icc chef instructor nicolas baron


Chef Instructor

A Native of the French Riviera region, Chef Nicolas was drawn to the art of cooking from the young age of 10. He was fascinated with the fact that by altering the recipe, the same simple ingredients could be turned into an array of different succulent dishes. In his mid-teen years, while attending Culinary School in Normandy (graduated 1987), Chef Nicolas initially trained in a Michelin Star restaurant, under Chef Yves Louet, Master Chef of France. Then, he spent several years in Paris at Le Clos Longchamps (*Michelin) and Le Meridien Hotel under French Culinary Academy Dean, Chef Maurice Brazier. Achieving his dream to have the opportunity to bring and practice his craft abroad, Chef Nicolas moved to England working at the notorious Hilton Hotel London for 2 years. He then moved to Australia to work full-time at the Hilton Hotel Sydney while earning his B.S in Hospitality Management at the University of New South Wales. Chef Nicolas then held positions of Sous-Chef at Maxim’s Restaurant, Singapore, Sous-Chef and Executive Chef in West Africa, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Bali, Indonesia and The Bahamas at various 5 Star hotels, yachts and fine resorts. In early 2006, Chef returned to France to build his brand as “The Green Chef,” a Food Consultant and Private Caterer. He then transitioned the brand to California, cooking for celebrities in LA and high profile Silicon Valley CEOs as a Private Chef & Caterer. Seeing teaching as a legacy, especially as a culinary professional, and finding even more fulfillment in his craft after several teaching assignments Chef Nicolas joined the ICC. His motto is, “Cook with Passion” as he strongly believes that passion is the main ingredient in preparing and cooking amazing food.

icc chef instructor leif evans


Chef Instructor

Some of Leif Evans’ early food memories involve baking cookies with his mother for the neighborhood around the holidays as well as watching (and smelling) his grandmother prepare her wonderful venison stew. After working in the culinary industry in New York for several years, he joined the International Culinary Center in 2012. "I love sharing the things I've learned with the next group of cooks. My advice would be to try everything at least once."

ICC Chef Instructor Todd Engstrom


Chef Instructor & Catering and Events Chef

Chef Todd Engstrom is a third generation Northern California native with over 25 years experience in the hotel, restaurant, catering and foodservice industries. He attended San Jose State University where he earned a B.S. in Hospitality Management and later received a Distinguished Alumni award. After his undergrad studies, he went on to earn an AOS degree in Culinary Arts from the California Culinary Academy. He was founder and owner of All Seasons Cafe and Catering where he provided private and corporate catering services throughout the Bay Area as well as daily restaurant operations. Prior to this, Chef Todd was the Executive Chef for Cafe Primavera where he oversaw cafe and catering operations at the Tech Museum of Innovation. Being a Northern California native he has a passion for California cuisine and combining local native ingredients with global culinary techniques.

Chef Herve Malivert ICC Director of Culinary Arts & Technology


Director of Culinary Arts & Technology

Chef Hervé Malivert's enthusiasm for the kitchen was evident by the age of 12, and the complex mix of French, Swiss, and Italian influences found in his homeland, the Rhône region of France, shaped his culinary outlook. His passion for cooking rivals his taste for excitement: In addition to the two decades spent working in restaurants worldwide, he has spent a year and a half crossing the African continent and has taken up photography as a favorite hobby. As a chef-coordinator of the culinary program, Chef Hervé's sense of adventure is put to good use. His international experience is reflected in his personal motto: make food, not war! Chef Hervé joined the International Culinary Center in 2006. During this time, he has coached many ICC students in competition to success including: Rose Weiss, winner of the 2011 Bocuse d'Or Commis Competition; Christopher Ravanello, Northeast Regional winner of the 2012 S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition; Colfax Selby, Northeast Regional winner of the 2015 S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition; Mimi Chen, winner of the 2016 Ment'or Commis competition. Chef Hervé has been a Maître Cuisiniers de France (Master Chef of France) since 2013.


Chef Instructor

For Queens native Alex Sochinsky, becoming a chef was a natural progression. After cooking in several NYC restaurants and working as a whole animal butcher, he came to ICC because “the duty of a good cusinier is to transmit to the future generations everything he has learned and experienced.” Chef Alex believes dedication and organization are paramount for success in the kitchen and credits his parents as being his most influential mentors because they taught him the importance of hard work. He takes great pleasure in watching students progress through the program, knowing that “one must read, see, hear, try and observe everything to retain, in the end, just a little bit.” He joined ICC in 2013.

icc chef instructor wanda centeno


Chef Instructor

New York native Wanda Centeno has been with the International Culinary Center for almost 10 years, and she cites the warm camaraderie between chefs and students as the reason why. Before joining the faculty, Chef Wanda was a corporate chef for the Board of Directors at Bankers Trust; during this time she developed her personal style of fusing multiethnic cuisines. Quick, efficient, neat, and safe: this is her foolproof recipe for a successful working chef. "Keep the passion at a rolling boil but simmer the ego!" is one of her famous sayings, and she promises to students in training that perseverance and humility in the kitchen will ensure continued learning and growth, as both a chef and as an individual. Chef Wanda joined the International Culinary Center in 1999.

icc chef instructor joseph simon


Chef Instructor

Chef Joseph Simon is a survivor. The Jersey Shore native has cooked at David Burke Fromagerie, sailed around the world in the kitchens of SilverSea Cruise Line, and led several busy New Jersey restaurants, including his own bistro, which was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy–in fact, he says his most satisfying culinary experience was cooking for the emergency rescue workers during the storm. Trained in Provence, France, with an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts and Applied Science, he joined ICC as a Chef-Instructor in 2013. “The nonstop action of the kitchen is addictive. Learning everyday and improving myself as a chef and a person is what I love to do. Being able to give someone the skills to hone their craft is priceless and rewarding. I get the best of both worlds working at ICC.”

ICC Chef Instructor April Stamm


Chef Instructor

In 2013, after serving as Metro Chef in the Whole Foods Prepared Food Department for six Manhattan stores, Chef April Stamm returned to her alma mater as a Culinary Arts Chef-Instructor. “Teaching has always been a part of what I do and I wanted to make that my priority,” she explains. The former Chopped contestant loves helping students and giving them the tools to do what they love. A firm believer in the importance of culinary school, she believes the keys to success in the industry are organization, “an open mind, an open heart and a tough skin.”

icc chef instructor philippe besson


Chef Instructor

Chef Philippe knew he wanted to work in the culinary world when his aunt returned from the Dalmatian Coast with a prosciutto and cheese that were made by her family—a moment that is still his most vivid taste memory. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he has worked at Gotham Bar & Grill, Craftbar, Gramercy Tavern, and The Modern, and counts Alfred Portale and Tom Colicchio among his mentors. At the International Culinary Center he finds it gratifying to prepare students for the industry by providing a strong foundation in classic French techniques. When not teaching, he enjoys snowboarding, gardening, mountain biking, and spending time with his family. Chef Philippe joined the International Culinary Center in 2010.

icc chef instructor bruno ponsot


Culinary Coordinator & Chef Instructor

A native of France, Chef Bruno Ponsot brings more than 30 years of culinary experience to the International Culinary Center. He has worked in prestigious kitchens in France, England and on both coasts of the United States, including as chef de partie with Michelin-rated chefs Paul Bocuse and Alain Ducasse. Chef Bruno has held positions as a sous chef, chef de cuisine and executive pastry chef, and he owned and operated a Florida restaurant for nine years prior to moving to the West Coast. During his career, Chef Bruno has participated in several culinary competitions sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation, winning a total of 12 medals: three gold, seven silver and two bronze.