and baking techniques all around the world—proven by the top-selling and award-winning cookbooks they’ve authored.

1. Momofuku by David Chang

Nominated for the James Beard Award for Cooking from a Professional Point of View, this cookbook by 2001 Culinary Arts graduate David Chang is inspired by his the award-winning New York City restaurant group which includes Momofuku Noodle BarSsäm Bar and Ko. Complete with stories from Chef Chang’s rise in the culinary world, Momofuku includes recipes for everything from ramen to pork buns, capturing the Michelin star-winner’s Asian-inspired flair.

2. Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction by Bobby Flay

ICC inaugural ’84 class-graduate Bobby Flay has been changing American cookouts for over two decades with his grilling expertise. His latest collection of recipes Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction is the companion cookbook to Flay’s show of the same name—for which he has won two Outstanding Culinary Host Emmy Awards. One of many by Flay, this cookbook features recipes for chicken, burgers and other barbecue staples of all sorts, giving aspiring grill masters a chance to broaden their range of grilling techniques and flavors.

3. The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber

Dan Barber —graduate of ICC’s Classic Culinary Arts (now Professional Culinary Arts ) class of 1994 and chef/owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns—explores the ins-and-outs of farm-to-table food culture from rethinking the local food movement to discussing the future of culinary sustainability. While this James Bear Award-winning read isn’t your typical cookbook, it’s a must-have for aspiring professional and recreational chefs who want to understand where there food comes from—and where the future of food is headed.

4. Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook

Featuring recipes influenced by the cuisine from the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe as encapsulated by Israeli cooking, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking book was the winner of both the 2016 James Beard Award in International Cooking and Cookbook of the Year. Steven Cook, a Culinary Arts ’00 graduate, co-authored the book with Solomonov—whose restaurant Zahav served as the stage on which some of the book’s popular recipes for fried cauliflower and hummus made their highly-praised debut.

5. Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin

ICC’s Dean of Special Programs Jacques Pépin, with an illustrious career spanning many decades and mediums through which he’s shared his French culinary expertise (and charm), has released countless cookbooks over the years. His latest, in conjunction with what will be his final PBS series, features 200 recipes Pépin enjoys preparing for his family and friends. Taking a very personal approach to cooking, the book also peppers in vivid stories from his years in the culinary world, offering an unmissable look into cooking for professionals and amateurs alike.

6. Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto by Marc Vetri

An alumni of ICC’s Art of International Bread Baking Program and chef-owner of award-winning Italian restaurant Vetri in Philadelphia, Marc Vetri’s cookbook is a masterclass in all kinds of pasta—from dough, to shapes, to sauce pairings. If you’re considering making a culinary career in Italian cooking—or even if you’re an Italian home cook looking to step up your game—this 2016 James Beard Award-nominated book is a must-have in your culinary library.

7. Milk Bar Life: Recipes & Stories by Christina Tosi

In the search for the perfect finish to any meal, look no further than the cookbook of ICC 2004 Pastry Arts alumni Executive Pastry Chef at David Chang’s Milk Bar Christina Tosi. With recipes straight from the synonymous bakery including the infamous crack pie® and compost cookies®, Milk Bar Life: Recipes & Stories includes other sweet and savory dishes as well as stories from the James Beard Award’s 2012 Rising Star Chef and 2015 Outstanding Pastry Chef herself.

8. Manresa: An Edible Reflection by David Kinch

ICC Dean David Kinch—who recently earned a third Michelin star for the restaurant Manresa in Los Gatos, California—connects farm-to-table cooking to the flavors of Northern California. Nominated for the 2014 James Beard Award for Cooking from a Professional Point of View, Kinch reached 19th on The New York Times Best Sellers list with this cookbook inspired by the West Coast.

9. The New Sugar and Spiceby Samantha Seneviratne

Culinary Arts ’06 and Bread Baking ’08 graduate Samantha Seneviratne’s James Beard Award-nominated cookbook features interesting twists on classic desserts from brownies to pudding. Organized by spices, this book offers bakers at all levels recipes to expand your sweet treats beyond the typical flavors and baking techniques.

Learn Cooking Technique from ICC

International Culinary Center also has a cookbook series of its own, teaching the fundamentals of cooking and baking techniques including everything from Italian cuisine to bread baking based on the teachings of ICC courses and programs. You can also view an expanded list of books by ICC alumni to explore even more recipes and techniques.

To get the hands-on education created by legendary deans—like Jacques Pepin and José Andrés—shared by the many ICC alumni who have become renowned in the culinary industry, learn more about joining the Professional Culinary Arts or Pastry Arts programs or complete the form above to request information from our admissions representatives.

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What is Culinary School Like?

Making the decision to get your Culinary Arts education could be the first step on a journey to having your dream career as a chef. Learn about what it’s like to go to culinary school and train in the International Culinary Center (ICC) kitchen in New York City or California.

ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts Program

Students spend the first portion of their time in ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts with Externship program learning the skills used by professional chefs through a Total Immersion, hands-on curriculum designed by culinary masters and ICC deans Jacques Pépin, André Soltner and Alain Sailhac. The in-class training, separated into four levels of technique, gives students the skills they will need to have success throughout the program and into their careers.

Levels 1 and 2: Learning Culinary Techniques and Building Culinary Foundations

Before class, students set up their individual workstations with tools from their knife kit, included in tuition that they will be using for the day’s lesson. Once class starts, students gather around their chef-instructors’ workstation to watch him or her complete a live demonstration of the day’s lesson. Returning to their stations, students then work in pairs to recreate the dishes with the equipment and techniques demonstrated by the instructor. Chef-instructors grade each student’s daily performance on their ability to successfully replicate each dish.

After class, students are expected to prepare for the next day of training by copying down the recipes from their ICC textbook and reviewing the tools and techniques they’ll use in the day to come. This daily process is repeated throughout the program to give students a breadth of knowledge covering many cooking techniques and skills that will carry on into their careers. To ensure that students are learning the newest culinary trends and techniques, ICC also has an education department dedicated to creating and updating a curriculum unique to ICC that evolves with changes in the food industry.

Levels 3 and 4: High-Volume Cooking and Skills for Consistency and Refinement

While the first two levels of the program focus mainly on culinary techniques, Levels 3 and 4 focus on teaching high volume cooking, charcuterie, scaling recipes, consistency, refinement and time management. During Level 3, students are actively practicing high-volume cooking by preparing family meal, food served to the entire ICC student body and faculty.

“ICC gives you the tools that prep you for that really big step in your life. It gives you an introduction to all the different things you’re going to have to do [in a professional kitchen] and gives you a great set of rules.” – Rob Anderson, Culinary Arts and Culinary Entrepreneurship graduate

During Level 4, students focus on consistency and refinement by repeating recipes, learn valuable skills in time management by preparing, cooking and plating a variety of dishes in time intervals. Some of the most important techniques will be learned in this lesson, which will be used throughout students’ professional careers.

“Every day I cook in my restaurants, I’m using the techniques that I learned at ICC. Every day. And I always will for the rest of my life.” –Bobby Flay, Culinary Arts graduate

Paid Culinary Arts Externship Training

After completing training in the kitchens of ICC, students have the exciting opportunity to work among the kitchen staff of a real restaurant, test kitchen or catering business in the required externship portion of the program. Each Professional Culinary Arts student works one-on-one with a member of ICC’s career services department to choose a placement for their externship that aligns with his or her career goals.

The search for externship placement often includes a trail—the culinary version of an interview in which students get the opportunity to experience the inner workings of a restaurant. During a trail, students are assigned a role in the kitchen, allowing them the chance to work on the line or help with food prep depending on the needs of the executive chef. Through this process, students get a hands-on view of the specific restaurant’s environment while meeting the kitchen staff and showcasing their own cooking abilities, providing a chance for both the student and the chef to evaluate the fit for externship placement.

“The reason why I chose ICC was the 6-month program that covers not only basics but also specialized techniques, which I liked.” – Soo-jung Choi, Culinary Arts graduate and international student

This 200-hour portion of the program allows students to gain professional experience and make invaluable connections within the culinary industry. Some recent, well-known culinary establishments where students have externed include Daniel, Saveur, The Nomad and Babbo. Students are evaluated throughout their externship by the executive chef at their restaurant of placement as part of their ICC program grade.

Support from Seasoned Chef-Instructors

ICC’s team of chef-instructors bring a depth of experience to share with culinary students each day in the kitchen. The student-to-teacher ratio is 12:1, meaning students get personal attention and direction while they’re completing each lesson. Our chef-instructors are more than experienced professionals, they’re educated teachers too! Beyond regular class time, workshops and tutoring are available for students to get the extra help they need to master techniques for success as professional chefs.

“School was very fun and I learned some valuable lessons from some great teachers.” – Joshua Skenes Culinary Arts graduate and executive chef of three Michelin-starred Saison in San Francisco, from Food & Wine

Successful completion of the Culinary Arts program also allows students to experience ICC’s graduation commencement ceremony held in New York City’s iconic Carnegie Hall. ICC students receive continuous career services support and become a part of the 15,000+ ICC alumni network that extends to all corners of the globe.

Flexible Culinary Program Options to Fit Your Schedule

Whether you’re interested in a traditional daytime program or an alternative track that fits a busy schedule, ICC offers a variety of schedules to help you achieve your goals no matter what. Professional Culinary Arts with Externship is offered in a six-month, five-days a week daytime schedule and a nine or 14-month evening schedule so you can keep your day job, while training for your dream job. The daytime classes meet five times a week, while classes in the evening program meet two to three nights a week.

“There was something about just the feeling I got when I walked into this building—everybody was so welcoming and knowledgeable. This is where I need to be, and I’ll perfect my skills in nine months. It’s pretty incredible.” – Danielle Marullo, Culinary Arts graduate

Learn More About Culinary School at ICC

To explore the culinary school options that can make your dreams of becoming a chef a reality, request more information by filling out the form on this page or contact us to answer any questions you have about ICC’s professional programs.

ICC alumni racked up a total of 23 James Beard Award nominations in 2016, including clockwise from top left: Chefs Jeremiah Stone & Fabian von Hauske, Contra and Wildair; Melissa Weller of Sadelle’s; Joshua Skenes of Saison; David Chang of Momofuku and Lucky Peach.

Meet the Alumni Nominees of the 2016 James Beard Awards

The James Beard Foundation (JBF) recently revealed the list of semifinalists for their 26th annual awards show honoring chefs and culinary achievement—a list which included a remarkable 23 nominations for International Culinary Center (ICC) alumni making an impact in restaurants and bakeries all over the country.

About the James Beard Awards

Each year the James Beard Foundation Awards awards acknowledge stand-out achievements of culinary professionals—narrowing down a list of semifinalists from more than 20,000 entries—as a part of the Foundation’s mission to “celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage.” In all, 21 categories of culinary awards salute professionals from around the country for excellence in every facet of the culinary experience—from chefs to service experiences to wine programs and more.

Nominations for ICC Professional Culinary Arts Alumni

ICC Professional Culinary Arts alumni who brought home James Beard Award semifinalist nods include Momofuku restaurant group founder David Chang, who earned four separate nominations: Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC earned a spot as an Outstanding Restaurant semifinalist while the food journal Lucky Peach for which Chang serves as co-editor was nominated for two Broadcast Media Awards.

Other key nominations for Professional Culinary Arts graduates include Tori Miller of L’Etoile for Outstanding Chef, Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske’s Wildair for Best New Restaurant and Matt Rudofker—who is among the final nominees for Rising Star of the Year. Alumnus Joshua Skenes was also nominated as a semifinalist for Best Chef: West for his three-Michelin-starred restaurant Saison in San Francisco, also earning a nod in the Outstanding Service category. View the full list of ICC alumni and deans nominated for James Beard Awards to see other Culinary Arts grads honored as semifinalists.

Each of these distinguished alumni learned the culinary techniques that prepared them to succeed in their careers through a Total Immersion curriculum designed by legendary chef and longtime ICC Dean Jacques Pepin—which lays the foundation of expertise by teaching students more than 250 cooking techniques in just six months of hands-on learning.

The school provides Career Services for graduates throughout their careers, tapping its network of placements across restaurants, catering businesses, media and more. Find out more about becoming a chef through ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts programs in New York and California.

“One of the biggest pros that the International Culinary Center has is its network of alumni and restaurants.” –David Chang

Nominations for ICC Professional Pastry Arts Alumni

Alumni of ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program have also been recognized for the impact they’ve made on the culinary scene in the past year; 2004 Pastry Arts grad Melissa Weller’s bakery Sadelle’s—which opened September 2015 in NYC and quickly gained attention from the likes of The New York Times and Wall Street Journal—earned her a place on the semifinalist list for Outstanding Baker. Fabian von Hauske, previously mentioned for the nomination of Wildair, graduated from the Pastry Arts program in addition to the Professional Culinary Arts program.

The Professional Pastry Arts program—with a number of previously-nominated alumni including Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar, Nick Bonamico of Bouchon and Rebecca DeAngelis of Babbo—jumpstarts careers by immersing students in a pastry curriculum designed by world-famous chocolatier and longtime ICC Dean Jacques Torres.

Elements within the program include everything from baking fundamentals to a hands-on class with Food Network Cake Wars judge Ron Ben-Israel, and students have the option to participate in internships at places like Dominique Ansel Bakery, Ladurée and Jacques Torres’s chocolate factory and businesses. Learn more about the education and opportunities available through ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts programs in New York and California.

“At ICC, I learned the importance of working with a sense of urgency and an organized plan for the day. We were exposed to a large variety of techniques, which helped me become a well-rounded chef.” –Melissa Weller, ICC Pastry Arts alumna for Food & Wine

Nominations for International Culinary Center Bread Baking Alumni

The James Beard Awards named two of ICC’s Art of International Bread Baking alumni among the semifinalists this year. Samantha Seneviratne, a graduate of both the Bread and Professional Culinary Arts programs, was nominated in the James Beard Book Award category in Baking and Dessert for The New Sugar & Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking.

Marc Vetri, chef/owner of Vetri in Philadelphia and 2005 winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic, was named a semifinalist in two categories. His book co-authored with David Joachim Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto was nominated for the Single Subject Book Award, and Vetri was recognized as a semifinalist in the Outstanding Chef category.

The Art of International Bread Baking program from which Vetri and Seneviratne graduated gives New York City students an in-depth knowledge of bread baking techniques from around the world in just eight weeks. Led by ICC alumnus and chef-instructor Johnson Yu, one of the first bakers at Michelin-starred Bouchon Bakery, bread students learn the pace of a real pastry kitchen and get experience with a variety of classic and modern baking technologies and techniques, from steam injection ovens (each student gets his or her own oven) to gluten-free bread baking.

When are the James Beard Awards?

The winners of the James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards will be announced Tuesday, April 26, 2016, and awards in the Restaurant and Chef categories will be named during the James Beard Awards Gala hosted Monday, May 2 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

See the full list of ICC alumni and deans named as 2016 James Beard Award semifinalists.

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How to Open a Restaurant

Keys to Success for Opening a Restaurant

Opening a successful restaurant, bakery or any other food business takes more than just a great idea—it requires concept development, finance, market savvy and operations, along with how to handle real estate, marketing and social media—in other words, decisions that can make or break your restaurant’s success.

Before you begin scouting a location, hiring staff or designing a menu for your new restaurant, you’ll need to make sure your business gets off to the right start. Having the skills to build your food business on a foundation of shrewd market analysis and business planning—skills ICC students learn in the Culinary Entrepreneurship program—will help make your restaurant dream a reality.

Starting Your Own Food Business: Identifying Opportunity

An idea is a great starting point for opening a restaurant, bakery or food business, but without the right market conditions, even the best idea can fall flat. To determine whether or not there is opportunity to turn your restaurant idea into the thriving business, you’ll need to find out if your idea is viable for success by doing a thorough analysis of the market.

Your market analysis will help you answer these and other questions about opening a restaurant:

  • Is there a need for my product or service? What “problem” will my business solve for the consumer?
  • Are consumers willing to pay for my products or services?
  • Is there opportunity to open my business in my desired location?
  • Can I provide my product or service at the right price for the market and still generate revenue?
  • Is the timing right to launch my business now?
  • Who are my competitors? How will I differentiate myself?
  • How large is the market? Is the industry growing or declining?

Answering these questions help you decide if the market circumstances are in your business’s favor and will lay the groundwork for making smart decisions for your restaurant or bakery later on.

You may have a great idea for a food establishment, but right now that’s all it is—an idea. To turn that idea into a viable business, ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program gives future food entrepreneurs an in-depth knowledge of how to find real business opportunities through market assessment, feasibility and other important entrepreneurial skills.

Starting Your Own Restaurant or Bakery: Planning for Success

A business plan is a roadmap for your success as a food entrepreneur, and the process of writing a business plan helps you clearly define your restaurant’s concept and business model, test market assumptions and validate feasibility.

Not only will creating your business plan help you stay on track with starting and running your restaurant, but it is also a tool to help you clearly communicate your passion and vision to investors who want to help fund the growth of your food business.* Once you’re up and running, the business plan helps you act quickly to take advantage of trends.

“Everyone likes to remind culinary entrepreneurs that most restaurants fail, but what they leave out is that most restaurateurs open without a solid business plan. If you want to prove the naysayers wrong, open your restaurant with a solid business plan.” – Rob Anderson, ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship alumnus and chef/owner of The Canteen in Provincetown, MA

Writing a business plan requires you to review all of the important aspects of opening your business:

  • How much money do I need to get started?
  • What are my funding sources?
  • How long before I break even? Generate a profit?
  • What will set me apart from my competitors?
  • Who are my target customers? How will I market to them?
  • Who will be the key players in the business? What staff do I need to hire?
  • What are my risks? How will I handle potential problems?
  • What are my operational milestones? How will I gauge success?

A comprehensive business plan should answer these questions and more, helping you to clarify your vision and lay the groundwork for future growth.

Pursue Your Culinary Entrepreneurial Dreams at ICC

If you’re serious about starting your own restaurant, bakery or other food business, you need to develop the entrepreneurial skills and business expertise needed to succeed in this competitive industry. ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship instructors include those from world-class institutions such as Cornell University School of Hospitality, Babson College—ranked #1 in entrepreneurship education—and the gold-standard Union Square Hospitality Group, ensuring you have the best academic resources and chances for success.

The instructors leading ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program—seasoned experts from both the academic business field and the culinary entrepreneurship industry—are there to help provide you with the knowledge, guidance and invaluable mentor-ship that can last long after the program ends.

“My best advice: Find a mentor, or two or three. I found most of my mentors through the ICC program.” – Michael Chernow, Culinary Entrepreneurship alumnus and co-founder of the The Meatball Shop

Enroll in ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship Program today and go from idea to business plan in just weeks while learning from leaders in the culinary and entrepreneurship industries.

A Day in the Life of A Pastry Student at ICC

A Day in the Life of a Pastry Student

For those aspiring to become a pastry chef, choosing an immersive pastry education through a culinary school like International Culinary Center (ICC) will help you build the foundation of baking fundamentals of your career. From the beginning of class on the first day through graduation, get a glimpse into what it’s like to study as a Professional Pastry Arts student in the ICC kitchen.

Before Pastry Class: Starting the Day

Preparation is one of the keys to success in the kitchen—even for aspiring chefs starting out in their pastry education. On the first day of class, ICC students are in the kitchen, in their chef’s whites, ready to bake. Each day from then on, students are expected to review the lesson plan for the day and prepare the tools necessary for the day’s recipe. The process of “mise en place”—or the proper placement—for everything in the kitchen work space laid out in advance plays an important role in baking and pastry students learning the discipline necessary to be an efficient chef.

Once Your Pastry Class Begins

Daily classroom instruction in the ICC pastry kitchen begins with a brief lecture, summarizing key vocabulary and objectives of the day’s dishes, followed by the first demonstration led by the chef-instructor. Demonstrations show students techniques they will need for the recipe that follows, while also providing an opportunity to ask questions before trying the techniques on their own.

Students then return to their own stations to recreate the demonstrated recipe, using multi-tasking, organization and teamwork in learning to navigate the kitchen environment. The chef-instructor helps students around the kitchen by providing feedback, answering questions and pointing out important details.

A typical day in the pastry arts program is broken down into three to four recipes or projects, each including its own chef demonstration and techniques. Some recipes—like cakes and pies—may contain several components including baking, cooling, filling and decorating. More complex recipes may therefore span more than one demonstration.

Director of Pastry Operations Jansen Chan —who has worked in the pastry kitchen of Alain Ducasse at the Essex House in NYC and served as the executive pastry chef of Michelin-starred Oceana— describes the pastry kitchen environment as bustling, at times chaotic, but above all else, supportive.

“Chef-instructors walk you through every step. There is lots of support in the classroom, and the instructors want you to succeed—it’s a safe place to learn.” –Jansen Chan, Director of Pastry Operations

By following the carefully constructed lesson plans, students learn the timing of recipes and processes firsthand. Over the course of the program, students complete hundreds of recipes covering a range of baking skills, including everything from doughs and breads to fruit compotes and more advanced chocolate work.

Pastry Projects and More

While the first half of the program is designed to help students learn and master skills essential to becoming a pastry chef, the second half cultivates students’ creativity and personal style, matched with their new skills. Some of the projects students complete include a three-tiered wedding cake, chocolate sculptures, a final showcase for friends and family—called “Restaurant Day”—and more.

As part of the “Play with Your Food” blog series, recent graduate Nick Wuest described two lessons he learned from his ICC education:

“The first is that pastry has a ton of rules. The scientific foundation required is immense. The second is that all of those rules can be bent or broken. With some creative thinking anything is possible!” –Nick Wuest, Professional Pastry Arts alumnus, now a Pastry Cook at American Cut.

Field Trips to Bakeries, Shops and Restaurants

During the course of the program, students can participate in industry field trips to a location, where they can meet chefs, ask questions and see the skills and techniques they’ve learned in action.

Chefs at participating patisseries walk students through the kitchen and show them how it functions—from ingredient preparation to plating to delivery. Taking these field trips not only provides a networking opportunity for students, but also allows them to experience a professional kitchen space in person.

Recent locations for pastry field trips include Oceana, Ron Ben-Israel Cakes, Dominique Ansel Kitchen, and ICC Dean Jacques Torres’s chocolate factory Jacque Torres Chocolate.

Becoming a Pastry Chef at ICC

To read more stories from students at ICC, explore the blogs and recipes written by Pastry Arts students and graduates of the program. If you’re ready to start your pastry education and begin your career as a chef, you can learn more about our Professional Pastry Arts programs in New York and California or enroll in the program’s upcoming dates.

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What is ICC’s Total Immersion Curriculum?

At International Culinary Center (ICC), giving students a high-quality culinary and pastry education that fully prepares them for a rewarding culinary career is our mission. That’s why ICC’s team of chef-instructors, master chefs and deans have worked together—pulling their collective expertise of the industry and their individual culinary training experiences—to deliver a curriculum that gives students a world-class education.

Our Total Immersion curriculum teaches culinary and pastry arts students the fundamental techniques of the kitchen using proven methods they can carry on into their careers with confidence. In cooking, it’s about how to think about what you make—not just how you make a single recipe.

Hands-On Experience in the Kitchen from Day One

From day one, you’ll learn fundamental techniques to keep building upon throughout your culinary training, and your lifetime. These classical techniques, first codified by the French, open the door to all different global cuisines.

Total Immersion begins with hands-on instruction in the kitchen on day one of the program, providing knowledge of the cooking tools used in the industry by interacting with them firsthand.

By the end of the Professional Pastry Arts and Professional Culinary Arts programs, students will have gained hundreds of hours of hands-on instruction in the kitchen. During the Total Immersion process, students get in-person, interactive demonstrations from their chef-instructors every day before replicating the techniques and recipes on their own—allowing them to accumulate the full skill set of a professional chef.

Close Attention from Experienced Instructors

ICC’s Total Immersion curriculum is based on the experience of our cooking school’s impressive chefs and deans, which includes legendary names like Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Jacques Torres and Alain Sailhac. ICC’s team of full-time chef-instructors have worked in the top kitchens and culinary establishments around the world, meaning ICC’s culinary and baking students learn under the guidance of industry professionals with real-world experience and different global food perspectives.

With small class sizes and a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio, chef-instructors can focus on the individual success of each chef-in-training, providing students with feedback and guidance as they work in the kitchen.

“I tell a student that the most important class you can take is technique. A great chef is first a great technician. ‘If you are a jeweler, or a surgeon or a cook, you have to know the trade in your hand. You have to learn the process.” – ICC Dean and world-renowned chef, Jacques Pépin

Real-World Structure to Prepare You for a Professional Kitchen

Learning fundamental culinary techniques in the ICC kitchen also means students receive their education in an environment that teaches students the structure and intensity of professional kitchens—with the bonus of building technique from the ground up.

The Total Immersion curriculum is designed to teach aspiring chefs a full range of more than 250 essential skills from high-volume food production, to food costing. Culinary students get experience with a variety of ingredients including traditional vegetables and specialty meats, while pastry students will learn techniques in everything from doughs, fillings, cake and mixing methods, to chocolate, sugar artistry and more.

To give students the preparation they need to start their culinary careers the Total Immersion curriculum also includes projects that simulate the real-life restaurant environment. Students in the Professional Culinary Arts program participate in paid externships as part of their program—recent classes have externed at Daniel, Saveur, The Nomad, Blanca and other restaurants and industry locations—giving students practical experience in real kitchens and restaurants. Pastry students have an internship option with recent placements including Dominique Ansel Bakery, Ron Ben-Israel Cakes and ICC Dean Jacques Torres’ chocolate business.

Fast-Track Culinary & Pastry Education

In the kitchen, timing is everything; ICC’s Total Immersion curriculum gives students an education with this in mind. ICC’s intensive culinary and pastry programs are designed to pack in more time in the classroom kitchen in order to help students start their careers sooner.

While other programs can take upwards of a year to finish, completing one of ICC’s rigorous professional programs utilizing the Total Immersion method can take as little as six months by day, nine months by evening, allowing students the chance to get a head start on their culinary career. ICC’s Career Services advisors help along the way in mapping out students’ personal paths.

Start the Journey to Your Culinary Career

If you’re choosing cooking school as the first step to achieving your dream of becoming a chef, baker or any job in the professional culinary industry, ICC’s Total Immersion curriculum can help you get there. Learn more about our Professional Culinary Arts programs in New York and California—or, if your passion is for pastry, explore the New York and California program offerings for Professional Pastry Arts.

To get more information on our Total Immersion method of culinary education or about our professional programs, contact us.

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From College to a Culinary Arts Career

If you’re having a hard time staying inspired in the traditional college setting and contemplating a change, consider pursuing a culinary education that could lead you to a rewarding career in the kitchen.

Why Switch to a Culinary Arts Education?

If lecture halls, hours spent poring over textbooks and written exams aren’t your strong suit, the culinary classroom environment may be a good alternative for several reasons—from your learning style to your career goals.

Culinary Training for Hands-On Learners

From day one of our Professional Culinary Arts and Professional Pastry Arts programs, students start their culinary arts training in the kitchen with the hands-on instruction of our Total Immersion curriculum. With live demonstrations given by ICC’s chef-instructors, students learn by actively seeing cooking techniques done by the experts then practicing it for themselves in class.

Unparalleled Support from School Faculty

With a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio, the professional programs at ICC ensure each student is receiving individualized attention from the chef-instructors to help them master the techniques being shared each day in class.

Outside of regular coursework, students are welcomed to participate in extra workshops for particular skills by instructors as well as tutoring sessions. Above all else, the faculty at ICC want each student to succeed in the classroom so he or she can achieve the culinary career of their dreams after graduation. And with a graduation rate of 91.5%*, ICC ensures that each student walks away with the culinary knowledge to do just that.

ICC Alumni Who Switched from Other Colleges and Career Paths

Changing career goals from college-based path to an education in the kitchen can be a little scary—but those who make the switch to ICC are in good company. Many of ICC’s successful alumni changed their career paths from medical school, law school and many other academic focuses before starting their culinary journey.

Professional Culinary Arts alumna Sandy Yoon was saving for law school when she visited ICC’s New York City campus and decided to pursue cooking. Alumnus and Executive Chef at the three Michelin Star-winning Saison in San Francisco Joshua Skenes was planning on going to college when he followed his longtime culinary passion to the Culinary Arts program. ICC alumnus Hooni Kim—now a superstar of Korean cuisine in the American culinary community—started medical school at University of California at Berkeley before transferring.

”I was going to go to college. I remember picking up a[n ICC] brochure, and it just kind of hit me: Let’s do this. So I moved to New York.” – ICC Culinary Arts alumnus Joshua Skenes, Executive Chef at Saison

Other alumni that began a college education before finding their home at ICC include Culinary Arts and Art of International Bread Baking graduate Melissa Muller Daka, Professional Pastry Arts alumna Liz Gutman and many more.

Learn more about applying to ICC and joining the ranks of the many alumni who have taken the leap from traditional college to satisfying careers in the culinary industry.

Get Your Culinary Education and Finish Your College Degree

Even if you’re interested in a culinary education, earning your college degree might still be important to you. Thanks to ICC’s partnership with The New School in New York City, students in professional culinary and pastry programs can earn credit towards a bachelor’s or associate’s degree from The New School in addition to their culinary diploma. Learn more about our College Degree + Culinary Diploma program or contact us to get started.

*Graduation rate is based on 1,926 students graduating out of the 2,106 students available for graduation included in the annual reports submitted by ICC to ACCSC in 2013-2015.

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Why Choose Culinary School After High School?

Culinary Education as an Alternative to College

If you’re getting ready to graduate from high school and you’re still unsure of your next step, you might be considering some alternatives to the traditional four-year college. If you love cooking or baking—or even if you’ve thought about a career in the kitchen—International Culinary Center’s professional programs may be the next step in your education and on your road to a fulfilling, rewarding career.

Build the Culinary Career of Your Dreams

Many high school graduates who’ve spent time in the kitchen know that their next step is culinary school and choose International Culinary Center in either New York or California. Nick Wuest, a student in ICC’s Pastry Arts program, also decided to pursue his passion for pastry right out of high school. During his search for the right culinary school, one visit to ICC’s New York campus helped him make the decision.

“As soon as I met the students and faculty [at ICC], I felt home, a feeling that was only reinforced by my first chef-instructor, Chef Tom Jones.” –Nick Wuest, Professional Pastry Arts November 2015 graduate, who now works as a pastry cook at American Cut

Alumnus of ICC’s first-ever graduating class in 1984 and Food Network superstar Bobby Flay came to the culinary school in New York City when he was only 18 to start his training in the kitchen. Other alumni like Professional Pastry Arts graduate Mame Sow, now with two executive pastry chef roles on her resume, also started their culinary training as a teenager. Sow graduated from Park West High School’s Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) in New York, which helped her earn a scholarship into ICC’s program as the next step in her pastry education and career.

The Kitchen is a Classroom for the Non-Traditional Learner

Cooking school isn’t just for those who have always dreamed of a culinary career. Students who struggle in the traditional classroom—listening to lectures and learning straight from textbooks—may find greater success in a hands-on environment like the classroom kitchen. Having a passion for cooking and an active learning style can set you up for great success at ICC.

Starting on the very first day of class in the Professional Culinary Arts and Professional Pastry Arts programs, students observe live cooking demonstrations, then get to work trying the recipe on their own. Under the guidance of expert chef-instructors, students learn essential techniques, recipes and equipment through this Total Immersion curriculum method.

Unparalleled Support from Instructors

The support that surrounds each student at ICC sets its programs apart from four-year college tracks. Professional-level class sizes at ICC are small, with student-to-teacher ratios ranging from 12:1 to 16:1, meaning each student gets individualized feedback and attention on their work to help them improve.

Students are also encouraged to participate in workshops provided by chef-instructors outside of class time to get any extra help they may need to master techniques and recipes, and tutoring is available as well. One student reviewer on College Prowler described the unparalleled support students receive in the kitchen:

“The chefs walk around and can give individual attention to any one person at a time. We are also learning skills to help us in a kitchen to understand what it is like to be there and do what normal chefs do every day.” – Student review from College Prowler

A Fast-Track Alternative to College

If you’re tired of the typical school environment and you’re ready to start your career, enrolling in a four- or two-year college degree program might seem overwhelming and time-consuming. When you join one of ICC’s professional programs, you can earn your culinary diploma in just six to nine months, meaning you can get into the industry sooner. With a graduation rate of 91.5%*, ICC ensures that each student is prepared to start their career from graduation day onward, bolstered by internships and Career Services advisers who help the school’s alumni throughout their career, something even the finest educational institutions do not offer.

“All students manage to stay focused—it’s a lot to learn in a short period of time so there is no time to waste. I have a passion for cooking which made my experience fantastic and I enjoyed every moment.” – Student review from College Prowler

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Get a Culinary Education and a College Degree

Even if you’re sure you want to get a culinary education, getting a college degree might still be important to you and your long-term career goals. ICC’s partnership with The New School in New York City allows students in Professional Culinary Arts and Pastry Arts programs to earn credit toward a bachelor’s or associate’s degree at the university in addition to their culinary diploma, with priority admission and no SAT or ACT score required.

A partnership with Pace University’s BBA in Management – Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) program allows students in Lubin’s BBA HTM program to take ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts Program with priority admission, and graduates of the Culinary Program will be able to transfer 15 credits toward the Pace BBA HTM program, rounding out their education.

Learn more about our College Degree + Culinary Diploma program or contact us to discuss the next step in your education.

ICC Financial Aid and Scholarship Opportunities for High School Graduates

Just like financial aid for traditional college, federal loans are available to eligible culinary students including Pell Grants, Direct Stafford Loans and PLUS loans—designed for parents helping to pay for their child’s education. Many students also take advantage of loans from private lenders to help cover the costs of culinary school tuition. New Jersey and California residents are also eligible to receive additional federal and state funding for their culinary education.

ICC also offers a number of scholarships for which high school students may be eligible to apply, including Hard Work Scholarships of $5,000 available to applicants of both the California and New York campuses who have demonstrated a high level of achievement in high school, college or the workplace. Young adults—those who have graduated high school in the last four years—applying to ICC California can also apply for the William J. Burris Scholarship. Students and families of students applying to ICC can explore other scholarship resources or contact us to learn more.

Upcoming Open House for High School Students and Recent Graduates

Perspective students ages 15-20 are invited to join ICC faculty at the SoHo, New York campus Saturday, April 9 for an Open House. Young adults interested in seeing the culinary campus and learning more about ICC’s professional programs are welcomed to come meet the chef-instructors and get information about the professional programs, the Total Immersion curriculum, financial aid, career services and more. Register for an open house or—for those unable to attend—schedule a visit to plan a trip to explore the New York or California campuses.

Not Graduating Yet? Check Out Our Culinary Camp for Teens

It’s never too early to start thinking about your culinary career—and ICC’s classes and camps for teens can help you get a head start before graduating high school and applying for your professional culinary training.

*Graduation rate is based on 1,926 students graduating out of the 2,106 students available for graduation included in the annual reports submitted by ICC to ACCSC in 2013-2015.

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How to Become a Pastry Chef

Whether you’re pursuing a long-time passion or switching from another career, the path to sweet success as a pastry chef is full of creativity and opportunity. And while there isn’t just one way to work your way up to a goal, whether that’s the role of executive pastry chef—heading up the pastry department in a restaurant—or owning a bakery in your hometown, there are essential steps to take and skills to master so you’re ready to take command of the kitchen.

Learn Essential Baking and Pastry Techniques

Working as a pastry chef requires astute attention to detail and precision in high-pressure and fast-paced environments, so mastery of basic pastry techniques is important to a chef’s success. Becoming a respected and versatile pâtissier requires a thorough knowledge of ingredients, tools, baking chemistry and techniques—which is why many aspiring pastry chefs begin gathering experience and practicing their skills through intensive baking and pastry classes, provided in courses like those included in ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program.

Having the ability to demonstrate a well-rounded set of skills will help those trying to stand out rise through the ranks. At ICC, in particular, students are immersed in a curriculum of carefully constructed baking and pastry classes—beginning with kitchen fundamentals and progressing into more advanced, creative skills like designing chocolate sculptures, wedding cakes and even full dessert menus.

Beyond the baking techniques, ICC’s pastry programs also teach students critical skills in time management, problem solving, teamwork and endurance—all skills that restaurant owners, executive chefs and other culinary employers expect in all of their staff.

Our baking and pastry program, created by renowned master chef and ICC Dean of Pastry Arts Jacques Torres, is designed to build a knowledge base for widespread application in a professional pastry kitchen in as little as six months—an education that can take years to gain in a traditional apprenticeship. Students also have the ability to complete internships outside the classroom in high-caliber pastry kitchens; past internship places include Dominique Ansel Bakery, Ron Ben-Israel Cakes and even the world-famous chocolate business of Jacques Torres himself through an exclusive arrangement with the ICC.

Gain Real-World Pastry Experience

After building a breadth of baking techniques, whether through pastry school or by accruing experience elsewhere, many aspiring pastry chefs work their way up by getting a foot in the door as pastry cooks. Working as a pastry cook under an executive pastry chef in larger kitchens, aspiring chefs have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the pasty department from the service side before moving into larger roles in production, like pastry sous chef as the direct support to the executive pastry chef. In smaller kitchens, pastry cooks may share everyday jobs of both service and production roles.

Several alumni of the Professional Pastry Arts program have used their ICC education and experience to work their way up in the pastry department. Mame Sow, a 2007 ICC pastry alumna, for example—now Executive Pastry Chef at Bardessono Hotel & Spa in Napa Valley, California—began her career as an intern, later worked as a pastry sous chef on Marcus Samuelsson’s team, and most recently held the title Executive Pastry Chef at Cecil and Minton’s in Harlem.

When asked by Total Food Service how she became an executive pastry chef before the age of 30, Sow said she was “lucky to get great early training and great early experience in the kitchen,” and attributed much of that training to her ICC education.

Other alumni of ICC’s pastry program who have also made a quick impact in the industry include Susanna Yoon, chef-owner of Stick with Me Sweets, and Melissa Weller, partner and baker at Sadelle’s in New York City’s SoHo. Yoon was recently placed on the list of Top 10 Chocolatiers in North America by Dessert Professionals, while Weller has received widespread recognition for her bagel innovation including mentions in The New York Times and Huffington Post.

“I was lucky to get great early training and great early experience in the kitchen.” – Mame Sow, 2007 ICC Pastry Alumna in an interview with Total Food Service

Starting Your Pastry Career with an ICC Education

If starting down the path toward becoming a pastry chef is the next step in your culinary career, then find out more about ICC’s Professional Pastry Arts program in New York and California. If you have more questions about baking and pastry programs at ICC, you can also contact an admissions representative.

If you know a teen looking to get a head start on learning baking techniques and learn more about the possibility of becoming a pastry chef, ICC also offers summer pastry camps for teens 13-18 in New York and California.