Professional Culinary Arts: New York
From basic knife skills through every station on the line, ICC’s trademark Culinary Arts course—created under the guidance of Deans Jacques Pepin, Andre Soltner and Alain Sailhac—provides hands-on, real-world knowledge for you to succeed in a culinary career in just six to nine months. The course is divided in six 100-hour levels, explained in detail in our Level Chart below.
Essential Building Blocks
ICC was founded as The French Culinary Institute in 1984. Indeed, classic French techniques—the knife skills, stocks and sauces, plating and pastry methods—are the very foundation upon which all Western cuisines have been built. Talented chefs, including alumni Bobby Flay, Daisy Martinez and David Chang, have improvised on such training to create their own global style.
Often imitated but never duplicated, our signature Total ImmersionSM teaching method offers intensive, hands-on instruction and puts you in the kitchen from the very first day. Each student gets 600 hours of in-class instruction, generous kitchen space at our premium facility and individual support not found at other schools. Our low 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio assures you get the attention needed to flourish. You'll learn:
- the French techniques of master chefs, along with the fundamentals of how to think about cooking
- how to cook with diverse ingredients, from traditional vegetables, grains and proteins to specialty ingredients and game meats (including using the entire pig in your charcuterie class)
- high-volume cooking, valuable for catering/buffet and a la carte businesses
- the keys to assess food costs
- how to be a well-rounded chef, with three free customized curriculum courses (see below) in which you choose from topics such as wines, technology, food media, private chef, intro to food business and more.
Learn by Doing
The goal is consistent performance, replicating a dish until it becomes second nature. For example, Level 3 is dedicated to a “mock restaurant”; students rotate through all the stations of a classical French brigade. Each student presents four plates of each dish and is timed and tested by the chef.
Real Restaurant Experience
During the last third of your training at our NYC campus, you’ll cook in L’Ecole, our Michelin-recommended restaurant, whose customers are hungry New Yorkers who expect the best. This is a real-life, real-world challenge, and an intense test of your readiness, with chef-instructors there to guide you through.
Graduate at Carnegie Hall
After you finish all six levels, you receive your Grand Diplôme, a credential that is respected and recognized by the top establishments around the globe! The annual commencement ceremony takes place at NYC’s iconic landmark, Carnegie Hall. There, parents, friends and teachers as well as alumni will mark your achievement as they cheer on your class: the next generation of talents.
Find out about our legendary deans, small class size and alumni network here. See information about college credit, financial aid and scholarships.
- Application fee, uniform, tool kit, books and supplies
- "Family meal” prepared by students (weekdays)
- 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio
- 600 hours of in-class instruction
- Student skills workshops in key areas such knife work
- Chef demo series with volunteer opportunities
- Guarantee to work every station on the line at Michelin-recommended L'Ecole Restaurant
- Carnegie Hall commencement with two guest tickets
- Financial Aid and Career Service advising
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INTRODUCTION TO CULINARY TECHNIQUES
Here the standards are set. You'll begin learning the techniques that will serve as the foundation, not just for your time in class, but for your entire culinary career. You'll become oriented with equipment and tools, and the brigade system of organization and teamwork, which is at the heart of every serious kitchen.
Learn to Cook:
- Salads and vinaigrettes
Learn the Basics:
Learn which knives are best for which jobs, and proper care for them. Through tailiage (cutting vegetables into even sizes and shapes), you'll learn different techniques, such as émincer (thin slice), batonnet (small sticks), brunoise (small dice) and paysanne (tile-shaped).
General rules of hygiene as well as comprehensive food handling and safety issues for a kitchen environment. You’ll also gain the valuable National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe® Food Protection Manager Certification.
Ingredient Identification and Classification:
Use all your senses as you identify and classify a wide range of proteins, vegetables, starches, grains, herbs and spices.
Stocks and Sauces:
Learn how to combine humble ingredients, such as bones from chicken, beef, veal or fish, with aromatic vegetables and herbs to create brown, white, fish, marmite and vegetable stocks—and how to marry stocks with binding elements, such as starches and proteins, to create the five “mother” sauces: velouté, Espagnole, hollandaise, béchamel and tomato, as well many of their derivatives.
Brining, pickling, confit and dehydration used to prevent food from spoiling in pre-refrigeration days; today, we rely on these methods for the complex flavors they infuse into dishes.
BUILDING CULINARY FOUNDATIONS Expand upon the knowledge you developed in Level 1 as you continue to practice cooking, butchering and knife skills. Your chef-instructors will encourage you to think critically about the composition of your plates—a skill that will be increasingly important as you move closer to cooking in L’Ecole.
Learn to Cook:
- Offal and Forcemeats
- Grains and Pasta
- Doughs and Tarts
- Mousses and Soufflés
Lesson Topics Include:
Seasonality, Sustainability and Nutrition:
A modern chef needs to connect to the source of his/her ingredients, harnessing the optimal flavor of seasonal and sustainable products. Also covered: nutrition basics and the principles for healthy, balanced meals.
Cheese, Wine and Spirits:
Gain insight into the cheese-making process, as well how to classify a vast assortment of cheeses; sample, select and serve the correct portion size; and how wine and spirits complement and enrich the dining experience.
Food Costing and Menu Planning:
For all the creativity that goes into being a chef, it’s essential to understand the financial health of your operation. You’ll learn about recipe development and costing, menu development and pricing, as well as how to determine the costs that go into food prep and service to make wiser business decisions.
Menu and Plating Design:
Explore how composition, garnishes, sauces and color add to the diner’s enjoyment of a dish. You’ll also spend time looking at the bigger picture, learning how aesthetic choices and practical issues factor into menu composition.
SKILLS FOR CONSISTENCY AND REFINEMENT
Level 3 introduces you to the organization of the French brigade, a system of kitchen organization prevalent throughout the restaurant industry. (Says graduate Bobby Flay upon first coming to cooking school, "I liked the kitchen. I liked the fact that it was a brigade. I liked the fact that I was accomplishing something.") Students are required to deliver dishes both on time and consistently to chef instructors. You’ll receive valuable feedback that can be applied to future lessons.
You’ll Rotate Through:
- Garde Manger (salads and cold preparations)
- Poissoner (fish and seafood)
- Saucier (sauces and meat)
- Pâtissier (pastry and desserts)
- Low Temperature Cooking
- Build on Butchery, Filleting and Boning
Dishes You’ll Make Include:
- Sautéed Skate Wing with Brown Butter, Capers, Lemon and Croutons
- Grilled Salmon with White Wine Herb Sauce
- Beef Bourguignon with Fresh Egg Noodles
- Pork Chop with Green Peppercorn Sauce
- Cream Puffs with Chantilly Cream
- Pots de Crème with Tuiles
- Lemon Tart
BUFFET, CHARCUTERIE AND VOLUME COOKING
You’ve made it through the midway point and are ready to tackle new challenges in the kitchen. Level 4 is broken into two sections, which will give you and your classmates the opportunity to continue to sharpen your techniques as you grow your skills in organization, time management and teamwork.
- Companion Condiments
- Carving Station
- Side Dishes
- Manage Station and Serve Guests
Buffet and Charcuterie:
- Budget and Execute Themed Buffet for 50 Guests
- Break Down a Pig
- Preparing Daily “Family Meal” for Students and Staff
- Menu of Seasonal Dishes
- Ethnic Vegetarian Dishes
- Meal Planning
- Portion Sizing
- Kitchen Math Skills
- Assisting Instructors with Duties of the Day
INTRODUCTION TO RESTAURANT SERVICE
Now, it’s showtime—the moment you’ve been waiting for! You’ll be challenged to put everything you have learned literally “on the line,” by cooking on a real-life restaurant line. Under the watchful supervision of your chef-instructors, you’ll flex your culinary muscles at the Michelin- and Zagat-rated L’Ecole and have customers eat—and pay for—what you’ve prepared. Cooking in the only culinary school restaurant in New York City, you’ll have the unique opportunity to work every station: garde manger, poissonier, saucier, entremetier (vegetable chef) and pâtissier, working to prep and cook à la minute a number of contemporary dishes.
You’ll continue to gain speed and confidence in your abilities and feel a sense of pride that comes from being part of a highly efficient kitchen team. In this level, you’ll also have the opportunity to show your creativity off the line, by producing a special project: a creative menu in the cuisine of your choice with recipes, beverage pairings, illustrations, and a food costing summary.
L’Ecole’s Menu Changes Frequently. Previous Items Include:
- Agave-Glazed Pork Belly Terrine
- House-Made Spinach Fettuccine with Braised Duck Leg Ragù
- Hanger Steak with Peppercorn Sauce, Marrow and Cauliflower Purée
- Pan-Seared Wild Black Bass with Miso-Ginger Consommé
- Candied Pineapple-Lemon Curd Tart
CONFIDENCE, CONTROL AND CREATIVITY IN RESTAURANT REALITY
As you enter Level 6, you’ll continue your rotation through the stations at L’Ecole, but the bar will be raised even higher. The menu items you’ll be responsible for will be more complex, requiring a higher level of skill and execution of the fundamentals you’ve learned. Your training culminates with the final exam, in which you’ll be asked to prepare and present two menu items selected at random from the curriculum.
Every nuance of your dishes will be reviewed, not only by your chef-instructors, who will also be evaluating your performance behind the scenes (assessing your cleanliness, organization, timing and technique, as well as the progress you’ve made throughout the program), but also in a face-to-face critique by a panel of industry professionals from the New York City food community (it frequently includes award-winning chefs and well-known food critics). This is truly your moment to shine, as you are on the cusp of graduation and the beginning of a new chapter in your culinary career.
L’Ecole’s Menu Changes Frequently. Previous Items Include:
- Sautéed Cod with Blood Orange, Endive and Country Grits
- Sunchoke Chowder with Seared Bay Scallops, Smoked Buttermilk Foam
- Sautéed Duck Breast with Braised Duck Leg and Cranberry and Orange Sauce
- Chef Alain Sailhac’s Cassoulet with Northern White Beans, Frankfurters, Garlic Sausage, Braised Lamb and Pork Shoulder, Duck Leg Confit
- Brussels Sprouts Salad House-Made Caesar Dressing, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Boquerones, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Baguette Crouton
- Chocolate Sponge Cake with Milk Chocolate Mousse and Apple Chip
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